BY EARL COX, JPOST—
United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently returned from the Middle East with a warning directed at Israel. “It’s pretty clear,” he said, “at this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, that it is not a good situation for Israel to become so isolated.” Therefore, Panetta insisted, “Israel must take risks for peace.”
Panetta is a US Cabinet member. How could he be so ignorant, naive or biased as to not know the truth? He is, in my opinion, obviously blaming Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East. In his biased thinking, he laid no blame at all on the Arabs. He certainly should know why Israel is “isolated.” There is but one Jewish state among some 22 Arab states in the Middle East, and virtually all of those Arab states want to annihilate the Jewish state. They openly express their hatred for Israel and their desire to destroy it and its people.
So who is responsible for Israel’s “isolation?” Israel would love to have peace and friendly co-existence with all its Arab neighbors, but those neighbors keep planning and executing wars and terrorist attacks against the Jewish state. Israel has sought peace since its restored existence in 1948, only to have its offers rejected every time by the intransigent Arabs. Yet Panetta wants to blame Israel for the lack of peace while saying nothing about the destructive mindset of the Arabs.
So what more does Panetta expect Israel to do? He undoubtedly wants Israel to make more concessions such as surrendering more land and more security. And does he really think that the Arabs would then coexist with Israel in peace? Realistically, all evidence points to the contrary.
There is another reason why the negative attitude toward Israel is so prevalent today. It is the result of a theological malady that has plagued segments of Christianity for centuries. This warped theology says that Israel has no right to inhabit a portion of so-called Arab “Palestine” and is, therefore, an “illegal occupying power.” This view is linked directly to “Replacement Theology,” a heresy that has infiltrated several mainline Christian denominations.
Replacement Theology claims that God has rejected Israel, and that the Christian church has replaced Israel as God’s covenant people. So the Christian church is now (allegedly) the true spiritual Israel of God. This view leaves us with two problematic conclusions: (1) God does not keep His promises to Israel, which He said in His Word were irrevocable, and (2) it makes a mockery of Scriptures such as Romans 1:1, which says, “Has God cast away His people? Certainly not.” The Scriptures denounce the idea that the Christian church has picked up the ball that Israel supposedly fumbled.
What is also difficult to fathom is the accelerating anti-Israel militancy of several major Protestant denominations. It confuses the Jewish people and reflects poorly on Christianity. It bashes Israel when we should be loving and supportive of Israel. The Episcopalian, Methodist and Presbyterian denominations in the US have made official decisions to divest from any and all companies that do business with Israel. This divestment craze defies rational explanation.
An article in the March 2011 issue of an official Methodist Church publication offered harsh anti-Israel rhetoric. In “It’s Time for Palestine,” the author condemned what it called Israel’s “undemocratic, militaristic rule over millions of civilians suffering under its administration.” This statement is a willful perversion of the truth. Undemocratic governments and militaristic mindsets are the common characteristics of all the Arab states in the Middle East ― but not of Israel.
We believe the Christian church is charged with loving and standing with the Jewish people, supporting the nation of Israel and propagating the truth about God’s promises and our responsibilities. Our Christian responsibility is to stand for the whole truth of God despite the shifting winds of popular theology and the bitter anti-Israel bias of international politics.
Our God is still preserving, blessing and using Israel today, despite what the world is thinking and doing.