May 3, 2013
South Africa’s parliamentarian, Kenneth Meshoe, rose to contradict former U.S. President Jimmy Carter at an Israeli Embassy event this morning. “Israelis no apartheid regime,” said the deputy who lived decades under the racist policies of his home country. The head of that nation’s African Christian Democrats said “any Christian who doesn’t align with Israel “should be prayed for.”
And that’s what Liberty University Law School Dean Mat Staver did in his remarks. Dean Staver called on Christians to support embattled Israel and then cited the presence of Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.-USA), FRC’s Executive Vice President in the crowded Jerusalem Hall.
“Floyd Corkins wanted to kill everyone at FRC,” Staver said of the confessed domestic terrorist who shot FRC’s Building Manager Leo Johnson last August, “and that’s another reason why Christians and Jews must stand together.” Dean Staver reminded his hearers that the Holocaust “didn’t happen overnight. It was the result of an accumulation of policies” all of which tended to place the Jews outside the protection of law and incite resentment of them.
One after another, Christian speakers reasserted their support for Israel. Their words brought to mind a similar gathering I attended in Washington more than twenty years ago. Israel’s Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, was expressing his thanks to American Christians and Jews for their staunch support of his surrounded country. One attendee rose to question him. “Mr. Prime Minister, I run a large public relations firm here in Washington. I give generously to Israel, but I have to say, you are always portrayed in the media as saying no. I know in public relations it always helps to put your case in more positive terms.”
We in the pro-life, pro-family movements are often told the same thing. Don’t say you’re anti-abortion; don’t say you oppose abolishing mothers and fathers in our laws.
Prime Minister Begin stroked his chin and looked out thoughtfully from behind his thick glasses. “I thank you for your support for the Jewish state,” he said in a courtly European manner. “And I will consult my Cabinet colleagues about your helpful suggestion of a more positive way to state our necessary positions.”
Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he added: “But Mr. Public Relations man, I hope you will grant us this much: In our region, there are certain honorable precedents for Thou Shalt Not!”
Indeed there are. Ambassador Michael Oren arrived to a standing ovation. One of my Christian friends had been confused about this learned man who speaks American-accented English. Is he Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. or America’s ambassador to Israel, my friend wanted to know. “Just listen to him,” I said, “he’s pro-America and pro-Israel. He can’t be an Obama appointee!”
The ambassador gave a quick and stunning tour d’horizon of Israel’s perilous position. He most diplomatically avoided saying that this new and deadly danger for Israel was the result of the Obama administration’s policies. He has to work with them.
Iran, he said, could have nuclear weapons and delivery means that could hit New York—or Galveston, Texas. Europe would not be safe. Even worse than North Korea with nukes, Iran’s mullahs are the world’s leading exporter of terror. Syria. No one knows what may happen there. “Jerusalem is to prophesy what Hershey, Pennsylvania is to chocolate. And we just don’t know!” But we may see a vast stash of chemical weapons fall into the hands of Hezbollah in South Lebanon—“Hezbollah, that has 70,000 rockets trained on Israel.”
He spoke of the stalled “peace process.” Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Fatah faction, dares not hold an election because he knows Hamas—which ousted him and his corrupt gang from power in Gaza—would win that election. Abbas is trying to effect reconciliation not withIsrael—but with Hamas. And Hamas, Amb. Oren reminds us, does not simply want to wipe out all Jews in Israel; they want to wipe out all the Jews on earth.
Again, Amb. Oren is too diplomatic to point out that U.S. taxpayers are getting hit for hundreds of millions of dollars to line the pockets of Mahmoud Abbas and his thugs while he makes nice with Hamas.
Egypt is of great concern for Israel. Amb. Oren notes that all their hopes in the Mideast were based on a stable and more democratic Egypt. Well, that was then. Today, Egypt is spinning out of control. Famine is a possibility. The Muslim Brotherhood breathes hostility to Israel and the Jews. He tells us that the Salafists in Egypt are, if anything, even worse. Eilat, Israel’s port city on the Gulf of Aqaba, has been hit by rocket attacks for the first time. Now, Egyptian control over the Sinai—a vast region Israel gave back to Egypt more than thirty years ago—is slipping and the desert area is home to terrorist gangs. A recent Israeli raid into Sinai killed two terrorists—one from Saudi Arabia, the other from Yemen.
A nuclear Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Ambassador doesn’t need any notes. He only has to look at the map.
He didn’t mention the Mediterranean Sea, the one place where Israel seems not to be menaced. Oh, wait. I forgot. The Turks sent a flotilla to arm Hamas in Gaza from the sea in 2010. On his recent trip to Israel, President Obama twisted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s arm to get him to apologize for the loss of life on the Turkish peace ship. [Maybe President Lincoln should have apologized to the Confederacy for attacking the Merrimac, the South’s ironclad blockade breaker?] Israel’s satiric group, Latma, explained the Turkish flotilla better than the Obama’s spokesmen at the State Department have done.
Despite this world of woe, despite dangers as great for the Jewish state as those of May, 1948, and May, 1967, the Ambassador is smiling, upbeat, confident.
This is our 61st anniversary, he says. “There are more people who speak Hebrew today than speak Danish or Finnish, and we will soon overtake Swedish speakers. We have more Nobel Prize winners than most countries have Olympic gold medalists. We have the second most highly educated population (after Canada) and our Israeli Defense Force is larger than France and Britain combined.”
He concludes with remarkable words of faith. America is the most religiously observant country of any developed nation. And Israel exists because of faith. Israel will not go down. Israel will live, he says, as the audience rises to their feet, cheering.
For Americans, and especially for us as Christians, we have only one ally in the Mideast. And the Israeli people are the only genuine friends America has there. We’re constantly being told that if we would only abandon Israel, we would have peace and friendship with everyone the world over. Then why did Chechens bomb us in Boston?
Abandon Israel? Menachem Begin was right: Thou Shalt Not!