Accepting the reality of Jerusalem — and the reality of the threat of Iran

Garabedian:  Your new editor, he’s a Jew, right?

Mike: That’s right, yeah.

Garabedian: Well, see…He comes in and suddenly everybody is interested in the Church. You know why?

Mike: No.

Garabedian: Because it takes the outsider. Like me, I’m Armenian. How many Armenians do you know in Boston?……. This city, this people. Making the rest of us feel like we don’t belong. But they’re no better than us. Look at how they treat their children. Mark my words, Mr. Rezendes, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

— Spotlight (2015)

The Boston Globe investigation that uncovered evidence of extensive sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese, going back decades, was chronicled in the riveting movie “Spotlight.” The film did an excellent job of showing what happened to the few men who tried to take on the church before the Globe began its investigation. They were marginalized, demeaned, and/or intimidated with the loss of their reputation and livelihood within a state where the church controlled the police, the legal establishment, and even the newspapers, including the Globe — until this inquiry began after a new editor-in-chief was hired. And it wasn’t just fear that kept some people quiet. Some felt that what they perceived as a betrayal of the church was something they couldn’t do, not in very Catholic Boston.

Thus the significance of the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem on May 14 cannot be overstated. The most powerful country in the world recognized the reality that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel, and that throughout millennia the one and only capital of the Jewish people was Jerusalem. With that physical recognition, both the country and the Jewish people no longer are the only second class citizens of the world. With the recognition of Jerusalem as its capital on the world stage, the hope of Israel’s enemies to drive it into the sea becomes even more ridiculous. The state is a fact, not a passing fancy.

And though the PA and Hamas want the world to believe the embassy move is the reason for their days of outrage, we know better. As was true for the church, embracing reality means giving up power and control, something that Hamas, supported by Iran, and the PA desire more than the welfare of their people, deliberately sacrificing their children to create a heartbreaking false and deadly narrative. Who could forget watching Yasir Arafat gleefully telling young children to go out and die for the Palestinian cause while he slept in a different location most nights to avoid any encounter with Israeli justice? There are no words to describe such evil and depravity.

But what is even more disheartening is that for the past 70 years, the Western world, the United States included, was fine with dictating to Israel that of all the nations in the world, only Israel was not allowed to select its own capital. Even if you declare it to be, we will make it irrelevant by ignoring it and placing our embassies in another place, of our choosing. And there are still too many people, even in our own country, who are aching to embrace a capital in Jerusalem for the Palestinian Arab state that will be Jew-less by decree, according to the PA, but are enraged by this acceptance of historical fact. Though other nations are following the American lead, there are still too many that feel empowered or intimidated by stronger nations to keep the Jews strangers in their ancestral home, keeping them dependent on the whims of leaders of other countries for their lives. But with the U.S. changing, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world will acknowledge reality.

This comes at a crucial time, when not only Israel but our own country must finally recognize that Iran and its terrorist-supported tentacles are rapidly infiltrating our hemisphere, even our own nation. The time to act is now.

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo enumerated 12 points for Iran to meet in order to lift the new sanctions last Sunday, one point was ending the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces’ support for terrorists and militant partners. Many people don’t realize that this is referencing the past 30-plus years that Iran, either directly or through its puppet Hezbollah, has been infiltrating our hemisphere. Remember the AMIA bombing? To show the power of Iran in South America, you need only to remember that the 1994 bombing is still an open case. Further, Alberto Nisman, the federal prosecutor who finally was going to bring this case to justice in 2015, was murdered hours before he was due to present evidence against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s cover-up of Iran’s responsibility for the bombing.

Though the press is MIA, Congress has been focusing on growing Iranian influence. An excerpt from the “Countering Iran In the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012” law reads: “reports of Iranian intelligence agents being implicated in Hezbollah linked activities in the Tri-Border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and in the past decade, Iran has dramatically increased its diplomatic missions to Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil.” Translation: The more embassies Iran has, the more operatives there will be spreading Iran’s extremism throughout those countries. The Iranians also built many cultural centers, another place they use for indoctrination to their genocidal cause.

Many of these countries supported Iran’s nuclear development and were vocal in their support of Iran evading sanctions. There was mining for uranium in some countries, as well as new military academies opened with Iranian support. In Venezuela, money laundering for Iran was commonplace, in addition to mullahs flying into the country on a weekly basis, with the goal of changing the religion of those outside of the big cities, to make Venezuela an outpost for the Iranian empire. The legislation also referenced Hezbollah’s failed attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador in a Washington, D.C. restaurant in 2011. The fact that Hezbollah had a strong enough network to make this brazen attempt in our capital should have led to ongoing press coverage about growing Iranian influence — but the press generally was silent.

The objective of killing Americans is nothing new. Remember the American embassy in Western Beirut in 1983, killing 63, of whom 17 were Americans, orchestrated by Iran and executed by Hezbollah? Or the bombing of the American barracks in Beirut, slaughtering 241 American soldiers? Or the American naval diver Robert Stethem, who was brutally beaten and then murdered when a TWA flight was hijacked by Hezbollah, 33 years ago this coming June? His body was dumped onto the tarmac from the plane.

This April, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.), chaired a subcommittee examining Iran’s global terrorism network. There, he said, “…Iranian support for Hezbollah, which is active in the Middle East, Latin America, and here in the United States, where Hezbollah operatives have been arrested for activities conducted in our own country. Last summer, two individuals were arrested — one in Michigan and one in New York City — for plotting attacks in New York targeting U.S. military and law enforcement and in Panama targeting U.S. and Israeli embassies. Both individuals received significant weapons training from Hezbollah. We do not know when they were planning to carry out their attacks but it is clear that Hezbollah has the will and capability. But now, they are right here, and there are believed to be Hezbollah sleeper cells within the United States, too.”

This is the reality the news doesn’t cover — to our peril. We can’t let political party bickering, or the excessive coverage of it, obfuscate the need for strong and consistent action and press coverage until Iran is no longer a credible threat — both nuclear and in conventional acts of destruction.

At the end of “Spotlight,” Michael Keaton, playing Robby, the editor leading the investigative team, is having drinks with an old friend who is trying to persuade him not to betray the Church because it has “a few bad apples.”

Robby: This is how it happens, isn’t it, Pete?

Pete: What’s that?

Robby: A guy leans on a guy, and suddenly the whole town just looks the other way.

Pete: Robby, Robby. Marty Baron is just trying to make his mark. He’s gonna be here a couple of years and he’s gonna move on, just like he did in New York and Miami. Where are you gonna go?

Robby didn’t stop. He risked it all, saving countless children from sexual abuse not only in Boston but worldwide. We need to be like Robby. We can’t let the Iranians use their influence to make us feel that we don’t have a right to protect our country and our children. Iran has made it clear that if it succeeds, not only Israel but the United States will not just be ignored — we will no longer exist.

About the Author
Martha Cohen is an award winning producer and creative executive. She is a Berrie Fellow and currently sits on the JFNNJ JCRC and StandWithUs East Coast Boards. She chaired the JFNNJ Partnership2Gether when the Young Leadership program was developed and executed; and, continues to be closely involved. Martha and her husband David live in Fort Lee with their son, Harry.
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