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Devastating Update on Christians in Nigeria

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2021 1:00 pm

Devastating Update on Christians in Nigeria

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

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June 4, 2021 1:00 pm

Today we bring new updates on the plight of Christians in Nigeria. The ACLJ has offices around the world and we've made 18 submissions at the U.N. demanding action for Nigerian Christians and Christian teen Leah Sharibu - who has been a hostage of the Islamist militia Boko Haram since 2018. Two members of the ACLJ team have firsthand experience working directly with other countries on the international stage. ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo and ACLJ Senior Advisor for National Security and Foreign Policy Ric Grenell join us to discuss the latest regarding Nigeria, Israel, and more today on Sekulow .

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Today on Sekulow, a devastating update on Christians in Nigeria, Rick Rinnell and Mike Pompeo joining us.

Live from Washington, D.C., Sekulow Live. Phone lines are open for your questions right now. Call 1-800-684-3110. And now, your host, Jordan Sekulow. Hey, welcome to Sekulow.

We're taking phone calls 1-800-684-3110. Rick Rinnell, Mike Pompeo joining us back-to-back for the next two segments. We'll be talking about what is going on internationally, which I think is a time, too, we have not, you know, we focused internationally when we saw what happened with COVID. We focused internationally a bit, obviously, with the conflict in Israel and Hamas. But then when that's over, we've kind of said, okay, back to what's happening domestically. Understandably, to a point, because of our own country's issues dealing with COVID, trying to reopen, getting back to a sense of normalcy. But when you do that, you start forgetting what is going on around the world. So we're going to be focusing in on that with two people who do know a lot about what's going on around the world.

Of course, with Rick Rinnell and Mike Pompeo. One on Nigeria, this process of getting to a point as a country that for a while was actually a symbol of how Christians and Muslims could live together in a basically 50-50 state to a country that is no longer being, is able to protect its citizens. It's considered a country of concern at the State Department because of the religious liberty issues. And then in Germany, seeing an uptick in support from Hezbollah and actual Hezbollah supporters on the ground in Germany.

We were talking about that with Rick Rinnell, who is a former ambassador to Germany. So there's a lot to talk about there. In our second half hour or two, we're getting into what's going on with Israel.

So it's a lot of this, too. I think you've probably all seen a flash of the news. Is Prime Minister Netanyahu staying, going, what's happening there with this government? Five elections in the last three years.

So we're going to get into that as well and take your phone calls. You know, it's interesting because, Andy, the one thing you could say clearly about Israel, the politics are not predictable. We've been there with now multiple – we've worked with multiple prime ministers, going all the way back to – Ariel Sharon was, I guess, the first one we really worked with in 2000. And then, of course, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak.

And then – go ahead, Andy, go ahead. We also worked with Ehud Olmert, as you remember, in order to get the patriarch of Jerusalem confirmed by the Palestinians, the Jordanians, and the Israelis. And you were instrumental in meeting with Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, me, and our colleague, Stuart Roth, at the prime minister's residence on the Sabbath.

He made an exception for us, which is an enormous concession that he made. So we know the complexity of the multifaceted view of politics in Israel and generally in the Middle East too. Yeah, and of course, Israel, its coalition governments.

And we're going to explain what all of that means because there's a lot of moving parts right now. It looks like a new coalition's been formed, that Benjamin Netanyahu may be out. But let me tell you what you do with Israeli politics. You could have a coalition and it literally lasts – and Jordan, you know this – it could last for a month, a week, and it could be over. I mean, just announcing that you have one is not the votes.

It's not actually moving forward. So then you've got to actually have those people formalize their votes. And after you're elected, they're just like here, you know, if you elect – you can elect someone who ran as a Democrat. They can decide they want to become a Republican. And they can do that after you elect them. But that happened in the United States Senate, right?

Which shifted the balance of power to the Bush administration. Right, exactly. And you then as a voter, when the next election comes, you can decide if you like that or not. A lot of times that's done to reflect your – the demographics in your state. In Israel's issue, there's been a coalition of move to say Netanyahu's been there long enough, basically. So you've got conservative members in it, liberal members in it, and the Arab parties in it.

That's the real big question mark, how long they stay around. They're saying – because the Abraham Accords, they're saying why are we not getting the benefits then of being in a state that's got all these resources in a country that's got all this ability to take care of its citizens. But if you're not part of the government, you don't get as many resources. Exactly. And so – And now you've got Hezbollah, which we talked with Rick about, increasing their footprint internationally, including Germany. So we've got a lot to talk about. Share this with your friends. Let them know what's going on on radio.

Let your friends know. Looking forward to getting into conversations. Rick Cornell coming up, and then Mike Pompeo. The challenges facing Americans are substantial. At a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack, it's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights, in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work.

Become a member today. ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. So as you've seen, they've emboldened Iran on the world stage. There are proxies emboldened as well. There's a report out now from one of the German state intelligence agencies about the growing number of Hezbollah supporters in Germany.

Rick Riddell, not only former acting director of national intelligence but former ambassador to Germany, joining us now as a special counsel with the ACLJ and Foreign Affairs National Security. Rick, I want to go right to this because we know Germany has got this back and forth. You said it was a good thing they bucked the EU and said we're going to designate Hezbollah as this terrorist organization.

But then I was reading the news reporting on the report and they said that allows them to kind of monitor them, but does it allow them to make the arrest? What's happening on the ground there that these individuals are able to operate knowingly to the German intelligence but they're there? Look, this is a really very concerning issue because as you know, the European Union does not ban Hezbollah outright.

And that's a real problem. I mean, you think about Hezbollah, an admitted known terrorist organization, and yet the EU does flip flops trying to figure out how not to offend the terrorists because they don't want to inflame it. And so when I was ambassador to Germany, it was a real problem. And I worked with Secretary Pompeo to make this a priority and to try to say to the Germans, look, you're the largest economy in Europe. Hezbollah is organizing here within Germany because you're the largest economy in all of Europe. And they're using really shady ways to go under the banking scheme.

They're doing front companies, they're doing money laundering. And so we went on a year campaign to convince the Germans that they couldn't wait for the European Union. They finally took action. They now have a law that bans Hezbollah, and they have the tools to arrest anyone who's organizing and supporting Hezbollah, including financing of this terror.

And so this is a really big deal. It's too bad the rest of Europe doesn't follow. So Rick, there's a report right now that there's 180 Hezbollah members and supporters in the state within Germany, a lower Saxony. That's an increase of around 20 members just since 2019. And we know that there's this connection between, clearly a connection between Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Revolutionary Guard, and Hezbollah. But are they picking Germany because of the size of the economy, or is it a friendly territory to them?

They're not getting picked up. It's such a great question, Jay. And the reality is that under the Trump administration, because remember these years that we're monitoring that you're talking about are 19 and 20. Like a balloon, when you squeeze it, the Trump administration squeezed Iran, and we shut down their financing to the greatest extent that's ever been shut down. We really implemented worldwide sanctions. We told European companies you have to choose between doing business in Iran or doing business in the United States. As we squeezed that balloon, what happened?

It came out on the other sides. And so you're exactly right. Iran and Hezbollah and all of those who financed terror tried to find safe haven. And that meant places like Germany and throughout Europe, which was our argument, my argument as U.S. ambassador and my argument as acting director of national intelligence. I brought the information not only to Germany, not only to Brussels, where we testified in front of a committee on the problems. I took it to the French national security advisor, and they have this attitude throughout Europe that it doesn't happen here. And we had to show them the evidence and drag them to the evidence to say it is happening and here is the evidence. You know, Andy, we've got offices in Strasbourg, France, as you know.

You work very closely with our team in Strasbourg, our European Center for Law and Justice. So, Andy, I was thinking, as Rick just said that, it just triggered in my mind, this is a European problem that is, I mean, Germany is a focal point, but it's a pan-European problem. And it's just, it's exactly what Rick said. It's just that you squeeze them and they just pop up other places, like Whac-A-Mole. You hit it and then another one comes up.

Well, that's exactly correct, Jay. There is no containing them and the Europeans have to come and realize that it's not an American problem only, it's not a German problem, it's not a French problem. It is a European problem throughout the European Union and they need to come and to a full realization of the fact that Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations are operating within Europe as they are in the Middle East and elsewhere, wherever they can get a foothold. We at the European Center for Law and Justice in Strasbourg are constantly vigilant about the things that are going on in relation to the activities of terrorist organizations. And we bring this up, especially in France, where we have a very unique presence at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Which is something, you know, Rick, is now travel is freeing up.

It's something we want to get Rick to really key in on our role. We got a big operation there. One thing I was thinking about, so the nuclear deals, because I mean with Hezbollah's relationship and Europe's interest in getting the U.S. back involved in this, how connected was that? The fact that, well, if they're going to do business with Iran, and these are kind of proxies of Iran, if you can do business with Iran, why not do business with a political party? Which some countries, you know, we believe are terrorist organizations.

The U.S., Germany acknowledges now is a terrorist organization. But then if we get back into that nuclear deal, which has been, was so bad, I mean, does that tie in? Jordan, you just hit it right on the head. I mean, this is the whole problem of not squeezing the balloon at the same time, right? The idea is that if we all, the United Nations, the EU, all of the Western alliance, and we get our Arab allies to all squeeze at the same time, we can pop this balloon. But instead, there is this idea by the Biden administration that we have to engage with Iran in order to somehow convince them. And my position is I'm all for engagement. I think Donald Trump did a great job of engagement on North Korea.

I tried a little bit of engagement on Venezuela on behalf of the Trump administration. I think engagement is good, but you've got to benchmark it. You've got to be able to come back two weeks later and say, hey, did this work? Or two months later and say, is it working? And if it doesn't, then you've got to do something else. The JCPOA and the implementation of it was not working. Iran was lying to us.

We know that. And so what we have to be able to do is say to the Europeans, engagement with Iran does not work, especially this current Iranian regime. You know, this is, again, I think it goes back to the idea as the world kind of refocuses, right? There was a lot of this, a lot of moving parts going on in this last year with COVID, and people are starting to reengage the world.

Are international offices reengaging? Do you think that the idea that, you know, is it education? I mean, like you said, you had sitting down with the French officials and having to educate them about Hezbollah's danger. Do they just not want to acknowledge that, I mean, we saw the wave of terrorism that hit Europe. There was a lot of terrorism happening on the street. We've dealt with it here in our own country, but they were having a lot of those attacks.

It was getting dangerous to be on the streets for a period of time. Why don't they want to acknowledge it? It's a great question. I should say that we share the goal. When I spoke to our allies in Brussels or in Paris or in Berlin, they all say they share the goals. They want to, you know, ban Hezbollah's terrorist activities, but they don't believe that it's happening in their banking system. And so what it requires is a team of people to show them the evidence. What I organized at DNI was a team, and I can't go into great detail of who's on the team and what countries are, but we have a team, and hopefully Avril Haines has continued this operation, but we have a team that's collecting the information and regularly sharing it with our European allies. Getting our European allies to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization helps squeeze the balloon.

It must be done, and I hope it's a priority. It certainly was in the Trump administration. And then you've got, you know, and I know you know this Rick because of your work in Germany and in Turkey, not that far away, and Turkey's become a hotbed for Hamas. I mean, so you've got Hezbollah and Hamas literally fully functioning and operating out of Europe right now. And sadly, that is at the foot and responsibility of Erdogan. He has allowed Turkey to really dial back and support Hamas. They've been terrible towards Israel, the Turks, and it's consistent. And we have to really have tough conversations because, as you know, Turkey is a member of NATO, and we have a treaty obligation with them. But we need to have some tough conversations with Turkey about NATO membership. Let me say this to everybody that's listening to this broadcast. Rick Grenell, former acting DNI and ambassador to Germany.

We got Mike Pompeo coming up, former secretary of state and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Let me tell you, your support of the American Center for Law and Justice, folks, this is what you see. We're able to address these issues and also provide solutions to address them and take action. And that's what we do at the ACLJ. Your support of the ACLJ has made all this possible. Rick, thanks for, again, great insight, great analysis. Have a good weekend. Coming up, Mike Pompeo.

That's right. And always go to ACLJ.org. That's ACLJ.org, a new piece up on Nigeria as well, specific to our submission there.

And we're going to be talking about those issues too. How did Nigeria end up on that list where we knew there were issues with religious liberty, but then the government now taking responsibility? Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, Planned Parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today.

ACLJ.org. Welcome back to Secula, and again, take your phone calls, 1-800-684-3110. Second half hour, we'll start getting to those calls and your questions as well. But former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a senior counsel for global affairs, joining us now on the broadcast. We wanted to focus in on, we talked about this earlier in the week, briefly, what's happening when CC was on and our reports. We were talking more about what we do at the UN with these periodic reports. And we filed reports tonight, and we had filed a series of reports on Nigeria. And Nigeria, though, the way that Nigeria is seen through the lens has changed. And so, Secretary Pompeo, when you were Secretary of State, we knew that there were a lot of issues with religious persecution in Nigeria. It wasn't necessarily done by the state, it wasn't necessarily done by the government, but it was not being stopped by the government. And it's a country that is basically divided between Christians and Muslims, almost 50-50. They're supposed to have power-sharing agreements based on religion. But you designated Nigeria as a country of particular concern. When the U.S. does that, what does that mean? What happened in Nigeria that changed?

Well, Jordan, thanks for being with me. The work that the ACLJ did was very informative for our team at the State Department when we began to evaluate whether or not to designate them as a CPC as a country of particular concern. It was controversial for a long time.

It had just been viewed as farmers versus ranchers. The religious element of what was taking place there wasn't brought to the floor. But my team at the State Department worked this issue hard.

We don't do this lightly. When we designate a country as a CPC, it's because there are egregious violations of religious freedom in here, in Nigeria. The largest economy, one of the biggest countries in Africa, is fundamentally violating the religious freedoms of Christians, mostly in the Northwest, but frankly broadly throughout the country. And we wanted to use the full force of the United States law, the full capacity of the U.S. diplomatic pressure to convince President Buhari and the leadership in Nigeria that the right thing to do was to protect these religious minorities in these places from the threats, the threats of rape, assault, torture, having their villages burned, all the things that we have seen happen in Nigeria. It was something that concerned us greatly, and the ACLJ contributed to the data set that underlay the decision that I made.

Mike, one of the things that I saw was part of the rationale for placing Nigeria on this country of concern watch list was, and this was a quote from the report, systematic ongoing egregious violations of religious freedom. We know how the United States reacted. You took action. What about the rest of the world? How should they be reacting?

They've been on their back foot, Jay, unfortunately. It's one of the things I hope to achieve, was to demonstrate American resolve and leadership to begin to put pressure on European countries, countries throughout the region. Who would care? Who would properly care about religious freedom and protecting religious minorities? Look, we saw what happened to Christians in Yazidis in Iraq. The risk is that if we don't begin to get this right in Nigeria, we'll have the same kind of thing.

And the risk is this turns from what it is today to something that approaches something with far more likelihood to lead to the complete elimination of Christians in the region as we want to try and get out in front of it. So we not only made the designation, but we devoted a lot of resources to working with the Nigerian government. Indeed, President Trump addressed this directly with the Nigerian leadership himself.

I think it's unacceptable to allow Christian minorities to be treated precisely as you describe their treatment, Jay. I'm going to add, let Dr. Andy Akonma, one of our colleagues here, our senior counselor for the ACLJ, has a question for you. And part of it, again, is focusing on the religious liberty issue, and I know actually that you're going to be speaking at the, for the archons of the ecumenical patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, which we represent globally. And Andy is the main liaison in our global work for the Greek Orthodox Church. But Andy, you had a question for Secretary Pompeo.

I do, Mr. Secretary. The left in this country has a very well-known and overt hostility toward religious liberty. And with the amount of power that they now have over the Democratic Party, are you concerned that this issue, that is religious liberty, will take a back seat in the Biden administration and not be in the forefront? I'm very concerned about it indeed.

In the first 120 days now or whatever we're into, we've seen this already. We've seen something they have almost a religious fervor about, the Green New Deal, take a precedence over the work that we did on religious freedom, was very much a part of who we were in the Trump administration. Every place we went, this was a priority for us. We know that every human being has created the image of God, and so we wanted everybody to have the chance to practice their faith in the way they chose. We worked really hard at it, and you can see on the left, whether it is their absence of willing to take any risk to help people around the world in China or other places or in Nigeria, protect these Christians, these religious minorities, or you can see it in the anti-Semitism that's now seeping inside of their party as well.

They think about religious freedom in a way that is fundamentally different than the way that I do and the Trump administration did, and frankly, it's very different than the way our founders thought about religious freedom as well. The Constitution protects that here at home, and this work demands that we work on it abroad. I think that was the next question, which is that it's not in Nigeria in a vacuum, but it's the idea of saying that when we're going to work with countries, they might not all get it perfect, they might be far off, but at least making it a priority when we're negotiating. At the same time, Secretary Pompeo, if we continue to let China carry out a genocide and work with Iran, the U.S. and Iran, and these are known persecutors, they don't hide it, they brag about it, they show it on their local television, their domestic audience shows this kind of level of persecution. Does it signal to the Nigerians of the world that have less resources, you don't have to make this a priority, you don't have to send your military in, because that's always the way I felt with Nigeria was that at a certain point, where is the military, where are the security apparatuses to protect these people?

No, Jordan, you've got it right. Two things. One, your point at the beginning, we tried to reward countries who placed it as a priority and who made progress, sort of like most improved player, if you will. We wanted everybody to be moving in the right direction towards increasing capacity for religious freedom in their countries. The final question, I want to get to the Russia issue quickly, because we saw – I think we lost them, we're checking now, do we have them?

We just still have them. Okay, go ahead. Final question, Secretary Pompeo, just briefly, we saw the Russian attacks, they're being called Russian criminals. The idea is when we see those attacks, is it as direct as China to a sense that if it's a Chinese company, everyone here in the U.S. recognizes that means Chinese government, and they're starting to recognize that more. In Russia, it may be these criminal elements, but from what you saw Secretary of State and his former CIA director, can you really separate those out? Jordan, it's pretty clear that the scale and scope of what's taking place there is absolutely happening with the acquiescence of the Russian government. We shouldn't let the Russian government get off the hook by saying, hey, these are just some random criminals, some thugs that have a responsibility to prevent this from happening. These are attacks on the United States. The Russian government should be held accountable for what's being foisted upon our country. This is serious business. It will impact our economy.

There could be loss of life at some point. When President Biden chooses to meet with President Putin, he better take this on and confront it and impose real costs. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also former director of the CIA and senior counsel for global affairs for the ACLJ. Thank you for your comments and for your work and your efforts, and thanks for being a colleague. It's making a huge difference for us at the ACLJ. Thanks, Mike. All right, folks, we'll be back.

Second half hour coming up at 8. Again, if you want to get your questions in too, we're going to get to Israel next. So more of these issues that, again, you might not have been focused on as much because of what's happened domestically here. 1-800-684-3110 to get in on the conversation. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines, protecting your freedoms, defending your rights, in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today.

ACLJ.org. Live from Washington, D.C., Sekulow Live. And now, your host, Jordan Sekulow. Welcome back to CNN. First half hour or two, I think something I want to reiterate with Secretary Pompeo and the work of the ACLJ, and it's been a work that we've been doing for decades now, but the fact that former secretary of state talks about at his time as secretary of state, how the ACLJ reporting on these issues that we talked about with Cece earlier this week, these very extensive reports we do on these countries, what issues they're facing. It's not that all these countries are perfect and their governments are perfect, but are they doing what they should for religious liberty, to keep the promises they make under their constitutions to their own people, and that's informing State Department decisions moving forward. I will tell you, this is before Secretary Pompeo's time, it was under the Obama administration. We were doing work before South Sudan became an independent country.

We were there. We did work with that government as they were moving towards forming their own government. And after we were there, got back, got a call from the State Department out of the blue because the special representative to South Sudan, who happened to be also his deputy, was a law professor of mine at Georgetown, while I was doing that, wanted to know what we saw.

Get basically a debriefing because we were getting more access than the US government at the time because we didn't have to worry about who was this, what were they associated with. We could just go in and have meetings as a religious liberty group and as a legal organization, and also because of our designation at the UN to those countries. And so this work has been building on time. Yeah, we do bring, we're able to marshal our resources, Andy, and to get on a global scale information that we get back to government or to policy statements that really you have to be on the ground to get. Well, that's one of the advantages that we have because we have offices, Jay, as you know and you've said on this program, we have offices worldwide in Africa. We have offices in Asia. We have offices in Jerusalem and Strasbourg. We have a presence in the United States which is overwhelming and very laudable, and we're able to dig up information and to find resources and things that we can then transmit to the governments of these different countries and the United States government that allows them then to take the action. But we only have this ability because we are spread so wide and so far in our work. You know, Jordan, I remember when you got that call on, when you just triggered my memory, on the South Sudan situation, you were very involved in drafting their constitutions and trying to keep their government stable, and our office in Israel was assisting on that one.

I mean, that's how this works, folks. Our office in Jerusalem was working. Jordan was out of our DC office then, in our DC office, and they were in South Sudan.

And then a law professor of Jordan from Georgetown happened to be, you know, somehow connected to all this. Now, I say that because of the reach of the organization, we are able to craft policy, and Harry, at the end of the day, as we get into this discussion coming up next with Skip Ash, policy is paramount on these matters. Absolutely. And in addition to policy, vision matters. And we also know that elections matter. So while Rome burns, while the border crisis mounts because of the ineptitude of the Biden administration, while Christians are being held captive in Nigeria, Asia, and elsewhere, the ACLJ has remained vigilant, and our ability to do so depends heavily on our listeners and donors. You know, there's no question, none of this. I mean, I was just thinking, we just had on the broadcast.

I mean, you think about the first half hour of this broadcast. We had on the former acting director of national intelligence, an ambassador to Germany, when the topic was Germany, who happens to be a special advisor, senior advisor, senior counsel to the ACLJ for national security and international. And then follow that up with our special senior counsel for global affairs, Mike Pompeo, who happened to be the former secretary of state and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. So let me tell you, none of this happens, none of it without you.

And that's why your support of the ACLJ is so critical. And I want to first thing I want to say is thank you on behalf of all of us. Yeah, we're able to continue to expand our reach, take it to the next level. And that is because of all of you. We come back, again, getting into the situation with Israel and what's happening on the ground there politically, how that affects the U.S. relationship.

We'll be right back. The challenges facing Americans are substantial. At a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack, it's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work.

Become a member today. ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. So earlier in the week we were going through what we were doing at the United Nations to get you back up to speed, because there have been so many domestic issues dominating the news, and for good reason in the United States and around the world. But as we begin to kind of get to the next phase in America's reopening, even in the bluest of blue states, is almost there with reopening. We wanted to get you back educated on what is going on internationally and the work that the ACLJ does through our international affiliates, organizations, but also directly at the United Nations. And one of those reports we mentioned, we didn't get into a lot of detail on it that day, but there was a specific request to the UN to condemn Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for their many violations of international human rights. Now this may be at the UN the most uphill of uphill tasks, but if you would have told someone that, I'd say six years ago, that the US was going to put their embassy in Jerusalem, no one would believe it. I mean, because of the entrenched ideology, it didn't matter if you had a Republican President or a Democrat President, because you knew the advisors were going to come to them and say exactly what John Kerry said, which is that if you do this, whether you'd like to do it or not, you're going to cause the world to blow up.

You're going to cause a third world war. And the past administration said, no we're not, and in fact we can actually move things forward. So you've got to always say it could be an uphill battle with the UN, and it is when it comes to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but it doesn't mean that there won't ever be a change or finally a realization, just like Rick was talking about with Germany, with Hezbollah. Ultimately they saw the light and said we can't keep allowing this.

France starting to see the light, we can't keep allowing this. This is another, I think Hamas is now going to start falling under the idea of almost becoming a proxy for Iran. Well they are a proxy for Iran. Joining us now is Skip Ash, who's the senior counsel for the ACLJ and in charge of our law of armed conflict and our military law issues and international issues. You were the primary architect, Skip, of a report that we have issued to the United Nations.

In fact, I am holding it in my hand right now. This was a submission, written statement submitted by the European Center for Law and Justice, requesting that the UN condemn Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for their many violations of international human rights laws. Also interesting that at the same time that we prepared and filed this document, there are reports coming out of even the Jerusalem Post, where they're talking about, and the Wall Street Journal, that in this last conflict, Gaza businesses, which of course because, hey, Hamas uses Gaza businesses as a place to throw off their bombs and their rockets, that they are even, these are the leaders of business in the Gaza Strip, not necessarily Hamas supporters. In fact, not a Hamas supporter because his building was bombed by the Israelis because it was used as a rocket deployment place in 2014, and then was reused again in 2021, and it was destroyed.

So he's rebuilt it twice. What is, Hamas constantly is violating international law. What was the purpose of the submission here? Well, the purpose was to point out to the Human Rights Council that it is not the Israelis who are violating international law, and it's not the Israelis who are in violation of human rights law. It is, in fact, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip primarily, although not solely. I mean, the FATA and the Palestinian Authority also violates human rights of Palestinians. But we are writing because Israel is constantly under attack. The UN Human Rights Council has one permanent country on its agenda, and that's Israel. Despite the fact that the Assyrians have killed 500,000 people, the North Koreans, all these other countries, the Chinese are involved in genocide against the Uyghurs, but it's Israel that's always the one that's being attacked. So we went back to say, hey, if you look at the evidence, every rocket fired from the Gaza Strip violated the law of armed conflict because it was fired in the not knowing where it was going to land.

The Israelis responded, and they responded with targeted responses at military targets, and therefore they did everything they could to be in compliance with the law of armed conflict and with human rights law. It's no wonder that there are people in the Gaza Strip who have finally had enough of being used as pawns by Hamas every time they want to make a statement against Israel. So what's interesting in all of this is that, and I'm using this example of this gentleman's business, so Hamas, this is according to, again, this is coming out of the Wall Street Journal.

This is how they reported this. Hamas and Mr. Sinwar are now confronting the political, hairy, and economic fallout of repeated clashes with Israel, which have set back development in the Gaza Strip, home to more than two million Palestinians, half of whom live below the poverty line according to the United Nations. The economic consequence of these engagements, these military flare-ups, are very significant for the people and for the region.

Absolutely. They are absolutely massive, but I also would submit that the leaders of Hamas really don't care so long as they remain in power and so long as they have access to international funds to fuel additional violence long term and to increase the size of their own bank account. Sadly, the Biden administration has fallen into this trap because it is essentially committed to funding the Palestinians, notwithstanding their commitment to violence. Keep in mind that Hamas is targeting citizens in Israel, but it's also targeting its own citizens. It sends rockets indiscriminately into Israel, and it expects a return from the Israeli government, which destroys businesses in Gaza, and this destroys the economy. This means, sadly, that the people in Gaza become even more dependent on the leadership of Hamas because then Hamas doles out humanitarian assistance and basically is seen as a benefactor to people that they have been committed to destroying. We have an office in Jerusalem that's very active.

We have lawyers, government affairs people. What's interesting is Egyptian officials have visited both Gaza and Israel in the last several days formulating a rebuilding plan. But part of that rebuilding plan, Andy, is that money cannot go to Hamas, and that's the difficult part here because what Hamas then does is, if they don't get it directly, they tax these businesses to get that money indirectly.

Well, that's right, Jay. Hamas is going to acquire the money one way or another, and one, of course, of the main funders of Hamas, let's not forget, is Iran. They boasted about that. Hamas did in the recent attacks on Israel that took place from Gaza about the resources coming from Hamas. Now the United States is – from Iran, that is – now the United States is negotiating to resurrect this nuclear deal and to give the Iranians more money, which they'll then take, give Hamas, so that Hamas can then fund operations against Israel. So it's a vicious cycle that the Biden administration is really facilitating and helping. You know, Skip, in looking at all of this, in the report you put together, if you were to just sum it up of the international law violations here and the scope of this, how big of an issue is this?

Well, I think it's a huge issue. Every rocket fired – they fired over 4,000 rockets. Every rocket was an individual war crime. So when the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, when they came in, they had to – they used precision munitions trying to target exactly what the military target was. That, because the Hamas places their forces in the middle of civilian communities, that in itself is another war crime. But because they do that, when you go after a legitimate war objective and civilians are inadvertently killed, that's not a war crime, but that's a propaganda victory for Hamas. So Hamas attacks Israel. Israel responds using munitions trying to minimize casualties, but every casualty then is used by Hamas and its supporters around the world to condemn Israel as killing children willy-nilly and so forth.

So it's serious in that sense. And I think we also need to recognize that even the rockets – they fired about 4,000 rockets. About 10 percent of those never made out of the Gaza Strip, so they fell back and killed their own people, and yet Israel is the one being blamed for those things. You know, Jordan, you've experienced the rocket fire coming in.

I think it'd be helpful for people to understand what that feels like, because it's very quick when it happens. It's quick, and they have a lot more – because of their relationship with Iran, and so when you see these conflicts, it's once every decade that they really go all out with what they've got. They basically unload their arsenals that they've got that haven't been taken out, because there's a constant effort by Israel. It's not like Israel has not got aircraft, whether it's helicopters or jets, over Gaza all the time taking out ammunition factories. At the same time, there has been a significant change in the ability of Hamas to fire more sophisticated, even though they're not aimed in the sense – I mean, that Skip is talking about, one of the human rights violations, the way that those are not specifically targeted military installations.

They are just fired off, but the rockets are getting longer range. They were hitting Tel Aviv. They weren't just hitting the border towns. They weren't just hitting the border cities, and that changes the mindset of the people, too. So it's a difference between a rocket, let's say, being fired from Mexico to Texas, and saying Mexico to Chicago.

I mean, so that's where the change has been. Their sophistication because of the Iranian support. We'll be back talking about what's going on in Israel politically as well in the next segment. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

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ACLJ.org. So we've been talking a lot about the security issues obviously facing Israel, the United States, Hamas, the conflict there that will last about 11 days. But there's also, at the same time, there's been election issues, which has, in a sense, I think there's another fifth election cycle trying to put together coalition governments that will last more than a year or two. Now, you've seen it doesn't change the kind of continuity of government. Prime Minister Netanyahu's been there. He was there in the Clinton years. He's back again. Yeah, they go back and forth a lot.

But now, I mean, I think there's been a very long stretch. So even some members of his own political party start breaking off. They want their turn as leaders. And though his political party won the most seats in the last election, which again, the fifth election, it's more like a parliamentary system. It's not like our system.

That didn't matter. It wasn't like whoever gets the – because it wasn't a majority. And so it would be like if the United States was not a two-party system, but a multi-party, maybe 15 political parties. And so then those political parties said, okay, how do we get a majority in Congress? We have to get people to say, well, they're this party, but they're going to caucus with us.

And we see that occasionally with like a Bernie Sanders, Angus King, who they define themselves as independents, but they caucus with Democrats, which gives the Democrats – it could be the balance of power. It is right now. That's what's happening in Israel is this idea of can they get – and it's 61 there is the key. 61 members.

61 is the – where you can get the coalition. What's interesting on this is that it's – when they call it coalition government, it's – Andy, that's what it is. It's very much similar to the English system.

So you can end up with some pretty strange bedfellows. I mean, you can end up with the ultra-right or ultra-orthodox party, and then you could also have in the same one the Arab list, which actually in this particular case is pretty much what happened. But it's really based in large part on the English system, which has not – I don't think it's served Israel very well, although there is continuity, like Jordan said. They just constantly are in election mode. Well, it seems like that, doesn't it, Jay?

The political parties of alliances in Israel shift continuously, and that not only is from year to year, but from week to week and sometimes from day to day. It could be – no, no, literally. This coalition could last, you know, a week. I mean, who knows? You're right.

Go ahead. No, that's exactly right. It may not be a coalition. If Netanyahu can put forth a coalition, I don't know that he can, but even if – but if his opponent, Bennett, can do a coalition, it may not last very long because you've got to put together a myriad of political parties, and you've got to keep them together by giving them offices, giving them favors, giving them rights and perks and things of that nature that may not last very long. And it's a fragile system, and it is in many ways like the British system because it is a parliamentary democracy. The important thing that we've got to remember is, though, that it is a democracy.

Yes, the only one really in the region. Now, Bennett and Yair Lapid have put together, at least right now they have a – they notified President Rivlin that they have a coalition. It's a very small coalition. And then the new President of Israel, effective on the 9th of next month, is going to be Isaac Herzog, who we know. He's a member of the Labor Party, which is their left-of-center party, but we know Isaac Herzog. We've worked with him before, and he is now going to be the President, which is not – people think it's just a ceremonial role. It's probably the actually chief diplomatic role, more so in some sense than you would think because they deal on a global level. Shimon Peres, of course, held that office.

Isaac Herzog, who is going to be the incoming President, his father was the President, Chaim Herzog. So there's a lot of those kind of things happening, as they do here. And this could be interesting long term for Arab relations with Israel is that one of the ideas is that the reason why these Arab political parties, who in the past were basically just protest parties.

They got their votes. There's a few cities in Israel that have significant populations where the member of the Knesset there is a – would come from the Arab community. So Nazareth is what – Nazareth is historically predominantly Muslim and Arab and Druze. And then, of course, there's areas in Tel Aviv that are primarily Arab as well. And they basically said, you know, in the past it was until the Palestinian conflict is dealt with. And these are basically – these are the Arabs who said, you know what, the Jews may be in charge now after 1948, but that's okay. We're staying here.

We got our businesses, our families here. We're not going to start the conflict. So – and there was some conflict on the streets there during the war.

Obviously, that raises tensions. But they said because of the Abraham Accords, that's given the green light to Arab political parties to say we don't have to worry about – we don't have to wait for the Palestinian issue to be resolved either. We can move forward and start reaping the benefits of what it would be like to be in the majority of a democracy. And they are actually Palestinian Israelis that are the ones saying this. So I think the impact policy-wise, Harry, from a political perspective, has allowed this to happen. Whoever the party ends – whoever the coalition ends up being, the fact that the Arab party decided to join a coalition is really significant.

I think it is. I think it is a dramatic move within the context of Israeli politics. But also, we should keep in mind that the Obama administration clearly engaged in a collusive effort within Israel to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu some years ago. So the open question now is whether America's left-wing State Department has intervened to drive Benjamin Netanyahu out of office. That is, to me, a very open question that all Americans who believe in the rule of law want to get an answer to. For a fact, the Lincoln Project people were being hired by the left in Israel because of their move to say, okay, if you can't beat it from being outside, how do you take the guys who would be ideologically maybe on the same level but personally opposed? Most people will say – we don't read into this much as a country dealing with it on the international level. It's similar to kind of our last election, personality-based more than policy. No one's really disagreeing in Israel with the policy direction of where the country has been going. It's the individual's been there for a long time.

Is it time for change? I think that was part of what was going on. So he had a break-off at his own party, still got the most votes but not enough necessarily to put together this. Because his own party split because they want to see new leadership. Now what's interesting, and following up with both of you have said, you said the Lincoln Project got involved in this?

They were there. When they go international, as we saw from the Obama administration and their affiliates, they are being paid more money than they would be paid in the United States to run these campaigns. But what's interesting, we did a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department, Andy, about – and this was exactly about the issue of getting State Department dollars to the son of Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, who was trying to overthrow the course of Netanyahu.

He was running political campaigns. This is one of the things that we do in our FOIA litigation, Jay, and that's why it's so important that we be able to have that capacity to inquire behind the apparent motives and look at the actual documents. And we do that in the litigating of the Freedom of Information Act cases when we send letters to the State Department, they're ignored, or to any other agency, the IRS, the Department of Justice, we turn around, file a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and we ask a judge to demand to order them to turn over those documents as we did in the case you just mentioned. And we got them.

And we found out exactly what we thought. They got money. In Israel, there's been a lot of this is over, this is final, it's not over there yet, that no one's made an actual vote. If one party peels off, one person peels off from one of those political parties, everything shifts again, and it'd probably be another election, I don't think there'd be a coalition put together. So we'll follow that closely as well, and we'll get you updated as well, and we'll talk to you next week. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines, protecting your freedoms.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-09 01:42:19 / 2023-11-09 02:04:52 / 23

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