Mr. Trump, You Must Move Our Embassy to Jerusalem

It's true that, during the presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised that he would move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It's true that 60 top Christian leaders, among many others, have called on the president to keep his word.

It's true that the Republican Party platform stated, "We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law."

And it's true that in 1995, Congress officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling "for the U.S. Embassy to be moved there by May 31, 1999."

But to do this would upset the Muslim world, further exacerbate the peace process, and potentially foment a new wave of terror attacks against Israel. Is the risk worth the reward?

Things are fragile enough in the Middle East right now, so why alienate countries like Egypt? Why strain relationships with Saudi Arabia? Why make it more difficult to unite Muslim nations in a war against ISIS? And why add fuel to the fire of Palestinian terrorists? Why put Israeli lives at risk?

The answer is simple: 1) Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and there's probably no country on earth with a more ancient connection to its capital city. 2) We recognize the capitals of all other nations with whom we have relationships and we put our embassies there. 3) There is no legitimate reason for us not to treat Israel like every other nation on the planet. Why should we discriminate against our friend Israel, which is also our number one ally in the region?

As my friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach recently wrote, "It is outrageous that out of the 190 nations America has diplomatic relations with, Israel is the only one whose capital is not recognized by the U.S. government."

Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes went one step further: Not to move our embassy to Jerusalem "is disrespectful, insulting, wrong—politically and diplomatically—and has an anti-Semitic tone to it." I do not believe he overstated his case.

As for the risk of making this move, consider the following.

1. The embassy could be in West Jerusalem rather than East Jerusalem. Even Palestinian negotiators recognize Israel's right to West Jerusalem. It is East Jerusalem they covet as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Russia recently said (to paraphrase), "We're happy to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state." The Wall Street Journal actually ran an op-ed with the headline, "Russia Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital. Why Can't the U.S.?"

It's as simple as picking a building there (Does our government own or control any buildings in West Jerusalem right now?) and saying, "This is our embassy." We don't need a major building project. Just a sign over a door.

2. We cannot let terrorists blackmail us, nor can we pacify them. Israel is happy to take more security precautions and run the risk of having the embassy moved. Why aren't we? And since we have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, why should we allow the threat of terrorism to stop us from doing what's right?

Let's also learn the lesson of recent history. As noted on the Myths and Facts website, "Between 1993 and 2001, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed six agreements with Israel and conducted countless meetings and summits to bring about a lasting peace between them. Each Israeli concession was met with Palestinian non-compliance and escalating violence. Six times, Palestinians failed to honor their commitments and increased their anti-Israeli aggressions. Finally, they broke every promise they made and began an allout guerrilla war against Israel and its citizens"

If making concessions hasn't stopped terrorism in the past, why should we think it will stop terrorism in the future?

3. The Muslim world must recognize that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and that Israel is here to stay. As long as we refuse to move our embassy, we are putting a question mark over Israel's legitimacy. It's time we declare to the world: This is way it is and this is the way it's going to be.

Coming from a different angle, Rabbi Shmuley said, "We should not take the paternalistic view that Muslims cannot understand that Jerusalem has long been Israel's capital and that the United States is the Jewish state's closest ally. Reinforcing our special relationship by moving a building should not be seen as a provocation or retreat from our friendship with Arab and Muslim nations."

In other words, let's not treat the Muslim nations like a bunch of crybabies. Israel is not going anywhere, and Jerusalem is the capital. End of subject. Let's move on to bigger, more important issues that concern us all.

4. The last reason we should move the embassy is that I believe God will bless us for doing this.

Mr. Trump, please do the right thing. It will be a positive chapter in your legacy. You might be wavering now, but you have time to reset the course and do the right thing.

History will smile on your move. You would do something that neither Clinton nor Bush nor Obama were willing to do.

Click here to read the full / original blog post.

Posted in In the Line of Fire | Comments Off

Mr. Trump, You Must Move Our Embassy to Jerusalem

It's true that, during the presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised that he would move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It's true that 60 top Christian leaders, among many others, have called on the president to keep his word.

It's true that the Republican Party platform stated, "We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law."

And it's true that in 1995, Congress officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling "for the U.S. Embassy to be moved there by May 31, 1999."

But to do this would upset the Muslim world, further exacerbate the peace process, and potentially foment a new wave of terror attacks against Israel. Is the risk worth the reward?

Things are fragile enough in the Middle East right now, so why alienate countries like Egypt? Why strain relationships with Saudi Arabia? Why make it more difficult to unite Muslim nations in a war against ISIS? And why add fuel to the fire of Palestinian terrorists? Why put Israeli lives at risk?

The answer is simple: 1) Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and there's probably no country on earth with a more ancient connection to its capital city. 2) We recognize the capitals of all other nations with whom we have relationships and we put our embassies there. 3) There is no legitimate reason for us not to treat Israel like every other nation on the planet. Why should we discriminate against our friend Israel, which is also our number one ally in the region?

As my friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach recently wrote, "It is outrageous that out of the 190 nations America has diplomatic relations with, Israel is the only one whose capital is not recognized by the U.S. government."

Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes went one step further: Not to move our embassy to Jerusalem "is disrespectful, insulting, wrong—politically and diplomatically—and has an anti-Semitic tone to it." I do not believe he overstated his case.

As for the risk of making this move, consider the following.

1. The embassy could be in West Jerusalem rather than East Jerusalem. Even Palestinian negotiators recognize Israel's right to West Jerusalem. It is East Jerusalem they covet as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Russia recently said (to paraphrase), "We're happy to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state." The Wall Street Journal actually ran an op-ed with the headline, "Russia Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital. Why Can't the U.S.?"

It's as simple as picking a building there (Does our government own or control any buildings in West Jerusalem right now?) and saying, "This is our embassy." We don't need a major building project. Just a sign over a door.

2. We cannot let terrorists blackmail us, nor can we pacify them. Israel is happy to take more security precautions and run the risk of having the embassy moved. Why aren't we? And since we have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, why should we allow the threat of terrorism to stop us from doing what's right?

Let's also learn the lesson of recent history. As noted on the Myths and Facts website, "Between 1993 and 2001, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed six agreements with Israel and conducted countless meetings and summits to bring about a lasting peace between them. Each Israeli concession was met with Palestinian non-compliance and escalating violence. Six times, Palestinians failed to honor their commitments and increased their anti-Israeli aggressions. Finally, they broke every promise they made and began an allout guerrilla war against Israel and its citizens"

If making concessions hasn't stopped terrorism in the past, why should we think it will stop terrorism in the future?

3. The Muslim world must recognize that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and that Israel is here to stay. As long as we refuse to move our embassy, we are putting a question mark over Israel's legitimacy. It's time we declare to the world: This is way it is and this is the way it's going to be.

Coming from a different angle, Rabbi Shmuley said, "We should not take the paternalistic view that Muslims cannot understand that Jerusalem has long been Israel's capital and that the United States is the Jewish state's closest ally. Reinforcing our special relationship by moving a building should not be seen as a provocation or retreat from our friendship with Arab and Muslim nations."

In other words, let's not treat the Muslim nations like a bunch of crybabies. Israel is not going anywhere, and Jerusalem is the capital. End of subject. Let's move on to bigger, more important issues that concern us all.

4. The last reason we should move the embassy is that I believe God will bless us for doing this.

Mr. Trump, please do the right thing. It will be a positive chapter in your legacy. You might be wavering now, but you have time to reset the course and do the right thing.

History will smile on your move. You would do something that neither Clinton nor Bush nor Obama were willing to do.

Click here to read the full / original blog post.

Posted in In the Line of Fire | Comments Off

To Dean Obeidallah: If You’re Right, Then Debate, Don’t Run

In response to my article "The Liberals' Misguided Love Affair With Islam," radio host and columnist Dean Obeidallah tweeted, "Hey @DrMichaelLBrown U win award award [sic] for dumbest article of the day - be proud. #moron."

This was not the first time Mr. Obeidallah attacked me, offering rhetoric without substance, so I responded: "Let's have a public, civil debate about the issue. You've challenged me before, but never with substance. Let's deal with facts. Shall we?"

Some of his followers chimed in with their own mockery, and I responded to each one, wanting to move beyond the invective. Can we interact about specifics? Can you tell me what is factually inaccurate about my article? With one exception, I was greeted with either silence or further insult.

I then tweeted Mr. Obeidallah again: "Sir, please be kind enough to point out any factual errors in my article. I assume you read it carefully, correct?"

He responded: "Ur a joke - I just give ur views sunlight to destroy the [expletive]- now go run along to Pam Geller."

Actually, I don't need this gentleman to give my views "sunlight." By God's grace, I have lots of internet exposure, with my articles posted on numerous websites. My Facebook page has more than 530,000 likes, I have a daily, syndicated radio show, an active YouTube channel and three TV shows, two of which air internationally. So he has his fine platforms and I have mine.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obeidallah's attitude is typical of the condescending, "progressive" left: "We will ridicule and mock you because you are unworthy of our time."

I replied to his tweet more forcefully: "You provide the perfect example of someone who has no facts to support his views: You mock and ridicule, devoid of substance."

I also posted (to Mr. Obeidallah and one of his Twitter followers): "I call on peace-loving Muslims to join me in standing against radical Islam. You respond with mockery and insult. This is tolerance? Sad."

Mr. Obeidallah then responded to my call to debate: "The answer is I don't debate punchlines. Ur a joke."

I answered: "The truth is you bring no substance, only insults, and your ideas would be instantly exposed in a civil, academic debate. Don't run."

He did not reply to me.

Was I surprised? Not in the least. I've seen the same thing happen time and again, and if anything, this approach suggests that the mocker is not ready to defend his viewpoint. Why not have your ideas challenged? Why not allow your viewpoints to be cross-examined? And if I am so wrong, why not expose me?

In the course of just three tweets, Mr. Obeidallah ridiculed my article as "the dumbest" of the day; used the hashtag #moron to describe me; then twice called me "a joke," also accusing me of writing junk. And he did this without pointing out a single error in my article. Ah, the voice of tolerance!

Perhaps my esteemed critic can tell me if my Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University was a joke. Or if my three years of studying Classical Arabic was a joke. Or if my public debates at schools like Oxford University and Ohio State University, or outreach lectures at schools like the Hebrew University in Jerusalem or USC or Yale University, or scholarly papers delivered at schools like Harvard University were a joke.

Or am I "a joke" because I claim that radical Islam can trace its roots back to the Quran? Or that I believe that Robert Spencer should not have been shouted down when he tried to quote violent Islamic texts at the University of Buffalo?

A colleague of mine in Australia pointed out that "the annual Freedom of Thought report published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union found that 13 nations punish apostasy with the death penalty.

"The 13 countries are all Islamic: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Says the report, 'All of these countries, except Pakistan, allow for capital punishment against apostasy, while Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy—including a disbelief in God.'"

Does Mr. Obeidallah deny that these countries are Islamic? Does he claim that what they are doing is in violation of the Quran and of Sharia Law?

He might say that their practices are abhorrent, that enlightened Muslims reject this, that as a Muslim himself he believes the Quran is being twisted. All that is fine and good, and that's part of what we can discuss.

I am not one of those who believe a true Muslim is always a radical Muslim, and I often take flak from some on the right who believe that Islam is always murderous. That's why I use the adjective "radical" before the word "Islam." At the same time, I get flak on the left from those (like Mr. Obeidallah, apparently) who believe that radical Islam is not Islam at all.

That's why I invite Dean Obeidallah to have a civil, moderated, public debate. We could debate the question, "Is Radical Islam True Islam?" Or "Is the Left Giving Islam a Free Pass?" Or perhaps something else that is related. I'm open to possibilities. I would even come on his radio show, where he controls the mic, or he could come on mine.

Whatever the format, for the sake of truth, for the sake of those affected by radical Islam, for the sake of our nation, we should hash the issues out.

And on a personal note, Mr. Obeidallah, when you respond with mockery and disdain, you make yourself look bad, not your opponent. Surely you can do better than that.

Click here to read the full / original blog post.

Posted in In the Line of Fire | Comments Off

To Dean Obeidallah: If You’re Right, Then Debate, Don’t Run

In response to my article "The Liberals' Misguided Love Affair With Islam," radio host and columnist Dean Obeidallah tweeted, "Hey @DrMichaelLBrown U win award award [sic] for dumbest article of the day - be proud. #moron."

This was not the first time Mr. Obeidallah attacked me, offering rhetoric without substance, so I responded: "Let's have a public, civil debate about the issue. You've challenged me before, but never with substance. Let's deal with facts. Shall we?"

Some of his followers chimed in with their own mockery, and I responded to each one, wanting to move beyond the invective. Can we interact about specifics? Can you tell me what is factually inaccurate about my article? With one exception, I was greeted with either silence or further insult.

I then tweeted Mr. Obeidallah again: "Sir, please be kind enough to point out any factual errors in my article. I assume you read it carefully, correct?"

He responded: "Ur a joke - I just give ur views sunlight to destroy the [expletive]- now go run along to Pam Geller."

Actually, I don't need this gentleman to give my views "sunlight." By God's grace, I have lots of internet exposure, with my articles posted on numerous websites. My Facebook page has more than 530,000 likes, I have a daily, syndicated radio show, an active YouTube channel and three TV shows, two of which air internationally. So he has his fine platforms and I have mine.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obeidallah's attitude is typical of the condescending, "progressive" left: "We will ridicule and mock you because you are unworthy of our time."

I replied to his tweet more forcefully: "You provide the perfect example of someone who has no facts to support his views: You mock and ridicule, devoid of substance."

I also posted (to Mr. Obeidallah and one of his Twitter followers): "I call on peace-loving Muslims to join me in standing against radical Islam. You respond with mockery and insult. This is tolerance? Sad."

Mr. Obeidallah then responded to my call to debate: "The answer is I don't debate punchlines. Ur a joke."

I answered: "The truth is you bring no substance, only insults, and your ideas would be instantly exposed in a civil, academic debate. Don't run."

He did not reply to me.

Was I surprised? Not in the least. I've seen the same thing happen time and again, and if anything, this approach suggests that the mocker is not ready to defend his viewpoint. Why not have your ideas challenged? Why not allow your viewpoints to be cross-examined? And if I am so wrong, why not expose me?

In the course of just three tweets, Mr. Obeidallah ridiculed my article as "the dumbest" of the day; used the hashtag #moron to describe me; then twice called me "a joke," also accusing me of writing junk. And he did this without pointing out a single error in my article. Ah, the voice of tolerance!

Perhaps my esteemed critic can tell me if my Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University was a joke. Or if my three years of studying Classical Arabic was a joke. Or if my public debates at schools like Oxford University and Ohio State University, or outreach lectures at schools like the Hebrew University in Jerusalem or USC or Yale University, or scholarly papers delivered at schools like Harvard University were a joke.

Or am I "a joke" because I claim that radical Islam can trace its roots back to the Quran? Or that I believe that Robert Spencer should not have been shouted down when he tried to quote violent Islamic texts at the University of Buffalo?

A colleague of mine in Australia pointed out that "the annual Freedom of Thought report published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union found that 13 nations punish apostasy with the death penalty.

"The 13 countries are all Islamic: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Says the report, 'All of these countries, except Pakistan, allow for capital punishment against apostasy, while Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy—including a disbelief in God.'"

Does Mr. Obeidallah deny that these countries are Islamic? Does he claim that what they are doing is in violation of the Quran and of Sharia Law?

He might say that their practices are abhorrent, that enlightened Muslims reject this, that as a Muslim himself he believes the Quran is being twisted. All that is fine and good, and that's part of what we can discuss.

I am not one of those who believe a true Muslim is always a radical Muslim, and I often take flak from some on the right who believe that Islam is always murderous. That's why I use the adjective "radical" before the word "Islam." At the same time, I get flak on the left from those (like Mr. Obeidallah, apparently) who believe that radical Islam is not Islam at all.

That's why I invite Dean Obeidallah to have a civil, moderated, public debate. We could debate the question, "Is Radical Islam True Islam?" Or "Is the Left Giving Islam a Free Pass?" Or perhaps something else that is related. I'm open to possibilities. I would even come on his radio show, where he controls the mic, or he could come on mine.

Whatever the format, for the sake of truth, for the sake of those affected by radical Islam, for the sake of our nation, we should hash the issues out.

And on a personal note, Mr. Obeidallah, when you respond with mockery and disdain, you make yourself look bad, not your opponent. Surely you can do better than that.

Click here to read the full / original blog post.

Posted in In the Line of Fire | Comments Off

To Dean Obeidallah: If You’re Right, Then Debate, Don’t Run

In response to my article "The Liberals' Misguided Love Affair With Islam," radio host and columnist Dean Obeidallah tweeted, "Hey @DrMichaelLBrown U win award award [sic] for dumbest article of the day - be proud. #moron."

This was not the first time Mr. Obeidallah attacked me, offering rhetoric without substance, so I responded: "Let's have a public, civil debate about the issue. You've challenged me before, but never with substance. Let's deal with facts. Shall we?"

Some of his followers chimed in with their own mockery, and I responded to each one, wanting to move beyond the invective. Can we interact about specifics? Can you tell me what is factually inaccurate about my article? With one exception, I was greeted with either silence or further insult.

I then tweeted Mr. Obeidallah again: "Sir, please be kind enough to point out any factual errors in my article. I assume you read it carefully, correct?"

He responded: "Ur a joke - I just give ur views sunlight to destroy the [expletive]- now go run along to Pam Geller."

Actually, I don't need this gentleman to give my views "sunlight." By God's grace, I have lots of internet exposure, with my articles posted on numerous websites. My Facebook page has more than 530,000 likes, I have a daily, syndicated radio show, an active YouTube channel and three TV shows, two of which air internationally. So he has his fine platforms and I have mine.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obeidallah's attitude is typical of the condescending, "progressive" left: "We will ridicule and mock you because you are unworthy of our time."

I replied to his tweet more forcefully: "You provide the perfect example of someone who has no facts to support his views: You mock and ridicule, devoid of substance."

I also posted (to Mr. Obeidallah and one of his Twitter followers): "I call on peace-loving Muslims to join me in standing against radical Islam. You respond with mockery and insult. This is tolerance? Sad."

Mr. Obeidallah then responded to my call to debate: "The answer is I don't debate punchlines. Ur a joke."

I answered: "The truth is you bring no substance, only insults, and your ideas would be instantly exposed in a civil, academic debate. Don't run."

He did not reply to me.

Was I surprised? Not in the least. I've seen the same thing happen time and again, and if anything, this approach suggests that the mocker is not ready to defend his viewpoint. Why not have your ideas challenged? Why not allow your viewpoints to be cross-examined? And if I am so wrong, why not expose me?

In the course of just three tweets, Mr. Obeidallah ridiculed my article as "the dumbest" of the day; used the hashtag #moron to describe me; then twice called me "a joke," also accusing me of writing junk. And he did this without pointing out a single error in my article. Ah, the voice of tolerance!

Perhaps my esteemed critic can tell me if my Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University was a joke. Or if my three years of studying Classical Arabic was a joke. Or if my public debates at schools like Oxford University and Ohio State University, or outreach lectures at schools like the Hebrew University in Jerusalem or USC or Yale University, or scholarly papers delivered at schools like Harvard University were a joke.

Or am I "a joke" because I claim that radical Islam can trace its roots back to the Quran? Or that I believe that Robert Spencer should not have been shouted down when he tried to quote violent Islamic texts at the University of Buffalo?

A colleague of mine in Australia pointed out that "the annual Freedom of Thought report published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union found that 13 nations punish apostasy with the death penalty.

"The 13 countries are all Islamic: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Says the report, 'All of these countries, except Pakistan, allow for capital punishment against apostasy, while Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy—including a disbelief in God.'"

Does Mr. Obeidallah deny that these countries are Islamic? Does he claim that what they are doing is in violation of the Quran and of Sharia Law?

He might say that their practices are abhorrent, that enlightened Muslims reject this, that as a Muslim himself he believes the Quran is being twisted. All that is fine and good, and that's part of what we can discuss.

I am not one of those who believe a true Muslim is always a radical Muslim, and I often take flak from some on the right who believe that Islam is always murderous. That's why I use the adjective "radical" before the word "Islam." At the same time, I get flak on the left from those (like Mr. Obeidallah, apparently) who believe that radical Islam is not Islam at all.

That's why I invite Dean Obeidallah to have a civil, moderated, public debate. We could debate the question, "Is Radical Islam True Islam?" Or "Is the Left Giving Islam a Free Pass?" Or perhaps something else that is related. I'm open to possibilities. I would even come on his radio show, where he controls the mic, or he could come on mine.

Whatever the format, for the sake of truth, for the sake of those affected by radical Islam, for the sake of our nation, we should hash the issues out.

And on a personal note, Mr. Obeidallah, when you respond with mockery and disdain, you make yourself look bad, not your opponent. Surely you can do better than that.

Click here to read the full / original blog post.

Posted in In the Line of Fire | Comments Off