Cup of Staggering
by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International
By Daniel Juster
In my view, the central international issues of our day are the world's response to Israel and to Islam, especially radical Islamism. The two are inextricably intertwined. I begin with a dilemma.
Israel and the Muslim World
Why is it that the world is more preoccupied with Israel's occupation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) than they are with the worldwide atrocities of Islamist terrorists? I think most of our readers are familiar with the issue. The world was scandalized by the fact that nearly a thousand civilians died in the last war between Hamas and Israel. We were deeply saddened as well. However, we must not forget that Hamas purposely sent rockets to kill Jewish civilians and fired them from Gaza civilian buildings, ensuring the death of Gaza civilians due to Israel's retaliation. Why is Israel primarily blamed for this?
We have seen hundreds of thousands killed in Syria, and genocide against Christians in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Niger, Darfur and more. Recently over 130 children were murdered in Pakistan because they were enrolled in school. Boko Haram has horrified with kidnappings and killings of men, women, and children. Forty innocent Christians were recently murdered as of this writing in the Philippines. There is a terrible falsehood at the heart of Islam that has lead to this violence.
Israel is said to be committing genocide. But there are no mass killings coming from Israel; none at all; only civilian casualties due to self-defense. A thousand civilians compared to what now approaches a half a million. The genocide from the Islamic State is stupefying. Yet Israel seems to the world to be the greater problem. Even in Arab nations allied to the West, we see regular beheadings for what no democratic nation would consider capital crimes. In Iran, thousands have been tortured and unjustly executed. If we try to weigh this in terms of human rationality, we will fail. The imbalanced treatment has to be a spiritual blindness, something deep in the human heart that is open to gross deception.
Is Israel Unjust to the Arabs?
As an Israeli, I am well aware and sad about unjust actions committed toward the Arab population. However, we should note that these never rise to the level of any of the crimes enumerated above.
Judea and Samaria is claimed by some to be under apartheid occupation. But this is not apartheid. It is not a civil-racial-legal system of discrimination. What Judea and Samaria are under is a partial Israeli military rule. In this regard, as in all military rule, civil rights are significantly curtailed. The problem of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) seems insurmountable.
In Israel proper Arabs have full civil rights; serve in parliament, the Supreme Court and all professions. There is no separation in public facilities. For those who serve in the army there are a few economic advantages. This includes Budouins, Druze and some Christian Arabs. There is unequal spending in infrastructure and education in Arab areas. But that is as far as it goes. The abuse of language in the West and among Arab nations is stunning. Israel is accused of apartheid, genocide, fascism and of being worse than Hitler.
The Hatred of Colonialism
One reason why the Western world is anti-Israel is that they consider the greatest crime in history to be colonialism. These politically correct elites see Israel as a vestige of colonialism in an indigenous Middle Eastern culture. So Israel must yield. Western elites live in in a world of contradiction and fantasy. While affirming broad freedoms and human rights, they support some of the most oppressive countries in the world. Actually, Western colonialism cannot compare to the brutality of Muslim religious colonialism. It has been a culture-destroying force in every nation that Islam has conquered.
What is Most Important from God's Perspective?
In God's scale of values derived from the Bible, the primary issue is not ethnic national self-determination in one's own land, but the justice practiced by those in power. Nation states are a recent phenomenon, and every single ethnic group having it's own nation state will not automatically lead to justice. In fact there is more justice practiced in Israel, and even in Judea and Samaria, than in any Muslim ruled country. Unfortunately, the world will not recognize this.
Religious Liberty, the Most Important Justice Issue
I wrote some time ago that I agreed with the great philosopher and Christian statesman of yesteryear, Charles Malik, the primary author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Malik argued that the foundation of human rights is religious liberty. This goes to the heart of a person as a spiritual being, to the issue of conscience before God. The right to argue for one's convictions and to criticize the other's religion is part of this liberty. This religious liberty was first asserted by the spread of Biblical faith in the 1st century. When Paul argued against idolatry and paganism in Athens (Acts 17) and then asserted the truth of the resurrection, he was also arguing for the right to forgo the idolatrous cult of the city, and even the cult of the Emperor, and the right to embrace Yeshua! If we would measure all societies first by religious liberty and then by all other criteria after this, Israel would be high on our list of nations where people really have significant religious freedom. Not one Muslim state would qualify. All practice religious persecution, even the death penalty, for a change of religious convictions. This should be our top issue for promoting the truth about Israel.
Truly the nations do not know what to do with Israel. Jerusalem is a stumbling block for them, a cup of drink that they cannot digest, that makes them stagger.
The blindness of the Western world is amazing. Seemingly it will only be lifted in the final wars and the return of Yeshua.
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