Last night at church, yet again, we were exhorted to support Israel in its struggle against the surrounding Arab nations. Again I wondered to myself: Why? What reason is there for Christians to support a foreign nation that believes in a false religion, against other foreign nations that believe in a false religion? Do you want me to say that again? Has it sunk home? Judaism is just as false as Islam. Both religions have rejected Christ as saviour. If we are true evangelicals, then there is light and dark, truth and untruth, and truth is in Jesus Christ. No, He IS The Truth! Paul had to make his stand clear and unequivocal when he turned from Judaism and embraced his new faith in Christ. Many tried to impose the law on Christian believers, and make them just a sect of Judaism (the Judaisers), but Paul opposed them to their faces, and wrote what is probably his angriest letter to the Galatians about these people. Read the entire book with the understanding that he is writing with rage. I would recommend The Message, since it captures the anger very well, though be mindful that it is a paraphrase and not a true translation. Christians who start to support Israel often end up trying to justify everything about them, then embrace Old Testament law and trappings, like religious feasts, and finish where John Hagee is now, saying that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God!! Be wary lest ye trip!
Many cite prophecies in scripture about Israel and the end times, as if that means that Israel the nation is in God’s will, and his eye is upon them. That comes down to interpretation; many others looking at Israel in the end times will point elsewhere, or claim metaphorical identity with the name of Israel. Are we not all Israel who believe in Christ? Meaning those of us who are adopted sons of Abraham, through the promise given by Isaac, as Paul outlines in Romans 9 so succinctly? Interpretation of end times prophecies (eschatology) is so vast and all-encompassing, nobody has a right to stand on their particular stance and deny all others: to do so is vain and narrow-minded (yet another blog!). To this argument I say, if God has a plan for the nation of Israel, let him get on with it; he doesn’t need our assistance or interference with that.
So am I denying succour to the innocents killed by Palestinian terrorists? Not at all! Let me state this: I am pro-right and anti-wrong. The attacks on Israel by whomever, the PLO, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. should and must stop. Innocents are dying. It is reprehensible and indefensible. But actions taken by Israel against Palestinian civilians is just as bad. Their idea of dealing with a suicide bomber is to find the house where they came from and bulldoze it (and maybe the rest of the street) to the ground. What other army has armoured bulldozers? Or worse still, just blow it to bits with a helicopter gunship. Never heard of this? I’m not surprised, since our media is downright biassed, and NOT on the side of the Arabs. I watched the BBC evening news a few years ago when the headline was how a young Palestinian woman had strapped a bomb to herself and blown up a bus in Jerusalem, killing 6 people. Near the end of the news, the presenter said “today, Israel launched an attack on a house in the Gaza strip by helicopter gunship, destroying those inside. They said it was the centre of a bomb-making operation”, and that was it! No reporting, investigation or analysis! With the miracle of my Freesat rewind live TV, I went back to the start and timed the first report: 3 minutes. The report on Israel’s ‘retaliation’ was barely more than 10 seconds. Had I not seen it myself, I would never have believed it, but there are forces in the world to uphold and bolster Israel at all costs, particularly to the US taxpayer, since Israel receives more US foreign aid than any other country in the world, yet there are poor countries that could do with it. This unilateral bolstering of Israel really is one of the reasons we have such militant Islamic terrorists in this world, hellbent on the destruction of the US.
When I hear of walls erected around parts of the West Bank and Gaza, in order to control the influx of suicide bombers, I immediately think “what if we had erected an 8-metre high wall around West Belfast during our ‘troubles’ for the same reason? Would it have been right to subject all the citizens there to effective imprisonment and security gates 24/7 to justify controlling a violent minority? NO! There is right and wrong, and again I will say I am pro-right and anti-wrong. When I hear Israeli soldiers recounting how they chased down a 14-year old Palestinian boy who was throwing stones at them, and how they beat him to death with their rifle butts, and hear them laugh, should I just say “well, he deserved it”? I may as well say he was just a dirty Arab, and that they’re all guilty by association, or even by birth. That sounds very like many here, who felt that “the only good fenian (Roman Catholic) is a dead fenian” (and some still do).
We need to open our eyes, folks. Such issues are complex, never just a partisan matter of who’s wrong and who’s right, and being informed about it instead of supporting one side unequivocally HAS to be the Christian way. If we follow He Who IS The Truth, then we should always seek and support the truth. I denounce the killing of innocent civilians in a foreign nation by invaders, therefore I support the Israeli people against the militant Arab leaders, and I also support the thousands of innocent Iraqi people killed, against the leaders of the nations that invaded them, including my own.
Postscript: 19th Sept. – I am so glad to have seen on the ITV news how the most recent attack on Tel-Aviv was covered from both sides. People enjoying a sunny day on the beach in Tel-Aviv running for cover from a missile fired from over the border, thankfully shot down by Israeli fire before it could land, AND the scene at a Palestinian hospital where adults and children were severely injured by an Israeli attack (or defence or retaliation – you choose the word you wish, but children were still injured!). BOTH sides were wrong in this situation IMHO.
Grace be with you.