by Jim Hutchens
Christian Zionists are often criticized for their failure to show any support for Palestinians. In turn we are accused of giving blank-check approval to all that Israel does. In this issue of The Jerusalem Connection we want to set the record straight.
First, regarding the Palestinians, we are asserting, along with several articles in this issue that the plight of the Palestinian people and their prolonged status as refugees is caused primarily by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. We are asserting that UNRWA is a hoax – an inconvenient hoax at best. It is inconvenient in the sense that it causes great difficulty, trouble and discomfort for both Palestinians and Israelis, to include aid to Palestinian Jihadists/terrorists. It is a hoax in that a hoax is defined as “an act intended to deceive or cheat … as a serious fraud… to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous.” UNRWA is a hypocritical swindle by the Arab/Palestinian leadership to perpetuate the permanent suffering and refugee status of the Palestinian people in order to challenge Israel’s right to exist.
Recently Yoram Ettinger, a retired Israeli Ambassador and consultant on US-Israel relations, gave a succinct diagnosis of the problem when he said: “The misrepresentation of the Palestinian-Arab refugee phenomenon – just like Abu Mazen’s Palestinian hate education – constitutes the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian/Arab Vision. It is intended to de-legitimize and de-humanize the Jewish State, while legitimizing the ‘Claim of Return’ as a means to destroy Israel. The misrepresentation of the Palestinian-Arab refugee phenomenon is much more significant than the seemingly-moderate Arab/Palestinian exchanges with Israeli and Western policy-makers and public-opinion molders.” It’s time the UNRWA sham is exposed. Many of the authors in this issue agree and will spell out more in depth why exposure is necessary.
Second, Israelis have done preciously little to challenge UNRWA primarily because it is a “third rail” issue in Israel – they could get “electrocuted” by world opinion if they tamper with the Palestinian refugee problem. As a result AIPAC, the very effective lobby on behalf of Israel has followed suit and done virtually nothing concerning the problem of Palestinian refugees. Indeed, it is time that Israelis, Jews, including AIPAC, as well as Christian Zionists, follow the lead of Knesset Member Benny Elon and become pro-active in addressing UNRWA and the issue Palestinian refugees. (See his article on page 14). The Israel Allies Caucus in the U.S. Congress has spoken to the issue, (see page 12), however it appears they have done so only at the behest of the Christian Allies Caucus in Israel’s Knesset which is led by Rabbi Elon. The Israel Allies Caucus should hold regular forums to educate and expose the deception of UNRWA.
In addition, critics of Christian Zionists often perpetuate the UNRWA myth by citing the Biblical mandate Israel has to treat the “alien” with love and acceptance. Our critics level the charge of disobeying this mandate with respect to the Palestinians. “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Our critics even remind us of Jesus’ words, “I was a stranger and you invited me in,” suggesting a tortured analogy between Palestinian Jihadists and those that Jesus refers to as “the least of these brothers of mine.” (Matthew 15:35-40).
The only problem is these Palestinian “aliens” are committed to the annihilation of Israel and the death of their “infidel” hosts, which is apparently acceptable to UNRWA. And that’s only the beginning – it’s the destruction first of the “Saturday People,” the Jews, and then the “Sunday People,” the Christians. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus had in mind Palestinian Jihadists when He refers to “the least of these brothers of mine.” In the past Israel dealt with this kind of “alien” with “extreme prejudice.” Will they in the future? – will we?
Finally, we often hear the call for “justice and compassion” toward the Palestinians and their cause which fits nicely into the UNRWA narrative. Such folks as Sabeel—the ecumenical center in Jerusalem for Palestinian Liberation Theology—leftist supercessionists in the U.S. and the U.K., including many signers of the recent Evangelical Manifesto, some of whom have Marxist leanings, have jumped on the “injustices” of Israel toward the Palestinians. The problem here is this is a shallow and egregiously selective call for justice. It ignores the pernicious injustices perpetuated against the Palestinian people by their leaders and sanctioned by UNRWA. Further it ignores the continuing unjust terrorist activity initiated by Palestinian Jihadists against Israel.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32, 36). Though the context of this declaration by Jesus was to His disciples to “hold to His teaching,” the fact remains, wherever truth is proclaimed and adopted, freedom results. May the bondage that UNRWA has imposed on the Palestinian people be exposed, by the truth, for the lie it is and true freedom for the Palestinians be the longed-for result.
Jim Hutchens is President of The Jerusalem Connection, International and editor of The Jerusalem Connection Report.