Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Christian Defense of Israel

The flier from my local christian book store arrived in the mail today. On the front was this fine text - "In Defense of Israel: The Biblical Case for Supporting the Jewish State". And, WOO HOO, it was on sale!

Now before I jump into what I so eagerly I have to say, let me start by saying I have not read this book and know little beyond the few articles and quotes I have seen. And yet I am absolutely gobsmacked to see it sold at the Christian bookstore (though I am not sure why, when I stop and think about it....)

First, and the point I will deal with briefly, Hagee defends Israel and the Jews by claiming Jesus was not the Messiah. Ummm, pretty sure that's not a Christian belief so it's hardly a Christian defense.

Secondly, should Christians really be supporting the Jewish state? Not Jews, but the state of Israel? Not if we believe we serve a god of equality and justice! Israel is often called by critics the last state to openly practice apartheid. The UN has repeatedly tried to condemn their inhumane treatment of Palestinians living within Israel and in Gaza and the West Bank. They openly take away basic human rights from Palestinians living within their own state, making them powerless members. They refuse to recognize that Palestinians should have equal rights. They displace and persecute Palestinians on a regular basis. This is the state Christians should support??

And yet the U.S. stands staunchly by Israel's side, constantly vetoing UN sanctions and supplying billions of dollars in aid and military supplies. Supplies that are used to treat Palestinians like sub-humans. And Christians all over the world feel compelled to defend Israel as their special pet project, ignoring the realities.

A favorite quote of mine comes from the great Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, one of the most balanced and stanchest supporters of Palestinian rights. It's not damning and yet I think the force of it is understated...

"Every Jewish Zionist I have either read, heard, or spoken to... adheres to the notion whose common denominator is that Israel must remain as it is now on order to safeguard the Jewish rhythm of life; a phrase that presumably serves to camouflage the wide social discrepancies... The [rhythm of life] phrase is an argument for preserving Israel from having to face the real truth that the Jewish rhythm of life has surplanted a more inclusive one"

Palestinians have just as much historical right to the land, and more importantly just as much right to basic human and political rights. The God I serve revels in justice and love. The state of Israel stands for neither of these.


The Renegade Librarian said...

Well said, my erratic-driving friend. That was really about the most perfect blog post you've ever had. Succinct, persuasive, passionate. Oh yeah, your thesis is RIGHT ON! I could not agree more with what you are saying and I hope that other people are listening...

Anonymous said...

I see that Erik hasn't even bothered to read the book, so how is this post not a colossal waste of time?