That's not to say the situation isn't dangerous. Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs know that a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv means their destruction. We don't know if the Pentagon would annihilate Iran but no matter what...the Islamic regime installed in 1979 would end. An attack like that would sign their own death warrant. To suggest they wouldn’t use an offensive nuclear weapon is pretty much common sense and the way this argument is being defeated in the Right-wing narrative is to portray them as fanatics, people who have abandoned reason for the sake of their cause. People willing to self destruct. Of course it might be argued Santorum is also a fanatic but I'll leave that for someone else to work out.
Many reputed analysts try to hide the grins on their faces when talking about the Holocaust denial coming out of Tehran. I tend to agree that Ahmadinejad knows full well there was a Holocaust. Iran is very anti-Israel and speaking this way is to directly attack modern Israel's narrative, their raison d'être being rooted in the Holocaust and Zionism. Iran’s rhetoric is a challenge to Israel's moral claims for the existence of the modern Zionist state.
I don't want to be misunderstood here. The Jews of the post-2nd Temple Diaspora are the most persecuted people throughout history. The Holocaust was just the capstone on a house of horrors going back to the Middle Ages. Growing anti-Semitism in the 19th century inspired Herzl to develop Zionism and the Holocaust gave it a moral and political mandate.
However the Jews going back to the Levant and re-establishing a state is akin to English and Americans of Norman (Viking) ancestry setting up in Norway, claiming it as their homeland. I’m directly descended from Vikings who settled in Normandy and later crossed with the Conqueror in 1066. This same family, my paternal line left England in the 1650’s to get away from Cromwell’s regime. They settled in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Let me put it this way….my claims to land in Norway are probably better than European Jews claiming the Levantine littoral, the lands west of the Jordan river, the land we today once more call Israel. It is of course absurd and no one would seriously consider the claim.
By the way I’m not boasting in my ancestry. I don’t consider it anything to be proud of. The Normans were an impressive lot but in just about every case I would identify with the side resisting them.
Now, if some regime came to power and rounded up everyone in the British Isles and North America who had Norman ancestors and tried to kill them all and succeeded in killing more than a 1/3 of us…would the world feel sympathy? Of course. Would we have a right to seek redress? Of course. Would we have the right to go and conquer a big swath of Norway claiming it as our ancient homeland, claiming that we had to have it in order to be once more secure? I think not.
The Palestinians are Arabized but genetically they are largely the descendants of Jews and Canaanites that have been living there since antiquity. The disastrous breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the imperial scheming of the French and English drew many of the lines on the map we know today. Though the lines are invented, the people are not. That the Arabized peoples in that region came to be called Palestinians at a later date in no way even suggests they aren't historical residents. History, anthropology and much more point to that.
The British and Americans helped the Jews establish a new state. In 1948, the United Nations was still functioning as a department of the American government. It continued to be dysfunctional as an international body for several more years. While it is hardly relevant today, at least it is accessible to all peoples, though only a select few actually can accomplish anything.
While there are undoubtedly some in the Anglo-American establishment who really believe the Jews have moral or perhaps theological claims to the ‘land’, most are more concerned with Wilsonian ideals of democracy, geopolitical posturing, a wedge, a reason to have interests and influence in one of the most pivotal regions on the planet, a region with vast political implication and proximate to the greatest resource prize in the history of the world.
Some have tried to blame the Palestinians because they were offered a two-state solution at the time of Israel's formation. They didn't accept the offer so now it is argued, six decades later they no longer have any right to argue thus.
But why would they have accepted? Would the Norwegians accept it if a bunch of Norman descendants arrived off the coast of Trondheim? I don't think so.
Would they be upset if over the course of a couple of generations the Norse-Norman returnees forced large segments of the population into ghettos, restricted their movements, endlessly harassed them and when they showed resistance...send in an air force using planes and missiles purchased from the United States?
Would the other nations of Europe appreciate this? Assuming for a moment (which I don't) all the European nations are Christian...let's say the Norwegian conquest included a reversion to Odin worship and the Normans started imposing that religion and its values on the people there. I'm being absurd but I'm trying to paint a weak portrait of why Israel's presence and existence is so outrageous and offensive to the people around it. My illustration doesn't even begin to touch on the severity of their actions, and the implications of Israel’s existence when tied in with Western Imperialism.
True they've been attacked and have proven valiant fighters, but their expansion in 1967 and the increase of settlements ever since has only made the situation much worse. I'm not going to pretend there isn't plenty of guilt to go around. But the choice of the Jews to establish an Imperial-backed state, essentially a Western satellite in the direct center of the Middle East, was just inviting trouble. The Zionists play a hard political game. Though they're hated, they are admired and respected. But they're a cold hearted group. They would nod their heads and say... they have to be.
Who cannot be moved at what happened to them under the Third Reich? That's why it's so bizarre and ironic that they've turned around and treated others in the way they have.
Dispensationalism has led many an American Christian to turn a blind eye to the sufferings and valid claims of the people who lived in that portion of the Ottoman Empire going back to Roman and Byzantine times...the people we today call Palestinians.
If the Bible doesn't teach the Jewish people are still the 'plan A' and will go back to being God's primary covenant people when the Church is 'Raptured' out...If the Bible doesn't teach a return to Temple Judaism at any point after Jesus Christ, then the modern Jewish state and the land it has demarcated does not belong to anyone in particular, and those living there whatever their claims, don't deserve a special theological consideration. There are many Jews who reject Zionism and don't believe the Jews can return to the land unless a prophet arose who communicated God's will for them to do so. On that point, they're right. And I promise them it will never happen. That Prophet was here almost 2000 years ago. The Kingdom he established was one they rejected and continue to do so.
The actions of the Zionists must be weighed and considered in the same way we would look at any other people.
The Magyars or Hungarians presumably came out of Central Asia in late antiquity, many claiming to be descendants of Attila’s horde. In the 9th century they crossed the Carpathians and settled in today's Hungary. What if they claimed 'holy' sites back in Central Asia? What if they decided tomorrow to carve out an enclave from Eastern Kazakhstan to the Chinese frontier of Xinjiang? Would anyone really accept that claim? I can give endless examples of this kind of argument that no one would accept...but the Middle East is supposed to accept the Zionist state of Israel?
What should the Jews have done after 1945 to find autonomous peace and security? I can think of several options but re-establishing Israel would not have been one of them. And in no way has it made them secure or safe.
While Christendom has all but disappeared or rather been replaced by Westernism, Islam's situation is a bit different. The Islamic world, like Christendom was never really able to maintain any kind of unity, and it's no different today. Yet there are certain issues which can bring about a kind of unity...a powerful tool to leaders. Israel has proven quite useful in this way. It's a focal point for anger and resentment and he who takes up the mantle, he who wields the scimitar against this enemy becomes a hero...a Sobieski, a Martel, a Winston Churchill to the Islamic world. A regime in danger needs distractions; it needs to be a hero fighting a dragon. An Islamic regime needing a dragon to fight so it can become the saviour/hero...need look no further than Israel…the great offender, the bride of the Western Empires.
Though some truly want Israel eliminated, I don't think that's even remotely true for the majority of leaders and thinkers in the Islamic world. The costs and consequences are too great. And in terms of politics, it's convenient to have an adversary that can be pointed to and blamed. Israel is the object of everyone’s convenient scorn.
Democracy at work in Egypt has recently empowered the Islamists. This is largely a backlash against the American proxy Mubarak and the continued domination by the Egyptian army which also is closely tied in with the Americans. But once the Islamists are in power, what will happen? Most likely the people will in time grow disgusted with corruption, mismanagement, and restricted freedoms... and if the Islamists won't hand over power willingly they'll be forced out.
But actually that won't happen. Why? Because the West will meddle and manipulate, corrupt the democratic process and either install a puppet through a coup or revolution or the people will back the Islamists all the more due to resentment and anger at the interference. Or, a new dictator or group of clerics will arise and use the external threat as a way to maintain legitimate power.
And after many years, and many dead, a new generation will be born loathing and hating the United States. They don't hate us because we're free, because we vote in money-corrupted elections, or because we eat pizza and watch American Idol. They hate us because we murder and kill and bring evil to their lands. And to add insult to injury we do it with a Wal-mart smiley face telling everyone how good we are.
And what would the Christian politicians in this country have us do? Keep meddling. Keep intervening in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Turkey and on it goes.
We can't be Isolationists they argue. So anti-Isolationism means we have to conquer the world? We have to insert ourselves in every country on the globe to make sure our interests and the interests that might affect our interests and the interests of our friends who are protecting our other interests aren't affected?
This is Christian statesmanship? Christian geopolitics? This is the Christian Worldview being applied to government, war, and international relations? This is what Paul had in mind in Romans 13? I read that one today and it raised an eyebrow, I can tell you.
This is called making a name for yourself. This is called building the Tower of Babel and putting a cross on top of it.
This all must be taken into account as we address this question of America, Iran, and Israel, that is if we're interested in actually looking at this truthfully. Truth it seems to me is probably a good factor to consider in trying to formulate a Christian approach to the world. Why can't I find any of it coming from the mouths of Christian teachers and leaders when it comes to these issues?
Go to part 5
Go to part 5