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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Supporting Israel, a fundamental Christian imperative

In light of the recent outbreak of hostilities between Palestine and Israel, I think it's about to take on this issue at Faith & Politics.  The loss of life in the evidently never ending struggle in the middle east is always heart breaking.  However, that sadness I experience will turn into anger fast when the all too predictable condemning of Israel pops up.  Israel is the warmongering oppressor of the poor Palestinians.  This anger is a deep, visceral righteously white hot indignation that makes me want to smite all the lies and deceit surrounding this conflict.  So, as such, this is what I hope to do in this post because frankly I feel support of Israel is even more important than the battle being fought here in the US.  We have a spiritual battle to fight that is indeed difficult.  But at least we aren't immediately surrounded by larger nations hell bent on our destruction that fire thousands of rockets into civilian populated areas on a regular basis.

First, let's get a couple things out of the way.  The media, with its overwhelmingly leftist influence, has a habit of portraying Israel in the worst light possible while conveniently overlooking the nasties committed by the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, and all the other militant organizations that are openly committed to the destruction of Israel.  Examples of this can be seen in MSNBC's Mara Schiavocampo lecutring Israel official about "relatively ineffective" Hamas rockets and the lack of reporting on the fake and staged videos Palestinians use to gain sympathy from the world. So if you were to believe that this conflict is Israel's fault, or even if both Israel and the Palestinians are equally to blame (as centrists are prone to doing), then  you'd be forgiven for thinking so.  Because while I'll admit that Israel may not be 100% innocent, they are definitely not the aggressors in this conflict and have on numerous occasions been far more magnanimous when it comes reaching a peace accord than the other side.   Israel wants peace.  The Palestinians do as well...except just not as long as Israel is around.

There's plenty of evidence to support this.  For example, in 2000 and 2008, Israel met all of the demands for a Palestinian state - both were rejected.  If the Palestinians were interested in peace, why would they reject everything they're asking for?  The answer is quite simple:  The Palestinians, the rest of the pan Arab world, do not want to have to officially recognize an Israeli state.  Arafat rejected the offer in 2000 because he'd have had to acknowledge Israel's sovereignty.  So even though he was getting everything he wanted, there was one thing he couldn't compromise on: acknowledging Israel and its people's existence.

But why?  Why not compromise?  Peace is the goal, right?  Sadly, no.  Not as long as there's an Israel.  You see, this issue goes deeper than just political boundaries to fervent religious beliefs.  This all stems back to the beginning of Islam.   A snippet from this blog post:
Darwish traces the problem to Mohammed’s relations to the Jews of Medina. He tried to persuade them to accept him as a prophet after his own tribe in Mecca had ridiculed his pretensions. When they rejected him, in Darwish’s words, “Mohammed simply and literally flipped.” As much as he had professed to love them, he now hated them. He engaged in unspeakable slaughter, she writes, ordering “the beheading of 600 to 900 Jewish men of one tribe and took their women and children as slaves.”
That has left Islam, says Darwish, with a major existential problem. “Islam must justify the genocide that Mohammed waged against the Jews. Mohammed and Muslims had two choices: either the Jews are evil subhumans, apes, pigs, and enemies of Allah, a common description of Jews still heard regularly in Middle Eastern mosques today, or Mohammed was a genocidal warlord and not fit to be a prophet of God, a choice that would mean the end of Islam.”

And there you have it.  I'm not sure how much simpler it can get than that.  Pretty much, this hatred of the Jews is not some relatively harmless racist Archie Bunker rhetoric, this is hatred that is ingrained into the fabric of Islam itself.  This is not to say that all Muslims hate Jews, because I know that isn't true.  However, it's a deep part of the religion.   And if you've been following the Middle East at all, you'll note how closely the Arab nation's politics and their religion are linked.   Jews are not to be the equals of Muslims ever.  It's ok for the Jews to exist...as long as they're subjugated to Muslim rule (ak no Israel).  So, to make peace and concessions with them is to do something fundamental against their religion.  Of course, this line of thinking will inevitably meander into deeper philosophical questions regarding religious validity, which is beyond the scope of this post (I'll probably do that one later).

And while one can just write off these extremists firing rockets as fringe extreme elements, there's one major difference:  there's pretty much no condemnation of these extremists by other Muslim nations or moderates in the Muslim community.  Christianity, despite having its violent past, has always had the moderate body denounce the extremist groups like the KKK or those that murder innocents in the name of God.  That silence speaks volumes and lends credence to the idea that the extremists are the vanguard of Muslim practitioners who are too afraid to act themselves as opposed to being the radical elements that give the religion a bad name.  While I do not want this to be an indictment of those that practice Islam, I'm making the point to reinforce the notion that the religion seems to be pretty ok with the destruction of Israel, even if only a small part of them say anything openly.

As Christians, I believe we ignore or abandon support of Israel at our own peril.  Christianity itself sprang from the Jews.  Let's not also forget that these are God's chosen people.  In fact, here's a fun little tidbit.  The Jews claiming to be a special and "chosen" people isn't unique to them.  There are plenty of other peoples and nations that believe they have some divine or mystic appointment.  Yet, how come these other peoples aren't persecuted like the Jews are?  It's probably because the world deep down just doesn't believe those claims.  And why are the Jews persecuted so?  Because, deep down, the world knows their claim as God's chosen people is legitimate. It sparks jealousy and hatred (see the above quote about how Mohammed killed 600 to 900 Jews in retaliation for them rejecting him as a prophet).  Among the ungodly, it's something they cannot acknowledge and must ridicule.  For if they acknowledge the Jew's special relationship with God, they must also accept God's power as legitimate.  As Christians, we know better than most the special place the Jewish people have with God.  We know better than most their ancient history.

Christians must stand with Israel, particularly in their time of need.  While again, they themselves aren't always 100% blameless (just look at how much God lets them get smacked around for their disobedience or when they stray away from Him), to consider them the monsters in this ongoing conflict, or even mutual monsters is an egregious mistake.  Israel is a beacon of freedom and hope in a land dominated by truly oppressive religion and culture.  The fact that they've fought off all their enemies this far is truly a miracle.  We should embrace that miracle and see through the lies promulgated by the media, the UN, and the Muslim aggressors.   These organizations are not our friends, but Israel is.  Take a stand and show your support.