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….”
“Al-Quds” is the Arabic word for “Jerusalem.”
Islam has Mecca and Medina as holy cities, but they have added Jerusalem.
The Quds Force is one of the eight branches of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) This force is the only one which was directly responsible to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khameine.
The Quds Force represents the Muslim Arabs who are bent on the destruction of not only the State of Israel, but all Jews.
Soleimani and the Jews
When he was appointed commander of the Quds Force in 1998, Soleimani increased the scope of the Quds Force to the killing of not only Israelis but also to Jews throughout the world. That included Israeli diplomats in many foreign embassies.
A Few Examples of Soleimani’s Quds Force Terrorism:
NOTE: The mission of the Quds Force was to fulfill Ayatollah Khomeini”s goal of spreading its revolutionary efforts to “free” Jerusalem and, in order to do that, to train thousands of operatives from Hizbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Also, the Quds Force wants what all serious-minded Muslims want, and that is a world-wide caliphate. They want to rule the world. They want to hear the five daily calls to prayer to Allah from every main street corner in the world. Islam is not merely a missionary religion, it wants to be a conquering religion just as they were in the 7th century A. D. And when their forces are ineffective, many of them conclude that they aren’t strict enough in their Islamic behavior.
Islam wants to glorify Hagar and not Sarah, Ishmael and not Isaac and pretend that Jerusalem was a Muslim city from where Mohammed flew his horse to heaven.
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According to reports, Soleimani has, over the years, seized control over Tehran’s foreign policy in some foreign countries, and his group operates banks, shipping lines and jetties in some Iranian ports. Daily Alert reports that “hundreds of Iranian and Arab militants have enrolled in Western universities with scholarships from the Quds Force. Uh-oh!
His work was very close to Israel in the north as he worked to establish Hizbollah in Lebanon as well as in Syria. Recently his group has been teaching Hizbollah to produce its own advanced precision-guided missiles.
The Palestinian response to the assassination of Soleimani
The Palestinians mourn his loss. Hamas and Jihad mourned his death as a “martyr,” and erected a “mourning tent” in Gaza. They will miss him as a military mentor, aiding them in their missile barrages into Israel.
Would God permit this Quds Force—Jerusalem Force—to keep going unhindered?
Might God have used President Donald Trump to inhibit the work of this Quds Force? It would seem so to me.
Well, one might ask: “Why does God permit the Israelis to be scorned and terrorized? Why doesn’t the Lord rid Israel of all her enemies?” In reply I would first quickly say that I don’t pretend to know for certain what the Lord is doing; but I do see that in modern times the persecution of the Jews (anti-Semitism) has brought them closer together. Only suffering could do that.
For eons Israel has been fragmented. And for the past hundred years or so, many European Jews have even given up their identity just to fit in with Gentile polite society. Others have simply played down their Jewishness. The waves of persecution have stopped that.
But now, it seems that, though Israel has been scorned especially in the halls of the United Nations, she is seen as phenomenal--continually making great strides in research, development and service to other poorer and struggling nations.
“The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel…
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion….
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
They do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord.”
-- from Psalm 147
We know that God has severely disciplined the Jewish people. If He had not done so, they would not have been gathered together in the land which is the Lord God’s gift.
For the future, watch and wait. See Jerusalem and the nation of Israel continue to be transformed. And know that some day--some glad day in God's future, Israel will acknowledge her Lord, Messiah and Redeemer.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem;
May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
And security within your towers.”
-- Psalms 122:6-7
586 B. C. – Jewish Exile No. 1.
When the Jewish people were taken into exile by the Babylonians in 586 B. C. almost all of them were led by the nose to Babylonia.
70 years later when they were held by the Persians (who had defeated Babylon), Cyrus, the Persian Monarch was moved by Almighty God to assist them in returning to their homeland.
Only a portion of them chose to return when offered the opportunity. Many of them stayed in Mesopotamia and other more developed countries. They had become acclimated to a life more affluent and permissive.
Those who did return to Palestine had much of which to repent and much to learn. After that 70-year absence from God’s land, they had to learn:
(1) That their return must involve a return to holy living, renouncing other gods and shunning the people who had settled that land in their absence. Why? Because these other people worshipped other gods. For example, those young Jews who married young pagan, Gentile women were castigated and had to cast out those wives! Nehemiah: “Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign!”
(2) They had to learn as did their forbears that they are a “distinctive people”—set apart to demonstrate God’s glory, righteousness and love.
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Also, after they arrived back in their land, they had fierce opposition from non-Jewish settlers who had drifted in and settled there. These were termed “the people of the land.” Recognize that? That’s what the Palestinians are, so they claim, though that is highly suspect as authentic studies will indicate. (See: Joan Peters: From Time Immemorial, JKAP)
These non-natives of God’s land in about 490 B. C. discouraged the returning Jews, just as the Palestinians/Arabs have done ever since the early 1900’s. They reported to the empire’s authorities that the Jews were big trouble. So, the Jews were forced to interrupt the building of the temple.
Ezra 4:4 – “Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them….”
And so, the temple under construction stood unfinished for 17 years before the work resumed. They had to learn that this return had to mean a return to obedience to the Mosaic Law and to the God who had called them into being under Abraham. They also had to settle for a much smaller and more modest temple in Jerusalem. This helped lessen their pride.
WHAT THEY WERE LEARNING: The restoration of the land and people doesn’t come easily. But….
“The hand of the Lord our God was upon us…” – Ezra 8:31-32a
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Jewish Exile No. 2 – 1900 A. D. to the present.
Modern Israel is a nation of returned Jews--back from their exile after two millennia! But….
Not all Jews have returned to the land from their exile. Six million Jews remain in America. But they don’t consider themselves as in exile. And furthermore, they are disappearing through intermarriage!
And now, a strange spirit of anti-Semitism is increasing in America. There is widespread hostility towards them especially in the New York Area and on university campuses, places that used to be Jewish turf. American Jews, just within the past few months, are feeling noticeably less secure because of anti-Semitic terrorism and hateful demonstrations against the policies of the State of Israel.
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However, for their part, the Israeli Jews constitute an immigrant country.
These, like their ancient brothers and sisters, do not officially have the whole land that they possessed before their exile. Under the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, all the designated land would be theirs in which to settle. But the same British who provided this land later took the largest part of it and gave it to the Arabs.
From a biblical point of view, modern Israelis have shown timidity and lack of faith in God. Aren't I blunt? But true, they were magnificently brave during the 6-Day War; but then, brave Israelis tip-toed into the forbidden territory following that war. Their enemy wouldn’t negotiate with them nor would they recognize Israel as a nation. Israel had subdued her enemies on every side in just six days! And yet, the Israeli leaders decided they would forbid their own Israeli citizens from ENTERING this conquered land. And so, Judea and Samaria would not be opened up the slightest bit (at first) to any Jews!
Nevertheless, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) came to be occupied by an increasing number of determined Jewish “settlers”. How did that happen? Because little by little, those few religious Jews went in and put up housing, defying their own Jewish/Israeli government. The trickle became larger until it was quite a phenomenon; and the government had to give in. The building of infrastructure in the West Bank began.
Here we are—a half century later, and they are still tiptoeing, still guarded and still checking with America and the U. N. In fact, the liberals among them are guided by the European outlook: Judea and Samaria should be given back to the Arabs; and the Jewish “settlements” on that “West Bank” area must be abandoned in response to Palestinian demands.
To them, the basic parameters of the State of Israel are and should be presently determined not by the will of God, (laughable to many of them) but by human declarations, for example: The British Mandate, The Fourth Geneva Convention, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, other international laws, and by coordination with America’s State Department and President.
NOTE THIS: They do NOT have a motto like America’s “In God we trust.” And so, they lean upon a nation that DOES have this motto!
QUESTION: So, is the nation of Israel--the nation of former exiles--timid or brave?
ANSWER: They are strong militarily, but they are weak in relation to their relation to the Most High God and the strength that only HE can give.
This generation of Jewish exiles from all over the world is WEAK in spirit. They have a high degree of intelligence and they have produced technological “miracles,” but there is a huge vacuum in the soul of the nation.
And therefore, the long delay in claiming the land.
NOTE: Those who settled in the land in Ezra’s day did so in spite of virulent opposition. The opposition came from people of mixed or other races who knew not the true God. The strength of the returning Jews came from the Lord.
“When the…Arabs and Ammonites….heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward, they were very angry, and all plotted to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it…So I (the man Ezra) stationed the people…and said to them: ‘Do not be afraid of them. (Nehemiah 4:7-10 NRSV)
" Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.” (Nehemiah 4:14 NRSV)
What can the Spirit of God effect in human/Jewish lives?
QUESTION: Can the human heart be softened? Can stiffnecked pride be transformed into humility and stubbornness become pliable?
ANSWER: Yes. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.
In Christian conversation that would be a “conversion” or being “born again.”
And in terms of a movement, it would be “a spiritual awakening,” or “a revival.”
In American history, we term that sort of national event “A Great Awakening,” when the whole nation is caught up in an awareness of God’s power and love. When that happens, people are bold to speak of spiritual reality. We have had three of those “Great Awakenings” in American history when most of the nation is caught up in it, the first being in the 1730’s. Many lives are changed for the better. Individuals become convinced of their sinfulness and rejoice when they experience God’s grace. Hardened hearts become tender. In the churches, worship styles become less starchy and more meaningful.
The Spirit has moved and does move among us.
But the Spirit cannot be maneuvered, nor is He altogether predictable. Just as Jesus said to the Jewish leader, Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3)
QUESTION: Could there possibly be a spiritual awakening in Israel—and among all among the Jewish People?
ANSWER: “Well, that’s a stretch,” you might be thinking.
QUESTION: But don’t they need it?
ANSWER: Yes, and here is what I’ve read from various American rabbinical leaders as they evaluate their people’s religious condition:
1) Many of their people do not value Jewish traditions (their feasts, Sabbaths, etc.)
2) Most modern Jews would be embarrassed to have conversations about God and religious experience.
3) In the synagogues and temples there is much more talk of social justice and social service than of religious experience.
4) Their common watchwords are “inclusiveness” and “choice.”
5) They are ignorant of the Torah teachings.
6) In America, 70% of their non-Orthodox young people are marrying Gentiles, making their numbers fall precipitously.
7) They are spiritually malnourished.
(For more detail, see my book, Israel the Chosen, Chapter 11, “The Crisis of Judaism.”)
This is true of a very large portion of modern Jews, especially in America. Do they need a revival? They surely do.
THE TESTIMONY OF THEIR PROPHETS
Their ancient prophets scorched the ears of their hearers, writes the late Abraham Joshua Heschel, himself a Jew. Hear him: “They [the prophets] speak and act as if the sky were about to collapse because Israel has become unfaithful to God….The prophet’s words are outbursts of violent emotions.” (Heschel: The Prophets)
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes and do not see,
Who have ears but do not hear.
Do you not fear me, says the Lord,
Do you not tremble before me?..
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart.”
-- Jeremiah 5:21-23 (NRSV)
Does this apply to modern Jews? Yes. They need a revival.
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But the prophets also say that in the latter days the Spirit will become very active in the house of Israel.
In my opinion and from reading these prophecies, I believe we are in the preliminary stage of this revival in Israel. (more of this in a later blog).
NOW GIVE HEED TO THESE PROPHECIES
The Prophet Ezekiel: The Lord speaking-- “I will take you from the nations….A new heart I will give to you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my spirit within you…. And you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.” (Ezekiel 36:26, 31)
“Oh dry bones, hear the word of the Lord….And the breath came into them…” (Ezekiel 37:4,10)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy…”“…so that when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him [their Messiah]…” (Zechariah 12:10) Yes, a true revival involves Yeshua: He is recognized and gladly accepted.
What a glorious revival that will be!
This will occur when most Jewish people will be in Israel; and Jerusalem will be the center of this spiritual activity.
“The nations shall see your righteousness,
And all the kings your glory,
And you shall be called by a new name
That the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord.”
(Isaiah 62:2-3 (ESV)
“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David, their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5
“I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I will display my holiness before their eyes. I will take you - from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.” – Ezekiel 36:23-24 (NRSV)
“Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (36:28)
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Look at this.
As of 2018, the Jewish population in the U. S. was 6,925,475. The Jewish population in Israel was 6,744,000.
So, what will motivate American Jews to return to their land—the place where the Lord wants to deal with them? ["I will take you - from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.” – Ezekiel 36:23-24 (NRSV)]
AGAIN, THE QUESTION: What might excite or stimulate them to go? Would it be the beauty of the Judean hills… the beautiful cities including Jerusalem…the ancient archeological findings…the feeling that one is tracing the steps of the patriarchs and kings of Israel? Would it be the longing to be close to their rich tradition and the delights of living with their own people—the descendants of Abraham?
ANSWER: Presently, those attractions are of insufficient appeal to the American Jews.
ANSWER: Because they are in love with America!
(I am not blaming the American Jew. I am searching their minds.)
EXPANDED ANSWER-- these reasons:
The Jewish people have felt safe living in America.
The Jewish people have felt accepted in America.
The Jewish people have had the opportunity to strive for affluence in America.
The Jewish people have had religious liberty here. Those who are turned off by their traditions of Judaism can, in America, not worry about it. They don’t feel bound by “Halekhah”—the collection of Jewish Law.
The United States has accepted them. In contrast, Israel’s immigration policy is NOT inclusive. It is controlled by the Orthodox rabbis. This generation of American Jews look askew at that.
The difference: openness and diversity in America versus restriction in Israel.
Proof of this preference for America is this:
In November of 2013, Commentary Magazine (a Jewish periodical) reported the Pew Research Center’s “A Portrait of Jewish Americans.” That portrait revealed that most American Jews “are now choosing not to live as Jews in any real sense.” Just one example: intermarriage rates are now at 70 per cent. The article’s title: “Loving Us To Death: How America’s Embrace Is Imperiling American Jewry.” Author: Jonathan S. Tobin.
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THE NEXT QUESTION: What would it take for the American Jews to move to Israel? Since the prophets of the Old Testament—The Tenakh—prophecied that God will call them from the far corners of the earth, what would it take for the American Jews to immigrate to the land—“their land”—in biblical terms. They may not say to themselves that it is their land. But we speak here from the perspective of the Bible.
QUESTION: To put it crudely, God wants them in the land. What is He going to do to get them back there?
PLEASE: Do not think that I, Quinton Everest, need to see them go from us. I am a lover of the Jewish people and try to increase my encounters with them.
ANOTHER QUESTION: What prompted most of the Jews to go there in the 20th century? What caused those “alijah’s” to occur? (Alijah—literally “to go up”) --the great movements to that land in the 20th century?
ANSWER? FEAR! The threats, persecution, pogroms, waves of terrorism and the holocaust of the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe. That was the motivation for the largest surge.
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ANNOUNCEMENT: Anti-Semitic acts are on the increase in America. Terror against the Jews. Just last Sunday a man using a machete entered the home of a rabbi in a home just north of New York City and knifed five Hasidic Jews celebrating Hanukkah.
Many Jewish publications both on-line and in periodicals are asking why the upsurge of anti-Semitism in America. Many of them are truly alarmed. For example, in a dialogue between Rabbi Mark Golam and David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, Harris stated that the attacks against Jews in New York is now an epidemic. Jews are singled out for terrorist acts. Most people in America have been unaware of harassment, especially in New York City, unless it involves multiple victims; but these physical acts against Jewish residents are worse than ever according to reports.
The sources of this Jew hatred are many: neo-Nazis, white supremacy, black anti-Semitism, Islamist anti-Semitism are just some of the groups. In addition, on university campuses across our nation, the Palestinian-Israeli tension is blamed on the Israelis, and those demonstrating often express their opposition to Israel with vehemence and sometimes violence. Those doing this are most always ignorant of history and usually misrepresent international law.
What if this phenomenon continues to increase in our nation? How will our Jewish friends react? For instance, will the millennial Jews stay in America, or will they eventually, along with other ages of Jews, elect to pack their bags for Tel Aviv?
Be watchful and prayerful.
The Lord says………….
“Do not fear, for I am with you,
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And from the west I will gather you:
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up,’
And to the south, ‘Do not withhold;’
Bring my sons from far away--
And my daughters from the end of the earth.”
-- Isaiah 43:5-6
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