Category Archives: Israel

Inconvenient Insights for a Polarized World

This week after Groundhog’s Day and in remembrance of the Bill Murray comedy of reliving the same day over and over again, it is right to reflect on some enduring challenges:

We have miles to go in our pursuit of justice for women and men of all classes and cultures.
We can celebrate Christian contributions to social progress, and we must deeply lament historic ecclesial complicity with oppression.

We can criticize Israeli policies, but most of the responsibility for lasting peace rests with Arab leaders acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as the national home of the Jewish people. Israel is not a western colonial imposition, but the historic home of an ancient people. The new plan presented by President Trump (and quietly endorsed by some Sunni Arab states in the region) is an opportunity that the current Palestinian Leadership is willfully ignoring.

Billions have been lifted out of poverty in my lifetime due to global trade, with access to new markets. We still have too many food, banking, and job deserts in our own American cities.

Our national debt and deficit spending reveal cowardice and a lack of concern for generations yet unborn. Both parties are guilty, and it will take both parties cooperation to find solutions.

UN officials admit that their proposals for climate change amelioration are of little practical use, except for the transfer of trillions in wealth. Unless China, India, and Russia sign on, little progress can be made. Every proponent of free trade and/or climate change skeptic must also care more deeply for the ecological life of our planet. Good environmental stewardship means a good economy for our grandchildren.

Let’s find a new way to fund education of all kinds without a lifetime of debt on graduates and ever-increasing tuition prices.

A rebirth of civility begins with an affirmation of the dignity and worth of each person we meet. We must end caricature, insults, and stereotyping of those different from us.

“Solving” the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

At first glance, this title is both arrogant and unneeded. After all, haven’t there been multiple peace accords, from Camp David (1978) to Madrid (1991) to Oslo (1992) to Camp David (2000) again? Nobel Peace Prizes, smiles and handshakes and promises of “final negotiations” all win world approval…only to break down, with both sides blaming the other.

With the recent relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem (in accordance with U.S. legislation since the 1990s), all the tensions come to the surface again. Gaza rioting at the border wall, Syrian rockets, Iran and Turkey calling for the destruction of Israel – same song, new singers.

What can be done? The EU and many others keep calling for Israeli “restraint” as rockets from Gaza and the Golan rain on Israel and hundreds of terrorists attempt to infiltrate through tunnels. At the same time, Palestinian Authority leader Abbas continues to perpetrate the nastiest antisemitism, refusing to acknowledge 3000 years of Jewish history in the land, rejecting the truth of 6 million dead in the Holocaust and refusing to accept Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. Anti-Jewish sentiments continue to grow throughout the world.

What can be done?

There is a pathway forward. It is truly “the road less traveled” and will require heroism for success. If pursued, however, an era of genuine peace and prosperity is possible. Here are the necessary conditions for a “final” accord:

  • Israel’s existence as a sovereign nation with a right to peace and security is essential. Extermination chants of, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” will only continue the conflict. Until Palestinians and other Muslim leaders say yes to Israel as a nation, no peace is possible. Egypt, Jordan and others are reaping the benefits of not being at war.
  • Demanding the return of all descendants of people displaced in 1948 is a non-starter. Clear borders, generous aid and economic opportunity can help a new Palestinian State prosper…if they will end their perpetual war.
  • The Palestinian Authority, with help from others, must end ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and others that only want the elimination of Israel. The PA must renounce a tradition of Islamic deception (taqiyya) that allows for truces, but no true peace.
  • Israel will relocate many settlers once the new boundaries are established. It is unrealistic to expect pre-1967 boundaries, but the aforementioned accords open the door to two sustainable states.
  • Economic development and a potential free trade zone could transform a new Palestinian State from one of dependent refugee camps to a sustainable and flourishing participant in the local and global economy.

Underneath the details are the moral and spiritual evils associated with antisemitism and the delegitimizing of the Jewish people’s right to a secure home. All of the above points are only possible when Jews are seen as equal human beings and not dehumanized as dogs and pigs, bloodthirsty bankers and enemies of Islam. Israel leaders are not leading an “apartheid” state, they are not “Nazis” and the border wall has actually saved hundreds of lives. Israel is not perfect, but there is NO moral equivalence between the only democracy in the region and the hatred taught from birth in the territories surrounding Israel.

All forms of neo-Nazi thinking must be rejected. All Leftist canards about Israeli oppression need severe modification in light of empirical evidence.

Peace is possible, but the burden is 90%+ on Palestinian, Arab and world leaders to accept Israel as a gift of freedom, ingenuity and morality for the world.

It’s Complicated

The Ukraine and Russian imperial aims.
Syria: who are the “good” and “bad” guys?
Israel and a two-state solution: Is “recognition” of Israel necessary?
Immigration: cheap labor or cheap votes?

Welfare and food stamps: who “deserves” help?
“Affordable” Health Care: someone pays.
Immigration: How do we remain hospitable and make citizenship and the rule of law meaningful?
What moral values will we enforce in a civil society?
Religious convictions and conversions: are affirmations of truth now “intolerance?”

It’s complicated being thoughtful.

It’s easy to shout and smear.

For our future I hope civil and principled discussion will take place and reasonable ideas prevail.

The alternative is anarchy and new totalitarianism.

Let’s choose thoughtfulness.