(CNSNews.com) - A month before President Barack Obama announced that the last U.S. forces will be leaving Iraq by the end of this year, the U.S. State Department issued a report on religious freedom in that country that said that "moral support" of "Zionist organizations," "promoting Zionist principles," or working in any way to achieve "Zionist objectives" remain capital offenses there.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry defines Zionism as follows: "Zionism is the national movement espousing repatriation of Jews to their homeland--the Land of Israel--and the resumption of sovereign Jewish life there."
Thus, supporting the right of Jews to return to Israel and the existence of the Israeli state is a crime that warrants the death penalty in Iraq.
In a speech on Friday announcing that all U.S. troops would leave Iraq and be home for the holiday season this year, President Obama expressed his confidence in the ability of Iraqis to build a society in keeping with Iraq's ancient status as a "cradle of civilization."
"Just as Iraqis have persevered through this war," Obama said in a statement delivered in the White House briefing room, "I am confident they can build a future worthy of their history as a cradle of civilization."
The State Department's Sept. 13 report on the state of religious freedom in Iraq, however, pointed to the more recent status of civilization there.
"Similar to previous Iraqi governments, the government considers Jewish Iraqi citizens who emigrated from Iraq following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and in the following decades as having renounced their Iraqi citizenship and the possibility of its reinstatement," says the State Department report.
"Iraq's criminal Code 201 stipulates that any person promoting Zionist principles, or who associates himself with Zionist organizations or who assists them by giving material or moral support, or works in any way towards the realization of Zionist objectives, is subject to punishment by death."
In his speech at the White House on Friday, President Obama said that after Jan. 1, the United States and Iraq will have a "normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect."