Monday, December 29th, 2014

 

U.S. joining the hunt for missing AirAsia airliner

141228080444-cnngo-missing-flight-path-tablet-largeEarly Monday, Indonesian government officials expanded the search for a missing jetliner with 162 passengers onboard. Indonesia has officially requested America’s help in searching for the missing AirAsia flight, which disappeared on the way to Singapore, Sunday. The State department received a request Monday to help locate the plane– carrying 162 people– and passed it onto the Defense Department. The U.S. Defense Department is now reviewing steps in how to join global efforts to determine what happened to the missing flight.

The United States had already expressed willingness to help if asked, with the Navy 7th Fleet standing ready to contribute to search efforts. Indonesia is requesting help from the United Kingdom, France and the United States for sonar devices, which will be needed for a possible underwater search. France has dispatched two investigators to Indonesia. They are due to arrive in Jakarta on Monday. The missing plane is made by Airbus, a French company. China is also assisting the Indonesian government by dispatching aircraft and ships to participate in the search and rescue efforts.

A C-130 plane from Singapore has been participating in the search, and the country’s military said it’s sending two more ships to the search area. Malaysian government officials say they have launched three vessels and aircraft to aid in the search; the Australian Air Force said they were deploying a patrol plane to help.

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Part two: The new anti-Semitism 2014 year in review

Part two in Olivier Melnick’s three part series.  You can find part one here.

The world has witnessed what some call an unlikely reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Both parties desire the complete destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. They might have different approaches to their goal, nevertheless, it remains the same. So, is there a real winner in the reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority?

The Palestinian Authority has been under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas since 2005. Its political party is Fatah and at the risk of being accused of oversimplification, it could be said that Fatah is more of a secular political party while Hamas leans towards Islamic fundamentalism.          

Drawing from the Palestinian Authority’s reputation of being more moderate, Abbas has pushed the West for Palestine’s recognition on the World scene at the UN and UNESCO. Over the last few years, inching their way towards what appeared to be an inevitable UN and world recognition in the near future, they have picked-up some momentum. The current “reconciliation” may hurt that momentum.

Benjamin Netanyahu immediately decided to put a halt to the peace process since Israel cannot and will not negotiate with terrorists, ever! The safety of Israel is first and foremost. Frankly, it wasn’t much of a peace process to start with since Abbas was never really interested in recognizing Israel and continues not to be.

PC USA held its biennial 2014 General Assembly in Detroit. The result of the week-long gathering of delegates, leaders and other participants is still having major ripple effects within the Christian community at large.

Resolution 04-04 was the one that after several hours of a rhetorical ping-pong match, resulted in a vote in favor of divestment from Israel. The financial ramifications due to the divestment from Motorola, HP and Caterpillar are not really an issue. The motive behind the move is what really matters. PC USA joined other denominations in a bold move against Israel, like the Mennonites and Quakers and some within  the Methodist denomination.

This has been such a biased case against Israel that it is very difficult not to see the anti-Semitic thread driving the whole move.  The farce that was the 2014 PC USA general assembly was painful to watch, as no scripture was ever used to back up their pseudo-Christian move to divest. Why? Because none can be found. Instead, they would rather side with the “oppressed” Palestinians against the “oppressors” from Israel. Like it or not, this latest move aligns the pro-BDS voters with Hamas.

Mid-July in Paris was the first time that such a huge crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators was gathered. 10,000-20,000 people did not go unnoticed on the streets of Paris, especially when they were heard shouting “Death to the Jews”, “F*# the Jews”, “Hitler was right”, “We will burn you” or “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad“. When some of the demonstrators called for prayer, several thousand started to shout Allahu Akbar, removing all doubt as to the ethnic/religious fabric of the angry mob. It had simply morphed into an alibi for anti-Semitism.

Not too far from the demonstrators,  about 200 Jewish people had gathered inside a synagogue for a special service to remember the three Israeli victims of the recent kidnappings/murders. All of a sudden the angry mob decided to throw café chairs (some of them lit on fire) at the building and continue to scream “Death to the Jews”. By God’s grace, a pogrom was averted but it appears that It is no longer sufficient for anti-Semites to denigrate the Jews with thoughts, words and even destructive acts against their property, now they want the people too.

The sad part to me is that the two sides of the vise are being tightened by the apathetic French by-standers. A by-stander who does nothing only facilitates the work of a perpetrator. Sometimes your boldest move is made by your lack of action.

After nearly a month of fighting between the IDF and Hamas and several failed cease fire attempts, a truce was reached. As Israel continued to withdraw its troops over a few days, the high cost of the Gaza War was assessed.

While over 3,000 rockets were fired by Hamas, the 2014 Gaza War was NEVER much of a military campaign but rather a media one. To be sure, Hamas’ desire remains the complete annihilation of Israel through jihad as clearly delineated in their 1988 Charter. They have figured out that they can enroll the help of a biased media that has become so efficient at indoctrinating the clueless masses and corrupt governments against Israel and the Jews. So the result has become a smorgasbord of unfounded statements that serve only one purpose: the demonization of Israel. Truth is no longer sought!

There is no doubt in my mind that as the “scapegoat of humanity”, from a human standpoint, Israel cannot win. But there is also no doubt in my mind that as “the apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8), Israel will prevail. The truth must be told and if our voices remain all that we have, let us use them as much as we can!


Sea of Blue, amid tensions, tenderness and tributes as NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos is laid to rest

Firefighters near the church of Officer Rafeal Ramos's funeral raised a flag on Myrtle Avenue in Queens, N.Y. early Saturday morning.

Firefighters near the church of Officer Rafeal Ramos’s funeral raised a flag on Myrtle Avenue in Queens, N.Y. early Saturday morning.

QUEENS, N.Y. – As people lined up outside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday, the hard and angry expressions on the faces of the NYPD officers began to soften as they looked at the crowd that gathered outside the church. Tens of thousands of police officers from all over the country turned out on a sunny but solemn day to bury their own from an assassination of one of two officers murdered last Saturday.

The shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Bedford-Stuyvesant occurred a week ago in an ambushed style by a gunman avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Both deaths became a high-profile confrontation with police this year that has led to many tensions wracking the city and other parts of the country as well.

The tension that gripped the city in the aftermath of the tragedy hung over the crowd as each leader of the city, the state and the nation gave eulogies trying to make sense of the division that is causing more harm than good.

Vice President Joe Biden attended the funeral unlike the President of the United States denouncing the killings of the officers as an assault on the entire city. “When an assassin’s bullet targets two officers’, it targets the entire city and it touched the souls of the entire nation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in attendance as he praised police for their restraints of the protests aimed solely on officers for weeks before the two officers’ deaths. “The NYPD protects the right of freedom of speech, even though they were the targets of false and abusive chants by some.” Continuing on the governor spoke about unity in New York, “At the end of the day, we are one, we are one people, one city, one state, one family, the family of New York.

The calls for unity from each leader is silent as the signs of the division still remains. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the funeral as per Ramos family request. He is still struggling to appease the anger of the police officer led by his rhetoric jabbing at cops from the grand jury decision earlier this month to not indict an NYPD officer when he stated at a press conference that “He talked to his son about the danger that he may face in any encounters from the police.

NYPD officers and other officer from across the country turn their backs to Mayor de Blasio as he gave his eulogy during the funeral ceremony

NYPD officers and other officer from across the country turn their backs to Mayor de Blasio as he gave his eulogy during the funeral ceremony

No one spoke of the current anti-police climate in the city that caused uniformed policemen to turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio. And during the funeral, we see yet again, police officers not only NYPD, but every officer who attended the funeral from around the country turning their backs to the mayor in a sign of their disapproval as he gave his eulogy. The first time it occurred was when the mayor passed in a hallway at Woodhull Hospital hours after both officers’ death to speak at the police press conference.

De Blasio’s eulogy didn’t mention the tension that is causing the rift in the city. Instead, he spoke solely about Ramos and the jobs of police officers. Ramos “was a peacemaker in church, a peacemaker in his family, and a peacemaker on the streets of the City.” He continued on praising police officers stating “police officers are called ‘peace officers’ because that’s what they do- they keep the peace.” His speech at the funeral was said to be an opportunity to set the tone right and fix what he has started to push for unity between both sides, but with his tired self, he failed.

The most captivating eulogies of the service came from Commissioner Bill Bratton, the only man who spoke to actually walk in the shoes of police officers as he commands the 35,000 NYPD officers. He spoke passionately about the needs to heal in the upcoming days. The grief of this murder has become public as Bratton spoke directly to Officer Ramos’s sons as their “father represented the blue thread that holds our city together when disorder might pull it apart.” He continues his eulogy of unity from a divided city. “Rafael Ramos was ‘assassinated’ because he represented the entire police department and all of us, even though beneath the uniform, he was just a good man and maybe that’s our challenge, because we’ve all come to see only what we represent, instead of who we are, we don’t see each other. If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people like them, then when we see each other, we’ll heal as a department, as a city and as a country.”

The Commissioner posthumously upgraded both officer to the ranks of detective first grade and designated Officer Ramos as honorary department chaplain of the 84th precinct as a tribute to Ramos who was studying to become an NYPD chaplain.

After the service, the street filled with a sea of blue saluting the flag-draped casket as a folded flag into a triangle shape was given to the wife of Ramos as 12 police helicopters flew overhead in a missing man formation. On the ground, over 400 police motorcycles from around the country drove in tribute displaying grace and dignity down the Myrtle Avenue in Queens.

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Sea of blue salute as helicopters in “missing man” formation pass by.

 

It’s has been a terrible sad week in New York, but the finest are standing stronger than ever and now the people must stand along with them.

As officers began to leave the service, an officer from another state grabbed an NYPD officer in a group to salute and say, “Keep it together brothers – we’ll get through all this together – we will get through these dark times because we have no choice. We are the police. It’s our duty to serve and protect, even if some people like your mayor don’t appreciate it.”

Officer Ramos now stands with St. Michael the Archangel and is guarding the gates of Heaven. Rest in peace brave soul. Rest in peace.