Tag: israel and palestine

The End of Days? Apocalypse Cow Born in Israel

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Recently, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced the birth of a rare red heifer cow. According to the institute, if the calf qualifies, it would be the first “red heifer in 2000 years”.

An Apocalypse Cow?

Christianity and Judaism both state that the birth of a pure, unmarked red heifer calf spells the beginning of the end of the world. With a potential apocalypse cow born, the institute now must undergo vigorous screening of it. If the calf has any marks or blemishes, then it is not pure, and thus, cannot be the sacrificial animal that the religions’ sacred texts promise.

The Temple Institute is a non-profit Jewish religious group based out of Israel. Their main goal is to create the biblical Third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. According to sacred texts, after the tenth red heifer in history is sacrificed, the people can begin building the temple.

The Red Heifer’s Religious Heat

However, the Islamic Dome of the Rock currently lies on Mount Moriah. In order to construct the Third Temple, they would first need to destroy the original structure. So, in order for this to occur, the Jewish community would first need to come to a consensus that the organization had truly found the right heifer. This, though, may turn out to be more difficult than it sounds, because they also would be bulldozing a major Muslim religious monument. And Islam, though similar to the other two monotheistic religions in many ways, does not recognize the red heifer as a symbol of judgment day.

Since 2015, the Temple Institute has been breeding cows in attempts at bringing about a red heifer. Though they have not resorted to genetic engineering, it is, of course, true that breeding knowledge is vastly more advanced today than in biblical times. Thus, it is not explicitly clear whether or not the cow would count, if it did not come about its conception through natural methods.

On the other hand, though, some may argue that the manipulation of animal lineage may necessitate judgment day, or at the very least, not disqualify it. In order for the construction of the temple to begin, the current owners of the Dome would need to agree to demolish it. Yet, it is highly unlikely that the Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places would do so.

High-stakes Conflict

Unfortunately, this refusal would likely stir up much more controversy. In recent years, Israeli leaders have threatened to take back the territory for Judaism. Only last year, the Jewish Temple movement stated officially that “We must liberate the Temple Mount from the murderous Islam”.

With a belief of the world’s end in play, these tensions would only skyrocket. Though they have threatened to tear down the Dome in the past, an important event such as the red heifer may be enough to prompt swift action. Muslims, though, having just lost a major religious monument, would surely retaliate if this was the case.

Without a doubt, the apocalypse cow has the chance to stir up some major religious controversy. If left unchecked, it could worsen the already horrific relations between Israel and Palestine, or even start a larger religious war. And unlike past religious wars such as the Crusades, Israel has nukes now. Other nearby nations are also hoping to attain them, so such a war could cause irrevocable consequences.

On Facebook, the institute officially declared the birth of the calf, but have yet to provide further information. Whether or not this calf can be the apocalypse cow may make or break hopes of peace between bitter religious rivals in Israel and the rest of the world.


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Non-Intervention is the Only Foreign Policy That Puts America First

By Jack Parkos | United States

When a man says “family first” he will reschedule meetings to make time for his family. When a Christian says “God First” they make room for church on Sunday. What does a politician do when he or she says “America First”? Well not exactly that. Whether enacted by a Democrat or Republican, whether through foreign aid, warfare or global institutions, our foreign policy hasn’t been putting America first. Yet the people in charge claim it does.

Our policy has favored global institutions controlling power, decades of constant warfare, and maintaining an empire overseas. This approach costs countless lives and millions of dollars in resources. This is all based on the rhetoric that America has some sort of responsibility  to “Spread democracy” around the world (which is ironic considering we aren’t even a democracy). Partner this with the military industrial complex and some elitism and you have a policy that has put other nations ahead of America.

Ironically it seems the people who scream the loudest about putting America first do so the least. Both parties are guilty. The rise of Neo-Conservatism has plagued both parties. Even President Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, dropped over 26,000 bombs a year in the Middle East. They always spread the lie that intervention is for security reasons and puts America first and keeps us safe. I don’t understand how rigging elections and installing puppet regimes keeps me safe. It only creates enemies.

Russia has been accused of hacking our elections and although we don’t even know if it changed the outcome or really even what happened, people are furious. So imagine how mad people get when the CIA does this to their elections. We have made a new enemy. And this enemy is now against America. Making enemies doesn’t put America first. Our government making enemies for us is cruel. If we minded our own business, we’d be a lot better off. Does this mean all nations will love America? No, but we would have less groups that hate us.

Civil Wars happen, America even had one. This doesn’t mean we need to intervene. In the American Civil War, the CSA hoped the British and French would send troops to help it defeat the Union. They did not. Why? Because they knew it may start a war between the US and Britain. Britain put their country and there people first. This seems very reasonable. Why does America not apply this policy? If we see a Civil War erupt many miles away across the ocean, we don’t have to intervene. This doesn’t help us.

Whoever is in charge of some country in the Middle East doesn’t harm your average American. But intervening will. War has great costs. Since 2001 America has spent 5.6 trillion dollars on wars in the Middle East. And you know who gets sent the bill? American citizens. Even worse than the great financial loss is the loss of life. America first means putting American citizens first. This should include our military. Sadly, our government hasn’t felt that way.

Imagine a mother getting the call her son was killed halfway across the world, she even was forced to pay for this war. Once the war is done, nothing changes. We are no safer. We were likely never in danger. It is simply immoral and wrong to ask people to send their sons to a place they don’t know, to fight for old men in suits, and then demand the bill be paid. Our military should be a defensive one used to protect the people and put the country first, not for intervention. This will put the American people first and truly keep us safer.

You may think we have a moral responsibility to intervene, because perhaps the regime is a tyrannical one. There are several issues with this idea. The first is that the people calling to intervene are calling for others to do it. Politicians in D.C. won’t be doing any of the fighting themselves. Further, when we elect representatives there job is to represent the American people. They don’t represent Israel, Palestine, Syria, or any other country. It simply isn’t their job to represent the rest of the world. Intervention is also bound to put us in a bind when it comes to our relationship with allies. When our allies commit an atrocity do we need to intervene?

The war hawk will say our allies would never, and that even if they did we would help. This is not true. We all remember Trump launching missiles into Syria after news of a gas attack. Meanwhile in the Israel-Palestine conflict, where both sides have committed war crimes, we side with Israel and ignore there harm perpetrated by Israel. This is simply outrageous and proves that Neo-conservatives have no principles. They will gladly intervene off of claims in Syria, but turn the other cheek when Israel commits atrocities. Do they really want to bring world peace or do they just want to benefit certain groups? It appears to be the latter, and the American people is not one of the groups benefited by this.

So what foreign policy will truly put America first? A policy that protects Americans and doesn’t harm the economy. Non-intervention is the only policy that does this. This would include restricting our military to a defensive role, allowing for free trade, and not meddling in the affairs of other countries. This would reduce both spending and casualties. We also should set the example to the world of what a free and prosperous country is like.  But to do so, we first must become a free and prosperous country again. A major way we can do this is adopt the non-intervention foreign policy. If we want to put America ahead of everything else, perhaps we should put peaceful talks ahead of bombs. Intervention has not worked. It is time to try non intervention-the policy that promotes peace and prosperity.


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Abandoned Independence: The True Story of a Young Girl in Gaza

By Joseph Brown | United States

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES (BLOOD/GORE) BELOW

It’s that time of year again.

The taste of sulfur from a barrage of fireworks collides with the familiar smell of barbecue as the nation commemorates the ol’ red white and blue. For many Americans, the 4th of July is seen as a way to celebrate the capstone of American accomplishment, and any elementary school kid could tell you that the United States of America gained its freedom against all odds by forcing colonial British forces from its land.

Who has time for royal weddings when you have Monday Night Football anyway?

The classic tale of a determined ragtag band of rebels defeating the most powerful military force in the world has influenced thousands across the globe. It has inspired subsequent revolutions, formed modern American culture, and of course, created the masterful cinematic universe of Star Wars (Let’s not talk about the last one).

The memory of early American revolutionaries is alive and well in American society, but their legacy might have died with the founding fathers. Let’s take a gander at what life would have been like for a family in colonial America:

Amanda is a young woman living in the coastal city of Boston during the height of the American Revolutionary War. Though previously privileged enough to receive post-secondary education, Amanda was forced to abandon her studies and her talents after the conflict between Imperial and Rebel forces escalated. With hostile forces occupying a portion of her hometown, and the infamous British fleet blockading Boston’s ports, life in the besieged city has slowly begun to fade. Rations are running low, and the community is forced to face the possibility of starving,  while wandering a few blocks in the wrong direction could lead to a fate even worse than death.

If you thought life couldn’t seem any more bleak than it already is, you’re wrong.

Amanda’s brother was shot in the leg by British soldiers during a protest to lift the blockade, and for the past 64 days, Oliver has existed in a hellish state of unimaginable pain. Rebel forces have commandeered the majority of goods, and the merciless blockade prevents any significant aid from entering the dying city. Amanda and her family have no choice but to sit and watch Oliver writhe in excruciating agony before finally losing consciousness in what is the only remote escape from his pain.

While her brother sleeps, Amanda gathers bits of rubble and driftwood as a means of insulating her home from the bitter Atlantic winds. The war seems impossibly hopeless, and she doubts her brother will survive the winter. Every night, she watches the sun set on the silhouettes of British warships, as they strangle what’s left of her broken city.

Luckily for you and I, we know the ending to Amanda’s story. We know that the Continental Army would eventually manage to defeat British forces, and the rest is history, right?

Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege of such happy endings.

Although the above narrative is a perfectly probable allegory describing life in the midst of a great American conflict, it is modeled completely upon the true experiences of a family on the other side of the world.

You’re familiar with Amanda, but have you met Asmaa?

During her lifetime, Asmaa al-Housh has witnessed unimaginable amounts of destruction and despair, much like our fictional Amanda. The only difference?

Asmaa is from the Gaza Strip.

Formerly an outgoing photographer and active student at her local university, Asmaa was forced to abandon her aspirations after her brother, Omar, was shot in the leg by Israeli security forces while attending recent march protesting the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As of May 30th, 2018, Israeli border patrols have killed at least 134 Palestinian protesters and injured 15,000 others during the protests. Among the dead and wounded are men, women, and children. Since 2007, no one has been allowed in or out of Gaza territory, and a merciless land, air, and sea blockade has prevented the transportation of significant medical supplies and basic goods.

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In Gaza, the most brutal wounds are often treated without any pain medicine due to a resource blockade.

 

Asmaa provides full time care for her twin brother, and for the past two months, you can almost always find her at his bedside. With local hospital facilities lacking staff, supplies, room, and tools, emergency services are quickly overwhelmed, and patients who are in need of critical care are often dismissed, or could face lengthy treatment times. Some can’t survive the wait.

The horrendous conditions of healthcare facilities merely reflect the state of being in the Gaza Strip. Residents of the besieged city are lucky to have four hours of electricity a day, and often resort to collecting driftwood or rubble as a means of heating water among the demolished ruins of Gaza neighborhoods. Blackouts are frequent, and uncertainty looms in every corner of human existence. Is the water clean? Where will we get our next meal? Will our house be bombed tonight? Will my son even make it home alive? These are the real questions that residents living in Gaza are forced to ask themselves every day under the Israeli occupation.

Few Palestinians within Gaza ever have the chance to have their voice heard beyond their own neighborhood. When asked what she would tell Americans about her homeland, Asmaa told me that few Americans can comprehend what it’s like to live there.

“Gaza is a prison. I have  dreams to travel…but none of this is possible. I have great hope, but it is not always this way. When I hear my brother scream or see his wounds, I am very tired.”

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Omar lays wounded in a hospital, where even the most essential resources are scarce.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has proven to be one of the most divisive and dynamic disasters of modern history, and continues to be a polarizing political issue, both internationally and within the United States. Yet, amidst the heartbreaking violence and hopeless political upheaval, the victims of the conflict have largely been forgotten, and are seldom represented as anything more than a statistic. Israeli or Palestinian, these are human lives, and this is as much of a human issue than a political one.

So before you crack open a beer, or eat one of those generic Walmart sugar cookies with colored sprinkles, take a moment to recognize that the principles of freedom and self determination aren’t exclusively American. There are thousands of oppressed peoples around the world who will die before they see the fruits of their resistance, and there are children in Gaza who could teach an American a thing or two about “The rocket’s red glare”.


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