By Daniel C. Juster, Director

How I Would Define Liberals

In the last 30 years many one time liberal supporters have turned against Israel. To understand liberals, we should have some idea of their belief system. Liberals are usually distinguished from socialists. The latter believe that the government should own the means of production; that is, public ownership. Liberals generally believe that there should be a much more even distribution of the productive wealth of a private market place. In addition, liberals believe in a much greater evenness in distribution of the wealth of the society. A large government sector is needed to attain greater economic justice for all. There can be disparities between wealthy and modest individuals, but neither the historic nor present extremes. Liberals traditionally believe in a broadly defined understanding of human rights: civil rights, women's rights, free speech rights and more. Today this is expanded to include sexual orientation rights, homosexual rights and abortion rights.

Conservatives would argue that they also believe in legislation to protect many of these rights. However, conservatives want to err much more on the side of individual liberty, privacy, small government and personal responsibility. They reject large-scale government redistribution and believe that real competition and freedom will eventually bring greater justice.

The Loss of Belief in God Among Liberals

In past times, both liberals and conservatives professed belief in God and His moral values (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy). Evangelicals were great supporters of Roosevelt and were very oriented to the Democratic Party until the abortion issue in the 1970s. The Democratic Party was the party of the majority of Evangelicals. The Democrats also held sway with the majority of Catholics and Jews.

However, since the Vietnam War, there has been a shift in liberalism toward a more radical leftist view. Such non-historically rooted developments include a virulent secularism, relativism, the questioning of free speech if it violates political correctness (branded sometimes as hate speech), homosexual rights, abortion rights, and a great skepticism concerning American power. America is seen as the problem in the world rather than the solution. We must not think that the liberalism of today is the same as that of Harry Truman. It is quite different. Often times the old liberalism had a strong religious base.

I believe that the main reason why liberalism (at least in its more leftist perspective), is such a problem is due to its malignant secular relativism. "The Daily Kos" and "Move On" are two organizations with web sites that represent the new radical secular left. Such folks have succeeded in infiltrating into the culture formation leadership roles in our society (media, journalism, and academia). While there are some Christians who support their positions, Christian liberals are not in the forefront of leadership in our society. So how does this play out?

Secular Liberalism is Cowardly

Recently, Paul Berman, a journalist professor at Johns Hopkins University has written an important book, The Flight of the Intellectuals. The intellectual class is, in general, a liberal class. Berman catalogues the developments of the last 20 years. It is quite stunning. In the early 90s the intellectuals were standing with Salman Rushdie, the author of the novel, The Satanic Verses which offended conservative Islamic leaders. A fatwa was put out, encouraging faithful Muslims to kill him. Intellectuals of all stripes spoke out strongly in his defense.

In the years following, liberal intellectuals have become more and more silent in the face of the greatest Muslim atrocities and other human rights violations. Compare their loud responses to the recent Israeli defense of the Gaza blockade and the killing of 9 out of a mob that sought to murder the Israeli naval commandos. A voice is raised for Darfur, but with much less intensity. Where are the recent street protests? Compared to Iran and its terrible atrocities after its elections, Israel is much more vilified. What of the sinking by North Korea of the South Korean naval ship where many died? There was no significant outcry. There is no sustained protest led by the liberal intellectuals over the awesome oppression of women in the Muslim world. Berman sees this as a self-betrayal of the feminist movement as well. This is all well catalogued in a recent Wall Street Journal article (June 8) by Bret Stephens.

How can this be explained? Berman shows a progressive decline in criticism of Muslim behavior and a greater and greater willingness to accommodate it. Why? Because terrorism itself has succeeded in intimidating much of Western society, including liberals. They have been cowed into silence by the threat of potential attacks against them should they criticize the Islamic agenda. Their secular relativism robs them of courage to stand up against what is clearly wrong. I believe they are affected by a subconscious desire to appease the Muslims in the hope that they will eventually calm down and leave the rest of us alone. Appeasement is in, courage and opposition is out. It is a massive cultural Stockholm syndrome where the captive identifies with the oppressor, or in this case, the potential oppressor. Appeasement is part of fallen human nature. The idea of sacrificing Israel so that they - the Muslims - will leave us alone may underlie much of the liberal response.

Jamie Glasov's book, United in Hate, also asserts a psychology of self-hatred among some in the left that leads to hatred of our society. This hatred promotes identification with any who hate the United States and the capitalist West. Israel - who, in this context, is seen as a colonial power - is included among those to be hated.

It was quite revealing recently to watch CNN shortly after the Gaza blockade conflict. They showed a video taken by the Israeli Navy. The Israelis land on the ship and are surrounded by a mob that beats them with iron bars and clubs and throws one overboard. The video is really quite clear! Yet the commentator says that the video is grainy and unclear and one cannot really make out what is happening. Wow! Why would he say that? Was it to appear neutral? However, a reporter is to report facts! This was said in the face of very clear empirical fact.

Courage and the Fear of God

The best philosophers noted that a society of courage requires the fear of God. In order to protect the morality and liberty of a nation, belief in God and His values needs to be at a level where individuals are willing if necessary, to give their life in sacrifice should the national good require it. A willingness to make such a sacrifice is based on the understanding that there is reward after death. However, as the great apostle Paul stated it "if in this life we only have hope" we are most miserable, (1 Corinthians 15:19). During the Vietnam War many chanted, "Hell no, I won't go," and "Make love, not war." These protesters were portrayed as idealists. While this may have been true of a few, the majority were simply self-indulged baby boomers. Thankfully many became Christians through the Jesus movement. Many, however, did not and some lead the leftist liberals today.

The ideas in these books and the referenced article are very persuasive. These writings give credibility to the statement in the book of Revelation that the cowardly will be lost: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) The cowardly are willing to do terrible things and accommodate terrible things to save their own skins. This was clearly the case in Nazi Germany and continental Europe as a whole.

Anti-Semitism and Injustice

Certainly one cannot understand the disproportionate and terribly unjust criticism of Israel without the element of Anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a huge and growing phenomenon today. The Arab radicals are steeped in Nazi caricatures of Jews. They read Hitler with appreciation and frequently cite passages from the Koran that predict the final destruction of the Jews at their hands. The liberal intellectuals choose to be relatively quiet about this and instead vilify Israel for "provoking" the Arabs. Somehow Israel, in the midst of hostile Muslim nations, the only nation that practices human rights in the region, is said to be the real evil. That Iran has a base in South Lebanon through Hezbollah and in the south in Gaza through Hamas ... well, that can be overlooked; that Iran is carrying out its plans to destroy Israel, that is not to be protested.

The End of this Age

I am not an alarmist. However, it is hard not to believe that we are entering into frightfully prophetic days as predicted in the Bible, perhaps the end of this Age. Then again, we are called to have courage and to believe that such days will be the greatest days in history for those with faith and courage. These are the days of a great harvest from the nations and the final salvation of Israel.

By Daniel Juster

Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.
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08:41 05Jul10 Jeannette Olexa -
I appreciate the truth and integrity of what you have written ... many of my thoughts articulated here much better than I could have done. Confrontation wrapped in love.

09:22 05Jul10 Donna Tucker -
This article is exactly what I needed this morning! Thank you! Of course, secularism is the reason there is a loss of courage while claiming to defend the whole of humanity and share the wealth!! As is Israel, I know that I am in God's hands....and the more I know Him, the more courage that gives me!

09:35 05Jul10 Raymond E. Wiggins Sr. -
Excellent commentary on the global state of affairs!
I appreciate the confirmation through your exhorting us all to "faith and courage" in these last days. These two essentials are what I have been teaching my household, especially my two youngest sons, that this generation of believers are going to need as "soldiers of the Lord" knowing that the "sufferings of the cross," according to the prophetic scriptures will increase in these last days as we approach the end of the age!
The apostle Peter stated it this way, "...giving all diligence, [add] to your faith virtue (i.e. manliness, valor, courage)..." II Peter 1:5
Lord, increase our faith and our courage in this generation and in these times as we labor with You, in prayer and praise, seeking the peace of Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel as well as those who have been brought near to the "Commonwealth of Israel!" Amen.

  -- Dr Juster replies: There is more to come on this topic. Stay tuned.

09:46 05Jul10 Bradley J Sowry -
Truth! I pray that America's eyes would be opened to the injustices against Israel. Please keep speaking-out against secular and religious humanism and the radical Muslim terrorists.

09:58 05Jul10 Lynda Nedrow -
For many years I could not understand why politicians and intellectuals didn't seem to grasp the fact that religious Muslims don't think the way we do in the West. They're bright folks ... made no sense that they "didn't get it." Finally I realized that it is a spiritual blindness, brought on by their general refusal to see God's hand in anything.

09:58 05Jul10 Valerie Chappell -
Great article; I now have a better understanding of why the liberals have turned against Israel.

10:57 05Jul10 Margaret Burton -
Thank you so much for dedication and for your efforts to help others grasp the truth has become so obscure to this generation! I sometimes think Israel is to us like the Tree of Good and Evil was to Adam and Eve. God has told us, "Do not touch!" Of all this vast planet, He has claimed only that small portion, yet the world has fought over it throughout history. Yet, one day, He has promised, all the nations of the earth will be blessed from Israel! Why are we always bent on self destruction via being determined to claim what is only His!

  -- Dr Juster replies: ... and in addition, to rebel against what God says and think we know better!

11:01 05Jul10 Judith Gleason -
Thank you for this article about liberals turning against Israel. You articulately stated the change in liberalism, without malice. We are so saturated with the liberal media today, we grow weary of being labeled as narrow, uninformed, etc. This article was a breath of fresh air!

12:51 05Jul10 Mary Scott -
The reality of these articles is chilling. That so many will not read them is equally chilling.

15:37 05Jul10 Phyllis Perfect -
I think we have to remember that liberals who do not believe in the God of the Bible are just doing what is natural for them. I am more concerned about those in the Western Church who have bought into this lie of liberalism. We in the church must speak up and teach our people the truth before it is too late.

18:48 05Jul10 John Moir -
Hate of Jews throughout the world for centuries is irrational - its cause is therefore not natural, and what is not natural is supernatural. Why this supernatural hate of Jews (Israel)? - again this is simple; because God loves Israel therefore those who hate God hate Israel.
But those who hate God and Israel also hate themselves because scripture says that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who despise her - evidence of this can be seen in history, in particular 1948, 1967 and 1973. Those who despise Israel deserve our pity because they are cursed in this life and the next - in fact, they are not our enemy but are just sad slaves and victims of The Enemy.

19:38 05Jul10 Florence Berg -
If only you could explain this to the world so they could understand and be saved.

16:41 06Jul10 Keith Miller -
Thank you for a long overdue and extremely well written article. Sometimes it seems futile to believe in the future of our country (America) but we can rest assured our G_d has everything under control. He will avenge Israel's enemies. While we want prompt and immediate justice, we must remember only He can change the hearts of men.

23:23 06Jul10 Pat -
I was a life-long Democrat (I am 75 years) but I can no longer support their liberal agendas and instead have become an independent voter for the last few years, no longer supporting any political party, giving my allegiance first to Almighty God and then to the individual who best serves this country and its citizens. Thank you for expressing so well what has happened in America. I stand with Israel and pray Americans will open their eyes and see the injustices toward them. A great evil has swept over our land and the answer to it lies with God. Please pray for the peace of Israel and pray for America, and I pray it is not too late.

05:43 07Jul10 Miriam Maranzenboim -
The last 2 sentences say it all. And we must always remember "If G_d be FOR US, WHO - (excuse me...) WHO can be AGAINST US"???????

13:09 07Jul10 anonymous -
As an American and avowed supporter of Israel, I believe that the US may have seen it's last best days. We all believe in the foundations of this nation and how they played in our daily lives from the start, yet I believe we are seeing a purposeful correction from above. While in no means do I support Obama, he may be just what God ordered, to orchestrate our downfall and creation of the 'level playing field'. While the church body in America still plays games with such agendas as the prosperity gospel, social teaparty gatherings, and seeker-friendly preachers who tickle our ears, I believe there is a remnant preparing this day for refuge. A main outreach for many has become 'aliyah' to return the Hebrew people to their roots, for their protection and Israel's. It is amazing how many American Christians, even Zionists, are stuck in 'greasy grace' and a mix of belief and disbelief. While we struggle here to have anyone listen, I hear continuously of the successes in Israel. God is good!

14:12 07Jul10 Harold Walker -
A famous Nobel prize winning Jewish professor on the Theory of Games explains that the road to peace often goes through the courage to confront, for appeasement just makes the enemy think he can gain more and more through war. Communism used to be the great threat to Christianity and the Western world and it fell. I wonder if radical Islam will also fall since Matthew 24 says the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to every human being and they are preventing this from happening. And prophetic Scripture seems to indicate that the great persecutor of Christians and Jews in the end will not be Islam but Secular Humanism.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I am convinced that it has to fall, but the issue of when is very hard. It can partially fail in some countries before the coming of Yeshua, but the final fall may be in the final wars.

22:06 07Jul10 Susan Henderson -
No one here has brought attention to the fact that most of these Israel hating liberals are JEWS. Hollywood and our congress are mostly godless Jews yet they despise Israel ... the 'oxymoron' of this situation!

10:40 13Jul10 Sherry Schneider -
Dr. Juster hits the proverbial nail on the head. Although I have to keep my dictionary close at hand to understand every word, he stirs my spirit to continually pray for the Israelis and the issues with knowledge and fervency.

15:58 14Jul10 Evelyn Gonzalez -
It is appalling how when Israel defends itself, the whole world turns against them. I just watch it in disbelief - but then I remember it is prophetic. "The Greeks and the Romans...are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out...the Jews saw them all, survived them all ... all things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces passed, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" -Mark Twain, 1898.

22:43 18Jul10 Gary Young -
This is so right on. The liberals are so confused and filled with chaos in their minds that they cannot make rational judgements regarding issues in today's world, let alone in an eternal world. When a person's world view is so mixed up by omitting the Creator of the Universe they cannot be expected to make intelligent political choices and decisions. It is very evident that the war is spiritual, not physical.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Marty Shoub: When Everything Changed
Moshe Morrison: Jews Do Not Believe In Jesus!
Isaiah 19 - On a Highway of Restoration