The latest evidence that the Obama White House is isolating Israel came with the release on November 17th
of the annual report on International Religious Freedom
by the State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. This time, the striped pants and skirts brigade in Foggy Bottom have outdone themselves putting the State of Israel on the same level as Wahhabist Saudi Arabia that denies any religion other than Islam.
The United States State Department under the administration of Hillary Clinton has issued its review of the state of religious freedom around the world and it has concluded that Saudi Arabia and Israel are equally guilty of denying this freedom.
Huh? You may ask.
Isn't Saudi Arabia the place where you cannot build a church? Where religious law punishes transgressors in the most barbaric fashion?
And isn't Israel the place where churches, mosques, and synagogues are bustling with worshipers? Where the holiest site in Judaism is restricted to Jews because the Jewish State permits the Muslims to be the gate keepers to the Temple Mount?
We know that bureaucrats can be dense but how could the Secretary of State put her approval to a document that designates Israel as an intolerant religious State?
Here is the State Department's reasoning for fingering Israel: Government policy continued to support the generally free practice of religion, although governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continued. Governmental allocations of state resources favored Orthodox (including Modern and National Religious streams of Orthodoxy) and ultra-Orthodox (sometimes referred to as "Haredi") Jewish religious groups and institutions. Some individuals and groups committed abusive and discriminatory practices against Israeli-Arab Muslims, evangelical Christians, and Messianic Jews (persons who identify as Jews and follow Jewish traditions but believe Jesus was the Messiah), which continued at an elevated level. Relations among religious and ethnic groups--between Jews and non-Jews, Muslims and Christians, Arabs and non-Arabs, secular and religious Jews, and among the different streams of Judaism--often were strained during the reporting period.
In other words being a Jewish State is a problem even if you protect the rights of non-Jews to practice what they believe. As in any State there will be some charges of discrimination but to use these infrequent conflicts to place Israel in the same category as Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. is downright wrong. For a more in-depth analysis see Arutz Sheva.
But note the obsequious pandering in this State Department International Religious Freedom Report about so-called 'incremental improvements" by Saudis, despite admitting Wahhabist religious intolerance:
While overall government policies continued to place severe restrictions on religious freedom, there were incremental improvements in specific areas during the reporting period. These included increased scrutiny of and training for the CPVPV, legal reform to broaden the officially sanctioned interpretations of Shari'a law to include other schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and selective measures to combat extremist ideology. The king's Interfaith Dialogue Initiative launched a large-scale national media campaign to promote tolerance and moderation. There were fewer charges of harassment and abuse by the CPVPV than in previous years, but fear of the CPVPV and police continued to cause many non-Muslims to worship in secret. Although some intolerant statements in textbooks were removed or modified following stated government intention to reform educational materials, textbooks continued to contain overtly intolerant statements against Jews and Christians, and subtly intolerant statements against Shi'a and other religious groups.
Give us a break Madame Secretary, Saudi incrementalism on non-existent religious freedom? That is an oxymoron, if we ever saw one.