On Friday, November 13, 2015, France was hit by yet another series of terrorist attacks in Paris, claiming the lives of 129 innocent people in several locations practically simultaneously. I had just returned from my biannual ministry trip to France four days prior, on the 9th of November. On the 7th, my wife and I attended a concert in Paris in a place as frequented and as famous as the Bataclan. Almost everyday of our stay we ate meals at restaurants and bistros near the attacked venues. The victims were the 129, but it could have easily been us or it could have easily been you.
It was only nine months ago that the whole world joined France in the mourning of the 17 Charlie Hebdo/Hyper Cacher victims. Hashtags like #jesuischarlie and #jesuisjuif abounded. Flowers and candle memorials kept growing on Paris sidewalks and of course there was the 4 million people march on January 11. France had woken up to the sad reality that apocalyptic Islam had hit them hard. Freedom of Speech at Charlie Hebdo was hit hard, but also Freedom of Religion at Hyper Cacher. Days later, Prime minister Manuel Vals delivered a very poignant speech to the French National Assembly in defense of the Jewish community and vowing to go to war against terrorism. I was hopeful that things would change but I didn’t hold my breath. The world continued to placate the comforting hashtags on all social networks. It was the warm and fuzzy appropriate thing to do. It was a time when the planet was united with France and its Jewish community. Well, virtually united I should add, but you don’t fight a war with hashtags and candle vigils. Unfortunately, the world’s attention span is only as long as the next Super Bowl, Hollywood hit or iPhone iteration. And so, we went our merry way, quickly forgetting France and its crisis with terrorism.
But what about France itself? What was really accomplished in the aftermath of the January attacks? Not much I fear. Sure, there were some foiled attacks here and there, some arrests and even search warrants. But soon after the emotional and seemingly determined speeches, politics returned and it was business as usual. The different political parties would rather be blinded by petty disagreements than catch a common vision on how to fight the real enemy. By real enemy, I am not speaking of global warming here but the global WARNING of apocalyptic Islam. Don’t misunderstand me for saying that France doesn’t care about the attacks. I think the French people care very much and to an extent even the government does too. But there is a strange behavior resulting from a hydrid of denial, fear and political correctness. And so it goes with France…another day, another euro.
It was obvious to all that another attack would take place. That it would be so soon and so intense wasn’t expected. The use of explosive belts brought terrorism on French soil to an all new level. And of course, for once it would appear as if the targets weren’t Jews. This is in no way any relief, but simply an observation. I just want to point out that flexing under Islamic threats, Palestinian social justice demands and/or BDS rulings will not stop the enemy. According to Winston Churchill, appeasement is akin to feeding a crocodile hoping it will eat you last. Well, France, on November 13 the crocodile just bit off your hand! Now what?
France was devastated last January and had a chance to take action with the kind of authority and leadership that would have led the free world into an all out war against apocalyptic Islam. That ship has sailed. But now it returns as an armada and with a vengeance, because the Islamic State hates France and all that it represents. It probably goes back to the early 1800s and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the French Revolution of 1789. Looking back nine months, France was mostly all bark and no bite after the January attacks. Today it has a second opportunity to stop evil. This isn’t going to be an overnight feat but rather a concerted international effort that could take 20 years. France could actually lead the way if they put their euros where their mouth is.
On the Monday following the carnage, French President François Hollande spoke in front of the Congress in a room in Versailles that hadn’t been used since 1955. It was indeed historic, but it remains to be seen if the outcome will be positive or negative. Mr. Hollande opened his speech by declaring:” France is at war!” He had the Congress’ attention and he had mine as well. Contrary to Mr. Obama who one day before the attack said that the Islamic State was contained. Soon after, Mr. Obama declared that what happened in Paris was a set-back. A set-back to what, the Middle Ages? Mr. Hollande on the other hand, affirmed that ISIS had to be destroyed. Not slowed down, not stopped, not talked to…but destroyed! I couldn’t agree more. He was speaking one day after having sent fighter jets to bomb strategic ISIS location in Syria. Good for you Mr. Hollande. Please keep on, don’t stop now. They must be eradicated.
In the meantime, may I suggest that you close your borders or at the very least strictly enforce border control. Forget about the accusation of profiling, we are way past that. May I also suggest that you seriously limit the intake of migrants into France (and all of Europe for that matter)? It is now proven that one of the Paris terrorists came to France through the Greek island of Lesbos invisible and untraceable in a wave of refugees. This open-door policy spearheaded by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is now showing us how easy it is for ISIS to infiltrate Europe. And finally, please close all the mosques that are instrumental in the radicalization of other Muslims. Incidentally, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 imams in France alone and only one –the Imam of Drancy– that came out to denounce the terrorist attacks of November 13. Muslims of the world, if you want us to make a distinction between moderate Islam and radical Islam, then please speak up against the terror attacks of November 13–not to mention many others worldwide– otherwise your silence will speak for you.
France is at a critical crossroads for the second time in one year. How many more terrorist attacks by ISIS will it take, in France or anywhere else, for us to take them seriously? Protect synagogues and Jewish schools and they attack a stadium, restaurants and a concert hall. Protect these venues and they will attack a movie theater, a mall or amusement park…and the list goes on. Too many innocent lives are destroyed by people who glorify death. My ultimate prayer is that they would truly have a change of heart and meet the true God of the universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through His Messiah Yeshua. It is a difficult prayer to pray but we must not stop praying. Prayer can change them, but if they do not change they must be stopped. This is France’s second chance to fight the war against Islamic terrorism and it might very well be Europe’s last chance.
It was only 15 years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism, They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph who was a contemporary of King David.
Psalm 83 spoke of many enemies of Israel and of the pleading of Asaph with God for His miraculous intervention on behalf of the Jewish people. Of the several points made by this short psalm, I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel.
In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. I also thought that there was a strong possibility that Asaph’s usage of the sentence: “They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more” could very possibly be a literary device to express emphasis in despair. Maybe Asaph wanted to express that Israel had enemies–a true statement–and for emphasis, he described all her neighbors as the enemies, akin to someone with a few foes saying:”The whole world hates me!”
Of course, an equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6-8: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them, and compare them to modern day countries or people groups. The results could even be too close for comfort.
Edom – Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites – Ishmael was one of the fathers of all the Arabs.
Moab – Central Jordan
Hagarenes – Egypt
Gebal – Lebanon
Ammon – Northern Jordan
Amalek – The Sinai Peninsula
Philistia – The Gaza Strip
Tyre – Lebanon
Assyria – Iraq and parts of Syria
By these standards, Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies who have conspired together to destroy the Jewish state. This would be a likely scenario in light of the fact that eventually the whole world will go against Israel, but we are faced with an inconsistency. There are two countries that have an ongoing peace treaty with Israel in the whole Middle East: Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) and Egypt (Hagarenes). Yet these are listed as enemies of Israel, so how can this be possible? I wonder if the answer could not be found in the events of the last year and the progress of ISIS (Islamic State) in the region? ISIS is continuously making progress in a very volatile region, not to mention their global recruitment over the last year. A quick review of their progress could lead credence to an upcoming fulfillment of Psalm 83:
• ISIS started their bloody takeover campaigns in parts of Iraq and Syria.
• ISIS has also been trying to gain some ground in Northeast Lebanon and Northern Lebanon. The mere idea that Lebanese Christians would praise Hezbollah for fighting ISIS is frightening at best and most likely temporary.
• They even got into the Gaza Strip, giving Hamas a run for their money.
• Of course, they also recently launched an offensive in the Sinai Peninsula. How’s that peace treaty with Israel looking right now? Very shaky if ISIS spreads further into Egypt!
• This leaves us with Jordan and the Iraqi border, which have also been affected.
So there you have it in a nutshell. To an extent, ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. Asaph might have spoken prophetically and we might be getting really close to seeing the evil confederacy of Psalm 83 being formed. It was almost impossible to fathom that Psalm 83 would have a literal fulfillment 15 years ago. Today and with the advance of the Islamic State, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it took place. And what if it did take place?
While the entire civilized world appears to be in agreement regarding the barbarism displayed by ISIS, it is now becoming obvious that the terrorist group is not being stopped, let alone even contained. It is very surreal and quite puzzling to see ISIS recruits coming from all corners of the world to train under “the black banner of death”. So yes indeed, the grip around Israel is tightening at the hands of ISIS.
Israel has her plate very full with a Hamas ruled Gaza Strip in the south and a Hezbollah ruled Lebanon in the north. The Jewish state has been on high alert since May 14, 1948. They will not provoke but they will certainly respond. They will do it better and faster than the rest of the world because their existence depends on it. To an extent, the rest of the world’s existence also depends on how serious we are about ISIS. But when you hear people such as Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 who said that:” We cannot destroy ISIS, so we will have to learn to live with it“, you wonder how serious anybody really is about defeating ISIS? We are not even discussing how Islamic ISIS really is or is not, but we are still faced with a terrorist group that is organized, wealthy, well advertised and very arrogant. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it.
We must also keep in mind the rest of Psalm 83 like verse 5 describing the enemies of Israel as the enemies of God Himself:“For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant.” God may or may not intervene between ISIS and the world, but if they [ISIS] go against Israel, I am certain that He will get involved. Yet, there is still time for the enemies of Israel to repent because God might be just but He is also patient as Psalm 83:15-18 says:
So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth
The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section.
A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders.
Kobani, on the border with Turkey, has been encircled by the Sunni Muslim insurgents for more than 40 days. Weeks of U.S.-led air strikes have failed to break their stranglehold, and Kurds are hoping the arrival of the peshmerga will turn the tide.
The siege of Kobani – known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab – has become a test of the U.S.-led coalition’s ability to stop Islamic State’s advance, and Washington has welcomed the peshmerga’s deployment. It has intensified its air strikes in the past two days ahead of their arrival.
A first contingent of about 10 peshmerga fighters arrived in Kobani from Turkey, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Kurdish and Turkish officials said more were expected within hours.
Iraqi government forces retook four villages on Sunday near a mountain ridge overlooking Islamic State supply lines, security officials said, in a campaign which has struggled to make advances against the Sunni Islamist insurgents.
Iraqi security forces backed by Shi’ite militias gained some momentum on Saturday in their bid to loosen the grip of Islamic State, which controls large swathes of territory in the north and west of the country.
After months of fighting they drove Islamic State militants out of Jurf al-Sakhar, just south of Baghdad, while Kurdish fighters regained control over the town of Zumar in the north.
At least 32 civilians have been killed this month by U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, as reported Thursday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a Britain-based monitoring group. A total of 521 people died in the past month of fighting against Islamic State terrorists.
There were six children and five women among the 32 civilians killed. The majority of deaths, 64 out of 521, were the members of Islamic State (IS/ISIL/ISIS). 57 fighters from Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, were also killed in the month-long campaign. SOHR relies on a network of activists on the ground to gather intelligence.
Rami Abdel Rahman, SOHR director, told AFP that the vast majority of militants killed in the strikes were not Syrians but foreign fighters who had joined Islamic State and Al-Nusra militants in battle.
A total of 15 strikes have been carried out by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, said US Central Command in a press release Thursday. Four strikes hit the border city of Kobani, destroying key Islamic State positions in an area. Four strikes in the Fallujah area marked and struck a training facility, a larger ISIS fighting unit and a building. Two strikes targeted oil tanks east of Dayr Az Zawr and a vehicle was destroyed near Bayji.
As the casualties and the price tag of Operation Inherent Resolve continue to rise, the anti-war left remains silent. Several right-leaning commentators talk about President Obama’s strategy, questioning whether ordering these minimal, “pinprick” strikes is for political reasons. It’s a logical assumption considering the President referred to ISIS as a “JV” team only months back.
As Operation Inherent Resolve continues, the silence from the anti-war left is deafening and shocking in its level of hypocrisy.
A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that despite more than 300 airstrikes against Islamic State terror targets, “ISIL still remains a potent force”. He also admitted that the long-term effect of the airstrikes will be minimal, at best.
“Yes, they’ve changed some of their tactics, there’s absolutely no question about that, in response to the pressure that we put them under, but that doesn’t make them less dangerous or less potent over time,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.
He went on to say: “No one said this would be easy or quick, and no one should be lulled into a false sense of security by accurate airstrikes. We will not, we cannot bomb them into obscurity.” Kirby told reporters that this will be a long struggle and urged “a sense of strategic patience about this entire effort.”
According to reports from Baghdad, coalition efforts may not be enough to keep ISIS/ISIL out of the capital city. Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, is warning that the Islamic State terrorists are on the verge of entering the city.
He told Megyn Kelly Tuesday night that many people fear that the massacre of Christians that happened in Mosul are about to happen in Baghdad.
“I fear for my people. I fear for what could happen to my people,” White said. And the Iraqi army, such as it is, is no comfort to him:
I said to one of my soldiers today, if ISIS were coming towards you, what would you do? He said, take off my uniform. Why are you in the army then? Why are you a soldier? What are you doing? Aren’t you protecting us? He said, no, I’m in it because of the money. How can you put your complete trust in an army who responds like that?
White said he does not believe the U.S. air strikes will keep Baghdad secure. “No, not at all,” he told Kelly. “I’ve had people, our people killed by the air strikes. I don’t know what is being achieved by them. But it’s very, very little. The fact is, people like ISIS can only be controlled by troops on the ground. And where are they? We haven’t got any.”
Col. Oliver North told Fox News that Canon White understands better than the White House “what’s really going on out there.”
This article was crossposted.