We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era

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By Richard Edmondson

Recently Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an interesting comment. He described the time we are living in as a “post-truth” era. It’s a very apt, on-target description.

Lavrov made the comment at the Munich Security Conference, held February 17-19 in Munich, Germany. In his remarks at the gathering he spoke of the need for nations to seek harmony by advancing justice and also by practicing “modesty,” as he termed it. It’s hard to find fault with such a proposal.

“If everyone adopts that approach,” said Lavrov, “we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

“Information wars” in a “post-truth” era–this of course is what we are experiencing now.

Lavrov also said that the expansion of NATO “has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the last 30 years in Europe,” and yet Russia now nonetheless seeks a relationship with the US based upon “pragmatism, mutual respect, and an understanding of special responsibility for global stability.”

Compare Lavrov’s remarks to those of Vice President Mike Pence, who represented America at the conference. Pence alluded to President Trump’s desire for better relations with Russia, but at the same time he also adopted a belligerent tone, calling for Russia to be held “accountable” for events in Ukraine.

“In regard to Ukraine we must hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk agreements, beginning by deescalating the violence in eastern Ukraine,” Pence said.

He also spoke of “Russia’s efforts to redraw international borders by force,” an apparent reference to the alleged “forced annexation” of Crimea. Despite claims perpetually made by the media in this post-truth era, Crimea was not annexed by force. A referendum was held there on March 16, 2014 in which more than 96 percent of the people voted to join Russia. The referendum took place after the US had sponsored a coup in Kiev, overthrowing the legitimate, democratically-elected government.

One wonders: does Pence believe the US should be held “accountable” for organizing the coup which triggered the Ukrainian conflict in the first place? Apparently he does not.

Another US speaker at the conference in Munich was Sen. John McCain, who discussed what he views as the indispensable role that America and the rest of the West have played in advancing “truth,” and in advancing the current global order as well as the “prosperity” that the West now supposedly enjoys.

“We must take our own side in this fight,” said McCain. “We must be vigilant. We must persevere. And through it all, we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values—that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair.”

McCain made no mention of America’s shameful support for terrorists in Syria, and it defies logic of course to describe the US, whose mainstream media are widely recognized as the number one purveyors of fake news, as standing “for truth against falsehood” in today’s world.

The Arizona senator also described the West as having ushered in an “unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades”–and of course for the wealthiest one percent, we are, no doubt about it, in an “unprecedented” period of prosperity. But the unemployment rolls and the numbers of homeless people on the streets of America would suggest that the “prosperity” has not been enjoyed by all. McCain may not be “certified,” as such, but he does appear to be a fully-fledged lunatic.

The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense. Our predecessors did not believe in the end of history—or that it bends, inevitably, toward justice. That is up to us. That requires our persistent, painstaking effort. And that is why we come to Munich, year after year after year.

McCain objectified his laudatory comments in terms of “the West,” for of course he was speaking at a conference held in the EU. But in his use of the words “we” and “us,” what he really meant was America. America is the “indispensable” and “exceptional” nation–this is the ideology relentlessly, one might even say fanatically, adhered to by US leaders and the mainstream media.

So it seems that while we get truth out of a Russian official like Lavrov, we get delusions, reverie, fantasy, and outright lies from our own leaders. Americans, I would say for the most part, are good, decent people. How did we end up in this fix?

Perhaps worth recalling are the words of Jesus: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” If that principle applies to nations as well as to individuals, then the implications for America are not good.

By the way, those words–about the last becoming first and the first becoming last–appear in one form or another in Matthew 19:30 and again in 20:16, as well as in Mark 10:31 and Luke 13:30. Additionally, in Luke 9:48 we have Jesus telling his disciples that, “the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest,” this after overhearing them arguing about which one was to become the “greatest.”

And let us not forget also the episode related in the Gospel of John of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. What we can conclude, then, is that the practicing of humility was a central tenet of Jesus’ teachings. Perhaps little wonder that Jesus was not terribly popular with his fellow Jews. Jewish “exceptionalism” (or more specifically “chosenness”) was, and still is, a central component of Judaic belief.

And yes, what we have in America are leaders who, rather than practice humility, spout boastful words like McCain’s. Thus it should come as no surprise we now find ourselves in a “post-truth” era. After all, boasting and lying are two human traits which go very much hand in hand.

I often wonder when, if ever, we will have a leader who will make Americans proud to be Americans again. Sadly it has been a very long time since we had one.

General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire (superbly controversial interview)

February 13, 2017General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire (superbly controversial interview)

Foreword by the Saker:  Today I am posting a really interesting interview which will sound absolutely outlandish to a lot of you.  Get this: the person interviewed is a former KGB General who speaks about restoring the monarchy under the rule of Jesus-Christ!  And when I say “KGB General” I am being just as dishonest as the western media when it writes about Putin being a KGB officer.  Technically speaking, yes, both Putin and Reshetnikov were in the KGB and they had the little red id card which did say “KGB USSR”.  But in reality both were part of the KGB’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the First Chief Directorate (PGU) of the KGB, a completely separate branch of the KGB which even had its own, separate, headquarters in Yasenevo District in the southwest of Moscow.  The First Chief Directorate (in Russian PGU KGB SSSR) did not deal with dissent, crime, or all the other security functions of the rest of the KGB.  The PGU dealt with foreign intelligence exclusively (after the end of the Soviet Union the PGU was kept independent and renamed “SVR” or “Foreign Intelligence Service).  And it was beyond any doubt the elite, most capable, part of the KGB: only the very best were accepted there.  As for Reshetnikov, he was a top level officer responsible for an analytical Department (in Russian “Head of an informational-analytical Department”).  In other words, the guys is exceptionally intelligent and exceptionally well-educated.  One of the best analysts in Russia.  And yet he speaks of monarchy and putting Christ in power. And he lumps Communists and Liberal into one group.  How do you figure that one out?  You can dismiss him as senile, but if that is the case, his senility manifests itself in a curious way.  Besides, having seen his interviews, I can tell you that he is not senile one bit.  A clown trying to make statements to be noticed?  There are not many clowns in the PGU, even less with a rank of Lieutenant-General (that means a “three-star” general).  I won’t give you my explanation, I think that I much rather leave you with a question mark and let you ponder this weird phenomenon.  I will just say one thing: to me the views of Reshetnikov are yet another solid indicator that Russia is most definitely not part of Europe, at least not culturally.  I won’t say more 😛  Now meet our rather most interesting character!

General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire

by Lieutenant-General Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov

Source: http://politikus.ru/articles/90244-general-reshetnikov-vozvraschenie-k-imperii.html

Translated by Eugenia

Donbass these days is suffering under horrific artillery fire. The Ukrainian forces are maniacally firing at Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Makeevka and other cities from MLSR and howitzers. There are many wounded; civilians are being killed, houses, schools and hospitals destroyed. This bloody spectacle is organized by the Kiev junta, which ignores all calls to stop this war, instead purposefully committing genocide of the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics.

When and how will this horror end? What is the meaning of this all? What are the prospects of LPR/DPR and/or Novorossiya? And, finally, is there a way to rebuild the Great Russian Empire? We addressed these questions to the former head of the Analytic Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, then the Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, a currently the President of the society “Two-Headed Eagle” – Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov.

Q: Donetsk and other cities of Novorossiya are under fire as we speak; the Ukrainian military are attempting to breach the front at multiple points. Why now and what is the cause of this escalation of the conflict?

A: This is a planned operation. The goal of the Kiev regime is to complicate the relations between Russia and the US. Currently, the relationship between the leadership of Russia and the new leadership of the USA is generally favorable for us. Kiev is scared; it is afraid that Ukraine will no longer be of interest to the United States and personally to Trump. For that reason, everything was planned in a way that the official visit of Poroshenko to Germany had to be interrupted because of the situation in Donbass aggravated by the Ukrainian side. We cannot exclude that Merkel was a co-conspirator in this; possibly, she herself initiated that action to undermine the Russian-American negotiations. The fear of Europe is no less than the fear of Ukraine. If the relations between Russia and US improve – Europe would be left out in the cold. Thus, on the initiative of some European politicians the Kiev criminals are murdering the civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in order to attain their chimeric foreign policy goals. They are attempting by such means to save their regime, to prove their usefulness. However, they are unlikely to succeed in preventing the improvement in the relations between Russia and the US.

The Kiev scum – Poroshenko, Parubiy and others – have built such a reputations for themselves on the war against their own people that they will certainly come to a sticky end. The best option – to flee abroad, otherwise they will pay dearly. I believe the Kremlin understands perfectly that the Kiev authorities are not partners but criminals that usurped power, and no negotiations with them are possible. I want to emphasize: the Kiev regime is doomed, and no provocations, no amount of artillery fire at Donetsk and other cities, no attempts at offensives will accomplish anything for Poroshenko and Co, except yet another brand mark on the foreheads of these scoundrels.

Leonid Petrovich, you were for a long time the Head of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies. The Institute essentially laid the theoretical groundwork for the “Project Novorossiya”, which today the authorities in Russia and Donbass republics prefer not to mention. At the same time, the ordinary Donbass people became convinced that Novorossiya will not happen, and they will end up with nothing but a territorial fragment like the two Donbass Republics. In such case – without reunification with Russia via referendum – our future looks bleak . . .

Novorossiya was not created as some theoretical project; it was born through an explosion of the Russian historic self-awareness; an explosion unexpected for all – including Moscow, the Kremlin, the Russian public. Something that is hidden in the sub-consciousness in all of us – the yearning for the recreation of the Orthodox Russian Empire. Many have not yet realized what is Novorossiya, why it created such an enthusiasm in the society and why so many people went to defend it even at the cost of their own lives. That is because the idea of the Russian unity has survived under the layer of the dead ideology of the last hundred years. Why, then, the “project Novorossiya” wound down? I believe the reason is not only that some high ranking officials disapprove of it and closed it down (although that happened, too), but the main reason is that such project cannot be based on the Red Star: then that would not be Novorossiya, the resurrection of Russia, but an imitation of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, many in the political leadership and expert community returned to the Soviet paradigms of 1970-1980s of the last century. Those paradigms have shown their ineffectiveness long ago, and attempts to reuse them now could lead to the collapse of everything. Old Soviet schemes aren’t viable but the new ones – not Soviet, but liberal – have not been taken on by the majority, so for now there is no ideological foundation for Novorossiya . . .

History is moving along a spiral; repeats are possible only on a new basis. So, at the present turn of the historic development, the spirit of Novorossiya that broke through the ideological layers had to retreat temporarily. The politicians as well as ordinary people had insufficient understanding of what NOVOROSSIYA is, where are its historical roots and what is its true spiritual meaning. I do not agree that the project is dead; it is alive and will yet return. But! Only on one condition: if we ourselves realize what path our country has travelled on for the past hundred years.

The return of LPR/DPR to Ukraine with the special status, isn’t it done for the purpose, as many suppose, to transform Ukraine from the inside, to convert it into a pro-Russian entity? What do you think the near future holds for the Republics? People that are surviving for the third years under the fire of the Ukrainian military are demanding a clear answer to this question . . .

There are different opinions in the Kremlin, but no definitive decision: to surrender Donbass to Ukraine. Yes, there are people that indeed think this way and want to do this. However, there are others that believe we should not leave people of Ukraine that have not accepted the Nazi regime to the mercy of Kiev. My personal impression: our President does not want to unconditionally surrender to Ukraine the people that lived through a war, privations and suffering, so that these people would be subjected to severe repressions, which is inevitable if Donbass is returned to Ukraine.

The problem is that Kiev shows no real changes in its treatment of Donbass or relations to the Russian Federation, and I do not see any prospects in the near future for any changes favorable to us. That regime, in spite of its rotten nature, will be persisting for some time, because there are still enough people that worked for decades to bring about such a regime; they are bound by blood; they took power and have no intentions of relinquishing it. The resistance to the regime is disorganized, lack the nationalistic Idea, not specifically Ukrainian but common for our entire huge country, our specific civilization. During the Soviet period the people were brainwashed in a special way. Everything was done to make people believe that Ukraine is an independent country.

I lived and studied in Kharkov and remember how it was. At the local level, all the time the Soviet authorities were instilling the idea: although we live in one country, but Moscow, the central Russia is somewhere far away, and we are separate, we have our own history and our own heroes. The people were taught that way – what do we expect now? It is natural that in Donbass, Odessa, Crimea and other regions Russian spirit still remains – during the 70 Soviet years and 25 years of independence the transformation has not entirely succeeded. The Russian historic self-awareness persisted, as did the feeling of belonging to the same civilization of all people that lived on the territory of the Russian Empire. All this is still there, particularly in the Eastern Ukraine. That is why the Ukrainian nationalists failed to fully accomplish their project.

Starting from 1921, forced Ukrainization of the Russian regions was taking place, specifically, of the territory of the Great Don Cossack Army and Slobozhanshchina, incorporated by the order of Lenin and Stalin into Ukraine. At some point, the town with the “romantic” name Mines (earlier Alersandrovsk-Grushevsky) and Taganrog were also given to Ukraine. Later, however, the common sense prevailed, and the towns were returned to Russia. I don’t even want to remind about Crimea gifted to Ukraine by our restless Nikita Khrushchev. Nobody really wants to remember that or think about it; everybody starts the count from 1991. My dear friends, come on! The groundwork for the breakdown of the Soviet Union was laid in 1917 and later in 1920-30s. During the Soviet time, governments, flags, hymns, national heroes were invented; monuments to open Russophobes were built. Hence the explosion. The 1991 was the result of the Soviet policies, remember that, comrades with the red stars on their cap that I have seen in LPR . . . Your ancestors, your leaders that you revere created the conditions for the breakdown of the united country. What kind of Novorossiya could you create if you do not learn lessons from history?

Leonid Petrovich, at present there two peoples in Ukraine: the first is completely anti-Russian, totally different from us in its mentality, and the second – Russian, even if the representatives of this group call themselves Ukrainians, due to upbringing and stereotypes. In reality, they are essentially deeply Russian people. The division is along the civilization-mentality lines, the same as between Serbs and Croats. Nevertheless, in the Kremlin as well as in the Moscow expert community the dominant view is that the majority of the Ukrainian population is just temporarily misled, brainwashed by the propaganda. That is to say, we will use political technologies to break the spell; they will again recall that they are Russians – and everything will be peaceful like it was before. But at least half of the Ukrainian population has long time ago turned into a different nation. What do we do with them, how do we reconcile irreconcilable differences?

As a former (until 1974) resident of Ukraine, I generally agree with you opinion. That division existed even then: when you cross Dnepr river, on the other bank not everyone, but the majority looked like a different nation. The wife of my elder brother from the Poltava region and speaking the Malorossian dialect (the Poltava region, a part of historic Malorossiya, is on the left bank of the Dnepr neighboring the Kharkov and Dneptopetrovsk regions; Malorossiya (Poltava, Chernigov, Kirovograd), or Small Russia, together with Novorossiya (Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Donbass) or New Russia, and Sloboshanshchina (Kharkov region), are historic names for territories of the Eastern Ukraine; in the Soviet period, the Poltava dialect was taken as a foundation for the development of the standard Ukrainian language – translator’s note) used to say about the speech of the people from the trans-Dnepr region: ”I do not understand their nice language. . . “ She is saying the same thing now. I agree that the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine were strongly influenced mentally and religiously by the Uniate and Catholic religions. Apparently, the fact that genetically the Western Ukrainians are linked to the leftovers of the Khazar Khanate also plays a significant role. Their mentality has a complex origin, and indeed today they are largely a different nation, although among them there are still people close to us in spirit. After all, the Russianness is not determined by the blood but by the mindset. Possibly, in the future there will be two different territories, two different states for these two peoples.

At his time, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire Khvostov wrote to the Tzar that Galicia should not be included into the Empire, since it was a completely alien element. Thus, the awareness of the deep difference was present then, and that difference should be taken into account in the future. It seems, they are a different nation. Croats and Serbs come to mind: there is little difference between the Serbian and Croatian languages – 100-200 words and slightly different pronunciation of a few sounds, which means this is essentially the same language. However, the mental differences make them two different nations, as do the difference in religion – Catholics and Orthodox – and in the origin and development of these nations.

That is why it is important to realize that we will not be able to rid them from the illusions – they are a different nation. Although some do, I repeat, harbor delusions in that regard – Kremlin is large, there are people with diverse opinions there, but there are also people who understand perfectly that two distinct nations inhabit the present day Ukraine.

We have to understand that the problem cannot be solved in one or two-three years; this is a long-term problem. The opportunities for working with the population of the Western Ukraine, the southern regions of Malorossiya are extensive. I am convinced that the “project Novorossiya” will be revived – this is our historic, spiritual project. In order to prevent that project from developing further, an unexpected weapon is currently employed – an imitation of the Soviet project.

You mean the idea embraced by some political analysts that “we in the end will return the whole of Ukraine”?

No, I speak about Novorossya proper, the eight South-Eastern regions of the present day Ukraine. Whatever idea someone embraces – it’s his business. In the leadership of our country and in the government there are enough people who understand that realistically we could only think about the project Novorossiya. To return the entire Ukraine – this is a fairy tale. Such idea shows either a total lack of understanding of the real processes or a disinclination to work towards a realistic goal justifying the inaction by the assertion that some day we will accomplish a much grander task of getting back the whole of Ukraine.

People that have still failed to understand what was happening with us during 73 years should not feel offended. These are all the rudiments of the Soviet style of thinking when the national factor was neglected, and as a result we got outbreaks of nationalism/separatism all over the territory of our civilization. I remember two main Soviet postulates. In 1988, when I was a junior official, I was delivering a talk to the leadership of the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Chief of the Service Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryutchkov said to me: “The Baltic countries will never get away from us, because . . . “. And then he talked about the World Economic Forum, economic connections, sausage factories, fishing ports and such. But we, the young employees of the Service, captains and majors, were sitting there and wondering: “My God, where are we going? Doesn’t he realize that sausage factories or fishing ports do not matter now at all; completely different things are important that are beyond the material concept of history, beyond the Marxist-Leninist concept”. An Idea is what always wins, and if we do not offer an Idea but are offering just material values instead, we will only achieve temporary solutions that are essentially failures. The same is now: Ukraine will go nowhere, we are giving it money, selling gas; we’ll turn off the gas – and that will be it . . .

Forgive me for the comparison, but it is the same as if Hitler was saying: Leningrad will go nowhere; the army of the Wehrmacht will blockade it, and the city will fall within a month. And what happened? The people mobilized, resisted, and won. But we have to understand that an Idea can also mobilize an enemy.

Attempts at resolving the conflicts among the nations or the states using exclusively economic methods are doomed, that’s is why we are losing. Instead of proposing and the idea of the unification of the Russian world, of the resurrection of the Russian orthodox civilization that would ensure the development and prosperity of all nations included in it, we very often hear spiritual surrogates that oppose the 73 Soviet years to 1000 years of the Russian history. The Great Patriotic War? Yes, we won. But is that to say that we have never fought and won in patriotic wars before? Have we not once expelled the occupiers from Kremlin (a reference to the expulsion from Moscow of the Polish invaders by the People’s Militia led by Minin and Prince Pozharsky in 1612 during the Time of Troubles – translator’s note)? Similar distortions happen with other subjects.

As far as we can judge based on the statements of the Russian politicians, a decision has been made to keep Ukraine as is for the foreseeable future. Regardless whether the Donbass Republics receive “the special status” or remains frozen in the status of unrecognized states, we (the Donbass Republics – translator’s note) unwillingly act as a factor of consolidation and support for the Ukrainian society, sort of like a “graphite moderator” for the nuclear reactor that prevents the nuclear reaction from getting out of control. The claimed existence of “terrorists”, “separatists”, “Russian mercenaries” provides the Kiev regime with the enemy image and allows to structure the Ukrainian society in such a way, so that in less than a generation it could be transformed into totally anti-Russian. This way, we will lose forever the opportunity to retain it in our Russian civilization fold. If the Republics join the Russian Federation, this “graphite moderator” would be withdrawn from the reactor, which could trigger the processes of disintegration of Ukraine. This and not the economic pressure or the war would allow for the informational and diplomatic changes in our favor to take place and for the project Novorossiya to be realized. What do you think about the possibility of conducting a referendum in the Donbass Republics about joining Russia?

I as a Russia patriot consider such outcome the most desirable: a referendum and reunification with Russia not only of Donbass, but also of Transnistria. However, there is one big ‘but”. We do not exist in an isolation, and currently Russia – many have not a slightest idea about that – is living through a very hard period being under a powerful attack by the globalist forces. Savvy people likely noticed that there was a period in October-November of last year when we were a step away from a military conflict with the United States. The President of our country is acting based on the information we are not privy to, and thus, sees the situation differently from how it appears to us. When I served as a head of the Analytical Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) – I knew what the President was reading, but I knew only the part that was the responsibility of the FIS. Believe me, the situation is very complex . . .

The reunification of Crimea with Russia – this, of course, is an achievement of our President and of all those actively involved in the operation. However, without the will of God that could have not have happened. As a religious person, I consider this a miracle. As far as LPR/DPR are concerned, from my own viewpoint it seems to me that it would be right to conduct a referendum of them joining the Russian Federation. However, people at the top have access to all the information, and, apparently, have reasons to doubt that such a decision would be wise at this time. Would Russians be able to cope?

We have nothing to lose as far as sanctions or diplomatic pressure on Russia are concerned – everything that could be done has been done. What do you think is the main reason that does not let Russia allow the Republics to join? What prevents this?

What prevented the DPR from taking Mariupol in 2014?

An agreement with the oligarchs . . .

I do not know – perhaps. There was, however, a firm position of the West. Are we truly independent financially? Obviously, we are not. It is risky for the US and globalists to hit us in that area – it could backfire, but they still could employ such ultimate measures. The results would be a lot more painful for us than for them. I want to emphasize the activity of Vladimir Putin: all these years he is slowly step by step restoring Russia’s true independence.

Let us consider recent history. Industrialization, which the Stalinists are so proud of, was accomplished with enormous – material, technological, financial, and credit support of the US. Thanks to that support, Dnepr Hydroelectric Station, Magnitka (Magnitogorsk Metal Producing Plant, built in 1932, one of the largest in the USSR, the largest in Russia – translator’s note), Gorky Automotive Plant and thousands of other enterprises were built. When the Great Patriotic was nearing its end, Joseph Stalin was counting on $6 billions promised by Roosevelt and was prepared to comply with the demands of the USA: to keep the eastern European countries democratic, retain the multi-party system or monarchies (where they existed), refrain from strict collectivization, and to leave the church alone. Only after the Fulton speech and the establishment of the “Iron Curtain”, the Soviet Union has altered its foreign policy. However, the dependence remained, since the whole world existed inside the financial-economic system dominated by the US, and we were being incorporated into it more and more, as the socialist system created by us was not working.

I can make a statement surprising for some and outrageous for others: after 1917 we were never completely independent. It was not for nothing that the West invested so much energy and resources in order to use the “Red project” (the division of the Empire into 15 national republics) for the destruction of the Eastern-Slavic civilization.

I remember how in 1984 or 1985 I read the telegram of the Russian ambassador in FRG Yuliy Krivitsky about his conversation with the Vise-Chancellor of the Western Germany, leader of the Bavarian party Christian-Democratic Union, Joseph Straus. The latter said directly, even at that time: “You country, Mister Ambassador, is facing difficult times. You placed a bomb under it: 15 Republics – 15 governments, Parliaments, hymns, flags. All this will blow up, and the Soviet Union will break down . . . “ Krivitsky objected saying that FRG also had various lands – Saxony, Bavaria, Bremen, Hesse, etc., local governments, to which the Vise-Chancellor responded: “Our states are based on the territories, but yours – on the nations”. The West understood very well, as opposed to our leadership, the main problem of the Soviet Union and purposefully aggravated it. As a result, the Western Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and other nations remembered their national roots, whereas only the Russian and, partially, Belorussians were transformed into the “Soviet people” having taken to heart the myth about internationalism and lost their historic memory.

Remember Serbs and Croats – we have the same problem in Russia. As Joseph Broz Tito cut down the Serbian – that of the state-defining nation – territories, the same way Joseph Stalin and his co-conspirators cut down the Russian territories. In particular, the Russian Novorossiya was given to the artificially created Ukraine, Ossetia – to Georgia, the Northern and Eastern Kazakhstan populated by Russians – to Kazakhstan. It that sense, all us Russians are somewhat circumcised, if you pardon the expression . . .

That is why the current efforts of our President, his heroic deeds will not be fully appreciated any time soon. His mission – to extricate the country every year millimeter by millimeter from the national, financial, economical and other types of traps we got caught in since 1917. Any sudden movement, such as a referendum about incorporation of LPR/DPR could have unintended consequences.

This is a complex and very painful questions for all Russians. Russia is by definition a Eurasian state; it is multinational. So, how do we ensure that the defense of the interests of ethnic Russians would not become the instrument of the destruction of the country under the slogans like “Stop feeding the Caucasus!”, “Siberia – is not Moscow” and so forth. How do we find the optimal formula, when the imperial component does not oppress but stimulates the development of the Russian nation? It is worth remembering that the Declaration of Independence of the Russian Federation was issued on June 12th, 1991, which predetermined the Belovezhsk conspiracy on December 8th, 1991, and the breakup of the USSR . . . How do we manage not to repeat our historic mistakes?

The country could not have avoided the breakdown, since we have divided it into the national republics. Recently we have had a conversation with the Dagestanis-Muslims, and I recalled another conversations with a Chechen – Major-General of the FSB and his words: “You know, Leonid Petrovich, if they had been a White Tzar above us and Allah – we would have all united. We love Russia, but fighting for it we do not fight for the territories as such but for the White Tzar . . . “ This is the main factor uniting all nations. The Dagestanis also agreed; they are also in favor of the Empire; they understand the value of the vertical of power. There is no difference in this issue between the Orthodoxy and Islam, and if the Empire happens, Islam will work for it. Remember that during the Civil War the Chechen, Ingushs, and other Caucasus people fought in the White Army.

An Empire is impossible without the absolute monarchy . . .

Yes. However, it is too early to propose the restoration of monarchy now. It would be a premature move. It is necessary to clear up our minds, our memory of myths. The history of our Motherland in the Soviet period was studied starting from 1935 – why was that? Because it was necessary to re-write it completely, but before that new faculty had to be trained. Then the guys from the Institute of the Red Professors invented our history for us out of nothing under the title “The short history course of the All Russia Communist Party of Bolsheviks” of Joseph Vissarionovich (Stalin – translator’s note).

Let us summarize. In order for the Russian nation to prosper and maintain good relations with other nations, we need to restore our independent state that could only be the Russian Eurasian Empire. The Empire could only be restored as a monarchy, but to accomplish that we need to change our mentality and to free ourselves from the Soviet stereotypes. But here is the problem: most Russian citizens still see in the Soviet epoch the Great Project, the Idea of Justice, the Joy of unprecedented Victories . . . How do we alter the people’s mentality without alienating that majority, how do we merge the best achievements of the Soviet time with the achievements of the Tzarist period?

Middle-aged people or older cannot be changed; we need to work with the youth. This is hard. Let me give you an example: my eldest grand-daughter once said to me: “Grandpa, our teacher in class asked us why Michael Romanov was elected as a Tzar (Michael Romanov, the first Tzar of the Romanov dynasty, was elected in 1613 after the Time of Troubles, which started following the death of the son of Ivan the Terrible, the last representative of the Rurik dynasty, in 1598; during that period, many events took place including the appearance of Pseudo-Dmitri claiming to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitri supposedly was killed in childhood, his ascension to the throne in Moscow, the intervention of the Polish Army, and the final defeat of the Poles – translator’s note), and I replied that, first, all estates voted for him, because all wanted to have a Tzar in the country after a horrible period of the Time of Troubles. Second, the Russian Orthodox Church supported him, and the church had a strong influence. And third, since he was very young, he was not involved in any of the treasons of the Time of Troubles when the nobles switched sides in support of the Poles or Pseudo-Dmitri”. I praised her answer but my granddaughter said that the teacher considered her response incorrect. The response should have been as written in the textbook, which only had one sentence about this stating that the nobles wanted to have a young Tzar so that they could control him. That is how contempt towards the Russian history is imprinted onto the mind of our children. When children grow up, they will have hard time letting go of the false concepts and accept the idea of the monarchy. Many will be torn between the two projects imposed on us by the West – liberal and Communist.

Recall how communists and liberals (they are of the same stock) go into hysterics when someone mentions the Third way – a special historic role of Russia. If you simply mention, without any epithets, the name of the last Emperor Nikolas the Second – immediately atheists, liberals, homosexuals and other trash unite and start yelling that he was a weak Tzar, that he “sold and destroyed Russia”. What does that say? That we are on the right track. We do not intend to change the regime; out job is to help people understand the lessons of the past, and when that happens, then the desire to restore the Empire and Monarchy will become natural to them. The new Constitution will be adopted, and the real revival of Russia will begin. But for those who consider themselves monarchists, for all orthodox Russian people, a Tzar has always existed, exists and will exist, and his name is – Jesus Christ.

Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov (b. February 6, 1947, Potsdam, Germany) — Soviet and Russian historian, Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (29 April 2009 to 4 January 2017), the General-the Lieutenant of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of the Russian Federation.  Candidate of Historical Sciences.  Former chief of the information-analytical staff of the SVR in the rank of Lieutenant General.

Israeli Police Prepare for the Coming of the ‘Messiah’

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By Richard Edmondson

In the photo above we see Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is reported that Alsheikh is anticipating the coming of the Jewish messiah in the not-terribly-distant future and that he and his police forces are preparing for large crowds expected to converge upon the Jewish state when the glorious arrival takes place.

“When the Messiah comes, everyone will want to [approach] him so it will get very crowded,” he said. “That will be a time when we will have to be very strong in respecting our fellow.”

The police commissioner added: “Soon, God willing, we will need to start preparing for the security operation necessary upon the arrival of the Messiah.”

The story was initially reported January 2 by the Jewish website Breaking Israel News, (H/T Ariadna) and has since been picked up on a number of Christian Zionist sites, including the obnoxious World Net Daily (the WND is not exclusively Christian Zionist, but it does take that slant in a number of its articles).

“No one knows the day or the hour, but the Israeli police seem to believe the Messiah is coming soon,” the WND titillates in an article published January 8.

So are the Israelis planning to stage an “event” of some sort? Will the top rabbis in Israel hold a press conference at some point and designate a hired actor as the “messiah”?

asandrabbis

Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh is shown here along with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich (immediately to Alsheikh’s left), who holds the official title of “Rabbi of the Western Wall,” and Israeli Chief Rabbi Itzhak Yosef (to Rabinovich’s left). The occasion for the group photo, taken on December 28, 2016, was the lighting of a large menorah at the Western Wall in observance of Hanukkah.

Or alternately–and let your imagination wander here–is a “messiah” of one description or another on the horizon?  Will it be a real messiah, a false messiah, or, possibly, an “antichrist”…or maybe even the antichrist?

Perhaps worth mentioning is that a long-standing tradition in Church history holds that the antichrist will be a Jew. This was discussed in a treatise entitled “Against Heresies,” written by one of the early Church fathers, Irenaeus, who served as bishop of Lyons in the latter part of the second century. And in Irenaeus’ view, not only would the antichrist be a Jew, but he would be a Jew specifically from the tribe of Dan:

[Let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number [666], is truly the abomination of desolation. This, too, the apostle [Paul] affirms: “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.” And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, “We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.” This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved.

In the above, Irenaeus mentions three scriptural passages—I Thessalonians 5:3, Jeremiah 8:16, and Revelation 7:5-8. The first passage, from Thessalonians, does not specifically point to Dan, however, the latter two do. The passage from Revelation lists the tribes of Israel which would have the “seal of God” on their foreheads at the end of days. Curiously, Dan is omitted from the list.

The passage from Jeremiah 8, though singling out Dan in particular, also discusses the sins of the Israelite nation as a whole. For instance, verses 9-12 read as follows:

The wise shall be put to shame, they shall be dismayed and taken; since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what wisdom is in them?  Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.  They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not at all ashamed, they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the Lord.

Dan is fingered in other biblical passages as well. Let’s have a look at Genesis 49:1, 16-17:

And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days…Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

I often wonder why Christian Zionists don’t take biblical passages like these into consideration. In their blind support for Israel, Christian Zionists seem to have utterly cast aside the entire body of Jesus’ teachings. What happened to love? Where is compassion for “the least of these”? How is it possible, if you’re a Christian, to declare your allegiance to a country like Israel and to those “greedy for unjust gain” who so lavishly support it?

How also is it possible the human mind cannot reflect upon the sacking and burning of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD…and wonder if it might not have been God’s punishment, God’s retribution, for the event which occurred in that very same city a mere 40 years earlier, an event which is observed today on the Christian calendar as “Good Friday”? But of course we live in a world of strictly-enforced political correctness, wherein pointing out things like this can get you branded an “anti-Semite” with significant repercussions. The early Church fathers were under no such constraints.

Another such father, though one who came along some 200 years after Irenaeus, was John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople. In a homily entitled “Adversus Judaeos,” John referred to Jews as “the enemies of the truth,” and he warned especially against “Judaizers” within the Christian Church, i.e. those Christians with a predilection for observing Jewish festivals, attending synagogue services, etc. The views of such people were “an illness which has become implanted in the body of the Church,” he said, and he urged the members of his diocese, “When you observe someone Judaizing, take hold of him, show him what he is doing, so that you may not yourself be an accessory to the risk he runs.”

John Chrysostom would today be viewed as an “anti-Semite,” though as we look around at the current state of Christianity in the West, one might surmise it’s a pity the Church did not pay closer heed to some of his warnings.

All of this is not to say that what may be (or may not be) about to show up in Israel will be the antichrist or anything other than a hired actor. Certainly we should not dismiss the Zionist state’s proclivities for “waging war by way of deception.” Worth noting also is that there is very strong support in Israel now, including from Knessett members, to build a new Jewish Temple, and you can imagine how the two issues–the arrival of the “messiah” and the rebuilding of the Temple–would tie in and lend a synergistic effect to each other. Also, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out as well what the impact upon, say, the BDS movement might be if millions of Christians around the world were to become convinced that their messiah had arrived.

“Religious Jews are more excited about Messiah’s return than Christians are,” says Jan Markell, a Christian Zionist author quoted in the WND story.

“Muslims are more anticipatory about their Mahdi’s return than are Christians about Jesus’s return,” she adds. “This shows the deplorable state of the church today that is ‘majoring in minors.’ They have their finance seminars and marriage conferences but have shoved the idea of the Lord’s imminent return not just to the back burner, perhaps to the back yard.”

That of course could change were the mass media to start hinting that something “strange” was happening in Israel, with thousands of people, including Christian Zionists like Markell, crowding excitedly around a new religious figure on the scene. Imagine CNN covering the story, or the treatment it might get from news anchors like Jake Tapper. Lots of grist for the fake news mill.

A bit more here from the WND story:

As a “pre-Tribulation” believer, Markell believes the rapture could occur at any moment. She calls for both increased attention by Christians to the subject of the end times and dedication to the Jewish state of Israel.

“In my lifetime, the biggest change in the church is the switch of church loyalty from Israel to the Palestinians,” Markell said. “This is called ‘Christian Palestinianism.’ Before the state of Israel was born in 1948, most evangelical churches embraced ‘Christian Zionism.’ They were loyal to the state of Israel even before it was formed.

“Today the religious left and others have swung support away from Israel to an ‘invented people,’ the Palestinians. Yasser Arafat was a superb salesman and sold the world on the idea that the Palestinians had their land stolen. Arafat was an Egyptian and there was no Palestinian people. Yet today much of the world believes the Jews live in ‘occupied territory’ rather than God-given land. This is the biggest change in my lifetime. I cannot believe what I am seeing.

“If the church were functioning properly, this confusion would never have happened, but the church shredded maps of Israel 25 years ago when it decided to be politically correct rather than biblically correct.”

I’m not sure what maps Markell is referring to, but I doubt she means these:

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It would be enormously helpful to modern day Christians if they understood that Jewish antipathy to Christianity did not arise as a result of the “anti-Semitism” of church fathers like John Chrysostom, and that it was present in Christianity’s earliest, most formative years, before the gospels were even written. A few passages from the Book of Acts help to underscore this. One of them is Acts 18:12:

While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”

Another is Acts 20:18-19:

When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.”

Acts 21:30-32:

The whole city was aroused, and people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commanders and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

Acts 22:21-22:

Then the Lord said to me, “Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.

The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

Acts 23:12-14:

The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty men were involved in this plot. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul.”

In the passages above, the one in Acts 18 takes place in Corinth; Acts 20 is a reference to events in the province of Asia Minor (the conversation specifically takes place in the coastal town of Miletus); the final three passages, in Acts 21-23, take place in Jerusalem. Thus it would appear that just about everywhere Paul went he encountered Jews who were hostile to him and his message. Perhaps not surprisingly then do we hear Jesus say, in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” And yet Christians today blame themselves for the rift that occurred between Christianity and Judaism and hold themselves responsible for “Christian anti-Semitism.”

Hatred for Christ–it does seem to peer “through a glass darkly” from time to time as we look about at the world these days–which brings us in a roundabout manner back to the topic of an antichrist/messiah/hired actor. Whatever it is the Israeli police commissioner may be anticipating, clearly there exists at least the potential for deception. Recently I published an article entitled Reality Reversal wherein I discussed the mainstream media’s tendency to invert reality into its mirror opposite. This it does in reporting on the Palestine-Israel conflict, as well as in a number of other areas–the war on Syria, for instance, or the mendacious inventions of “Russian aggression” churned out to no end. The article discusses in particular the comments of Caroline Glick, an editor at the Jerusalem post, who in a speech portrayed Palestinians as racists while casting Talmudic Jewish settlers as the embodiment of liberal tolerance. It also talks about the book, The Jewish Century, by Yuri Slezkine, who describes Jews as “Mercurian,” a reference to the Roman god Mercury who was thought of as the god of financial gain and whose attributes included trickery and eloquence. Mercury was also deemed the patron of thieves and travelers, and it’s interesting that Slezkine would advance a theory endowing Jews with the “Mercurian” denominator, for in doing so he seems to be at least tacitly admitting that anti-Semitism is given rise to by certain behaviors and practices of Jews–something we don’t commonly see from Jewish writers.

Maybe at some point the Palestine-Israel conflict will be resolved. But the world has been trying to do that for close onto 70 years–and with people now relentlessly devoting themselves to standing reality on its head, the prospects for the future don’t look too good. In any event, we must become “watchers” and be alert, and in so doing dedicate ourselves to following Christ–at all times and to the best of our ability. Only by following Him do we gradually learn to see through all of the deceptions.

Israeli rabbis: Trump is the Jewish Messiah

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In a recent Op-Ed at Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz – former Israeli cabinet minister Uzi Baram (born to Arab Jewish mother from Syria) said that extremist Jew members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are rallying on US president Donald Trump to help destroy Islam’s sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of Rock at Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem). These fanatic religious Jews believe that the Muslim structures are hindering the fulfillment of Jewish salvation represented by the construction of the so-called Third Temple.

Several leading Israel rabbis at the Sanhedrin organization have claimed that two powerful pro-Israel world leaders, Vladimir and Donald Trump, not only support Israel’s right to exist – Trump even accepts Jewish right to Jerusalem as their spiritual inheritance. It is historically unprecedented (reported by Israel Today, November 15, 2016).

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the top gun at the Sanhedrin sent letters to both Trump and Putin urging them to work together to fulfill a project that will benefit all mankind – the rebuilding of the Holy Temple atop Jerusalem’s hotly contested Temple Mount.

Torah (Old Testament) was written by rabbis in 1312 BCE. It doesn’t mention that Temple Mount would be destroyed first by Babylonian in 586 BCE and later by Roman in 70 AD. Furthermore, neither Torah nor the Christian Bible calls for the reconstruction of Third Temple.

According to the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute, it got the three things needed to rebuild the Third Temple; 1) a plan  (see the model above), 2) one million stones for the building, and 3) Red Heifer.

Ironically, in October 2016, UNESCO declared that Old City of Jerusalem (occupied East Jerusalem) had nothing to do with Judaism.

Jerry Rabow in his 2002 book, 50 Jewish Messiahs, claims that since the disappearance of Jesus (as), more than 50 men and women have claimed to be Jewish promised Messiah.

In my life time, I have read two Jewish Messiahs – multi-billionaire George Soro and former US president Barack Obama.

Appeal Aimed at Fordham University: ‘Don’t Ban Students for Justice in Palestine!’

 

Posted on January 31, 2017

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[ Ed. note – Imagine a student organization at a major American university–(where such lofty ideals as academic freedom and free speech presumably are held dear)–being banned before it even gets organized or holds its first meeting.

Well, that’s what happened at Fordham University with the local Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

The school’s dean of students, Keith Eldredge, vetoed a measure approved by the University Student Government association which would have recognized the SJP group. Eldredge announced his decision in a December 22 email sent out to the young student activists who had applied for permission to form the organization on campus.

“After consultation with numerous faculty, staff and students and my own deliberation, I have decided to deny the request to form a club known as Students for Justice in Palestine at Fordham University,” he wrote. “While students are encouraged to promote diverse political points of view, and we encourage conversation and debate on all topics, I cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country, when these goals clearly conflict with and run contrary to the mission and values of the University.”

So in other words opposing an apartheid state and calling for an end to a decades-long occupation runs against the “mission and values” of Fordham University? What’s disgusting about this is that Fordham is, at least nominally, a Christian university that was founded by the Catholic diocese of New York. So is Eldredge trying to imply that SJP’s support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement somehow violates the teachings of Jesus?

“There is perhaps no more complex topic than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it is a topic that often leads to polarization rather than dialogue,” Eldredge goes on.

So Jesus–a man who called the Pharisees hypocrites, turned over the tables of the money changers, and accused the Jewish scribes of turning his Father’s house into a den of robbers–was somehow timidly averse to being polarizing when a clear need presented itself?

“The purpose of the organization [SJP] as stated in the proposed club constitution points toward that polarization,” the dean continues. “Specifically, the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding.”

Thank you, Dean Eldredge, and I’m sure the Zionist settlers in the West Bank are also aware of the dire need for “open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding”

Maybe the occupation of Palestine is a “complex topic” to the deans at Fordham University, but of course for most of the rest of us, it’s really not that hard to figure out.

The current president of Fordham is the Rev. Joseph M. McShane. If you follow one of the links below you will find a letter addressed to McShane written by Palestine Legal, whose mission is to protect “the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom.” Quite a big job obviously and probably about to become even more challenging.

Also below you will find an appeal addressed to Fordham University by the Friends of Sabeel North America. I must say I admire their diplomacy. It’s probably more than I could have mustered. FOSNA, by the way, is a Christian ecumenical group affiliated with Sabeel, an international peace movement launched by Palestinian Christians. ]


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After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter.

Help us tell Fordham University that as people of conscience, now more than ever, we have a responsibility to take action and support Palestine solidarity efforts.

Please call, write, or e-mail:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
president@fordham.edu

Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
eldredge@fordham.edu

Office of the President, Fordham University
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Help us ensure that Fordham University gives students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel the opportunity to do so as part of their educational experience.

Support our work by donating

Letter in support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America


Fordham University’s Ban on Palestinian Rights Group Sets Dangerous Precedent

By Joe Catron | January 26, 2017

Mint Press News

NEW YORK — Nearly a hundred students and community members rallied on Fordham University’s Manhattan campus before marching to nearby Columbus Circle on Monday.

The protest marked the latest chapter in an ongoing effort by students at the Jesuit institution to found a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on their campus.

SJP organizations, which take their name from a still-existing student group founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993, already exist on over a hundred campuses in the United States, as well as several overseas.

A national organization using the same name organizes annual conferences attended by many of these loose affiliates, but maintains no formal relationship with them.

On Nov. 19, 2015, four students at Fordham applied with the university’s administration to register an SJP club at the school’s Lincoln Center campus.

By all accounts, they did not expect the grueling ordeal that lay before them.

Their plans finally ground to a halt on Dec. 22, 2016, when Keith Eldredge, dean of students at the Lincoln Center campus, informed several SJP activists in an email that he had overruled a vote by the school’s United Student Government to recognize the group a month earlier and denied it registration as a student organization.

“According to sources within student government, he has never even reviewed a club for veto, let alone actually vetoed one, in his entire ten years here at Fordham,” Sapphira Lurie, a senior and lead campus organizer for Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine, told MintPress News. “This is a clear example of the Palestine exception to free speech.”

“The Palestine exception,” a term popularized by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a 2015 report of that name, refers to barriers to free speech and organizing faced by Palestinian and solidarity activists in the US.

In a Jan. 17 statement on Fordham’s ban of SJP, Palestine Legal, a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance and representation to Palestine activists, said it had responded to more than 600 attempts to repress their activities nationally since the start of 2014.

Of these, it said, “the vast majority” targeted students and faculty.

On campus, these efforts often include obstacles to student organizing, like challenges to event funding and space registration, or the unwarranted suspension of recognized groups, as well as the intimidation, and occasional termination, of faculty.

But Fordham’s preemptive ban of a student organization sets a dangerous new precedent, one students and other local activists are determined to fight.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a college has summarily banned a group supporting Palestinian rights before students even held their first meeting,” Radhika Sainath, a Palestine Legal staff attorney and cooperating counsel at the CCR, told MintPress News.

‘Fordham breached its express promise’

Palestine Legal’s statement summarized a letter, sent by it and the CCR to Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Fordham’s president, on the same day.

When they filed their application, the letter said, “[T]he students expected Fordham would approve their group within a few weeks so that they could start their educational programming.”

[[[ Read Palestine Legal’s letter to Fordham’s president Rev. Joseph M. McShane. ]]]

Instead, they faced months of stonewalling, punctuated by meetings at which administrators asked if they would consider a different name, expressed concern at their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and use of the word “apartheid,” and inquired about their willingness to work with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, and Seeds for Peace.

The administrators also inquired whether an anti-BDS resolution passed by the New York City Council or an executive order and blacklist opposing the movement issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all last year, should preclude SJP’s recognition by the university.

As the USG decision on Nov. 17 neared, one administrator, Dorothy Wenzel of the university’s office of student leadership, who had previously admitted to polling Jewish faculty on whether SJP should be allowed to register at Fordham, instructed a USG officer to notify the school’s Jewish Student Organization of the pending vote.

Continued here

Putin Befuddles the West: A Lesson From Scripture

 

putin3r-jptBy Richard Edmondson

What is it exactly with the leaders of the West and Vladimir Putin? Clearly they view Russia and its president as a threat, but why?

We have heard endless stories of “Russian hacking” and “Russian aggression,” while Putin has been called a “thug,” a “dictator,” and Russian forces have been accused of bombing hospitals in Aleppo–in fact Russia, it seems, bombed the “last hospital” and killed the “last doctor” in Aleppo on at least five different occasions in 2016: on November 18, July 30, July 23, April 27, and sometime either in the last week of January or early February (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here ).

So What accounts for all this hysteria? Is it simply because Russia has thwarted US regime-change plans in Syria? Or is there something else behind it? Perhaps the Gospel of John can give us an answer.

In John chapter three, Jesus gets a visit from a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, or ruling council. Christians will recall, of course, that Jesus had numerous problems with the Pharisees. They attacked him, despised him, and were at odds with him more so than any other group. However, Nicodemus seems to be one of the few Pharisees with an open mind, and who is at least somewhat willing to listen to reason. Moreover, the gospel tells us that Nicodemus “came to Jesus at night,” which has led scholars over the years to speculate that the Jewish leader was afraid to be seen talking to Jesus.

I should also mention here, that John chapter three is a favorite passage of evangelical Christians, for it is in this conversation with Nicodemus that Jesus uses the phrase “born again,” and of course it is also here he utters the famous words that make up the oft-quoted John 3:16. My focus here is not so much on either of these two lines, however.

Instead, the part of the dialog between Jesus and Nicodemus I find most interesting, and most germane to our commentary on Putin, is a curious comment Jesus makes about “Spirit” and “wind.” This comes after Nicodemus admits to being perplexed regarding Jesus’ admonition that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus responds quizzically. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born.”

It is at this point that Jesus attempts to clarify the matter, and in doing so ties in the concepts of spirit, wind, and rebirth–all into one. He says:

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

The frenzied minds of the West’s corrupt leaders contemplate the sound of Russia’s wind blowing, but they “cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” Imagine having an enemy like that and how bonkers it would drive you.

As I have pointed out in a number of posts, Russia has experienced an almost phenomenal spiritual rebirth since the fall of communism. You can go here, for instance, to see a post I did in 2013 that includes a fascinating video documentary on the Valaam Monastery. Located north and east of St. Petersburg, the monastery is considered one of the holiest sites of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Those who’ve been here more than once,” the narrator remarks at one point in the documentary, “say you have to put the time into Valaam to understand it fully, that living and working here is the only way to really tap into its energy. The job is tough and repetitive, but none of the volunteers complain. Everyone is confident of a spiritual reward and happy that they’re working to reestablish a faith that was so persecuted during the Soviet Union.”

Monastic life also figured prominently in Putin’s visit to Greece last summer, for his state visit to that country included an excursion to perhaps one of the most unique places in the world. As I commented in a post on June 1:

Mount Athos is an autonomous monastic state located on a peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea from the northern part of Greece. It is the home of a number of monasteries and is inhabited almost entirely by monks. With a political status kind of unique in the world, the 130 square-mile region is governed by a “Holy Community,” consisting of representatives from each of the monasteries, yet there is also a Civil Governor appointed by Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose main job is to keep the infrastructure in tip-top shape.

The post also includes a video of the Russian leader being received warmly by the monks, as well as commentary by Russian writer Pavel Shipilin, who discusses what he thinks Putin’s leadership means to a majority of the Russian people:

I think, first of all, it is hope:

  • A person who aims at eternal values, not immediate ones, rules the country.
  • He supports peace, not war.
  • Russia for him is the last outpost of Orthodoxy (NS maybe Christianity in general). That’s why he is going to protect it.
  • That the office of the President for him is, first of all, for service, not a source of gain.

It is very important that Putin never emphasizes his Orthodoxy. He speaks and acts, as the President, not as a monk. It would be difficult to suspect him of ostentatious godliness. He visits remote churches all over Russia during major Christian holidays instead of going to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior as would be expected.

At the same time, we understand that Christian values are above so-called universal human values, which are imposed on us instead of centuries-old traditions. Postmodernism is just a beautiful cover; its essence is the decomposition and atomization of society. If we don’t resist it, it will end badly.

What is so attractive about Putin? It’s the fact that he calls things by their name. Same-sex marriage is a sin. The introduction of military forces into sovereign states without being requested by the legitimate government violates the rules established after World War II. It is also a sin. As is the behavior of one nation that decides its power gives it the right to rebuild the world in its own image.

Today Russia is the only country saying “No” to the US. It’s the only country whose “No” Washington clearly hears and cannot do anything about. And the main thing is that this firm “No” is heard by those who appreciate our common roots and traditions, who still hope that this crazy world will recover its soul.

Yes, Washington hears Russia’s “No” clearly–just as it hears the wind blowing without knowing what direction it’s coming from or where it’s going.

Shipilin’s comment about Putin spending Christian holidays visiting remote churches in rural areas of Russia, rather than attending services at the main cathedral in Moscow, is also interesting. The Russian Orthodox faith celebrated Christmas this year on January 7, and a huge and elaborate Christmas Eve liturgy took place at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In fact I put up a post on it on January 6, here, which included a link to a two-hour video filled with scenes from the service. Most of the video was of the service in Moscow, but at a couple of different points the camera cut away to a small church in the province of Novgorod where Putin is observed attending a service with the locals. At one point he leans over and can be seen helping a small girl light a candle.

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Think back to the last time you saw film footage of an American president attending a worship service at a church–any church. I don’t recall ever seeing anything of the sort, although maybe there were a few such incidents during the Carter administration.

So now we have Russia…fighting terrorists in Syria that America has supported…blocking Monsanto and banning GMO foods…taking steps to protect endangered species…while serving as snare and pitfall to a US-installed puppet government in Ukraine–and all the while, through its actions for good, counterchecking and abrogating the western media’s efforts to paint it as the villain.

“So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

By “Spirit” Jesus is of course referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in all four gospels, but it is in the Gospel of John that it takes a front-and-center place in Jesus’s teachings. In addition to the passage in chapter three, we have these words in chapter four spoken by Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well:

A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

to his disciples in chapter six:

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

and in chapter fourteen (here most of all):

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you…

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

This is what Nicodemus was trying to understand, but couldn’t quite grasp; and it is also what Western leaders have found so maddening.

“How can this be?” asks Nicodemus.

Jesus’ answer to him is instructive.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” he replies, “and do you not understand these things?Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

For the past six years US leaders have been trying to instigate a coup in Syria, and as we know, bringing down governments is something they have accomplished with ease countless times in countless countries around the world–but for six years now and counting they have failed to achieve this objective in Syria.

“How can this be?” they must be asking themselves.

I suspect if Jesus were here he would give them the same answer he gave Nicodemus.

Significantly the Holy Spirit also plays an important role in the birth narratives provided in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. In Luke, chapter one, the angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to inform her she is to give birth.

“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God,” he tells her.

The birth of Christ occurred at a time when a corrupt empire had expanded to the stage where it had come to tyrannize and prevail over much of the rest of the world. Christ’s coming into the world was in a sense a “rebirth” for humanity, and the empire at that time, as we know, eventually collapsed.

Now we see a present-day empire that has become grotesquely corrupt, prevailing over practically the entire world, this coming simultaneous to a rather amazing spiritual rebirth that we see occurring in one country–a country which, it so happens, is “the only country saying ‘No’ to the US,” as Shipilin rather aptly puts it. The parallels are there if you wish to see them.

Meanwhile, a rather befuddled Obama seems able to do little other than listen to the sound of the wind while wondering…where it’s coming from and where it’s going…as he prepares to leave office on the 20th.

Americans Are Clueless on Muslim Views of Jesus

I came across this video and thought I would post it for the fun of it. As I have said for a long time, Christians have far more in common with Muslims, who venerate Jesus as a prophet, than with Jews, whose Talmud contains blasphemous depictions of Jesus as well as his mother Mary.

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