By Alan Caruba
There is one nation in the Middle East that is not roiling in anarchy, rioting, and internal warfare. It does so without oppressing its citizens. It encourages and protects the practice of all religions. That nation is Israel.
The other Middle Eastern and North African nations, all predominantly Islamic, have discovered that Islam, despite its grip on the minds and souls of Muslims, does not preclude the universal human desire for freedom, for hope of a better life.
It seems that no one lacks for a reason to hate Jews, but if one steps back from the shouting and the insane claims that Jews and Zionism are responsible for everything and control everything, Israel seems to have made multiculturalism actually work.
Israel, whose official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, is home to more than seven million people, 76% if whom are Jewish and 24% are mostly Muslim, but include Christians, Bahai, and probably every other faith known to God and man.
The latest news, according to a report in the March 4th Wall Street Journal, is that Israel is weighing a new plan for a provisional Palestinian state, an offer of temporary borders within which the Palestinians could establish a nation of their own.
The problem, of course, is that the Palestinians have rejected this obvious solution for more than sixty years and are, themselves, divided between the Palestinian Authority and the radical Hamas that only wants to utterly destroy Israel and its Jewish citizens.
The French have France, the Greeks have Greece, the Turks have Turkey and all manner of self-identifying groups have their own nations, but for many worldwide the Jews are not supposed to have their own nation or to live in the land in which their ancestors have lived for 3,500 years ago.
When Muhammad began to piece together Islam, naming himself as a new prophet, he instructed the first Muslims to face Jerusalem when they prayed. After Arabian tribes of Jews refused to convert, he slaughtered their men, sold their women and children into slavery, and ordered Muslims to face Mecca instead.
The Jews, however, have some good news to celebrate because on March 3rd there was a report of Pope Benedict XVI’s new book, “Jesus of Nazareth—Part II” in which he asserts “a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ.” Given Jesus’ paternity, faith, and apostles, all Jewish, that is surely welcome news.
In 1965, the Second Vatican Council document, “Nostra Aetate”, initially affirmed that Jesus’ death could not be blamed on the Jews as a whole at that time or today. Pope Benedict’s reaffirmation of that Catholic truth should be bigger news.
In a world in which more than a billion Muslims are eager to establish a universal caliphate, mostly by the use of terror on the Earth’s other five billion inhabitants, the Pope’s book is a candle of sanity in the darkness.
Pope Benedict, forced to join the Hitler Youth, witness to the Holocaust, has made improving the Church’s relations with Jews a priority of his pontificate. He has visited the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland and Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial where he prayed for the souls of those killed for the “crime” of being Jewish.
In contrast, Islam makes death the punishment for the “crime” of converting to any other faith. That is surely a measure of how thoroughly evil it is. In Pakistan a Christian government minister was murdered this week. In Germany, a Muslim convert killed U.S. service members, and every day mullahs tell Muslims that suicide/homicide killing is a holy act. In America, the current regime refuses to use words like “terrorism” or “jihad.”
It takes clarity and courage for non-Muslims to identify the threat to their faith and their lives. Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul, was instrumental in shining a light on a comparable threat, Communism, aiding in the downfall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. An earlier Pope, Pius XII, used his powers to resist the rise and reign of Nazism.
It is a good thing to be a Catholic. It is a good thing to be a Christian. It is a good thing to be a Hindu or a Buddhist. It is a good thing to be a Jew.
The same cannot be said of those who embrace terror, murder, and death as their path to paradise.
© Alan Caruba, 2011