Modern-Day Maccabees: UN Resolution 2334

President Obama has done everything he can to undermine and delegitimize Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past eight years. Obama even went so far as to send an election team to Israel to campaign against Netanyahu in the most recent election.

Now, with three weeks left in office, he’s taking one final shot at the Jewish state.

Refusing to use its veto power, something the U.S. has regularly done when it feels the language is too harsh against Israel, the U.S. helped pass U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last week’s resolution passed 14 votes to 0 with the U.S. casting the sole abstaining vote.

The resolution is one of the harshest the UN has ever passed regarding Israel.

The resolution condemns Israeli “settlement” activity and calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and declares that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The resolution also asserts the Temple Mount and Western Wall are not historic Jewish territory.

Palestinian leaders have already said they will use the resolution to seek International Criminal Court indictments of Israeli leaders, push for a formal probe into whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions and petition foreign governments to ban the import of any products made in Israeli “settlements.”

Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech yesterday defending the U.S. decision to not veto the resolution.

Kerry, no longer attempting to hide the administration’s disdain for Israel, repeatedly referred to Israel as “the occupier,” even going so far as to say that “it is not this resolution that is isolating Israel. It is the permanent policy of [Israeli] settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.”

Kerry went on to say, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both –and it won’t ever really be at peace.”

Not surprisingly, Kerry failed to acknowledge the role terrorist group Hamas plays in the Palestinian government nor of the Palestinian’s singular goal of “wiping Israel off the face of the earth.”

And yet, none of this is new for Israel.

This is not the first time Israel has had to defend itself against a more powerful enemy to ensure her survival. In fact, that spirit of survival is what we celebrate in this season of Hanukkah.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Maccabees, the rebel Jewish army, faced the mighty Greeks in a seven-year struggle to defend their right to exist, to worship in their own way and reclaim their God-given land of Israel. After miraculously defeating the Greek army, the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They cleansed and rededicated the Temple to YHVH and reestablished the Jewish way of life in Israel.

While the names may have changed, the situation has not.

Israel is still fighting for the right to simply exist and there are still those who seek to destroy her. But just as in days gone by, there are also those who choose to fight alongside Israel.

As many of you know, I did not enthusiastically vote for Donald Trump. Voting for Gary Johnson was not an option. Voting for Hillary Clinton was definitely not an option. And so I found myself somewhat backed into Donald Trump’s corner.

But to be honest, from the moment I realized he had beaten Hillary Clinton, I felt hope and excitement for the first time in eight years.

I was excited to see his plans for the economy, to see Obamacare repealed, to see stronger foreign policy and to see less of the debilitating political correctness that defined this administration. But most of all, I felt hopeful regarding policy towards Israel.

Trump has made no secret of his intentions to support and defend Israel, a markedly different approach from his predecessor. In fact, Trump tweeted out the following series of tweets in response to the Obama administration’s decision to not veto the UN resolution,

Trump Tweets UN

“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” the tweets read. “They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

While I’m definitely not trying to promote Donald Trump as the savior for the Jewish people, it is encouraging to know the incoming administration is poised to be a true ally and friend of Israel.

Let us be encouraged this Hanukkah as we remember what this season represents.

As we light the candles on the menorah, let us remember there is always light to be found in the darkness. Let us remember we can be that light in the midst of darkness if we are willing to stand for truth and righteousness. May we remember the Maccabees of old and be reminded we, too, are modern-day Maccabees who are not alone in the fight for Israel’s right to exist.

And above all, let us remember that the same God who delivered Israel 2,000 years ago is the same God who will defend and protect Israel today.

Am Israel chai! The people of Israel live!

Chag sameach Hanukkah! Happy Hanukkah!

Election 2016: We’re Doomed

I have never used the phrase “we’re doomed” more than I have during this election cycle. We already knew Hillary would be the Democrat nominee – I’m pretty sure Bernie would have “mysteriously disappeared” had she not – but I really was holding out hope that we would have a real candidate on the Republican side to vote for this November. Unfortunately, I have learned my lesson: never put your faith in the American people.

I really, truly believed that this was just a phase the American people were going through; that once they got Trump out of their system they, like an unruly teenager, would come to their senses and see reason and take the choosing of the President of the United States of America seriously. Alas, they did not. And now I’ve been bitterly disappointed once again. It’s my fault, really. I should have known better than to expect the American people to demonstrate common sense and good decision making.

So here we find ourselves – between a rock and a hard place – needing a solution to our dilemma.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and already know who you’re voting for. Congratulations! Unless of course you’re voting for Hillary and in which case, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.

But in all seriousness, for many of us who tend to lean to the right side of the aisle, we find ourselves in a tough spot.

If you’re like me I know who I’m NOT, under ANY circumstances voting for, but I haven’t quite figured out who I am voting for.

When it was first announced that Trump would be the nominee, I toyed with the idea of joining the “Never Trump” crowd and vowing that even a rock would make a better candidate for president. But that would mean voting for a third party candidate – and in the absence of a viable third party candidate, I was back to the rock and square one.

The reason I find it so difficult to vote for Trump is because, simply put, he’s an idiot. I believe the more PC way to put it would be “he does not have the political savvy befitting a presidential hopeful.”

Time after time we have seen political debates reduced to nothing more than petty mud-slinging, lying, personal attacks and outright bullying. This is who the American people want representing them to the rest of the world?!

Second, his policies are appallingly similar to any candidate on the wrong left side of the aisle. If you were to write the stance of both Hillary and Trump side-by-side on a piece of paper without attribution, the list would be almost indistinguishable! So it’s almost like voting for Hillary either way…and at that realization a part of my soul just died.

Third, I have no idea how he plans to address any of the problems facing America. Trump is known for saying he’s going to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic and it’s not going to happen. I’ve heard Trump supporters say that Mexico will be convinced to pay for the wall because Trump is going to block all illegal immigrants from sending their welfare checks back to Mexico. The problem with this logic is that Mexico is bringing in more money from the drug cartels crossing the border than any amount of money being sent from entitlement checks, so removing the welfare checks would hardly be enough to make the Mexican government concede to paying for the wall.

Trump also says he’s going to block all Muslims from coming to America. Again, anything is possible in the land of rainbows and unicorns but in the land of reality, I don’t see Trump being able to make that happen either. Congress would have to approve those measures and barring another major, horrific attack, I don’t see that happening. I don’t believe our country wants nor is in a place where we should start banning any specific group from entering our country.

So again, given the fairytale solutions to our real life problems, we’re back to square one. That rock is looking pretty good, isn’t it?

I’ve considered voting for a third-party candidate. There’s always Gary Johnson running on the Libertarian ticket. But after this stunt he pulled (which would have been hilarious had we not been talking about a presidential nominee) and watching this video (WARNING: some people are morons and do things that are stupid, gross and inappropriate and then put it on the internet) I decided I couldn’t bring myself to vote for anyone from this party. I also couldn’t bring myself to vote for Gary Johnson (even though he’s a New Mexican) after he didn’t know what/where Aleppo was and couldn’t name a world leader he admired. <insert major eye rolling and sighs of despair here>

But I also know that voting for a third-party candidate can be dangerous because we know they’re not going to win so why “waste” the vote. Now, I don’t actually believe that any vote cast after thoughtful consideration is ever a waste, but I do believe it can be strategically useless.

If you vote for a third-party candidate you know is going to lose and you don’t strongly believe in them anyway, you’re practically giving a vote to the candidate you don’t want to elect because you’re not ensuring their opponent wins.

Once I realized I wasn’t going to find a candidate I wanted to vote for, I decided I needed to shift my way of thinking. I’m used to thinking of voting in terms of who I want to see in office (which is how it should be) but under these circumstances, I’ve decided I need to shift my way of thinking. Instead, I need to focus on who I don’t want to see in office.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not want to see Hillary Clinton become president. So now I need to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. What’s the best way to ensure Hillary is not elected? As much as it physically pains me to say it: vote for Donald Trump.

I was completely ready to do this until the last few weeks.

Watching Trump self-destruct during the debates and listening to him try to construct a coherent stance on issues has been painful beyond belief. I cringe every time I hear him speak. He doesn’t know how to control himself. He doesn’t know how to remain calm and level-headed. He doesn’t know how not to defend himself against every, single accusation. He doesn’t know how to stay off Twitter at 2 a.m.

To be honest, I’m not as disturbed by the accusations of sexual assault or the crude “locker room talk.” Not because I think it’s ok but because the same people who are exploding over the accusations against Trump are the same people who dismiss actual rape and assault charges against Bill Clinton and ignore Hillary’s bullying of the female victims.

For the first time since I’ve been able to vote, I have seriously considered not voting for either of the candidates this election – and that pains me.

It’s a tough decision for people like myself who know we will never vote for Hillary, yet find Donald Trump unpalatable and ridiculous. He’s not conservative. He’s Republican only in name. He was a Democrat until about five minutes ago and his stance on many issues hasn’t had time to catch up yet. I know many conservatives, particularly among evangelical voters, fully support Trump because he says he is pro-life and will appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. But I have serious doubts about his intentions to actually do this.

He’s terrible. She’s a criminal. We’re doomed. How is anyone supposed to make a real decision?!

Ultimately, the main thing he has going for him, in my opinion, is the fact he’s not Hillary Clinton. That has been Trump’s saving grace this entire election. She has bullied her husband’s victims of rape and abuse and she led the charge on covering up her husband’s infidelity, rape and abuse. Through the FBI’s investigation we learned that Hillary was guilty of “gross negligence,” which is a conscious decision to disregard the need to use reasonable care.

Wikileaks revealed in the Podesta emails Hillary has “begun to hate everyday Americans,” there was concern from Chelsea Clinton about “compromised” technology during visits to China and information revealing her campaign had paid protestors to stir up trouble and violence at Trump rallies.

As Secretary of State, she claims she didn’t know what the “C” indicating “Classified” meant. She ignored requests for help that resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including an American ambassador. She set up a private email server on which she did official Secretary of State business. She has been paid obscene amounts of money by foreign countries through the Clinton Foundation to grant favors in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

Even through this past weekend we learned the FBI was reopening the investigation into Hillary’s emails because of a connection found in the Weiner investigation. One can only imagine what raunchy mess they found there.

I’m still on the fence on if I’ll vote for Donald Trump or not. There’s a 99.9% chance I’ll be voting for him but I’m still holding out hope on the .1% chance there will be some political savior who will fall from the sky, riding a white horse that will save me from voting for Donald Trump.

But I know that’s probably not going to be the case.

So how will you be voting this year? Hillary? Trump? Will you be voting your conscience? Will you be voting for the lesser of two evils? Will you not be voting at all this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Trump Boycotts Debate after Feud with Megyn Kelly

Ahead of tonight’s Republican Debate on Fox News, Donald Trump escalated his feud with Fox reporter Megyn Kelly. This childish feud started back in August 2015 at the first Republican debate when Kelly took Trump to task over derogatory statements he’d made about women. Trump – who prides himself on being tough, unapologetic, and politically incorrect – felt he was being unfairly targeted by the news channel and publicly criticized Kelly and the network.

Trump announced this week that he would boycott Thursday’s Fox News debate following a mocking Fox statement which suggested that Trump would replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers and that the leaders of Iran and Russia “both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly” if he becomes president.

Trump accused Kelly of being a “lightweight” and announced he will hold a completing fundraiser instead of attending the debate.

As if this whole feud isn’t already childish and completely ridiculous, Trump just took it up a notch by tweeting out a racy pic of Kelly from a photo shoot she did for GQ in 2010 and called her a “bimbo.” Classy, Donald. Classy.

Trump Tweet Megyn Kelly

Honestly, I think this whole thing is ridiculous. Is this really the kind of man we want to see in the White House? A man who involves himself in Twitter feuds with TV news anchors? A man who publicly throws temper tantrums for getting criticized by the media? THAT’S POLITICS! If you’re going to be president, you better get used to being scrutinized and criticized by the media! Grow up, put on your big-boy pants and try to act like an adult because you’re running for the position of the leader of the free world for goodness sake!

I honestly hope this feud will make him drop in the polls. Ted Cruz is running a close second behind Trump and I would love to see him take the lead in this presidential race!

Tell us what do you think of Trump’s actions and the feud between Trump and Kelly/Fox News in the comments below!

2015: A Year in Review

Welcome to 2015. Where man-buns are a thing and more deaths are caused by taking selfies than shark attacks. Deaths by selfies gone wrong: 12. Death by shark attacks: 8. There have been an estimated 105 billion photos taken by Americans this year and 104.9 billion of them were seflies! We have definitely become a more selfish and self-centered generation this year – with the Kardashians leading the charge on this one! Kim Kardashian (in)famously “broke the internet” this year with her butt. [I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.] But I guess Ariana Grande wanted a piece of the limelight so she took to donut licking to find it. She may have taken it a bit too far when she said she hated America and Americans because her stunt backfired and people began to realize they’d have one less “Problem” without her so she eventually apologized and now all is right with the world.

Yes, 2015 was indeed a busy year. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this past year.

Politics and the Fight Against Terror
We started off 2015 with the attacks by two brothers with ties to Al-Qaeda, against Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris who had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They killed 11 people and injured 11 others. A massive manhunt for the two terrorists led to an altercation with police two days later. The terrorists were found hiding in a printworks factory. They emerged from the building firing at police. Both suspects were killed. Meanwhile, two other terrorists with connections to the brothers had taken hostages inside a Jewish supermarket. In total, 17 people were killed in the course of three-days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress this year in March speaking against the nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama was busy golfing or something and subsequently couldn’t find time to meet with our “strongest ally in the Middle East.”

In May, the U.S. along with several other world leaders struck a nuclear agreement with Iran. Supporters of Israel and common sense all over the world urged their leaders to oppose the deal. In his address to the country, President Obama gave us some information about the really bad deal.

An arms embargo would be in place for 5 years while a ballistic missile embargo would be in place for 8 years. The deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior or acting like a civilized nation. We are hoping this deal will lead to future talks in hopes that they will lessen their violence and take a more constructive path — but we’re not betting on it.

It does not give me pause the others in Tehran or Mr. Assad are praising this deal as victory against America. The facts are the facts. I’m not concerned with what others say about it.

We have huge differences with Iran. Israel has significant concerns with regards to its security. Iran has a military, they deny the holocaust, they have called for their destruction and have missiles pointed at [Israel]. For all the objections of Netanyahu and republicans no one has given me an alternative.

24/7 monitoring of the “known” and “declared” facilities. What if they try to develop a covert program? The benefit of sophisticated monitoring throughout the entire process is that it’s hard to create a covert program. But if they are so determined, the IAEA has the authority to declare they want to inspect the suspicious areas. If Iran wants to object to any inspections, we can override that decisions. This is the most vigorous inspection process ever negotiated. The only argument you could make against it is that Iran is no intent that no inspection team would ever be sufficient. At that point, the only alternative is to go to war with Iran.

We didn’t make the release of hostages part of the deal because we didn’t want Iran thinking they could get more out of this deal by using the hostages as leverage. If we had walked away from the negotiating table we’d still be pushing hard to get them out of prison.

There are quite a few sketch details in this nuclear deal with Iran. I’m sure we will hear about this in 2016.

The world was rocked again when terrorists carried out attacks in the capital of France. Terrorists executed at least 158 people in coordinated attacks around Paris. The terrorists were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “this is for Syria” before opening fire. French President Francois Hollande closed the French borders and declared a state of emergency. The terrorists involved were killed.

ISIS took more ground in Syria and Northern Iraq. More people were brutally murdered by the terrorist group which also led to the height of the refugee crisis facing the world. For years, Syrians had been fleeing their country because of the devastating civil war taking place. But now with ISIS being added to the mix, the number of refugees was becoming almost overwhelming. The debate reached its height in America this year after it was discovered that at least one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks had snuck in with the Syrian refugees.

While most American were having Turkey for Thanksgiving, so was Russian President Vladmir Putin. After ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks against Russians and around the world, Putin ordered attacks against the terrorist groups and many Americans day-dreamed about impeaching Barack Mom-Jeans Obama and replacing him with Vladmir I-Wrestle-Bears-With-My-Bare-Hands Putin to be our next President.

And just when we all thought the Greek economy couldn’t get any worse, it did. Throughout the year, we’ve watched as the Greek economy collapsed – again…again.

2015 was also the year of Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Both entered the Presidential race this year and both have lead the ratings as the two front-runners in the GOP party. I think this shows that people are ready for some real change – not more politicians promising the world and then delivering none of it. Although, I still think Ted Cruz is the best candidate. Anyhow, this should make for an interesting election this coming year!

Race Issues
After the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, two weeks of protests erupted in downtown Baltimore. The incident reignited the debate about police brutality and brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront of American’s minds.

On June 17, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine people. In the subsequent investigation, photos of the gunman posing with a Confederate flag emerged which sparked a debate on the Confederate flag. South Carolina representatives voted to remove the Confederate flag.

Rachel Dolezal came under fire this year after city officials investigated her claim that she was African-American only to find out she was actually white. She claimed that she “identified as African-American” because apparently in 2015 we became a society that made it ok to just “feel” whoever we wanted to be. Which leads us to one of the top social stories of the year.

Social Issues
Bruce “Call Me Caitlyn” Jenner made waves in April 2015 when he announced he identified as a woman and would be making the official change from Bruce to Caitlyn.

In a 5-4 decision this June, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states. However, many questioned the validity of the ruling and whether or not the Supreme Court, who cannot make laws but only enforce existing laws, had the authority to make such a decision.

Pope Francis made headlines this year when he visited the United States. He also addressed Congress on his September visit – becoming the first Pope ever to do so. In his speech, he advocated on behalf of the poor and Mother Earth and lambasted greed.

On April 25, the world jumped into action after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and destroyed thousands of homes. The earthquake triggered a massive landslide on Mount Everest and killed approximately 9,000 people.

But the earthquake in Nepal wasn’t the only reason thousands of people died this year. Planned Parenthood earned themselves national criticism when undercover videos revealed the horrifying truth behind Planned Parenthood. While most of us already knew that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually care for women or children, it seemed their depravation goes even further than any of us thought possible. Planned Parenthood officials were caught on video selling aborted baby parts for thousands of dollars. It seems that their procedures even took special precautions to ensure the parts were as intact as possible to ensure the highest price. Little was done in response to prevent this from happening again and many even bolstered their support for Planned Parenthood in spite of national criticism. Meanwhile, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion in a small African village drew public outcry and even received death threats while the villagers in Africa went on with their lives as normal.

Meanwhile, college students across America whined that they needed “safe-spaces” on campuses so that no one would feel marginalized or have their feelings hurt. Because 2015 was the year of the cry-baby. In generations before us, young adults fought wars and built a life for themselves and their families but today, they cry for their blankies and safe-spaces. What is America coming to?!

Mass Shootings
Charleston, Oregon, San Bernardino. This year, it seemed as if there were too many mass shootings. It seemed like every day there were alerts of gunmen on a college campus, or walking down the street, or at their job. While the liberal left were crying for their blankies and more gun control (which is obviously the solution), common-sense thinkers recognized that it won’t take more gun control, it will actually take less government intervention to help keep America safe. Bad guys will find a way to murder and kill. The delay in time it takes a police officer to respond to a 911 call could mean the difference between life and death. And that means that if the bad guys are the only ones with guns, there will be no one to protect innocent civilians – especially with the wave of distrust arising against police officers.

Undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey was defeated by New Mexico native Holly Holm and Americans across the nation engaged in a throwdown of their own when that stupid dress came on the scene. You know which one I’m talking about. The gold and white one. Or was it the blue and black one? Either way, people almost died over that controversy.

We also saw, or at least learned, about the Gilmore Girls reunion! Fans all over the world pulled out their “Babette Ate Oatmeal” shirts, drank gallons of coffee, and practiced saying “Oy with the poodles” hundreds of times fast in preparation for the big day. We also saw Star Wars make a HUGE comeback this year. In what is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time, Disney takes us to a galaxy set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but, seriously, SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

And then there was the sad news that oldest Duggar son Josh, had not only molested some of his younger sisters and family friends growing up but that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, as well.

New Year, New Start
As 2015 comes to a close, its easy to look back at this last year and see only the negative. But in the midst of the bad there are stories of good. Stories of people helping others. Stories of lives being changed forever. Stories that restore our faith in humanity.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but just think what would happen in 2016 if we all resolved to be a force for good this year. If we stopped and helped someone in need. If we thought of others first and gave of ourselves. We could be the light in a very dark world. We could give others hope in a world of despair. So let’s charge into 2016 ready to face all the challenges that lay ahead knowing that God is the Light that goes before us!

Be blessed and be a blessing in 2016!