“Why do the nations rage?”
Some Jewish folks might want to answer about now, “It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.”
Wasn’t the Holocaust enough? Arguably the single most evil act thus far in European history: six million Jews, and as many others — Gypsies, Poles, Corrie Ten Boom’s father and sister — were worked and starved to death, or simply shoved into rooms and gassed.
But that was only the climax of such wickedness. The Pharaoh threw your baby boys in the Nile. Haman set a day for an empire-wide massacre. The Romans conquered Israel, crushed rebellions, murdered and enslaved millions, then let loose an occasional pogrom. “Christian” Europe and the Islamic world played ping-pong with the Jewish people, using the Mediterranean Sea as net: expelled from Israel. Expelled from Rome. Expelled from Spain. Expelled from Egypt.
“Maybe that’s why we always wear our hats!” Tevye quipped that in Fiddler on the Roof, depicting the results of one of Eastern Europe’s milder persecutions: immigration to America, where so far, Jews have lived and prospered.
Man Is Born to Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward
True, people are often wolves to one another. (Nor, of course, have Jews been blameless!) Minorities that live separately, marry within their community, and maintain distinct traditions, religions, and languages, often come to grief in troubled times: Koreans in Japan, Chinese in Malaysia, Tutsis in Rwanda, African-Americans in the American South, teachers in Maoist China, cops in left-wing American cities.
So such repeated acts of cruelty may be explained sociologically. Your very strength has made you a target in times of civilizational stress: when the Hun bites, when the flea stings, when mobs are feeling bad. Holding to your faith and way of life, you stood out in the crowd. Pushed into ghettoes, you became Shylock, the hated “other.” So Duke Emicho led his gang of the People’s Crusade to liberate Palestine and bring about the return of Christ (though some of his followers worshipped a goose!), but first murdering Jews in Mainz.
So a stampede at a church in Warsaw was blamed on Jewish pickpockets yelling “Fire!,” and two doubtless innocent people were killed. So the modern Middle East, unable to face the failure of Islamic ideologies, and equally unable to face the West, has found a convenient scapegoat. Just so did Adam blame Eve, and Eve blame the snake, neither being willing to take on God directly.
Blaming the Jews
In another country, trouble might be blamed on some other ethnic or occupational minority, big enough to target, too small to fight back, and hated for being different. Scapegoating typically begins with stories: Jews kidnapping children, witches flying, missionaries using the eyes of children to concoct their suspiciously effective medicines.
But my grandmother thought the Devil hated the Jewish people for being the “apple of God’s eye,” and no doubt for giving the world the Messiah. And maybe it is “the Snake’s fault.” The Powers of Darkness may indeed carry a grudge, and malevolently prod humans to do their muscle work.
Everybody Else Gets a Homeland. Not You.
Then the United Nations gave your people a small state, a sliver of land about the size of Connecticut, for all Jews worldwide to call home. This seemed reasonable, if a little stingy. Not only was Israel your ancient home. The Ottoman Empire, of which Palestine was once a part, had at its height ranged up to two million square miles. Many Jews already lived there. Why shouldn’t Jews, like Arabs, Persians, Turks, and Greeks, get a chunk of their own, from the remains of that empire?
The many Arab states that emerged now occupy more than 4 million square miles: 500 times the size of even the present state of Israel. Why should Muslim Arabs gobble up every last rock?
And then, with their own state, Israel could prosper or fail, with citizens squabbling among themselves as in a normal country. No more need to knock that ping-pong ball between continents.
Goliath Came for David
But the devil was still mad. Muslim armies invaded the new micro-state from all sides, promising to “liberate” Palestine “from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea.” They did this not once, but repeatedly. And because Israel kept on winning, it consolidated its territory, to a more reasonable and defensible (but still tiny) size. Even today, Israel is much smaller as a proportion of the Turkish empire than it would be if Jewish inhabitants were simply given their fair share.
Yet somehow that small measure of justice made the world hate you all the more.
China Calls for a Ceasefire, to Protect the Terrorists
China, which locked up more than a million Muslims in response to a few relatively minor terror incidents, now has the gall to call for a ceasefire after 1200 Jews were murdered. Israel should stand down and let Hamas rearm! Yet even with so many of its own Muslims in camps, Islamic countries get along with China just fine! The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is so busy cooperating with Xi Jinping that it refuses to protest China’s abuse of the Uyghurs! Instead, it “commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens.”
President Erdoman of Turkey likewise claimed, “The people of all ethnicities in Xinjiang are leading a happy life amid China’s development and prosperity.” Yet he condemns America for backing Israel up in its response to Hamas’ horrific acts of terrorism. The world seems to invent new rules to hate you, which it never applies to anyone else, still less itself.
We Stand with You
So let me say what I hope the reader of Jewish background already recognizes.
Be confident that in America, you have Gentile friends. Many are Christians. We are outraged at these terrorists, and we have your backs. We support you individually, and we support the State of Israel, as it seeks to destroy that vile group of devil-possessed fiends, Hamas. And should Israel move against Iran’s nuclear program, as Allan Dershowitz suggests, I hope the present administration will disavow its grave errors of the past, and provide all the help it can.
We know who Hamas’ paymaster and drill sergeant is. (Besides the devil.) Iran’s rulers have done all they could to kill Americans, too: they were probably responsible for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, and supported Shiite terrorists who blew up many Americans in Iraq. And in this attack, sponsored by Iran, yet more Americans have died.
Israel Exists for a Reason
I disagree with theologians who think God only works with the Church, the “true Israel,” now. Surely the resurrection of an Israeli state, more than eighteen centuries after you lost your land, and were batted from state to state, was an extraordinary miracle. What other nation has been reborn after such long exile? That ingathering was prophesied in Scripture, and is evidence that God truly does work in history.
God also promised that the descendants of Abraham would be a blessing to the world. True, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud have proven industrial-size pests. And the greatest blessings came through the Son of Abraham who died at Passover. But should we ignore the fact that more than a fifth of all Nobel Prize winners have been Jewish? To me, that sounds like God keeping another of His promises.
I support Israel not because of my theology, but because it is the right thing to do. Arab Muslims have dozens of states of their own. Even with oil, who would willingly live in those countries? It is time that their citizens stop blaming the Jews, who introduced them to God, and man up to the problems their own false prophet introduced. Perhaps they ought to consider a more profitable Prophet, Jesus, the greatest blessing the Jews have given the world.
David Marshall, an educator and writer, has a doctoral degree in Christian thought and Chinese tradition. His most recent book is The Case for Aslan: Evidence for Jesus in the Land of Narnia.