This week, we celebrated our National Day of Prayer. On this day, millions of Americans join together and turn to God as one voice to ask for guidance and protection. As our nation faces many challenges, we humbly come before God and put our troubles in his hands. We also give thanks for our many blessings and the freedoms we cherish. We unite in prayer for our men and women in uniform and their families who sacrifice for the safety of our nation; we unite in prayer for our fellow Americans and our leaders, so that they may live to glorify God; and we unite in prayer for those across the world who suffer hardships, so that they may find peace and prosperity. Through our united faith, we pray for our future, so that God will heal our land.
As Americans, we are so fortunate to have the freedom to worship and celebrate our faith without fear of punishment or persecution. Often times, it is easy to lose sight of these blessings and forget that people of all faiths all over the world still face senseless oppression.
This is tragically the case with our close friends in Israel where the threat of violence and oppression does not come from their own government, but rather from an abusive neighbor. While Israel shines as a beacon of peace and democracy in a tumultuous region, Palestine has chosen to embrace Hamas, a terrorist organization that denies the Holocaust ever existed and is committed to the destruction of Israel.
As a longtime staunch supporter of Israel, I was extremely disappointed this week when I heard Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments suggesting that Israel could become an apartheid state and that failure to capitulate to Palestinian demands would result in further violence against the Israeli people. Such comments are deeply offensive and reflect this Administration’s gross misunderstanding of the region, its culture, and its history. Despite his apology, Sec. Kerry’s remarks will undoubtedly make a peaceful resolution in this conflict more difficult and are an insult to our Israeli allies.
Time and time again, we have seen this administration undermine the efforts of our allies — especially the State of Israel — to secure themselves and their people. Abandoning the steadfast support of our friends around the world does nothing to win us popularity amongst our enemies. Instead, it only emboldens them by projecting weakness and exposing our allies.
This was the case in Syria, where President Obama drew a supposed red line with President Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and then ignored it as a ruthless dictator gassed his own people and slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians, destabilizing the entire Middle East.
We’re now seeing this in the Ukraine, where President Obama is playing second-fiddle to Vladimir Putin. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion into Eastern Ukraine are clear breaches of international law and completely unacceptable. Yet, President Obama refuses to make the tough choices necessary to send a clear message to Putin that his brazen violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty will be met with a strong response from the West that would cripple their economy and diminish their standing in the world.
President Obama’s failure to project strength and American leadership on the global stage makes the world a more dangerous place. It tells our allies that they cannot count on us and our enemies that they should not fear us.
Sec. Kerry’s remarks are just the latest example of an administration whose failures have unfortunately far outweighed its successes.
And so, as we turn to God as one voice to ask for guidance and protection, let us especially not forget those around the world who need his strength the most.
Richard Hudson represents North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, which includes all of Scotland County.