Confronting Iran, Defending Religious Freedom, Speaking Of Disrespect

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Confronting Iran
As you know, Christians United For Israel is wrapping up its annual Washington Summit.  This week, six thousand CUFI members heard from an unprecedented number of top administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. 
Throughout the Summit, regular announcements were made of new steps the government is taking to confront Iran and its terrorist proxies.  The administration's goal is to isolate Tehran's rogue regime (the world's leading state-sponsor of terrorism), to deny it the resources it needs to spread terror and, ultimately, to change its behavior.  For example, Ambassador Bolton declared: 
"No regime that chants 'Death to America' or 'Death to Israel' will get a deal from this administration.  We will continue to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime until it abandons its nuclear weapons program and ends its violent activities across the Middle East."
And that is exactly what the Trump Administration is doing.  Here are some developments from the past few days:

  • The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on members of the Lebanese parliament for their affiliations with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
  • Egypt and Great Britain have seized tankers suspected of illegally transporting Iranian oil.
  • European leaders issued their most serious statement to date after revelations that Iran has twice violated the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal regarding its uranium enrichment activities.  The EU statement demands that Iran reverse its illegal activities and return to full compliance "without delay."
  • A senior administration official today urged world leaders to resist rewarding Iran's "nuclear extortion." 

On The Hill
CUFI activists addressed a number of our legislative priorities yesterday during meetings with congressional leaders.  At the top of the agenda, as I noted in yesterday's report, is the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.  It's the easiest bill to explain, and yet the hardest to explain as to why the legislation hasn't advanced yet.
When analyzing anti-Semitism in foreign countries, the State Department uses a fairly simple definition.  The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act authorizes the Department of Education to use that same definition when investigating incidents of harassment against Jewish students on our university campuses, and to impose penalties if the actions fit the definition of anti-Semitism.
I was honored to join Pastor John Hagee yesterday in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The majority leader heard from several Kentucky students who accompanied us, and promised that he would make passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act a top priority in the Senate.
Defending Religious Freedom
Next week, dozens of diplomats and foreign leaders will gather in Washington, D.C., for the State Department's second annual Ministerial on the Advancement of Religious Freedom.  I will be participating as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
I will spend all day Monday in a conference devoted to fighting anti-Semitism.  This is just one of multiple Ministerial events dedicated to that issue.  In addition, there will be many events dealing with efforts to fight Christian persecution overseas.
In recent days, while we were celebrating our freedoms, the British government released its final report on Christian persecution overseas.  The report confirmed previous research finding that Christians are "the most persecuted religious group" and warned that many Christians are suffering such horrific atrocities as to warrant the designation of "genocide."
In a significant breakthrough, the report urged the British government to act more forcefully to resist Christian persecution, including by imposing sanctions against offending nations.
Team USA?
I am proud anytime a U.S. team wins for our country at the Olympics or in a major international competition.  But the success of the team and the skill of the players does not in any way lessen my anger over the disrespect shown to the country by Megan Rapinoe
My opposition to Colin Kaepernick has nothing to do with his ability (or lack thereof).  It has everything to do with his disrespectful, anti-American attitude.  Rapinoe is clearly a talented soccer player, but she is also very clearly anti-American. 
She refuses to respect the flag and our national anthem.  She refuses to respect the office of the presidency and refuses to go to the White House.  But she wants to come to Washington to meet with progressives like AOC. 
The left's narrative is that America is an evil place.  If Rapinoe believes that, why is she wearing the uniform of our national team?  Is it too much to ask that the officials running U.S. national teams require their athletes to show respect for the country?  I would rather the malcontents be kicked off the team, regardless of their talent even if it means the team loses. 
Sadly, Rapinoe isn't the only example of the left's anti-Americanism. 
In St. Louis Park, Minnesota, the city council voted unanimously to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Council Member Tim Brausen said, "We concluded that in order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community we're going to forgo saying the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting."
This is insanity!  America is a very diverse and welcoming nation.  The Pledge of Allegiance is meant to unite us.  Its call for liberty and justice for all is inclusive! 
Not to be outdone, the San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to destroy a 1,600 square-foot historic mural depicting the life of George Washington.  Justifying the $600,000 price tag of the demolition effort, Commissioner Mark Sanchez said, "This is reparations." 
Remember when President Trump warned that efforts to tear down Civil War statues would eventually lead to attacks on monuments to Jefferson and Washington?  He was right. 
The left is really good at tearing America down and tearing society apart.  Just look at Antifa.  It's not so good at building America up and bringing us together. 
Speaking Of Disrespect. . .
Yesterday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway commented on the "catfight" between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the "Progressive Squad."  Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) responded by calling Conway "Distraction Becky."  The left is celebrating Pressley retort.
But "Becky" is a term of derision for white women.  According to Merriam-Webster, "Becky is increasingly functioning as an epithet."  Other definitions say it specifically refers to white women who are not "woke" and who are obsessed with Starbucks and Ugg boots, more concerned about their appearance than the poor. 
Pressley essentially used a racial slur. 
If Conway had used a similar slur about black women, she would have been fired immediately.  But there are no voices on the left or in the media condemning Pressley's bigoted and disrespectful attack on Kellyanne Conway.