Saturday, July 22, 2006

Why I am pro-Israel

Before addressing Buchanan's comments, I thought I might explain my thoughts on Israel.

This tiny nation seems to divide people into camps. Funny, America is doing that worldwide more and more. But Israel seems to have always done so.

As for me, my support of Israel is not based on their biblical right to the land where Israel is located. Many Christians believe that the Jews must be returned to biblical Israel to fulfill prophecy before the return of Christ. I don't happen to share this view, for a number of reasons. But because I don't share this view doesn't mean I am not a strong supporter of the State of Israel.

Regardless of the motives behind the creation of Israel and the merits of Israel's creation itself, the nation has a right to securely exist like every other nation. My nation was, in fact, the first nation to recognize Israel.

The critics of Israel seem to argue that cobbling a nation together with difficult political/cultural ramifications calls into question the nation's legitimacy. But this is nothing new in history, and the precedent for doing so was in place long before 1948. Modern-day Iraq, for instance, was a 1917 British creation.

I support Israel because, as a Christian, I have developed a respect for the Jewish people. I am hardly arguing that the Jewish people are perfect, but it's hard to take the Christian faith seriously and come to any other conclusion, in my view. Most of the Bible (including the New Testament) is written by Jews. In fact, most of the New Testament was written by one single, orthodox rabbi, the Apostle Paul.

And let us not forget that Jesus was a Jew.

I think, too, that one has to admire to struggle of the Jewish people throughout history. Constantly in search of a home, they have endured myriad captivities and persecutions. We have witnessed the same trend in the last two centuries, with horrific atrocities committed against them.

For some reason, totalitarians often make the Jews a prime target. I admire how they have stuck together and persevered in the face of such persecution. It's amazing, and, I think, explained only by God's intervention.

I support Israel because it is a democracy. We are witnessing the birth pangs of democracies in the Middle East, and we hope they succeed. But Israel has been peacefully transferring power between right and left for nearly 60 years.

Notwithstanding the Jonathan Pollard episode, Israel has also been a strong ally of America. This is especially so since 9/11. Whether Labor or Likud is in power, because of its unique position geographically and politically, Israel has remained a vital ally in the struggle against Militant Islam.

Israel is really the first front in this war. We are only in the last few years beginning to understand how the Israelis have lived for decades.

Mind you, I don't think being pro-Israel means one can't criticize the policies of Israel. And it certainly doesn't mean we can't debate theology or all manner of things.

The Jews think I am wrong about Jesus, and I think the same about them. This is no trivial matter, and in fact, I think it's the most important question of all. Still, because of our commitment to freedom and mutual respect, we can discuss/debate and co-exist in the absence of agreement. And we band together against the Islamic totalitarians who would demand the surrender of the free conscience.

So, that's why I am pro-Israel.

Note: I have family business to tend to over the next few days, so I will be back probably Wednesday or Thursday.