June 9, 2021
By: Jonathan Feldstein
Recently, Israel has been under attack in unprecedented ways. For the moment, there’s a shaky cease fire. While the rockets have stopped, the terrorists fired over 4300 rockets at Israeli communities from Gaza, the largest number in any conflict with terrorists there. Yet, they have not stopped their threats to unleash more violence. As quickly as it stopped, it could start again. With the anticipated installation of a new government in Israel, it’s also anticipated that Israel’s enemies will use this as an opportunity to try to test the resolve of Israel’s new coalition.
The repercussions are still being felt. Throughout Israel, people are emerging from the trauma, death, destruction, and injury that was inflicted. But thousands of miles away, anti-Israel demonstrators blame Israel for a variety of “crimes” that it did not commit. These are modern day blood libels. Israel-haters are engaged in economic and diplomatic warfare. In some countries they are led by elected officials who don’t just reflect their constituents’ hatred and lies, but go out of the way to see who can be most obscene. It’s especially easy to do this when they not bound by facts.
Sadly, the media reflexively plays into this narrative of Israel wantonly attacking a defenseless population. There’s little regard for the fact that had Hamas not launched rockets, Israel would not have responded. They “overlook” that Israel does everything possible to minimize casualties, of Arabs and Jews. But that’s another story, literally.
Anti-Israel demonstrations have turned violent, and still continue. There’s a new dimension to the demonstrations that, like the terrorists that they support, do not have to be organized, and can be the act of one, or just a few. The difference has been erased between criticizing Israel, albeit based on lies, and overt antisemitism that’s palpable.
Synagogues and other Jewish institutions have been vandalized. Extra security is needed just to exist. Jews have been targeted and assaulted, not because they have anything to do with what happens in Israel, but because they are Jews. The oldest hate in the world never went away, and Jews who felt they were safe realize that they are not, and in reality, never have been.
Internationally, the UN has established a permanent committee to investigate Israel, and the International Criminal Court continues to threaten Israel with war crimes trials, equating Israel’s defensive and targeted actions with the terrorists’ actual war crimes of deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, and using their own people as human shields.
If Israel weren’t feeling beleaguered and alone enough while confronting these enemies, recently Israel has seen support dwindling, even criticism from, what many believe are among our best friends: Christians. It’s hard enough to fight the enemies with morality and integrity, using facts and ethics when the enemies don’t. But it’s no less bitter to find what we thought are friends, making threats and their support conditional.
A recent poll showed that young Christians are less likely to support Israel. It’s not a new trend, but underscores that one cannot take this for granted. Adding to this, recent comments by a noted friend of Israel regarding the formation of its new government have caused tremendous distress. Most Jews don’t look at the nuance and don’t care about political considerations of these statements. When told for years that Christians are among the Israel’s best friends only to see statements that are vulgar and, if coming from an Israeli would warrant a visit from the Secret Service, Jews just revert to the centuries-old belief that Christians’ support for Israel is just a trojan horse to break down sensitivities for something more nefarious.
Given the history of the “Church” perpetuating antisemitism, Jews are not wrong to think this. I know it’s not true today. I have the privilege of working and interacting on a daily basis with countless Christians who genuinely love and support Israel. Christian support for Israel is Biblical, and therefore sincere and unconditional. But that’s not how many Israelis are feeling with all that’s going on.
Thankfully, a number of Christian leaders have spoken out against this and stood up for Israel on many levels. They have noted that the obligation of Christians support, regardless of who is Prime Minister, is Biblical, not conditional. One friend, Shirley Burdick, founder of Ten Gentiles commented, “As Rahab and as Ruth did, we stand by Israel unconditionally, and stake our own future on Israel’s future.”
Partisan political support that appears conditional, or to be centered on one person, underscores the distrust of many Jews who believe that Christian support for Israel only comes with strings attached.
In addition to a growing chorus of Christian leaders declaring their unqualified support of Israel, and shock that it would be any other way, Christians worldwide are affirming this on a grassroots basis by signing the Declaration of Unconditional Support online. For most, its reflexive. There’s no hesitation. The statement reads in part:
As a Christian, I recognize that support for Israel is based on God’s imperative to bless Israel and to love the Jewish people. There’s countless scripture that underscores this:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you prosper.” – Psalm 122:6
“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest.” – Isaiah 62:6