Archives For Ron Cantor
I woke up yesterday on a Boeing 777 on my way back to Israel. I checked the news and was happy to see that Kim Jong Un has agreed to the full denuclearization of North Korea. Now, I am no dummy…and the President was very clear that no sanctions would be reversed until this was fully carried out. I just assumed there would be praise from the left and right.
I, too, was a little concerned about the President’s “Rocket Man” diplomacy and threats of “fire and fury.” But, then again, as I shared with panicking friends, “nothing else had worked.” What had Obama done in eight years to stop Kim from getting nukes? Bush and Clinton thought they had deals, but Pyongyang either said there was a misunderstanding or just flat-out reneged on the agreement.
So, when I saw that President Trump had gotten Kim to make this stunning commitment, though skeptical of what Kim might or might not do, I was thrilled. North Korea is the greatest threat to world. They have the ability take out entire US cities. So, hats off to President Trump for taking action.
Praise from all corners—not!
I naïvely assumed there would be approval from the left and right—even with a “wait and see” attitude regarding the final outcome. Maybe even praise from Alec Baldwin or Robert Di Nero…I was way off!
- CNN posted the headline “Kim Reaps Reward at Little Cost”
- Left wing pundits are grilling the president for not making human rights a major issue.
- Rachel Maddow opined that Trump’s concessions are exactly what Putin wants.
- Even Ben Shapiro, someone for whom I have the highest respect, criticized Trump’s praise for Kim, while 25 million people are in prison. (Note to Ben: I am sure the president was very tough in private, but understood that buttering him up in public was the best way to help those 25 million individuals in the future.)
- Nancy Pelosi said the President gave North Korea concessions in exchange for “vague promises” without a “clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.”
- And Chuck Schumer went to twitter to whine:
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 12, 2018
If it were Obama!
I could go on, but you get the sense of it. And it is utter hypocrisy. It is feigned disappointment. The same pols and pundits who praised Barack Obama when he went to Cuba and sat down with its president and dictator, Raul Castro, attack President Trump. The Castro regimes have oppressed their people, limited religious freedoms, thrown political prisoners into prison without trials and Obama sought peace with them, while getting NOTHING in return.
Where were these pundits when Obama negotiated one of the most ridiculous one-sided deals in history with Iran? Did they report that he, Obama, secretly and illegally flew 400 million dollars in cash, with another 1.3 billion promised, to get hostages out? Kerry even admitted that some of the funds would be use in terror operations!
“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” Secretary of State John Kerry
Let me be clear…US dollars are funding terrorism because of the Obama/Kerry Iran deal.
(And while everyone is saying we got nothing from North Korea, there are three former hostages that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought home a few weeks ago who would disagree. And it didn’t cost $1.7 billion!)
So Much Better than the Iran Deal
Iran is one of the most treacherous, repressive nations on earth—equipped with torture prisons, secret political police and secret religious police: imprisoning citizens, and even killing them, without trial is par for the course in the Islamic Persian stronghold. They are ruthless and regularly call for the destruction of Israel and death to America. But that did not bother the left who wanted to enshrine Obama for the deal that was good for Iran and good (in the short term) for the pockets of European countries; and bad for America, Israel and the rest of the world.
But here, President Trump has gotten the leader of the most dangerous (because of the real possibility and desire of using their weapons cache) nation to begin this process and to commit to getting rid of nukes. This will be verified–and that is critical! Trump has said: No sanction relief until verified denuclearization.
No, Trump does not Admire Kim and More than Obama does Castro
Yes, Trump has praised Kim as part of a negotiating tactic. Do you really think that Trump went home that night and said to himself, “Wow. This guy is really misunderstood. He is a great leader. Dennis Rodman was right!” Of course not! He knows he is dealing with a slimy, dishonest killer who just happens to have the capability of taking Manhattan off the earth.
You are not going to get this process started by telling him he is a worthless despot and demanding that he empty his prison camps. Did Obama even think of doing this with Cuba, where he had far more leverage (Cuba has really nothing to offer us other than beaches, rum and cigars)? Why was this not an issue with Iran?
Let the Process Run its Course
Yes, in the end, it may all be a ruse. We can have troops back on the Korean Peninsula in two minutes. But, at least, let the process play out. Unlike with Iran, we have nothing to lose.
What if it ended with North Korea getting rid of its nukes, opening up to the west and granting relief to its citizens. Sadly, it appears that this is the last thing that Nancy Pelosi, Jim Acosta and Rachel Maddow want—they would prefer that the President fail and people die, than the President succeed. No, they will never say it like that—but it appears to be true.
Nothing Changed in Cuba
They claim they care about human rights in North Korea, when all they really care about is their own powerbase and agenda. Again, where were the protests over Obama being treated like a rock star in Cuba? “Finally, the times are changing,” claimed Mick Jagger during Obama’s trip in Cuba. Really, Mick? What has changed for the Cuban people since then?
The Rolling Stones were sure, and for good reason, not to be critical of the brutal regime in Cuba when they played there. Why offend them when it looked like reforms were on the way? I get that. But they claim President Trump is weak because he didn’t call out Kim on all his violations.
Two years after Ben Rhodes negotiated the Cuban deal, nothing has changed for the Cuban people. They are still oppressed and still live in fear. “[There has not] been any progress on improving Cuba’s human rights records and changing its one-party, communist-run government,” according to a USA Today article. But Ben Rhodes has no problem criticizing Trump over the Singapore Summit.
Nobody is ready to give Trump a Nobel just yet, but let the process play out. It can’t get any worse, only better. Patience, friends. Who would have believed that just months after their Twitter war, the two men were speaking face to face and come to a denuclearization agreement in mere hours?
It was Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, who said, “The hardships of peace are preferable to the sufferings of war.” This is the man who made a lasting peace deal with another ruthless regime – Egypt. Let’s allow things to play out before we decide it was a huge success or a dangerous failiure.
When I was writing my book Identity Theft, I came across this verse and it struck me as odd. At your first reading, unless you come from a Jewish background, you might not agree. But I will clarify.
Peter, speaking at the home of Cornelius, said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of [these Gentiles] being baptized with water.” (Acts 10:47)
Isn’t that hilarious? Let me explain.
Growing up Jewish, we were told that to be baptized in water was the ultimate act of treason against our people. To publicly go into the waters of baptism was to reject your heritage, your people and your God.
And, yet, here is a Jewish man, Peter, not proclaiming that it is okay for Jews to be baptized, but that it was okay to baptize Gentiles. Since when has it ever been controversial to baptize Gentiles? Yet, if not for the facts that:
- Peter had a vision symbolizing that Gentiles could be cleansed by the blood of Jesus;
- God told Peter to go with the Gentiles who would come for him at Simon the Tanner’s house;
- The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles, causing them to speak in tongues;
Peter would have never been in the position to recognize that Gentiles could be baptized.
Baptism was Jewish!
You have to understand that baptism, in the New Testament, was the way that someone confessed faith in Yeshua—it was, if you will, the sinner’s prayer of the New Testament. In the beginning, it was exclusively Jews being immersed in water.
Now, two thousand years later, we tend to think that baptism is foreign to Jewish life and culture. Not so. The reason that God chose baptism as the way to identify with the Messiah’s death and resurrection is precisely because it was so familiar to the people.
The Temple was surrounded with well over 50 immersion tanks (mikvot). These were used before someone would bring his sacrifice to the Temple. The Torah mentions ritual cleansing through baptism:
The priests had to be ritually clean (tahor) in order to serve at the tabernacle, and Israelites who had become ritually unclean (tamay) had to restore their situation with the passing of time and bathing their whole body in fresh, ritually clean (tahor) water, according to Leviticus 15. (One For Israel)
So what happened?
Good question! How did something that was so Jewish become perceived as utterly anti-Judaism? Why was it a local scandal in 1983, in the Richmond Jewish community, when I was baptized as a follower of Yeshua? It is a sad history.
The Church, as early as the second century, turned against the Jewish people. Over the centuries, Jews were accused of deicide—killing God, collective guilt, which deserved collective punishment; we were presented as being incurably lost.
“Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up your sins and saying that the covenant is [the Jews] as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it.”
Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 4:6-7 (between 130 A.D. and 138 A.D.)
“We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.”
Origen of Alexandria, (185-254 A.D.) – An ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.
These attitudes against the Jews continued to grow. In 325 A. D., Constantine and the Bishops of Nicaea outlawed Passover for Christians to celebrate the resurrection. It was replaced with Easter.
During the Crusades (1095 – 1291), Jews were butchered, raped and murdered by so-called Christians as they marched, on orders of the Pope, across Europe to fight Muslims in the Holy Land. These saints were told that if they died in battle, they would go straight to heaven. Sound familiar?
Then, in the Inquisitions (1492), the Jews of Spain were told to either be baptized as Christians or leave the country. Moles who worked for the church would spy on these “New Christians,” as they were called, to see if they would return to Jewish practice. (The other name they used for them was Spanish for swine!) Offenses included lighting Shabbat candles and refusing to eat pork, among others. The guilty would be arrested and severely punished—thousands were burned at the stake.
Now you see
It is thoughts of forced conversions/baptisms and persecutions that are conjured up in the Jewish mind when one mentions baptism today. They do not think of Jewish revival on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), when thousands of Jews were immersed in water in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Sadly, the historic church has done more to push Jewish people from faith in Yeshua, than any other force.
But there once was a day when a Jew named Simon Peter was stunned to see Gentiles receive the Jewish Messiah, and made the controversial decision to baptize these non-Jews into the kingdom. He was even attacked for this decision:
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the [Jewish believers] believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (Acts 11:2-3)
Now you know why I think Acts 10:47 is the funniest scripture in the New Testament. And yet, I find myself crying.
Pray that the eyes of Israel would be opened.