In Genesis chapter 26, we have a story of contentiousness.
Isaac, son of Abraham, moved to Gerar where his father Abraham had previously lived. There he became rich with huge flocks of cattle, sheep and many servants. He also found that all the wells his father’s servants had dug had been stopped up and filled by the Philistines.
The scripture says,
“Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham.”
When Isaac’s men re-dug the first one, the residents of Gerar “quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, ‘The water is OURS.’” So Isaac named the well “Esek” meaning “contention.” Then Isaac went some distance and re-dug another well; and…the residents again contended with Isaac. So Isaac named the well “Sitnah,” meaning “enmity.”
Those residents of ancient Gerar would have nothing to do with those wells that Abraham dug. So they stopped them up. Then when son Isaac re-dug them, they showed their enmity again by claiming that the wells were theirs.
Fast Forward to the mid-1800’s: Look at what was going on in Palestine a few decades before the Jews began to return to that land.
- constant feuding between rival local chieftains.
--unceasing attacks by neighboring Bedouin tribes driving many peasants (called fellah) into the hills or out of the country.
- the conquest by the Egyptians in 1831 and the re-conquest of the Turks in 1840
- constant blood-feuds between families, clans and entire villages as to land ownership.
(This is taken from two old history books: Land Ownership in Palestine by Moshe Aumann and Whose Land? by James Parkes. The first book is authored by a Jew and the second by an Anglican clergyman/historian.)
This strife resulted in a sense of insecurity and a decrease in population as people fled elsewhere.
Adding to that, the burden of taxation was responsible for many farmers leaving the land, leaving it without cultivation to become barren.
This situation puts the lie to the claim that the Palestinian rural economy was interrupted by Jewish immigration and settlement. The British writer, H. B. Tristram. (The Land of Israel: A Journal of Travels in Palestine, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1865). In 1865, he wrote as follows:
A few years ago, the whole Ghor (Jordan Valley) was in the hands of the fellahim (peasants) and much of it cultivated for corn. Now the whole of it is in the hands of the Bedouin….and with the Bedouin come lawlessness and the uprooting of all Turkish authority…..Both in the north and south (of the Sharon plain), land is going out of cultivation, and whole villages are rapidly disappearing from the face of the earth.
A writer more familiar is Mark Twain who, after visiting Palestine, wrote this dirge-like description:
Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren…the valleys are unsightly deserts…It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land. Over it brooks the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. (Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad, Hartford: The American Publishing Company, Dover Edition, 2003)
A British Christian historian, James Parkes:
In the wars between villages it was far too common a practice to cut down fruit trees and olives and to destroy crops….Bedouins freely destroyed the cisterns….malaria became endemic and the unlucky peasants fled elsewhere or starved in the towns…. (Parkes: Whose Land? 1949, 1970)
On and on goes Parkes’ sad tale and description of Palestine.
Is it any surprise then that when large numbers of Jewish immigrants were entering Palestine in the early 20th century, when they set up business there and when the total population was growing, that the Arab/Palestinians produced turmoil and provoked rioting from time to time? Accusations flew from the mouths of the Arabs: for example, “the Jews are going to take control of our temple mount.” The British Peel Commission, after much investigation, found that Arab complaints about land acquisition were without basis and that the Jewish presence actually resulted in higher wages and an improved standard of living.
I received a report just last week that Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture, run by Hamas, has been reporting that Israeli authorities have opened water dams to channel wastewater into Palestinian farmlands. This action, they said, was damaging crops, destroying apiaries, causing the death of cows and sheep and causing soil erosion.
But it’s just a part of their war of words. In southern Israel, there are no dams of the type that can be opened. (originally from the Palestinian Information Center, Jan. 5, 2020)
The enmity which brings contention is still there….and is still directed outwards toward many others, but especially towards God’s Chosen People.
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Those looking on at the strife today ask: “When will it end?”
Well, let me submit these points:
First of all, as those of you know who read these blogs, I believe that God uses the harassment and persecution of the Jews to unify Israel. They need help to become unified, and lots of it. Why? Because they have a problem with fractiousness/dissension. Religiously, they have everything from the ultra-Orthodox to ultra-liberal. Philosophically, they have everything from socialism to Talmudism. Population wise, they are made up of a number of ethnic groups and colors. And yes, they do have a problem with racism within their ranks.
QUESTION: So, how can they unify? ANSWER: Through their defense. Every young person serves. Thus, the army becomes the force that aids greatly in consolidating the Israeli people into one nation.
Could I be judicious and still make this statement? The Lord has provided, or permitted them to have, sufficient enemies to help unify the nation of Israel?
Furthermore, there is more peace in the land of Israel now that it is controlled by the Jews than there was previous to their return to the land....and since the nations around Israel have given up trying to obliterate it.
Thirdly, those who become the chosen of God can always expect the world’s enmity. That’s just the way it is. They are different because of being the Lord’s.
So, this people--chosen of the Lord, will meet with….well…anti-Semitism. For they are the descendants of Isaac.
This week I want to add a bit to what I wrote last week about how the Church through the ages has looked on the Jews.
I’m sad when I see disrespect for the people God has chosen even though I know there are, to be sure, Jews who are corrupt and even though I know that this people has, as a whole, not accepted their Messiah.
Yet, they still are God’s Chosen Ones. See how the Apostle Paul loved his people, the Jews, even though they persecuted him in every city he entered. He insisted that the covenant and the gifts from that covenant are still intact and still theirs!
Replacement theology argues that the Church—believers in Christ—have replaced Israel in the scheme of things pertaining to the Covenant—that is, in God’s plan. The church is “the new Israel” as St. Paul put it. And the people who are believers in Christ are also children of Abraham. And, as a result, the promises of land in the Old Testament and the promises of the return to the land by the Israelites is no longer in force, say the “replacement theology” people.
But other quotes from St. Paul very firmly state the continuing status of Israel and the validity of the Abrahamic Covenant. Listen…here is Paul saying this:
“They are the Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:4-5)
What we are saying is this: “God has enlarged the covenant in Jesus Christ at the same time as He is still working with Israel. And He will work with them in NEW ways in the future.
So…. would that the churches of today, in spite of the stubborn rejection that the Jews show towards Yeshua—would that the Church of Jesus Christ affirm this people….and rejoice as so many of them return to the Promised Land where there they are absorbing their traditions and recalling the mighty acts of their God.
Should not the Church everywhere awake to the miracle that is the modern State of Israel? How likely was it that the Jews would come from the ends of the earth—picking up all their possessions, saying good-bye to all their countrymen and neighbors and established institutions…. and immigrate to Israel? From nearly 100 countries? And should we not--the Church world-wide—every branch of it—perceive and understand the source of this miracle? It is of God. For He says:
“See, I am going to bring them…”
“See, I am doing a new thing.”
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Just a little bit from history here.
Think 16th century now. There was a big difference between the churches of the East—the Orthodox and others and….the Roman Catholics represented by the Franciscan monks—the difference between East and West. Get this now:
1. The churches of the East: Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, the Jacobite Syrians and others. These churches had influence in the Middle East, and most if not all of them had an altar in the esteemed Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. They also exercised authority over other so-called “Holy Sites” in Palestine where it was supposed that Jesus ministered. These Eastern churches gave to these places radical devotion with weird physical gyrations and contortions.
These Eastern Orthodox Churches were extremely jealous of their positions in Palestine and paid rich sums to the Muslim leaders to retain these positions.
2. The churches of the West: The Roman Catholics and their Franciscan monks had no part of this fanatic behavior. After the Reformation, the Franciscans retained what power they had in the Holy Land and took responsibility for the Lutherans, Calvinists and other Protestants who visited the Holy Land.
Think 20th century.
The World Council of Churches was formed in 1948 out of churches united to further the missionary movement. But in the 1960’s it turned its attention to “full Christian unity” and took in all the Orthodox churches of the East (Middle East really). These included the churches of Palestine (Jerusalem).
In 1974 the Middle East Council of Churches was formed and joined the World Council.
By the 1980’s the WCC became influenced by radical liberal theology and anti-Zionist thought.
Merkley says: “In the 1980’s as the World Council of Churches became more attached to the Palestinian cause and increasingly anti-Zionist, its official statements on the history of the conflict and its proposals for resolving it increasingly reflected the effects of the introduction into the World Council of Churches of the East. The outcome is that the churches of the West and the churches of the East are now virtually at one in their attitude toward the State of Israel—an attitude of resentment shading over into active hostility.” All these churches “now agree that Israel is an oppressor of Christianity—and that this is so because it is a Jewish state.” (Paul Charles Merkley: Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel, pp. 73-74)
And so, the mainline churches of our own nation, while they have been losing their moorings in the scriptures have also been infected with anti-Zionism. To them, the Old Testament prophecies have already been fulfilled and/or they are simply allegorical-- written and passed down merely to inspire.
Contemporary Example: Mitri Raheb, Palestinian Lutheran pastor and lecturer at St. Olaf College: “The ancient Israelites are not linked in any substantive or material way to the contemporary, modern state of Israel.” Modern Israel “manipulates sacred texts to justify a political project.” (First Things Magazine, March, 2018) When he said this, his American audience cheered.
There you have it—the contention that present-day Israel is not even connected with ancient Israel and that modern Jews have no historic reason to claim the land to which they have moved!
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NOTE: Credit the evangelicals and fundamentalists of America for hearing of and considering the horrors of the Holocaust. At the time, Britain was turning away from her commitment to protect the Jews in Palestine. But these American conservative Christians recognized that European Jews were being wiped out—this, at a time when most liberal Christians were denouncing “Jewish atrocity propaganda.” [David Rausch]
The skeptical world cannot see the new thing with any amount of appreciation at all. They see only threats and conflict. The world fixates on the “unfairness” of the glorious things.
But God the Lord bids us rejoice in His gracious kindness to the "Children of Abraham: “See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth…with weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back.” (Jeremiah 31:9)
“Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will bring them back in safety.” – Jeremiah 32:37
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Question #1 for the clergy of the world: Does the return to Zion produce joy in your soul…or not?
Question #2: And…do you, the clergy of the world, feel delighted that the ancient language of Hebrew is now used in the ancient land among the Jewish people?
First, let’s take the Christians who live in Israel, Judea and Samaria. Most of these are members of the Eastern Orthodox churches. Here is a revealing statement about them:
“Most Christians who live in the State of Israel prefer to pretend that they live somewhere else. In their imaginations they live in “Palestine,” or (as is preferred in some circles) “The Holy Land”. In conversation as well as in their writings they sedulously avoid reference to the name of the state in which…they live; and they remain vigilant, day in and day out, not to take into their eyes the life and not to hear with their ears the language of the Jews. (Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel, by Paul Charles Merkley, McGill-Queens: Montreal and Kingston, p. 52)
This is a similar practice to that of the Muslims who will not say “Israel.” That is a word used for cursing. It is anathema-- forbidden for both Muslim and the Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Israel do their best to ignore the Israeli state in which they are living.
Secondly, let’s note the churches in the world that are called “liberal” and whose leadership is oriented towards the higher criticism of the scriptures, thereby denying the authenticity of biblical history: these churches do not take the prophetic word objectively. Therefore, the prophecies about the Jews returning to the and is not meaningful. Therefore, no joy is expressed in these churches at the restoration of Israel. Only briefly did they affirm Israel in the 1940’s.
Typically, the people in these churches have not studied the scriptures. Typically, they give Israel poor grades for its treatment of the Palestinians; and again typically, they do not judge the Palestinians even though the Palestinian leadership has from the very beginning of their existence vowed to kill the Jews and destroy the Jewish state for the sake of Allah.
They hold Israel to a standard to which others are not held. They have veiled a sort of anti-Semitism in the name of social justice. They are quick to judge Israel severely and the Palestinians very little or not at all.
They also fail to acknowledge the fact that much of the West Bank is now under civilian control of the Palestinian Authority….that a large segment of the Palestinian population now is making good money in companies owned by both Arabs and Israelis.
At even other times, they have, during the Peace Process, not given the Israelis enough credit for taking the initiative in the peacemaking process which involved giving back 97 per cent of “The West Bank.”
Thirdly, let’s look at some of the leaders of the Evangelical World.
One evangelical leader said with a critical tone: Israel should “…administer justice over the land God promised to it, rather than simply taking those as literal borders in which it can do anything it wants.” (Richard Mouw in Center Conversations)
What was that again? “….in which Israel can do anything it wants?” That’s not all. He also says: “We [ahem] need to hold Israel responsible for the conditions of the covenant, for the proper use of the land.”
Who is “we”? The National Association of Evangelicals? And how often will these reports be issued that evaluate Israel’s “proper use of the land?”
NOTE: That statement was made in a 17-year-old journal. Perhaps now such writers as this have shaved off some of their self-righteousness.
The Jews have for some time now proclaimed that their mission is to make the world a better place. The Hebrew term for this is “Tikkun Olam”—“repairing and improving the world” is what that now means. It’s an important part of the Israeli raison d'etre—reason for being—purpose in living. It’s expressed in Israelis being first on hand to help the Haitians following the earthquake and other commendable acts of charity. Their advances in medicine are amazing. And note that the Syrians needing medical help who can make it to Israel are treated with kindness regardless of their nation being the arch-enemy of Israel.
Some evangelicals are poor at giving grades out.
The Palestinians are their “victim group"--victims of the Jews, of course.
Now, in the last few years, Middle East Christians are escaping the persecution they have suffered in Muslim countries to make it into Israel. Think of that! They appreciate Israel and the freedoms there. The minds of some Middle East Christians are being changed.
Fourth and lastly, the Christians who do express great joy at the re-birth of the nation of Israel see it as a GIFT from the Lord of nations-- from the one who established His covenant with Abraham and the Children of Israel.
In the rebirth of the Israelite nation, most Christians of conservative theology see a sign of the last days and a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Yes, there was disappointment, over the irreligious life of Israel’s leaders.
But it is a God of grace who is in charge, and He is and will continue to work in the hearts and minds of the Israelis. It’s happening.
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In past centuries, some segments of the Church saw the restoration of Israel coming. Some were ridiculed for this belief. The scoffers ignored the prophecies, having a low view of the scripture’s veracity. What did they ignore? Here is an example--one that shows the Lord’s compassionate ingathering:
“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel….I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed…” (Ezekiel 34:11-16a – ESV)
The Jewish holiday, Purim, was Monday and Tuesday of this week (March 9th & 10th)
The Jews were exiled in Persian lands. Persian politics is totalitarian. The whims of the King become law.
The Persians were going to destroy the Jews—all of them in the empire, because they were a people who refused to bow down to their god-king, Ahasuerus. His right-hand man was Haman, and he saw a way to self-advancement: have these people annihilated.
It was written that all the Jews in the empire were to be slain—“young and old, women and children, the 13th day of the 12th month…and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13, NRSV)
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History is now. The enmity against the Jews endures. And it is encouraged by Arab despots, kings and ayatollahs—again, totalitarian rulers, as in ancient times.
IRAN: A tweet from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "Israel has no cure but to be annihilated.” He speaks for other Middle East despots.
PALESTINIANS: Palestinian television shows 3-year-olds how to stab an Israeli in the neck. Palestinian school curricula are not subject to Israeli editing; so, their textbooks describe Jews as descendants of monkeys and pigs and teach students to be martyrs. In math textbooks, the teaching of arithmetic is illustrated by numbers of Jews: if you kill so many, how many would be left. And so on.
One of the best jobs a Palestinian can get is to be imprisoned for a terrorist act on a Jew. Monthly stipends are paid both to him and his family by the Palestine Authority
ISRAEL’S NEIGHBORS: The Jordanian King, Abdullah II, will deal with Israeli leaders to make deals on water supply, but Jews are hated throughout Jordan. Just saying the word “Jew” is forbidden. Maps made in Jordan have no Israel. (Confirmed by a missionary friend). In Egypt, the same. President Mubarak wanted peace with Israel only to lift Egypt's heavy military burden of keeping up with Israel.
The Fatah party (of Mahmoud Abbas), Hamas and Islamic Jihad all praise the attacks made on Israelis. On Hamas and Palestinian Authority TV, children are taught to conduct a “heroic operation”—“be a man and kill a Jew today.”
The Palestinians, if given a land with their own governance, would not allow one single Jew to live in it. Actually, it happened: when Gaza was put into the hands of the Palestinians, it became Judenrein—Jew free and one big arsenal for military hardware.
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In Europe, there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism and a failure to deal adequately with its terrorism. And it has spread to America. On university campuses with Middle Eastern studies, all of them (almost without exception) are unsympathetic to the State of Israel. And what about the United Nations? All of their resolutions regarding Israel are negative.
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In the story of Esther, if Haman had succeeded, the Jewish people as a nation would have been decimated.
NOTE: God is not even mentioned in this story. But still, the twists and turns of the narrative show that even when God is not in the forefront, He is still working behind the scenes. How?
WELL, NOTE: Strange things happen to move Esther and her uncle Mordecai into positions of power. Esther won a beauty contest and thus became queen. Mordecai, her uncle, discovered a plot to overthrow King Ahasuerus. Mordecai told Esther, and Esther told King Ahasuerus in the name of Mordecai, and he, Mordecai was rewarded by a high promotion.
So....two Jews move into positions of power. Only then does the trouble begin. And these two become the saviors of the Jews. They were doing the work of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--He who chosen this people.
Aha! Isn’t that what we see in the modern history of the State of Israel? We could point to many incidents where God has been at work behind the scenes.
For instance, who in Britain thought that Lloyd-George would become prime minister during World War I? But he did. Prime Minister Asquith was forced to resign in 1916 in the middle of the war, and Lloyd-George was ready to take the helm. Lloyd-George happened to be very familiar with the Holy Land and knew that it was of great interest among the conservative and evangelical branches of the Christian Church. If Asquith would have remained in power, he would have thwarted it. Then, Sir Arthur John Balfour became foreign minister, and he too was inclined to respond to the Jewish desire for the restoration of the land. The proposal for giving the land back to the Jewish people was “The Balfour Declaration.” Two men, sympathetic to the Jews, moved into power BEFORE the decision had to be made. Glory be!
And today, in the current crisis of Israel and the Palestinians, there is no doubt in this writer’s mind, that God is secretly engineering the events to bring about the deliverance of His Chosen People and the restoration of all their land.
So even, when God is not evident, we can, if we consider the whole story, see that He is doing His good work, sometimes in the shadows and in unexpected ways. Glory be!
“Help me, O Lord, my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand;
You, O Lord, have done it….
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord.;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save them from those who would condemn them to death.”
-- Psalms 109:26-27, 30-31 (NRSV)
Israel is preparing for war. Out of necessity, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) is gearing up for a high-tech confrontation. How are they doing this?
ITEM #1: Let’s take their naval department. Iran is equipping itself with advanced anti-ship cruise missiles which are being moved into position throughout the Middle East. The Israel Navy’s Weapons Systems Department is responsible for developing counter measures that can be installed on Israeli ships.
The possible future war, if it comes, will look like no other as technology is changing the face of the “battlefield.”
The faces of the IDF’s soldiers and technological personnel have also changed. They are younger—youth in their early 20’s who have completed their degrees in electrical engineering, mathematics and physics as part of their requirements. Their counterparts from Western nations—in their 50’s and 60’s-- are taken aback when they intermingle with these Israeli youth.
The task of these Israeli youth: to develop sensors and command systems that hermetically seal Israel’s sea borders, both on the surface and underwater! Hermetically sealed sea border. Hm-m.
QUESTION: How have they done this? ANSWER: They have had to develop complex algorithms so that operators can quickly differentiate between say an enemy scuba diver and a sea turtle. (from “Israel News Digest” and “JNS-Israel Hayom”)
ITEM 2: Israel’s Yaman elite counter-terrorism warfare unit has thwarted multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, kidnappings, bomb threats and has rescued hostages. Their unit has won the International SWAT competition multiple times, competing against 27 top-rated police and federal SWAT teams from around the world. (Neil Farber and Itay Gil in “Daily Alert”, 2/28/20)
ITEM 3: Back on July 28, 2019, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that the test of Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-missile defense system, conducted in Alaska, was successful. “The Arrow 3 is an advanced design for intercepting long-range missiles in space at an altitude that would safely destroy any nuclear warheads,” reports the Jerusalem Post. The Arrow 3 intercepted ballistic missiles at unprecedented heights and speed.” Netanyahu stated that now “Israel has the ability to defend itself against ballistic missiles launched against it from anywhere in the world.” Whew! (Jerusalem Post, August 2-8, 2019).
That brings to mind the portrayal of “the arrow” in the Psalms where the arrow is indicative of warfare. Check this out: “There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.” (Psalms 76:3 (NRSV)
In the same article, Benny Gantz is quoted as saying: “This is “a clear signal to the Iranians and to the entire world that Israel is ready for any scenario against any aggression.
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So…Israeli officials are talking about their sea borders being “hermetically sealed” and their air being defended by ballistic missiles in the air—missiles flying at unprecedented heights and speed! Hard to believe.
ITEM 4: Another report from “Daily Alert” quotes U. S. Undersecretary of Homeland Security, David Glawe as making this statement at the most recent 9/11 memorial in Jerusalem: “Israel keeps America safe. That’s very true. It’s hard to really go into detail or to advertise it, but it’s true….We are without question better off when Israel is strong, secure, stable, and prosperous, so it is very much an American interest to support Israel.” (2/10/20)
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Much more could be said about Israel’s preparedness.
How has this happened, given three considerations: (1) Israel’s extremely small size; (2) Israel’s brief modern history as a nation; and (3) The huge expense in developing such a system and in maintaining an army? As we often say here: God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Lord of the nations. Be watchful. Be prayerful.
Some of the original modern Zionists didn’t envision a nation that had to use armaments and shed blood to preserve itself. Some of these early-20th century rabbis and philosophers were pacifists. Judah Leon Magnes (1877-1948), first president of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, personified the desire for pacifism and the love of neighbor:
"The world—not in Palestine alone—may be bent upon violence and bloodshed. But will not my opponent [the Jew who accepts violence and war as a necessity] agree that there is a better chance of averting this tendency to bloodshed if we make every possible effort politically as well as in other ways to work hand in hand—as teachers, helpers, friends—with this awakening Arab world? The only way it can succeed, it seems to me, and that success is worth having, is if we overcome all obstacles through all the weapons of civilization except bayonets….Whereas it may have been in accord with Israelitic needs in the time of Joshua to conquer the land and maintain their position in it with the sword, that is not in accord with the desire of plain Jews or with the long ethical tradition of Judaism that has not ceased developing to this day." (Arthur Hertzberg: The Zionist Idea, pp. 448-449)
The reader must judge for himself: Have the Israelis done all in their power to live alongside their neighbors, the Arabs? For the most part, YES. Have they offered land? YES. Have their business people hired Arab/Palestinians? YES. Have they entered into peace talks with them and offered reasonable, or even ultra-reasonable terms? YES. So, is there any possibility that Israel could have existed in peace with the Iranians and their cohorts, Hezbollah, Hamas and others? OF COURSE NOT.
If you believe, like me, that actually too much has been offered and if you see, as I do, that the opposition to Israel has never brought any proposals to the peace talks, neither Abbas nor Arafat, then you see that prospects for peace by means of such negotiating work has been disappointing if not futile. Too much has been offered by Israel for her own security. Too much of Judea and Samaria has been offered. And too much suffering and death has resulted. And the PLO and the Palestinian Authority is deeply corrupt.
Who is Israel fighting? And what are the beliefs of Israel's opposition? They are fighting against totalitarianism—against a people who believe that the world must be conquered for Allah, the god they conceive of as the true god. Allah’s so-called prophet, Muhammed, desires of them their complete commitment to fight for land and people. Mohammed fought for Allah, and they now must fight for Allah. Their hopes are buoyed with the immigration of hordes of Islamic people to Europe and the growing influence of those immigrants. Now they want Palestine/Israel to be Allah’s.
The Arab Muslims are angered that in their very midst—in the Middle East where Islam ruled so long-- that Israel, their religious nemesis, the despised Jewish People, are now ruling smack in the middle of what they consider their own their Islamic turf.
But now, Israel has developed never-to-be imagined defensive capabilities.
God be thanked and praised. We see the Chosen People advancing to protect their nation—hastening toward the future. Israel—new and tiny and just amazing.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
Your renown, throughout all ages.
For the Lord will vindicate his people,
And have compassion on his servants.
-- Psalms 135:13-14 (NRSV)
Oh, the suffering, the homelessness amid the cold, winter winds--the hopelessness amid the crumbling of structures and the loss of all possessions which the Syrian War is generating.
Recall the aria in Handel’s “Messiah” where the Lord says He will shake all nations…shake: “And I will shake….And I will shake….”
Syria is shaking with destruction and grief. It is being shredded into little pieces.
About 4 million Syrians cower together in desperate, homeless, winter conditions in rebel-held territory. Bashar Assad’s fully-armed forces are backed up by Russian air power ready to destroy them. This in freezing temperatures, crowded against the Turkish border.
This is the climax of the 9-year civil war with more than 400,000 dead, 5.6 million international refugees and 6.2 million people displaced within its borders. (Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead, 2/24/2020. The Jerusalem Post says that this war has seen 10 million people driven from their homes. (J. Post, 2/14-20, 2020, p. 15)
Assistance from international agencies and the United Nations is nowhere nearly enough to prevent further devastation. The U. N. agency describes the refugee camp in Idlib Province as the world’s largest.
And this crisis in Northwest Syria is intensifying by the day. The U. N. and other aid agencies are doing their best to deliver necessary aid, but they can’t keep up with the growing mass of refugees. In Idlib Province, the last rebel stronghold, some people are using bags of clothing as fuel to warm their shelters.
In Southern Syria, other nations are operating to gain power and position in order to blast Israel with drones and rockets.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that President Erdogan of Turkey whose country is sheltering nearly 4 million Syrian refugees is threatening to march over the border and attack the loyal Syrian army. If Assad continues to march north to the border, the war would become international and the devastation would be even more widespread.
But Assad is not giving up. He is determined to retake every inch of Syrian soil and is directing his militias to move into Idlib Province (Northwest Syria) assisted by Russian airstrikes where millions are amassed in the cold.
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QUESTION: What has gone wrong with this nation of Syria? We know how stubborn the Assad’s have been. But is there something that has happened under the surface—something not recognized by the news agencies and foreign policy wonks?
CONSIDER: Those familiar with the prophets in the Tenakh (the Old Testament) understand that God Himself punished foreign nations that laid their hands on Israel unless God Himself had provoked them to do it as Israel’s punishment for their wickedness. For example, Edom repeatedly harassed Israel during its history. Many of the Edomites actually came into Israel as the Babylonians were destroying everything in their reach in Israel….and laughed, danced in the streets and yelled obscenities.
Syria is not Edom, but the story is similar. Syria has been a perennial enemy of modern Israel, aligning itself with whoever it could to harass her and seriously attempt to destroy her.
Syria is severely anti-Semitic.
Let’s go back to the first partition of Palestine in 1936 when the British were attempting to quiet the local, rioting Arabs in Palestine. The British Commission thought they’d appease the Arabs by allotting Israel only a tiny portion of Palestine. When the Arabs (Palestinians) turned it down, that wasn’t the only sign of rejection. In Aden, Syria, for example, 76 Jews were killed. In Aleppo, Syria, 300 Jewish homes and 11 synagogues were burned to the ground, and half the Jewish population of 4,000 fled the city.
This was the most violent reaction of any Near Eastern (Middle Eastern) city in reacting to a little slice of land going to the Jews.
Syria gained its full independence from France in 1945. Without French authorities to stop them, they immediately began to harass its Jewish residents. The civil service and banks evicted their Jewish employees. Mobs were formed and rioting began against Jewish homes and businesses. Professional licenses up for renewal were refused to doctors and lawyers. Jewish neighborhoods were subject to curfews. Jewish accounts were frozen.
When Israel gained her independence a couple years later, this is what happened in Syria: the Jews living there were beaten, some murdered, their homes looted, their institutions were closed and their holy books destroyed.
When Syrian Jews planned to emigrate, they couldn’t sell their land and liquidate their property. Rioting in city neighborhoods resembled the Russian pogroms of the early 20 century. Those who robbed, beat or otherwise harassed the Jews were not subject to arrest or fines. An economic boycott was slapped on Jewish businesses. Thus, many Jews became destitute.
The Jews who tried to escape the country were usually caught, imprisoned and would often be tortured. The secret police, the Muhabarat, had a special section dealing only with the Jews. Most Jewish worship services had one Muhabarat in attendance.
NOTE: There in Syria many of the Jews could trace their roots to their ancestors who settled there after the Babylonian captivity of the 6th century B. C.
During the brief history of the Israeli nation, Syria was strongly in favor of any war against Israel and has been one of the sharpest goads of any of her neighbors to instigate war. During the lead-up to the Six-Day War, Bashar al-Assad took it upon himself to prod President Nasser of Egypt to “get on with it”—with declaring war on Israel and driving them into the sea. (Mediterranean)
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CONSIDER: The prophets on this issue of anti-Israel activity.
In Ezekiel chapter 25: "Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them….I will stretch my hand against Edom and cut it off from man and beast, and I will make it desolate…”
CONSIDER FURTHER BACK: The Call of Abraham.
In Genesis chapter 12: "Now the Lord said to Abram: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and those who dishonor you, I will curse.”
And therefore, when we look at the shaking and crushing of Syria today, we must look at this sordid and hateful history in relation to Chosen Israel. It seems that the Lord of the nations and the God of Chosen Israel is acting to honor His covenant with Israel and bring judgment on those who despise Him.
What do you think?
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
The worship of Idols was the prevailing sin of ancient Israel. It is no different today if one sees idolatry as it really is—a substitute for the Living God.
Naturally, when homage to the true God is rejected or neglected, a substitute will arise in the vacuum. The substitute for the true God is an idol. And an idol is a fraud. And fraud involves trickery.
A voice on the bare heights is heard:
The plaintive weeping of Israel’s children,
Because they have perverted their way,
They have forgotten the Lord their God.”
- Jeremiah 3:21 (NRSV)
It is sad to see and know those who live their whole lives for their own material success; for when they leave this world, they are nothing, have nothing and leave nothing of worth to their posterity except money and material possessions.
Vanity of vanities…
MOURN WITH ME
Many American Jews today are not truly Jewish. They have not taken that narrow way of identifying with the Covenant People of the Law. They pick and choose the things they agree to in their observances.
Most of them have largely assimilated into the secular culture. They easily meld. Most do not talk at all about religious experience. They get nervous when discussing America's religious moorings. America has given them the option of disconnecting from their Judaism of the past and giving only a tip of the hat to the Judaism of today.
The Old Testament prophets bewailed such a situation:
Israel is swallowed up;
now they are among the nations
as a useless vessel…
-- Hosea 8:8 (NRSV)
American Jews today are increasingly saying “no” to Judaism and Jewishness. In a survey six years ago 32 percent of Jews born after 1980 defined themselves as “Jews of no religion,” compared with on only 7 percent born in 1914-27. Today, it would be even more.
SO MOURN WITH ME
Young American Jews have a 70 percent rate of intermarriage with Gentiles. And they care nothing about belonging to a Jewish community.
American Judaism has become much less God-centered and more people-centered, according to Rabbi Mark Golub.
Jewish scholars acknowledge this. Yossi Klein Halevi of Shalem Institute in Jerusalem predicts that “Fifty years from now, the Jews will either become a God-centered people again or Judaism will be a dying faith….The God-centered faith of the Jewish past has scarcely survived the combined onslaught of the European Enlightenment, the Holocaust, Americanization, Soviet Communism, and secular Zionism. Today Jewishness is about peoplehood, ritual observance, Torah study, Zionism, defense against anti-Semitism--everything but God. Each of those facets of contemporary Jewish life is worthy in itself. None of them…necessarily involves a conscious relationship with God.” (Commentary, November 2015, p. 35.) This is particularly true of American Jews.
Jonathan Sacks, well-known as the chief rabbi of the British Hebrew congregations: “Today Jews have overachieved in every field except Judaism.” Commentary, Nov. 2015, p. 61.
MOURN WITH ME
Is it wrong to accuse many of them of making Material Possessions their gods?.... houses, lands, automobiles, art, etc., and positions deserving of public respect? Are not political, educational and corporate positions a substitute for a covenant relationship with God?
Jews who only casually cling to their religion as a power that holds together and gives a bit of meaning to their existence—they will have to go deeper and ask themselves: “Is this belief and this ethical tradition (e. g. the Ten Commandments and Torah)—is this all just legendary, or is it based on solid ground?" They will have to take it seriously enough to study it.
Up to the present, most American Jews feel comfortable with secularism. They despise the constraints that they see in their Orthodox Jewish brethren and that which committed Christians live with….and they want nothing to do with them. Their comedians are amoral and many of their business people, too. They have an aversion to talk about prayer, faith and the religious life. I understand that and still feel compassion.
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I learned to know an older Jewish man in Sun City through a group fishing experience, and we became friends. At lunch one day he told me of his episodes with lymphoma. In one of his first episodes with the disease, he was lying in an Episcopalian hospital in Austin. The crucifix was on the opposite wall at which he stared all day. He finally blurted out his anguish (to Jesus) with the request: “Well, if you’re so good, why don’t you do something for me?”
There at lunch with scripture in front of me, I asked him, “Well, you did recover, didn’t you? Did you ever give thanks to Jesus for your renewed health?” He didn’t answer. I pressed him: “Didn’t you thank God?” (I wasn’t easy on him.) And he just laughed. He would revert to laughter or divert the discussion to other questions. He was funny. But he never gave thanks. His life was making money. Down to the very last days of his life he was working in real estate—buying and selling houses—buying, maintaining and selling. And then the lymphoma finally took him. AND I MOURNED.
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The prophet Isaiah speaks to Israel’s God:
“Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
In our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name--
Who rouses himself to take hold of you;
For you have hidden your face from us,
And have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.”
-- Isaiah 64:5-7 (ESV)
MOURN WITH ME
The life of Jesus occurred at a time of expectation: the Jews expected that soon God would free them from the rule of empires. “Free us from our enemies,” was the typical prayer.
So this was the expectation. But Jesus, instead of describing their freedom, forecasted a disaster. Jerusalem would be destroyed, and all Jews would have to escape on their own. And once again, they would be taken captive!
Said He: “They [the Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24 ESV)
Whoa! Not again!
The Jews were sick and tired of being under the heavy fist of foreign powers in their homeland.
But here Jesus was forecasting Jerusalem’s continuation under the heavy-handed rule of Rome and other Gentile nations.
And oh, another exile from their sacred land? Yes, yes, yes! “And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be held captive among all nations….” Yes, they would be expelled from Jerusalem and Judea and escape to other parts of the Middle East (Near East) and many eventually be scattered to all parts of the earth.
This came to pass--first in the complete and horrendous destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. and then in a final and extreme manner in 132 A. D.
The temple was destroyed in the first war with the Romans in 70 A. D., after which the city was completely cleared of all Jews in the second war.
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Then came “the times of the Gentiles.” Jerusalem and its environs would be trampled underfoot by the Gentile nations, as Jesus put it. And Jerusalem, for most of that time, would be a “nothing city.”
REPEAT: During this “times of the Gentiles,”—for 2,000 years--the Jews would be captive, living in all parts of the world-- “captive among all nations.” Plus, the Gentile nations would be controlling Jerusalem.
And that’s been the situation from 70 A. D. until recently. (There were exceptions to being held “captive.” In modern Europe and America, some Jews were given “emancipation.”
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Then the transition: that exile and that captivity and that Gentile control of Jerusalem would continue “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Dear reader: that is the time that we are entering in these day….NOW! The times of the Gentiles are in the process are being fulfilled. Gentile empires are now releasing control of the Promised Land.
-- Great Britain released control in 1947-1948.
-- At the present time, being the friends of Israel, America has indirect control. Note what nation in the United Nations votes on the side of Israel—America. Sometimes the ONLY nation that votes NO on the Security Council’s moves to blame Israel, is America--vetoing resolutions that are unfairly critical of Israel.
But increasingly, the Israelis realize that they cannot rely upon the U. S. forever, because lately part of the American electorate does not view Israel as a good ally. Thus, Israel knows that it may soon have to stand alone among the nations.
-- Thus…thus my dear readers, we are now living in the times when the “times of the Gentiles” are just about over. Israel may soon be on her own. The Gentile powers will release their authority (what Great Britain had) and control (what America has had and is releasing; for…the times of the Gentiles are close to being at their end.
-- For now, Israel has it good: the Trump Administration now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On the other hand, the Trump Administration is bent upon getting out of the messy Middle East.
-- But reading reports of Israel’s military readiness, I believe that Israel is almost on a par now with the United States in the development of advanced weaponry and defensive warfare.
The Jews do not control all their land yet. But….note this:
It hasn’t been but a year or so, since the two-state solution was the ONLY solution being talked about by most diplomats and interested people. EVERYONE with few exceptions believed that in the peace talks, Israel would have to give up a considerable amount of land. That is no longer the case.
NOW we hear that Prime Minister Netanyahu is consulting with his cabinet about how to proceed with annexing sections of Judea and Galilee.
WHO OWNS JUDEA AND SAMARIA NOW? These areas are called “Israeli-Occupied Territories,” or “disputed territories,” even though the League of Nations Palestine Mandate designated this as the homeland of the Jews, later to be assumed by the United Nations in 1948.
Today, most land in Judea and Samaria is not privately owned, but is unsurveyed and without proven ownership. But for settlement purposes, there are three areas—A, B, and C, and only Area C is opened by the Israeli government for Jewish residences.
SO NOTE: Two statements summarize the modern fulfillment of this prophecy:
I. SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE HOLY LAND IS STEP-BY-STEP BEING TRANSFERRED BACK TO ITS ANCIENT OWNERS—THE JEWISH PEOPLE.
II. THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES ARE WANING.
Europe’s empires have had their day. And what about America? America is declining, not in real obvious ways, but in culture, in religion and in law we are going the way of Europe. We are becoming increasingly decadent and self-absorbed. That does not bode well for world leadership. And America is vulnerable.
It seems like the “Times of the Gentiles” has neared its end. Jerusalem is the city of the future-- not Rome, or Brussels, or Washington, D. C. or Moscow.
Jerusalem, once encircled by the Roman army and destroyed by it, is now a magnet to which Jews and righteous people are drawn.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.” (Ps. 122:6)
And…it is the earthly Jerusalem that betokens the heavenly Jerusalem where lives the “assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” and Jesus “the mediator of a new covenant.” (Hebrews 12) Believe it! And believe Him!
ONE MORE THING: Further down in Chapter 21 of Luke’s Gospel, we read this statement of Jesus’ prophecy:
“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (21:28 ESV)
The Trump Administration Peace Plan: “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People.”
The newest and best of all Middle East plans is out. It’s different.
It outlines the details of a program to facilitate the inauguration of a new “State of Palestine,” a title referred to a total of 1397 times in the 180 page document.
It pledges all kind of benefits to the Palestinians, monetary and new development.
Some “Peace to Prosperity” Vision Particulars:
1. Estimates that its participation could double the Gross Domestic Product of the Palestinians State to “double in 10 years, create over 1 million new jobs, reduce the unemployment rate below 10 per cent and reduce the poverty rate by 50 per cent.
2. The plan calls for the establishment of a “Dead Sea Resort Area,’ demanding that Israel allow Palestine to develop it to the north of the Dead Sea.
3. We are familiar with such benefits. They have been offered in other forms in other offers. They are outlined in all the Peace Process offers and in some of those that have become signed agreements. Those benefits are made up of land, economic incentives--over $50 billion in new investment over ten years.
To receive the benefits, the Palestinians “shall have implemented a governing system with a constitution or another system for establishing the rule of law that provides for the freedom of the press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights, protections for religious freedom….due process under the law and an independent judiciary….”
If only the Palestinians will behave themselves….if they become de-militarized, renounce ownership in and refrain from developing military, paramilitary or electronic warfare capabilities, this plan can be put in place. Though the police force will be armed, Hamas in Gaza and militias in Gaza must be disarmed and fully de-militarized. Likewise, the population shall be fully de-militarized.
All Israeli captives and remains must be returned. The State of Palestine must refrain from attempting to join any international organization without the consent of the State of Israel. The State of Palestine must take no action against the State of Israel or the United States before the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice.
The day following the release of the Trump Administration Peace Plan, the Palestinians responded by rejecting it as "The Apartheid Peace Plan."
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Time after time during the during the Madrid and Oslo Peace Process talks, there were great expectations; and the great one was this: that Yassir Arafat would tone down his rhetoric and encourage his henchmen to cooperate to co-exist with Israel. Time after time, Arafat disappointed them.
In all of this, officials from America and Europe and from the liberal/Labour parties in Israel believed. Yes, they firmly believed that the talks, especially Oslo, would be successful….that the incentives would be gladly received by the Palestinians and Arabs for their economic benefits.
The agreements would improve relations and lead to peaceful coexistence…and then that peace would allay Israel’s fears—fears that required a fence and defensible borders. Improving the economic conditions of the Palestinians would then encourage them to come to reject their terrorist activities and gradually become partners in constructive regional projects. Ah yes! How fine these hopes! In the 1990’s, it was Shimon Peres, Israel’s President (not prime minister) who authored the book The New Middle East. The reconciliation between Israel and all her neighbors and the Palestinians was a sure thing, wrote Perez. It was “the irresistible direction of history.” (Levin, The Oslo Syndrome, p. 334)
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It is often true that when human plans come to nothing, it is God Himself Who is conspiring to bring about the failure. He is there, botching things up.
Let’s examine that.
We may be trying to make friends out of enemies—a noble thing, especially when Jesus gives us the command to “love your enemies.” But is this applicable in this instance?
God is in a covenant/marriage with His Chosen People. How can this covenant be renewed? The Chosen must become aware of and acknowledge their unfaithfulness to their husband-God. If these Chosen Ones become too close to other peoples, God, the husband-God, will lose them before the covenant is even renewed. His Chosen will become intertwined with other peoples and intermarry. And literally, that is what is happening to American Jews. They have forgotten God; and their numbers are being reduced through intermarriage. That must not happen in Zion with the Jews who have returned. The warmth of friendship must not develop between the Jews and the Muslim Arabs. So…I, Quinton Everest, believe this:
A stubborn, evil attitude has been inserted into the hearts of the neighbors of Israel—an enmity strong and fierce as well as long lasting--an enmity which will not be removed by angling concrete benefits in front of them. Think. Think of Israel's past: the hardening of Pharoah's heart is just one example.
Most people will ask: “How can Israel continue to exist while having to tolerate such hateful neighbors--neighbors who use “Jew” as a curse word and train their children to believe that Jews are direct descendants of pigs and apes and train them to become suicide bombers?”
But, I now ask: “HOW COULD ISRAEL CONTINUE TO EXIST IF THEIR NEIGHBORS WERE FAIR AND FRIENDLY?" With the exception of the Orthodox Jews, there would come…INTERMINGLING AND INTERMARRIAGE and—the loss of separateness, distinctiveness and devotion to the Torah!
When the ancient Hebrews went into the Promised Land, they were commanded to renounce the ways of the peoples around them, to break down their altars, make no treaty with them and not intermarry (Deuteronomy 7:5). I posit then that the enmity of Israel's enemies is doing a service to Israel and to her covenant with God the Lord. Israel's enemies are one force among others making Israel to eventually be separated unto the Lord, preventing them from taking on the ways of their neighbors and from marrying the beautiful women of the Arab lands.
What do you think?
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.
The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people
for his treasured possession.” (Deut. 7:6 ESV)
What is BDS?
Boycotting Israeli goods actually predates the establishment of the State of Israel. On December 2, 1945 the new Arab League Council decreed thus: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab institutions, institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals were instructed “to refuse to deal in, distribute or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”
That wasn’t all. The League declared a boycott of all goods produced by nations that did business with Israel. That included Coca Cola. It was sold in Israel; so….the Arab countries boycotted the company.
And that, too, wasn’t all. The League declared the blacklisting of firms that traded with other countries that did business with Israel!
Selling off stocks and bonds and other investment funds which make growth possible in Israeli business and industry. BDS demonstrators advance this method.
A ban on trade. It can cripple a nation’s economy, especially if it is a complete set of sanctions. At the present time, American sanctions on Iran are squeezing the life’s blood out of Iran’s economy. That is what the BDS Movement wants to do to Israel.
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Two lies that BDS propagates: first, that Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank—Judea and Samaria; and secondly, that Israel is brutally treating the Palestinians.
Israel is presented as a selfish colonialist power. The BDS people castigate Israel with buzz words like settler-colonialism, genocide and apartheid. None of these fit.
BDS never, never refers to the wars and harassment that Israel has endured from her Arab neighbors.
BDS blames Israel, and only Israel, for the tension in the Middle East.
BDS blames Israel for Arab suffering and brutally treats the Palestinians.
However, the BDS movement fails to show any interest in Arab suffering unless they can fix the blame on the Jews.
It fails to acknowledge that Israeli Arabs have far more human rights and a far greater standard of living than other Arabs in the Middle East. It fails to acknowledge that even the Palestinians have far greater opportunities in gainful employment in Israel than they ever have had—that access to education and health care is greater, life expectancy is longer, infant mortality is greatly reduced, illiteracy rates are lower and that life expectancy rose from 48 years old in 1967 to 72 in the year 2000. (See more in my book Israel the Chosen, pp. 174-190
Yet, the BDS voices take upon themselves the image of virtue and compassion.
At the first BDS conference in Ramallah the conferees sought to link BDS to the South African racial segregation system. At that meeting, the goal was stated: to bring down the State of Israel.
The proponents of BDS press upon their hearers one set of principles and focus entirely on Israel as the world’s great evil with outrageous accusations not mentioned here.
This obsession with Israel’s imperfections blinds them to the actual crimes of other nations such as China’s imprisonment of a million Muslims in order to “re-educate” them, the stateless situation of the Kurds. It also distorts history with the reasons for homelessness of the Jewish people following World War II—the holocaust in Europe and the expulsions of the Mizrahi Jews in the North African nations—expelled under unusually horrid conditions with their money and property expropriated.
Key Figures in the BDS Movement
Most of the professors in Middle East Study departments in the major universities of America line up with the BDS Movement. Many of these departments have within them student groups that demonstrate on behalf of this movement.
Arab Nations’ Grants to American Universities
One reason for the anti-Israel sentiment in American universities is that over the past few decades large sums of money from Arab countries have supported the Middle East Study programs through grants, chairs and fellowships. Their literature educates but also advances the Muslim/Arab viewpoint. Seldom is this made known. But universities will accept such gifts to grow their departments. It fits in with the “viewpoint diversity” standard required under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
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The world of neighbors around Israel-- indeed many peoples throughout the world, including the United Nations, want to see the position of the State of Israel to be lowered; for Israel puts them to shame. They are envious; and Israel’s success angers them. It especially angers those ancient nations which are descendants of ancient biblical nations—Persia (Iran), Babylon (Iraq), Jordan (Moabites, Ammonites, etc.), Gaza (the Philistines), Egypt. The word “Jew” is used in at least some parts of those populations as a curse word… the only time it is used their societies.
But the Lord of heaven and earth now desires Israel to be elevated. That is evident from many strange twists and turns of modern international affairs in modern history. Israel is to be set on high—having leaped up from their lowered position in the world.
Those nations are but sparrows; Israel is an eagle which grows stronger in spite of opposition by the little birds.
Israel’s opposition is unusually harsh. Nevertheless, Israel’s help in the times of natural disaster is well known and is unprecedented for a small nation. So the State of Israel is an anomaly.
QUESTION: Is the BDS Movement succeeding?
ANSWER: No, not at all. In fact, Israel’s success in spite of opposition is phenomenal and proceeding apace. During the life of the BDS Movement, foreign investment in Israel has grown by 42%. Israel’s GDP has risen by more than 64%. And Israel has experienced unprecedented growth and is more secure economically and militarily. In these times, no nation of note would dare ignore Israel or boycott their products. The BDS Movement while active in American, Europe and the Middle East, is a failure.
This is the work of the Lord.
As Robert Jenson says in his Commentary on Ezekiel: “This God simply is the God who reverses the judgments and outcomes of this age.” (p. 143)
“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous to behold.”
And then there is God’s promise to Abraham which should be remembered:
“I will bless those who bless you,
And curse those who curse you….”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.