WASHINGTON — Passover and Easter — intrinsically linked in the Jewish and Christian traditions — are being celebrated this weekend. For observant Jews, Passover commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery under Egypt’s Pharaoh. For faithful Christians, Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and the fulfillment of a new covenant between God and man.
Biblical passages in Exodus 12, Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20 describe these historical events and the reasons for festivities among people of faith. But this year, these holidays are a time of extraordinary anxiety for Christians and Jews in the Middle East.
The Egyptian Pharaohs and Roman emperors are gone. Yet Jews and Christians now living in the region must contend with new lethal threats: the hatred of radical Islamists seizing power from Tunisia to Syria; vicious sectarian cleansing; and the prospect of being incinerated by an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Tragically, all this is being facilitated by the catastrophic incompetence, malfeasance, naivete and hubris of an American president — with the complicity of the mainstream media.
In the days leading up to this year’s Passover and Easter holidays, we have seen no fewer than three “leaks” of sensitive information from the U.S. government about possible Israeli plans to stop the ayatollahs in Iran from building nuclear weapons.
Stories in Foreign Policy magazine, Bloomberg News and ABC News — all sourced to anonymous White House, Pentagon, State Department and congressional officials — allege that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consummated a secret military alliance with the autocratic government in Azerbaijan to use Azeri airfields in the event of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites.
When questioned about the stories, White House and State Department spokesmen claim to have “no information” to confirm the validity of the information.
That’s completely disingenuous. For months, the Obama administration has been doing everything possible — overtly and covertly — to dissuade Israel from launching a pre-emptive attack on Tehran’s nuclear weapons facilities before the U.S. presidential election.
In February, The Washington Post claimed that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believed that an Israeli action likely would take place in April, May or June of this year. During last month’s meeting with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu purportedly was told that the U.S. would not assist in a military strike on Iran and that new appropriations for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and spare parts for Israeli air force F-15s and F-16s could be “at risk” if Israel were to act unilaterally.
This week, an Egyptian court sentenced a Christian teenager to three years in prison for “blasphemy” and “insulting Islam.” The boy had posted a caricature of a bearded Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in a veil on Twitter.
Radical Islamists calling the shots in Tunisia and Libya now admonish the tiny Christian communities remaining in these countries to “leave or die.” Only a handful of Christians remain in Iraq — once home to tens of thousands.
In Syria, brutal, documented atrocities against Christians by radical Islamist “rebels” include public beheadings, rapes, looting and the intentional destruction of homes, schools and churches. The White House’s reaction to all this? Instead of righteous outrage, it gives surreal silence.
According to Matthew’s Gospel, Judas Iscariot sold out Jesus of Nazareth for 30 pieces of silver. What is Barack Obama’s fee for selling out Christians and Israelis?