As the conflict in Israel and Gaza is going on, conservative Christian friends of mine are posting videos and images that tell the message that everything is Hamas fault while Israel only defends itself, that Hamas wants to kill civilians and use them as human shields while Israel actively tries to avoid hurting civilians, that Hamas wants war while Israel wants peace, that Hamas is evil while Israel is good. Over and over again I hear that if Hamas lays down its weapons, there will be peace, but if Israel does it all Israelis will be killed. One Christian friend told me that Israel is righteous while Hamas has a demonic, Nazi spirit.
Now, there are indeed big differences between Hamas and Israel. Hamas is a fundamentalist organization where there is a lot of antisemitism and hatred, and they do indeed target civilians and use them as human shields. But to blame everything on them and nothing on Israel, is not a true portrait of reality. Israel has done attrocities (for example, the use of human shields) and many of them are on a structural level: the settlements, not letting enough goods through to Gaza in order to stop the humanitarian crisis, breaking international humanitarian law over and over again, etc.
And in the conflict, it is the Palestinians that suffer and die the most. People that are pro-Israel often point out how many rockets Hamas is firing into Israel, but they are often quite silent about the fact that very few die from them. During operation Cast Lead in 2009, 1391 Palestinians died and 5 Israelis. More than half of the killed Palestinians were civilians, while all five of the killed Israelis were soldiers. In the current conflict between Hamas and Israel, over 100 Palestinians have died and 77% of them are civilians.
The pro-Israel response is usually that not many Israelis die because of the protective anti-rocket system Iron Dome, while Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. And while the Iron Dome is a good defensive system, bombing Gaza isn’t. As I wrote in my last blog post, the bombs only escalates extremism and doesn’t end the conflict at all. When Palestinians over and over again see that Israel kills women and children, they will be more keen to support extremism and hatred. And it is unavoidable to kill civilians when you bomb a city, which is why the civilian causalty always is so high. If Netanyahu cared as much for Palestinian civilians as he does for Israeli civilians, he wouldn’t bomb at all.
Now, I wonder what theology my Christian pro-Israeli friends use when they try their best to portray Israel as a good country that bears no guilt of the bloody conflict. Many of them believe that Israel still is God’s chosen people and that the Jewish return to Israel is a sign of the time, a view I am challenging in my blog series The Promised Land. This doesn’t explain the idea of the righteous Israel though, because when you look in the Scriptures, Israel is criticized over and over again for not obeying God even as His chosen people. Throughout the Old Testament into the New, the prophets of the Lord tell Israel to repent and stop being disobedient.
In fact, Paul makes it very clear in his letter to the Romans that all Jews need to admit that they sin, just as all the other people. They too are in need of a Saviour. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:23-24). There is no need to whitewash Israel, you aren’t a bad Christian if you point out that the Israeli politicians and military also do wrong things. We need to pray and act for both Israelis and Palestinians to repent, reconciliate, love and establish peace and justice in the holy land.
I cannot grasp how someone who claims to be a spokesman for
Christianity, deliberately searches for a way to support Islam
or atheists in article after article. There is no defense for
Hamas, Muslim Palestinians, etc. So Israel slaps back hard
against Palestinian attacks. That is the only thing
Muslims understand…violence. They only respect brutal
replies to their violent acts. No so much respect as they
just crawl back where they came from and lay low. They spend
ZERO time an effort on anything good for themselves, neighbors,
or the world. Israel does. You are the typical hippie…
dreaming about pie in the sky, opposed to anything genuinely
Christian, and finding a way to support anything not Christian
and not American.
Well, if you go back a couple of posts you see that I’ve written about the importance of the cross, revival, miracles of the Holy Spirit and praising Jesus. So to claim that I don’t support Christianity but only islam and atheism is what most people would call a lie. It is true though that I don’t feel very obliged to defend everything that’s American, but why would I? I’m Swedish. Are all human beings on earth obliged to support the United States? On what biblical grounds?
Furthermore, I see that you totally agree with the idea of the sinless Israel, while you see Muslims as intrinsically evil and violent. But here’s some news for you: people are different. There are pacifist Sufi Muslims, and there are violent jihadist Muslims. Likewise, there are pacifist Anabaptist Christians, and there are violent fundamentalist Christians. It wasn’t Muslims who dropped the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Bible says that all men are sinners – Muslims, Christians and Jews alike – and we all need God’s grace to follow the pacifism of the Sermon on the Mount and establish peace and justice.
God bless you!
The big mistake made was way back when Joshua and the Israelites
failed to clear out the entire Promised Land and then submit
to God only and hold on to the land. As long as muslims live
in Israel, there will be endless problems. They have no
intention to cooperate with anybody not muslim. Please name
one successful muslim country in today’s world. All muslim
countries are THIRD WOLRD because that is the result of
following muslim principles….POVERTY for 90% of the population
because only 10% own the land and the money and make the rules.
We can get lost on a hundred details, while ignoring the simple
truth. Sweden is a wonderful place to live or visit, but it is
NOT the economic leader or the military enforcer of order in the world. The Russians, Chinese, and muslims would overrun the
world if the US did not stand in the way. There is no reason
other countries to find ways to criticize the US and mention
other bad countries as if there was some moral equivalence to the US. Our government does make some bad decisions, but the
American people do not support these bad decisions that are done
for political purposes…such as sending billion of dollars to
help our enemies…muslim governments or creating debt to China
or allowing China to be out manufacturing base.
Finding ways to criticize Christianity is not the same as finding ways to critcize mistakes some Christian leaders have made concerning money or policy. You often criticize Christianity when a Christian action was not done…but it was
just a Christian taking action or expressing an idea that is not
in line with the Bible. That is NOT a Christian action or idea…it is just some man’s action or idea. Not every action or idea is a Christian action or idea.
No need to criticize Christianity. The criticism should go to the person who went out on a limb…away from Christianity.
“A Sinless Israel”. Come on. That is just baiting. No real
Christian thinks Israel does everythng right. We know the Old
Testament history of self-destruction !!!!!!!. And the way the
Jewish leaders attacked Jesus. And the reluctance of Jews to return to Israel from 300 AD til 1900 AD after being cast out by
the Romans after the Third Jewish Revolt.
It is important to press in to the heart of God rather than react to what you perceive is some sort of injustice. He alone has the the full knowledge of the truth. You are offended because of the Love that many people have for Israel, and yet you can read all through the Bible of God’s love for Israel, though you quote only where Israel is criticized for not obeying God. It is true that God loves all and we should pray for all; but to suggest that social justice is how we or Israel or anyone should respond when attacked in violence is foolishness. You have allowed your misguided compassion to blind you to truth. Social Justice is a fun word that has been coined in modern day and has become a cliche that has no true substance.
It may perhaps be wrong to describe Israel as “righteous Israel”, but non-the-less, they are God’s Israel and our older brother. Why should you feel such sense of defense over Hamaas, when, even you, described them as you did. I remember bullies from school picking a fight with innocent people who had done nothing to provoke them; my interpretation of your answer to that problem would be “give them your lunch money… they are from a poor family.” or if those same bullies attack in violence your answer is “well it isn’t fair to blame this person, surely the other person isn’t completely innocent”. Perhaps rather than saying “Israel is at fault tooooo.” It would be better to grieve and pray for all concerned rather than to take up sides and reacting by pointing fingers yourself, and making yourself guilty of the very thing you condemn your friends for.
I totally agree that we should love, bless and share the love of Jesus with the Jewish and Israeli people. Love is not the problem here. What I’m pointing out is that Biblically speaking, there is no reason why this love should mean that we need to defend and justify bad things that the one we love is doing – the examples of Jeremiah, Micah and even Jesus show us that it’s important to point out when Israel does wrong things – and they do, as everyone do.
Perhaps we have different understandings of social justice but the standard definition is when people have a right to equal socio-economic standards of living, so that no one is poor, hungry, discriminated etc. This is very biblical, see for example Deut 15:9, Is 58, Mt 25 and 2 Cor 8:13-15.
Now, if we don’t have an unbiblical doctrine of a sinless Israel, there is no need to ignore reports from serious organisations like UNOCHA and Oxfam that tell us about wrongdoings from the Israeli state: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_gaza_blockade_factsheet_june_2012_english.pdf http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/gaza If Israel isn’t sinless, there is no need to push them away and accuse them for being corrupt and biased before even reading them.
To say that Israel has done nothing and is just attacked by irrational evil Palestinians is so wrong. I do not defend Hamas or other militant Palestinians at all, but a lot of their hatred towards Israel is rooted in the injustice and inequality between Israelis and Palestinians, and if Israel promotes justice and equality instead, violence will decrease. To bomb Palestinian children will only increase extremism, and so the current bombings isn’t a defensive action. Israel must love their enemis (Mt 5:44) and do good towards them (Rom 12:19-21)
God bless you!
Many Jews and Palestinians are adamantly opposed to the escalation of violence in their country. Jewish Voices For Peace, for example. Christians who have a heart for Israel can get behind the peaceful vision that these groups have for their nation. I believe this would be pleasing to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
The headline I am waiting to see….
“Palestinian Muslims Convict Fellow Muslims For Killing Jews”
It will never happen. They will NEVER control their own for
atrocious behavior. Not civilized. No education. Can’t read
aan and write for themselves. Lead by a crazy religion, based
on Muhammad…an uneducated warlord who
killed those who did follow him in his new religion. Any
Christian who actually reads the Koran will be amazed at how
empty the Koran is…Islam did not come from the Koran but
from hadith…stories and legends.
What about the Christian Palestinians, Rick?
To Artbucher: Christian Palestinians? I have never heard where
Christian Palestinians have ever attacked Jews…or anybody in
the name of Christianity. Only muslims attack in the name of
islam and get 100% approval from other muslims. It is the
muslim way. Not just a few “radical” muslims.
Newspapers, TV, etc., readily attack the
Christianity because they fear no physical retaliation. But
none will attack islam because they fear that muslims will
hunt them down and kill them for the criticism. Just a
Rick, I only brought it up because when Palestinians neighborhoods are bombed, there are different kinds of people who are affected: Muslims and Christians, young and old, innocent and guilty. The Churches in Israel, which are mostly comprised of Arab Christians (there are much less Jewish Christians in Isreal), are opposed to the bombings of their Arab neighborhoods. It disrupts their lives too and their Christian ministry to people they love. I believe it’s important for US Christians to be on their side because they are living and working for Jesus.
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