Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem


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TRUMP FOLLOWS THROUGH ON EMBASSY PROMISE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, this past Monday was a significant day in the nation of Israel as President Donald Trump of the United States made a bold decision that was actually passed by Congress 20 years ago to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

DR. REEDER: This is something that has been the stated objective of almost every president and every Congress. And, in fact, it was almost an embarrassment to all of the allies who had knowingly turned their eyes and ears from the reality of the Holocaust being inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Nazi regime and then, of course, the uncovering of this site. So, the Holocaust, it was just a matter of a couple of years before the United Nations would pass the declaration for the restoration of Israel back to its homeland. Of course, all of this dates back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Now comes this post-World War II movement. Every president, also, of course, wants to bring peace to the Middle East as well. Our last presidents have made initiatives and efforts but it’s been to no avail. Now, interestingly, what President Trump has done, which is placing our embassy in the capital of Jerusalem, let’s make a couple of facts abundantly clear. First of all, Jerusalem is, by the nation of Israel, declared to be her “eternal city,” the eternal capital of Israel.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT ?

Nations always place their embassies in the capital cities of the nation with which they have the relationships and our Congress has authorized that our embassy should be in the capital city of Jerusalem and has so directed it to be, but no president has placed our embassy in the capital city of Israel, which is Jerusalem.

Well, Tom, the question automatically says well, why haven’t presidents done what Congress has authorized? They put the embassy in Tel-Aviv, which has been the functional economic center of Israel. Even though all of their governmental buildings and organizations are located in Jerusalem, we’ve always put our embassy in Tel-Aviv.

WHY DID U.S. WAIT SO LONG TO PUT EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

Why? It’s been a bargaining chip out of deference to the Palestinians so that, in negotiations, that has positioned America as a broker of peace and it has been acknowledged that America would be the best broker of a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli nation.

Well, now, as Donald Trump has said, every president has promised to put the embassy there, Congress has authorized the embassy to be there, I’m going to put it there. He put it and an unmistakable message was given because it was on the day that commemorates the establishment of Israel in 1947. Therefore, the president does it and that, of course, has caused significant unrest in Israel.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE STILL FACE UNREST

TOM LAMPRECHT: In fact, there were dozens of Palestinians that were killed as the Israeli defense forces acted forcefully when a number of terrorists tried to breach a security fence.

DR. REEDER: There were efforts to disrupt the process, efforts to go through the security fences so there were Israeli defense forces. And the Israelis now are under a number of assaults in that there is the Iranian-backed assaults coming out of Syria, which Israel has responded to very forcefully externally and then the internal issues of the Palestinian unrest and their response and the Palestinians have declared that they no longer will look to America or follow America’s peace initiatives.

Now, a lot of people are sitting here looking at this, having seen something we’re going to comment on tomorrow, the Korean initiatives that have been somewhat successful, and what has been the role of this presidential administration. And some are looking at this and saying, well, this may be another example of business as usual by presidents, which is, “I’m not going to put the embassy there so I’ve got a bargaining chip.”

The fact is the bargaining chip hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked now for four presidents. This president decides: I’m not going to use it as a bargaining chip. I’m going to go ahead and do it and let’s see if that moves the process forward, because there is no other ally that we have that we will not put an embassy in their capital and, if Israel is a strong ally for us, then we need to go ahead and do what we would do with every other nation. And then, from that position, let’s be a player in the matters of negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

PEACE IS A TOP GOAL

It is my opinion that this actually may position the president’s negotiating teams in a more purposeful position. Instead of making Jerusalem a bargaining chip, you’ve made it a reality that has to be dealt with and now move ahead to deal with the reality of how we get a peace agreement there in Israel.

Of course, there’s some evangelicals that their position is this is futile to try to make a peace agreement because the Bible declares that there will be enmity between the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac. However, I would suggest that, while in God’s purposes, what He does with the conflicts of nations is yet to be seen in His providence.

I believe the directive of God’s Word is very clear:

— We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should seek the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should be peacemakers wherever we go.

Well, Harry, what about wars? War is always the failure of human beings to deal with the issues of sin and unrighteousness and evil and, ultimately, wars may settle the immediacy of an issue, but they don’t position you for the long-term effects of what needs to be done for felicity — the fact that we need to promote peace. Whereby, with principles of what is right and what is wrong, you sit down at the table in order to do that which is just for both nations.

PAST APPROACHES WERE DECEPTIVE AND INEFFECTIVE 

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Abigail Shrier, who writes for The National Review and The Federalist, said the embassy move could be Trump’s most enduring presidential achievement.

DR. REEDER: I have that hope, Tom. I have that very, very hope. I just know that the past approach of withholding the embassy by presidential directive in order to use that to create the opportunity to be the broker of peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people hasn’t worked and there is no sense that it will work. I think go ahead and deal with Israel as you would with any other ally, place the embassy there, go ahead and establish that and let Israel deal with the reality of that.

And then, from that position, call the factions within Israel to a table and then I actually think you can speak with more pointedness to Israel, having affirmed her position as an ally rather than, “Israel, we are authorized to put an embassy in Jerusalem but we’re not going to do it unless you make concessions to the Palestinians. And, Palestinians, see, we haven’t put an embassy there so that shows that we’re really not an ally with Israel and you can trust us.”

I don’t think that kind of deception really works. Go ahead and put the embassy there and sit down and say, “Now let’s get on the table what are the issues and how can we create a solution that takes care of the Palestinian people within the confines of the borders of Israel and how can an appropriate nation be established for the Palestinian people?”

I will again remind our listeners that I believe that this was a failure prior to World War II when the Balfour Declaration was not properly fulfilled underneath English oversight and what today is Jordan actually was the very place whereby those who are in Israel were supposed to be given land and a nation and it was to be established. And the creation of Jordan was, actually, I believe, a political figment for other purposes that was put into place, but now Jordan is there — it’s going to be there — now you’ve got to deal with the necessity of, I believe, carving out a Palestinian nation and that’s going to require some appropriate negotiations by Israel with the Palestinian people.

DON’T FORGET THE REAL KINGDOM OF GOD

I would also remind all of our listeners, Tom, that our kingdom we have our allegiance to as believers is, of course, the Kingdom of God that is to be spread with the Gospel to all the nations. And I would remind you that you have, in the Kingdom of God, brothers and sisters who are citizens of the Kingdom of God through a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior who reside in both places. God’s covenant people come from all the nations and, therefore, we are to bring the Gospel of peace to all the nations.

COMING UP FRIDAY:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, as you’ve already alluded to, we’re going to revisit the North Korean situation. Specifically, I want to take a look at those three detainees that came back to the United States last week and a special note they handed Mike Pence.

DR. REEDER: I would encourage our listeners, why don’t you read Psalm 126 before tomorrow?

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

16 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

17 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

21 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

21 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.