Tag Archives: Arab

We Know Better, Part 6: Israel as a Gift to the World

This year, on May 14, the Nation of Israel celebrated her 74th birthday. In the shadow of the Shoah, and against all military and political odds, this small country has survived multiple invasions, continual terrorist attacks, and generations of global leaders seeking her destruction or delegitimization. Although the United Nations approved Israel’s creation in 1947, she has uniformly persecuted this democracy since the 1950s. For a century (from the 1920s to the present) key State Department leaders in the USA have been anti-Semitic and opposed any policies supporting Israel. During WWII, such sentiments kept millions of Jews from emigrating to the USA and other Western nations.

Today’s university students in the USA and Europe are subject to a barrage of agitation propaganda that accused Israel of “apartheid” policies, “war crimes” and being a European or White, “settler-colony” displacing native Palestinians. Some even question significant historic Jewish presence in the region. The BDS campaigns to cripple Israel economically and the well-funded Arab/Middle East Study centers on hundreds of universities means that most students are getting a very one-sided narrative.

Islamist and other radical politicians are proposing that the US congress declare the creation of Israel a “disaster” or “tragedy” and they encourage eliminating any aid to Israel until she relinquishes all the “occupied territories” from her 1967 Six-Day War victories. 

Let’s set the facts straight and get a balanced view of historical and contemporary reality.

The Jewish people have a continual presence in the Holy Land for over 3000 years. This is verified not only in the Bible, but by numerous archeological finds.

“Palestinian” is a created national identity in the wake of pan-Arab failure to destroy Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. Arabs displaced by the war suddenly have an identity as refugees and victims, with no Arab states welcoming them as citizens. I am not minimizing their suffering, but with all the wealth available from Arab states, there should be no one in poverty.

Israel has agreed to numerous plans (1949, 1956, 1967, 1976, 1999-2000, 2010, 2015) for peace and offered 92-96% of the territory gained in 1967 in exchange for recognition, diplomatic exchange, and an end to state-sponsored terrorism. Israel is not the aggressor and her measured responses to continual terrorist attacks are models of restraint.

Israel has more than two million Arab citizens integrated into all facets of society. Contrast this with current Palestinian leaders calling for a “Jew-free” (echoes of the Shoah in Germany) state next door.

Israel is the only democracy in the region, with freedom of conscience and religion, and numerous political parties and social activists. The joke in Israel is, “Five Israelis, six political parties.” The only place in the entire Middle East where LGBTQ+ people have any liberties is in Israel.

Israel is dubbed, “start-up nation” and leads the world in many areas of agriculture, water reclamation, energy technology, medical advances, and information sciences. In fact, Israel’s sworn enemies quietly go to Jewish doctors for critical medical procedures, and Israel is exporting oil and natural gas to her neighbors.

Israel is not perfect and her own citizens are the most critical. There are Left and Right parties, and much discontent. She is working on economic and security alliances with her neighbors and remains open to peacemaking, if Arab leaders and Western elites will face the realities that she is here to stay and a good partner for freedom.

Israel is a gift to our world and we should celebrate her surviving and thriving under such adverse pressures.

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.