Why I’m meeting with potential presidential contenders: to discuss Israel, Iran & ISIS. (Today’s meeting: Gov. Rick Perry)

Meeting with Gov. Rick Perry.

Meeting with Gov. Rick Perry.

(Austin, Texas) — In recent years, I have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with, and occasionally build friendships with, a number of potential presidential candidates.

The reason I do this is not because I want to be drawn back into partisan politics. Rather, I want to understand their world view by talking with them first-hand, get to know their character and personality, and pray for them. I also want, if possible, to help shape their view of the U.S.-Israel relationship, the threat of Radical Islam — especially Iran and ISIS — and the importance of our Arab allies in the Middle East, such as Jordan and Egypt.

As readers of this blog may recall, last November I co-wrote an essay for the Christian Post on what some evangelical leaders are looking for in the next President. In that context, let me cite two items that my colleagues and I mentioned in our list of critical issues:

4. NATIONAL SECURITY — Does the candidate have demonstrated wisdom and proven experience on defense and foreign policy issues? What does he or she believe constitutes America’s most vital national interests, those essential to protect and defend? Does he or she truly believe in a policy of “Peace Through Strength” and have a credible plan to rebuild the military, and a plan to protect our borders and national sovereignty? Does he or she have a solid team of qualified, seasoned advisors, especially on matters related to the defense, the Middle East, Russia, Asia, and energy?

5. ISRAEL AND RADICAL ISLAM — Does the candidate have a clear and coherent view of U.S. vital interests in the Middle East, including a demonstrated, consistent, long-standing support for Israel and a solid understanding of why Israel matters to the U.S.? Does the candidate have a clear understanding of the urgency of the threats posed by Iran, ISIS, and Radical Islam more broadly, and a serious approach towards dealing with such threats? Does he or she have proven wisdom and experience in dealing with the Middle East issues, or is the candidate too new to the foreign policy arena?

This process began with Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Pence, and Gov. Mike Huckabee, to name a few. I’ll write about those encounters as we move into 2015.

Today, as part of this on-going journey, I met with Governor Rick Perry.

The Governor and I first met at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa in August of 2012. There we spoke briefly about his track record in Texas, about my non-fiction book, Implosion, and the economic and spiritual troubles facing our country.

We next met in his State Capitol office in the spring of 2013 when my novel, Damascus Countdown, was released. That was a much more substantive discussion. We had about 90 minutes together to discuss President Obama’s trip to Israel, the Iran nuclear threat, the possibility of an Israeli first strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, and the importance of maintaining a strong alliance with the Jewish state.

Last August we met again at the 2014 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa where we were both speakers. He invited me to come see him the next time I was in Austin.

This afternoon, I thanked him for his recent visit to the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland, and for his continued love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. I gave the Governor a copy of The Third Target, and we discussed the research behind the novel, the threat ISIS poses, and the current trend lines in the Middle East.

The Governor is finishing up 14 years governing the Lone Star State, and he has done an exceptional job. I don’t know what the future holds for him and his family, but it was great to see him again. Please join me in praying for the Perry family’s transition to private life.



Will President Obama abandon or fully turn against Israel in last two years in office, amidst ISIS & Iran threats? Exclusive poll results.

MEME-ObamaAbandonIsraelWould an American President ever suddenly abandon Israel and even turn U.S. policy sharply against her?

Might an American President become so consumed with completing an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty for his own political legacy that he is blindsided by ISIS terrorist attacks he doesn’t see coming?

Is it possible that a President could be repeatedly warned by people around him that ISIS is a real and growing threat to the American people and to our close allies in the Middle East and Europe, yet rather than focus on crushing ISIS would instead pressure Israel to divide Jerusalem and be pushed back to the pre-1967 borders, indefensible though they are?

These are plot lines from my new political thriller, The Third Target, but one might be forgiven if they feel like recent headlines.

In preparing for the release of the book, we commissioned a national poll by McLaughlin & Associates, a respected American polling firm. Last week, the Washington Examiner published some of the results, including the stunning finding that 74% of Americans fear ISIS will launch a “catastrophic terror attack” inside the U.S. homeland if the West does not take decisive action to defeat them in the Middle East.

This morning, we’re releasing more details from that exclusive survey. Consider the answer to this question:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “For the past six years, President Obama’s relationship with Israel has been strained at best. He and his advisors don’t simply disagree with Israeli policies. They seem to have a visceral dislike for the Israel’s leaders. Recently, a senior White House official used a vulgar term to describe the Prime Minister of Israel to a reporter. I believe we are watching a train wreck in U.S.-Israeli relations, and after the mid-term elections – when the President no longer faces elections — I am worried that President Obama will abandon Israel and turn U.S. policy harshly against her”?

  • 47.4% of Americans said they agree
  • 38.4% said they disagree
  • 14.2% said they don’t know or refused to answer

What do you think? Post your comments on our Epicenter Team page on Facebook, or on Twitter.



Wake up America: We’re in a winner-takes-all war with Radical Islam.

nationalreview-graphic>> BOOK TOUR UPDATE: On Wednesday, Jan 14 I will be speaking at Life Austin Church in Austin, Texas. On Jan 17 & 18 I will be speaking at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Please join us. Click here for more details.

The following is an excellent article by National Review columnist Quin Hillyer about The Third Target and the real-life threats emerging in the Middle East, Europe and here at home.

Quin is absolutely right — the U.S. and Western civilization is engaged in a winner-take-all war with ISIS and Radical Islam. And we need leaders who understand this war and have the courage to marshal all necessary resources to wage and win this war decisively. Please read the article and share it with others.


Dear jihadists, we’re all Jews now.

The Islamic State has chemical weapons. And its leaders are furious — and determined, in their fury, to use those murderous weapons to huge effect.

The reason they are furious is not that Israel continues to (allegedly) mistreat Palestinians. Instead, the Islamic State is angry because Israel and the Palestinians are finally about to announce a lasting peace. The Islamic State doesn’t want Arabs to make peace with Israel; it wants Israel, and all Jews, to cease to exist. And it wants to kill anybody and everybody who enables peace, and anybody and everybody who stands in the way of a widespread, eventually global, caliphate.

The conflagration is about to begin.

No, this isn’t some investigative news report. It’s the scenario in the latest book by bestselling novelist Joel Rosenberg, an American Evangelical Christian of Jewish heritage who is a former campaign consultant for Steve Forbes and Benjamin Netanyahu. Rosenberg was part of a delegation in Israel, headed by former U.S. senator Rick Santorum, that I joined last summer during the series of Palestinian rocket attacks. During the trip, Rosenberg impressed me with his broad and deep knowledge of Middle East affairs; to an uncanny degree, his novels seem to be ripped from current headlines even though he writes them well in advance of the events that warrant such headlines.

Rosenberg wrote his latest, The Third Target, significantly before the Islamic State became a household name in mid 2014. It’s hitting the bookstores right now, as jihadists lead the news once again in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks last week in France — attacks that took place despite France’s long record of kowtowing to radical Muslims and its increasingly evident anti-Semitism (and, in diplomacy, an every-more-obvious anti-Zionism). It may or may not be significant that one of Friday’s terrorists claimed to be a member of the Islamic State. But it should have been no surprise to anyone that his target was a Jewish supermarket — or that, sure as night follows day, the response of the French government was to order shops closed in the Marais, the Jewish district and famous tourist destination in the very heart of Paris. It’s far easier, it seems, to shut the Jews down than it is to protect them.

What happened in France is a reminder that appeasement of radical Islam is no protection from terrorism — because, as the all-too-accurate premise of Rosenberg’s novel posits, peace is not the jihadists’ aim….

[To read the rest of the column, please click here]



How serious is the threat of ISIS & Radical Islam? I’m doing a special simulcast event for churches on Sunday evening, April 19th. Please register today.

Please join us. Register today.

Please join us. Register today.

Amidst the horrific attacks by ISIS terrorists in France, Christians throughout North America and around the world are asking many questions. Who is ISIS? What do they believe? What do they want? How serious is the threat to us? Is it true that genocidal conditions are emerging for Christians in the Middle East? And is there any good news? How can the Church advance the Gospel amongst Muslims?

In this context, and with the release of The Third Target, I am pleased to announce that Tyndale House Publishers, In:ciite Events and I are partnering to present a special simulcast event on Sunday evening, April 19th, to answer these questions.

You, your small group, and/or your church — small, medium, or large — can register now to view the simulcast and to share the message with family, friends and neighbors.

Here’s the release that just went out regarding the special simulcast. Please read and share with your pastor and with others, and then register today so you can be part of this timely event.



All eyes have been riveted on the ISIS offensive in Syria and Iraq in recent months. But Radical Islamic jihadists are also intensifying their operations against other countries in the region. This is news to some but no surprise to those that follow closely the prophesies and stories of the Bible. Very few have traveled the lands, conducted the research, or written the texts that continue to point out the eschatological happenings all around us.

Invite Joel C. Rosenberg, New York Times best-selling author and Founder & Chairman of The Joshua Fund, to your church and watch as the outside community floods your church for insight into this most dangerous time for Christianity in the history of the region Rosenberg calls the “epicenter.” Hear firsthand the fight of the persecuted, the prophetic implications, and potential answers to an urgent question — “Who is the third target of this rising Islamic State?”

During the simulcast, he will answer questions such as:

  • What is the “Islamic State” (aka, ISIS and ISIL) and what are its objectives?
  • Why is ISIS so much more dangerous than al Qaeda?
  • Why does Joel say “genocidal conditions are emerging” in Syria and Iraq?
  • Why is ISIS trying to destroy Christianity in the lands of its birth, and could it succeed?
  • What are the prophetic implications of this horrific wave of persecution?
  • What are The Joshua Fund and other Christian ministries doing to make a difference?
  • How can Christians throughout North America and around the world pray for and help our brothers and sisters in the Middle East?

To learn more or to register today, please click here.

Exclusive new poll: Americans fear “catastrophic terrorist attacks” by ISIS inside US, Israel & Jordan. “Washington Examiner” reports results of survey commissioned for launch of #TheThirdTarget.

(Headline in today's Washington Examiner)

(Headline in today’s Washington Examiner)

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris earlier today, the Washington Examiner published the results of an exclusive poll that we commissioned for the launch of The Third Target novel.

The poll found Americans deeply fear a “catastrophic terrorist attack” by the Islamic State (aka, “ISIS”) inside the United States, against our ally Israel, and against the Kingdom of Jordan, one of our most important moderate Arab allies.

The novel, which was released nationwide yesterday, is a political thriller that imagines ISIS plotting genocidal attacks against all three countries, and launching other terror attacks in Europe and Iraq, as well.

Here’s the story….

Poll: 74% fear ‘catastrophic terrorist attack’ inside United States

By Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, “Washington Secrets Column,” January 7, 2015

Americans are deeply worried that the a “catastrophic terrorist attack” by Islamic militants, like the one Wednesday on a Paris magazine staff, will happen in the United States, according to a new poll.

According to the survey from national pollster McLaughlin & Associates, 74.2 percent of likely voters said they fear terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State will strike U.S. targets if they aren’t stopped. The poll was provided to Secrets.

Worse, they believe the terrorists will use chemical or biological weapons, not just the guns used in Paris on the staff of the humor magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons the extremists didn’t like.

The poll was commissioned by author Joel C. Rosenberg, the New York Times bestselling author of the new terror thriller, The Third Target.”

He told Secrets today: “The Paris attack is a horrible reminder that we can’t get complacent about radical Islam generally or ISIS specifically.”

As with past books, Rosenberg’s newest about the Islamic State threat is partly built on interviews he conducted with former CIA directors, a leader of Israel’s Mossad, and Middle Eastern rulers including the prime minister of Jordan.

“My original plan was to write a novel that would warn people that ISIS was going to become a serious threat to the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies over the next five years or so. But events have moved much faster that I realized. When I started, President Obama was calling ISIS a ‘JV’ team. Now they are creating genocidal conditions in Syria and Iraq,” he told Secrets.

In the poll, Americans also said that they are worried about an ISIS attack on Israel. Just over 72 percent said they expect an attack there if ISIS isn’t stopped. Below is the poll….

[To read the full poll results concerning fears of a terror attack inside the U.S., Israel and Jordan, please click here]


BREAKING: Terror attack in Paris kills 12 after magazine publishes cartoon mocking ISIS leader. Is ISIS planning to launch attacks in US, Europe, Israel, other Arab countries?

Screenshot of a Tweet sent out by "Charlie Hebdo" magazine with a cartoon mocking the leader of ISIS. (source: Haaretz)

Screenshot of a Tweet sent out by “Charlie Hebdo” magazine with a cartoon mocking the leader of ISIS. (source: Haaretz)

We have terrible breaking news out of France this morning — a terror attack has just occurred in Paris in the offices of a French satirical magazine that had just published a cartoon mocking the leader of the terrorist group known as “ISIS” or the “Islamic State.”

At this hour, news reports indicate that 11 people are dead in the offices of the French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo. Two masked, armed men stormed the offices and fired AK-47 Kalishnikov rifles.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after the magazine published a satire on Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder.

Were ISIS terrorists responsible? French officials say the magazine has received numerous threats recently.

If so, is ISIS now planning terror attacks outside of Syria and Iraq? Could ISIS soon launch terrorist attacks inside the U.S., Europe, Israel, and/or other Arab countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt?

I am horrified by what has just happened. I ask people to pray for the families of those killed in Paris, for those who are wounded, and for French authorities as they deal with the unfolding situation.

I also urge U.S. officials to be on full alert for new terror attacks. This is the face of evil — a brazen attack on an American ally, on innocent civilians, and on free speech.

Unless ISIS and other Radical Islamic terrorist groups are decisively confronted and thoroughly defeated and discredited, there will be more attacks.

The news comes as I launch a new novel — The Third Target — about ISIS broadening its attacks outside of Syria and Iraq. I am deeply committed to warning that the ISIS threat is real and serious and growing. Today’s attack in France is likely not the end.

(For the latest, please follow me on Twitter).


New book warns of coming ISIS attacks. Plot based on discussions with two fmr CIA directors, an Arab prime minister & a former head of Mossad. #TheThirdTarget released today.

Meeting with Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour in Amman as part of the research for "The Third Target."

Meeting with Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour in Amman as part of the research for “The Third Target.”

When I started writing The Third Target in 2013, I had never heard of ISIS.

I knew I wanted to write a story about the threat Radical Islam poses not only to the U.S., Israel and the West but also to our moderate Arab/Muslim allies in the Middle East, and to Arab Christians in the region. I knew I wanted my main character to be a New York Times foreign correspondent who sees a grave new threat coming up over the horizon. I also knew I wanted to write about a serious and believable enemy. I just didn’t know which one it should be.

To determine that, as I began to sketch out my outline in early, 2013 I posed several questions:

  • What if Radical Islamic extremists were able to seize control of a cache of chemical weapons in Syria that were overlooked or not reported to the U.N. disarmament teams?
  • Which terrorist group would be in a position to do that?
  • What would they do with such weapons of mass destruction once they grabbed hold of them?
  • Who might they use such weapons against?
  • And how might the powers in the region and the international community respond?

As part of the research process I undertook for this novel, I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, a current Prime Minister of a key Arab country, a former head of the Mossad in Israel, and other political, military and intelligence officials and Mideast experts.

One by one, they pointed me to the real and rising threat posed by a group once known as “Al Qaeda In Iraq” (AQI), that was morphing into “ISIS,” and has more recently become known as the “Islamic State” (IS).

Though just one year ago this month, President Obama told a reporter ISIS was not a serious threat — that it was merely a “JV” team — my research and reporting suggested otherwise.

This is why I made ISIS the central focus on the novel.

As the book releases today, I want to say a special word of thanks to everyone who made time for me and shared with me their perspective as I did research for this book. Not everyone I met and spoke with will agree with what I have written in The Third Target. Nevertheless, I am enormously grateful for their insights, wisdom and kindness, and I hope the book is richer for what I learned from them.

Among those to whom I would like to express my deep gratitude:

  • His Excellency Abdullah Ensour, Jordan’s Prime Minister
  • His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, senior advisor to His Majesty King Abdullah II
  • H.E. Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s Foreign Minister
  • H.E. Hussein Hazza’ Al-Majali, Jordan’s Interior Minister
  • H.E. Nidal Qatamin, Jordan’s Minister of Labor & Tourism
  • H.E. Alia Bouran, Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S.
  • James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Porter Goss, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Danny Yatom, former director of the Mossad
  • Hon. Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Yechiel Horev, former Israeli director of security of the Defense Establishment
  • Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

I’m also deeply grateful for the aides, advisors and colleagues of those mentioned above who were so generous with their time and insights. There are others who were enormously helpful that I am not able to mention publicly. To them, as well, I say thank you.



“Nightmare scenario”: What happens if ISIS attacks Jordan? Gov. Huckabee asked me this on FoxNews this weekend. Here’s the video of our discussion.

Discussing ISIS, genocide, and "The Third Target" with Gov. Mike Huckabee on Fox News.

Discussing ISIS, genocide, and “The Third Target” with Gov. Mike Huckabee on Fox News.

(New York City, New York) — How high are the stakes if the U.S. and our allies don’t crush ISIS quickly?

On Saturday, I was interviewed by Governor Mike Huckabee. It was an honor to be on what turned out to be his last broadcast on the Fox News Channel, as he prepares for a possible presidential campaign. We discussed The Third Target,  which I was encouraged to learn he had read the thriller in full last week. In addition to discussing the genocidal conditions emerging in Syria and Iraq for which ISIS bears large responsibility, and foreign policy mistakes of President Obama, the Governor also asked me about the threat ISIS poses specifically to Jordan, a key moderate Arab ally of the United States.

HUCKABEE: “You talk about Jordan in the book, and the important role that Jordan plays in a peaceful Middle East. What happens if Jordan falls apart?”

ROSENBERG: “It’s a nightmare scenario. You’re right, I went to Jordan. I sat with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, with the Interior Minister and some others. The Interior Minister said, ‘Is this going to be like a Clancy book?’ I said, ‘I hope.’ And he said, ‘All right, good, sit down and take notes. Your scenario is what the King appointed me to make sure never happens. Yes, they are very worried. The Lebanese are worried. The Egyptians. And obviously Prime Minister Netanyahu….They’re worried. Why? Because if the Western alliance doesn’t stop ISIS — this Islamic State — they are going to take over and destroy one country after another. And given the problems we have on our Southern border, it is not an unreasonable scenario…to imagine ISIS terrorists coming in from our Southern border to attack here inside the United States.”

Here is the full video, in case you missed it. (it runs 5:23 minutes).

Here are a few excerpts from the Governor’s enthusiastic response to the novel:

  • “My next guest began researching ISIS for his latest book well before most of us had ever heard of ISIS….he’s the author of the brand new book, The Third Target. Joel Rosenberg joins us now….
  • “This book is like a prophecy. I know that you’re not pretending to be a prophet, but here’s what I find amazing. You were talking about ISIS in the book — researching it — thinking it’s years away. It kind of slipped up on everybody, didn’t it? I mean, this became the big story of 2014….
  • “Your book is fiction. It’s a novel. It’s based on facts. It’s kind of like reading Tom Clancy — and by the way, it’s an incredible read. It’s one that you’re just spell-bound. But it is like reading the front pages of the paper. When you were writing this, did you think that your fictional story was going to become more like the front-page of the New York Times or the Washington Post?….
  • “The book is absolutely outstanding….”



In face of genocide, too many in Washington complacent about defeating ISIS: Video of my Fox News interview with Shannon Bream on #TheThirdTarget.

Are U.S. and Western political leaders too complacent about defeating ISIS? Shannon Bream interviews me on Fox News.

Are U.S. and Western political leaders too complacent about defeating ISIS? Shannon Bream interviews me on Fox News.

On Sunday, I was interviewed on the Fox News Channel by anchor Shannon Bream. We discussed The Third Target, the horrors of the Islamic State, and the dangers of becoming complacent in the face of emerging genocidal conditions.

Here is the video (it runs 4:44 minutes).

Here’s an excerpt from what I shared:

“You’ve got a quarter of a million people dead now in Syria. You’ve got the largest number of murders and deaths in Iraq this past year, 2014, since 2006-7. And it’s getting worse, because the Islamic State is literally beheading people, crucifying people, slaughtering people, selling little girls into sexual slavery. It’s a horrific situation. And yet I’m concerned, Shannon — and one of the reasons I wrote the book — about complacency. Too many political leaders in Washington are becoming complacent about how serious a threat ISIS really is, and the stakes. A year ago the President told us that ISIS was not a threat, that they were a ‘JV’ team. Last summer, he said ISIS was engaged in genocide. Well, okay, if they are engaged in genocide, why is this such a slow-moving process of defeating them? And what The Third Target does — fictionally — is take us into a world in which they are not defeated, in which they capture chemical weapons, and then all Hell breaks loose, far worse than what we currently see.”



FYI: I’ll be interviewed by Gov. Huckabee on his Fox News Channel show this Sat/Sun @ 8pm eastern. Details.

Huckabee-showTonight, I’m flying back to the U.S. to begin the book tour for The Third Target.

Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Governor Mike Huckabee. We’ll discuss the new novel and the rising ISIS threat to the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies in the Middle East — as well as the threat ISIS poses to Christians in the epicenter. The interview on “Huckabee” will air on Saturday night at 8pm eastern on the Fox News Channel.

The program re-airs on Sunday night at 8pm on Fox News.

Please watch — or DVR it — if you can. Thanks so much!


With just days to go before my latest international geopolitical thriller releases in the U.S. and Canada, here is the Publishers Weekly review, in case you missed it:

The Third Target by Joel C. Rosenberg

Known for his globe-spanning thrillers (The Twelfth Imam), many dealing with the interplay between radical Islam and the West, Rosenberg has ripped a page from current headlines with a heart-stopping plot about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also commonly called ISIS).

When New York Times reporter J.B. Collins is given unprecedented access to world leaders and terrorists, it puts him in a position to advise even the president of the United States about looming chemical weapons attacks and a “third target” besides Syria and Iraq.

The plot is executed with well-paced precision….and has more than enough to satisfy those who love over the top action, down to the last shocking word of the book.

Rosenberg’s writing skills are impeccable….