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Weekly Update: Which spirit will reign in Washington? 

21 January 2021

All eyes are on Washington at the moment as incoming President Biden embarks on the momentous work of healing a deeply divided nation.

Biden has appointed a whole new team to key positions – in the State Department, CIA, National Security Council, USAID and other agencies – who will all influence America’s foreign policy in the coming years – including policies affecting Israel and the Jewish people.

There are some positive signs. The new Secretary of State Antony Blinken – son of a famous holocaust survivor, raised in Paris, accomplished lawyer – has stated clearly that the Biden Administration remains fully committed to ensuring Israel’s security which he describes as “sacrosanct”. Blinken has confirmed indications that the new Administration is considering re-entering negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program (indicated for example by Biden’s appointment of key people who were responsible for negotiating the original JCPOA agreement that Trump tore up). Importantly, however, Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week that the United States would not lift terrorism sanctions on Tehran or unfreeze assets belonging to Iran in order for the Islamic Republic to come to the negotiating table, and that it is “a long way” from re-entering the deal.

Blinken also stated that the new Administration will not overturn the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, nor move the US Embassy from Jerusalem. He and Biden are “resolutely opposed” to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, because it “unfairly and inappropriately singles out Israel and creates a double standard that we do not apply to other countries.”

The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eating. Some of Biden’s appointees represent a powerful constituency in America that is decidedly not friendly towards either the Jewish people or their God – to put it mildly. Only time will tell which ideologies will gain the supremacy in Washington.

Although the US is no longer the dominant world power that it once was, its role on the international stage remains extremely important. If nothing else, due to its position in the UN Security Council, which in the last days of the Obama dynasty adopted Resolution 2334 condemning settlements as a flagrant violation of international law. That resolution has done untold damage in delegitimizing Israel and inciting hatred towards the Jewish people.

Let us continue to pray for those in leadership positions in the US. In the words of Psalm 51, may God work through men and women with broken spirits and contrite hearts who will “seek to build up the walls of Jerusalem”.

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today


 

How much will the USA support Israel? 
Incoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that “If Iran comes back into compliance, then we would too,” Blinken said, while acknowledging that “we are a long way from there.” Blinken also supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, while expressing doubt that such a deal could be reached in the near future. “The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Blinken said, while adding that he opposes “unilateral” efforts by either party that make reaching such a solution more difficult. Read more..

Will the new Administration maintain the Abraham Accords?  
Jay Solomon argues that “the next U.S. administration should use this historic convergence of interests between Israel and the Arab-majority states to help place the region on a much stronger footing and greatly enhance the U.S.’ economic and security interests for the long term.” Read more..

Not everything is as it seems 
Caroline Glick is sceptical about the intentions of several key Biden advisers. “Thanks in large part to Trump’s extraordinary friendship, Israel is much more powerful than it was when Obama left office, but it is still vulnerable. Whether it has the power to persuade Biden and his advisors to change course remains to be seen. But what power Israel does have will have to be used to protect itself from the coming storm in its relations with the United States.” Read more..

Does Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism? 
There is a debate at the moment about the Working Definition published in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on Anti-Semitism, that has been adopted by many countries around the world. One of the controversial aspects of the definition is that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” is a form of anti-Semitism. This is being challenged as a restriction on the right to criticize Israeli policies. Progressive Jewish groups in the US are amongst the most outspoken critics of the IHRA Working definition. Read more..

Anti-Semitism on British campus
Anti-Semitism within British academia has been exposed in a recent report published by David Collier, a British researcher, who says that some UK universities are now virtually Judenfrei: free of Jews. Richard Kemp discusses this report in an important article published by Gatestone Institute: “This is a chilling indictment not just of British academia but of a liberal democratic society that has tolerated, often through ignorance or complacency, a wave of discrimination against Jews that has swept through the universities over recent decades. From these halls of learning antisemitism has spread out, driving and empowering what is now a solid movement that threatens Jews in various parts of society and has led to many of them leaving. This is not just in Britain. Collier characterises academia as ‘the epicentre of global antisemitism’.” Read more..

 

Anti-Semitism – a sign of the times.
Teaching by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer 

Hatred against Israel is hatred against the God of Israel. That also includes Christian anti-Semitism, deeply rooted in anti-Jewish theology. In Europe, this has created a climate in which millions of Jews could be killed, time after time, again and again. Not only in the ultimate climax of the immense annihilation during the Holocaust, but also in the lands of Christianity during the last two thousand years.

 

 

Scripture for the week: Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.