Friday 6 September 2013

Anti-Israel bias

When I compare the Evangelical movement in America with the same movement in Britain I wonder why there is such a different attitude to Israel.

In America there is very strong support for Israel led by prominent televisions personalities such as Pat Robertson and John Hagee. But in Britain we have national organisations and agencies showing open hostility to Israeli and all things Jewish.

It is worth remembering that we Christians worship the God of Israel; we read a Bible written (with one exception) by Jews; and we have a Jewish Saviour.

In recent times we have seen (and read about) Christian Aid holding a conference on ‘Peace and Justice in the Holy Land’, in which all the speakers are described by an independent commentator as being pro-Palestinian. Such a bias can hardly be fitting for a conference with a title using the word 'justice'. The attitudes and action of both sides should be fairly presented. This bias is often most noticeable on the BBC.

Greenbelt, which was once an evangelical festival but has since become more of an arts gathering, but still intimating a Christian basis, has now adopted a distinctly anti-Israel organisation.

The common criticisms are of Israeli aggression and persecution, and there is no doubt that Israel reacts strongly to attacks on its territory, but this is normally because rockets are first fired on them. Other factors to be considered, but are never mentioned by its opponents, are that whilst many people of Arab origin work in Israel, the number of Israelis who work in Palestinian land are few (if any).

The Jews are regularly criticised for seizing land. A very important fact totally overlooked is that the American President Clinton organised a conference with the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the then Palestinian leader Yasser Arrafat. Barak agreed to the idea of East Jerusalem serving as the capital of the Palestinian territories, but having first accepted the deal, Arrafat later walked away from it.

In 1993 Israel ceded the territory of Gaza to the Palestine National Assembly following an agreement in Oslo, which was seen as a gesture of the desire for peace in the region. Sadly that has failed in the intention for there has been constant strife.

On 14th May 1948 the United Nations granted independence to Israel and the nation was born with its own distinctive ‘Star of David’ flag. This fulfilled Biblical prophecy that God would bring His people home at last. Ever since that time Israel has been under attack from hostile nations which surround this little country the size of Wales. The nation has faced overwhelming forces and against such odds has fought off enemies in two wars, which has resulted in a general consensus of opinion that God was certainly with them. Anyone who challenges this should study the recapture of the Golan Heights, which was an achievement beyond human endeavour alone.

Let us not forget, when the Jews returned to their biblical homeland, it was largely a swamp filled, untilled wasteland. Jewish settlers drained malaria infested swamps and made it a flourishing fruit and agricultural success, planting millions of trees. In the wider world Jews have excelled in science, medical research, finance, the arts, and have a record number of Nobel prizes.

There is at present a feature on the Christian Broadcasting Network in America on how Israel is excelling in new developments in technology, farming, agriculture and medicine, the benefits of which will be available to the world.

We must pray that both nations will strive to maintain a peace accord, but this can never happen if one party seeks to eliminate the other. It is in the interests of each nation’s population to accept each other’s right to exist, even if they find it hard to be amicable about it. How can life be pleasant for either nation if the threat of more violence is let loose on innocent people of each country?

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