Is Israel a Vistage of Colonialism?
by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International
A terribly imbalanced anti-colonialism drives some of the most negative hatred of Israel. Why?
Since the Vietnam war, a multi-cultural, post-modern relativistic orientation has been embraced by the radical left. That is a mouthful! So I will explain. The radical left is multi-cultural in a particular way. It embraces all cultures as equal. This is reinforced by relativism: the concept that there are no absolute standards of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and beauty. Of course, embracing all cultures this way trivializes all cultures since none can truly be praised or criticized. It also leads to many contradictions: This multi-culturalism seeks to foster women's equality and gay rights. Yet other cultures strongly reject such values, especially Islam. Where human rights clash against Islam, the tendency is to embrace multi-cultural equality.
Evaluation of Colonialism
The radical left is anti-colonial in the sense that it sees most of the world's problems as stemming from the sins of Western colonialism that did not respect indigenous cultures. Many look at everything through this prism.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain was the greatest colonial power in the world. They boasted proudly of their colonial empire as bringing civilization and elevation to many regions of the world. In less than 50 years, that colonial pride died a very hard death. Now the West views its colonial period as a dark time of oppression and exploitation of the peoples ruled.
Western colonialism was sometimes very bad, oppressive and exploitative. But Western colonialism - especially of the British variety - did bring education and concepts of the equal worth of all human beings to the territories under their jurisdiction. Compared to other colonialisms, we could at least say that the British model was the least bad and maybe even did some good. Actually, it was the biblical values spread by the colonies, that eventually ended Western colonialism. Did Russian Communist colonialism produce such a self critique or did Turkish colonialism? No. [We should note that many view world Christianity as a bad thing in displacing indigenous religions - a terribly mistaken viewpoint!]
This anti-colonial hatred is unbalanced and does not recognize that all world powers have historically been colonial. In biblical history consider the Egyptians, Hittites, Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. They were all colonial powers who conquered other peoples and exploited them. The Mongols, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Russians also sought to do the same. All of these colonial empires were brutal - some more, some less.
The radical left totally fails to acknowledge that Islam itself has been one of the most devastating colonial destroyers of culture, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. This extends to destroying indigenous languages as part of destroying the conquered lands. Recent examples were the Taliban's destruction of historic rock carvings and architecture in Afghanistan and the ISIS destruction of world heritage architecture in Iraq. Early on, Mohammed and his first followers adopted brutal and destructive conquering.
Only in recent decades have people sought a world order that is not colonial. And even today foreign relations of world powers can have quasi colonial overtones, dressed in the clothing of foreign aid and military advisors. Some also see multi-national business corporations as a type of colonialism.
The Response to Israel
So how does this influence the radical left in response to Israel? They see Israel as an unjust colonial imposition, a colony of the West, supplanting the indigenous Arab Palestinian population. All of the problems of the Middle East are seen as the fault of the Western Colonialists and especially the United States. Israel is seen as a root problem. Many think it would be better if Israel did not exist.
Support for Israel
The British support for a Jewish homeland in the early 1900s had multiple motivations. There were colonial motivations. There were spiritual motivations in some who sought to restore the Jewish people to a land they saw as largely desolate. The situation is much more complex than an anti-colonial deconstructionist interpretation. There was no indigenous rule in the Holy Land. Rather the region was under the control of yet another colonial power before Britain took over, namely the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
In all of this, after the Holocaust, it was the providence of God that brought Israel into existence. For a brief time the world was sympathetic enough to vote 'Yes' at the United Nations and endorse the formation of a Jewish state. Actually, some of the leaders of colonial powers thought the Jewish state was against their selfish interests. This was true of Truman's State Department. The radical left has a simplistic self-hatred of Western civilization and Christianity, the very civilization and religion that gave birth to human rights. They look at Israel's occupation of the West Bank as colonial rather than as a security necessity. It is so sad that many are blind and give aid, comfort and political credibility to militant Islam. This view is highly influential in many Western universities. It is behind the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movements against Israel. Ultimately we have to see the whole trend as part of the great deception of the last days, rejecting God's plan of redemption for the world that is connected to events in Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people.
May God give us wisdom to pray for such foolish and simplistic people, but against their influence.
We believe that God will restore all truth and right practice that has been lost to the Body of Believers. Various ages of the Church have seen advances and declines. Some truths have been emphasized in one period, lost in the next, and then picked up again in later times.
Some advances in recent time parallel the restoration of Israel. The re-discovery of the baptism in the Spirit and speaking in tongues was parallel in time to the early Zionist return to the Land of Israel. The Latter Rain revival happened in parallel to the independence of the nation of Israel and its recognition. The charismatic renewal in the late sixties came at the same time as Israel coming into government over the original, Old City section of Jerusalem.
On the other hand, there are dimensions of truth that seem less established today than in past years. The enforcement of congregational discipline was greater one hundred years ago than in today's Western world. Divorce is common today. This is a terrible loss. In addition, every age of the Church has seen advances and bright shining examples of truth.
Restoration or Fullness?
The word "restoration" as it is used in Acts 3 indicates more than simply restoring something that was present before.
"Repent...that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, Yeshua, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago" (Acts 3:20-21).
This refers to a restoration of the world to Paradise. All humanity entering Paradise is obviously above and beyond any restoration that has occurred in the past. The Scriptures lead us to believe that we are moving toward something greater than is usually meant by the word restoration. We are moving toward FULLNESS.
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