Oct 26, 2009

Demonizing Israel. Again.

Jim FletcherBy Jim Fletcher

It wasn’t a widely reported story, of course, but when we learned last week that a leading Lebanese school was forced to delete passages critical of Hezbollah from a textbook, it was another major indication that there is a hardening towards Israel.

The book, Modern World History, described Hezbollah and other Palestinian terror groups as … terrorists. Well, that didn’t sit well with a Lebanese cabinet minister (Hezbollah has 11 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament). This in an era when Arab terrorists work to assassinate moderate Lebanese politicians!

The school using the textbook, the International College of Beirut, is an interesting study, as well.

As the Israeli historian Michael Oren (and currently ambassador to the U.S.) has written, American missionaries in the 19th century opened schools throughout the Arab world — most notably in Lebanon — and when the Muslim population didn’t take well to evangelization efforts, the heads of those schools began to change their agenda. They began to implement the so-called social gospel (which is not really The Gospel) and eventually became so enamored of their Arab hosts that they wholesale began to encourage nationalism. This in turn led the Arabs to revolt and within a century, the British and French left the area and the various Arab countries were formed.

(Note, too, the outrageous nature of this complaint. For decades, the Palestinians have force-fed direct lies about Jews and Israel to their students via textbooks! Rarely is anything done about it.)

So this little tidbit about terrorist sensibilities being offended in a textbook falls right in line with the demonizing of Israel around the world.

A curious-but-dangerous trend is that of nations that either subtly or overtly threaten to arrest Israeli officials, should they enter that country’s borders. The arrests are threatened because of alleged/absurd “war crimes” committed by Israel in her defense against terrorism or outright acts of war by her neighbors.

This is a two-edged sword for Christian supporters of Israel. On the one hand, we grieve (and get mad!) over the treatment of Israel in our world today. It is unjust.

On the other hand, we see in all this the hand of God, as He directs the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. We know that in the end-times, international (what the Bible calls “the nations”) groups will put the squeeze on Israel. Jerusalem will be a particular target of derision; since the state of Israel today has declared that the Holy City is its capitol, aggressive hatred is directed toward the Jewish state. This is just one of many reasons that a leader like Benjamin Netanyahu is so hated; he declares that Jerusalem is the undivided capitol of Israel … forever.

But here I want to say something personal. We are all experiencing difficult days. Some are in great pain. Added to our personal situations is the knowledge that we love Israel. We love her not to gain blessing ourselves (although that can be a byproduct, according to Scripture), but because God wants us to love the Jews. That part is not hard.

What is hard is seeing how our world is unfolding, and feeling powerless to “help.” Yet, what is help in this context? Do we desire to turn back the clock to a different era, perhaps the late 1970s, when Israel began to settle her biblical heartland?

In our own country, do we desire to go back to the 1950s?

We should resolve to live in our own era, and embrace it. God has us here for a reason. In the context of today’s column, we can resolve to help Israel where we are. Let me give you an example:

I often interact with people who don’t like Israel. These are people who, for instance, demonize the Jewish state by complaining about the so-called “wall.” This “wall,” which in actual fact is a security fence weaving its way through Israel, has saved many Jewish lives that otherwise would have been snuffed-out by terrorists.

But Israel’s detractors — her vicious enemies, let’s call them what they are — like to erect wall images in our minds here in the West. They talk of a gigantic wall suffocating the Palestinians, choking off families and employment.

When I hear that garbage, that propaganda, I trot-out my photos. I show the “wall” as it really is: a series of panels wrapped around individual towns and cities in the biblical heartland. The “wall” then continues on as a see-through wire fence; it still keeps terrorist bombers from crossing into Israeli residential areas.

Every single time, the detractor shuts his or her mouth. They either learn something, or realize that the lie they are knowingly perpetrating is hollow. Let me be frank and specific: usually these people are aligned with mainline church denominations here in the U.S. They are among the “useful idiots” that the early Soviet leader Lenin discussed. These are Westerners who don’t really know what they are talking about when condemning their own countries (or in our case today, friends like Israel), but they are so enamored of Marxist ideals that they willingly embrace lies, or simply refuse to investigate to see whether Marxist/Socialist ideas are valid.

For you, if you have never been to Israel, educate yourself about the issues and compile your own effective rebuttals. I have every confidence that you can and will. This is how you can help Israel, because you live in San Diego, or Milwaukee, or Plymouth Rock. You can engage your elected officials and church officials and confront them with truth. You can also influence young people.

In this way, even as we see our world slide deeper into chaos, you can rest in the knowledge that you did everything you could with what you had available to you.

Because, you see, Israel is alive and is going into a glorious future!

Related Links

Hamas: War will settle Jerusalem dispute, not talks - Haaretz.com
Sharp rise of anti-Semitic acts in France - World Jewish Congress
Lebanese School Rips Pages From Textbook Critical of Hezbollah - FOX News
Poll: Most Americans view Israel as 'loyal ally' - Ynetnews
Syria: Israel tried to 'demolish' Aksa Mosque, destroy Arab culture - Jerusalem Post
It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times - Jim Fletcher (Book)