As the accounts of survivors trickle out it becomes clearer that Israel’s claims that their soldiers did everything to avoid bloodshed are just PR. Israel’s definition of the raid as ‘provocation’ (see earlier post) is ‘Alice in Wonderland’ language. Far from adhering to the highest standards the Israeli Military is guilty of treating their ‘opponents’ as animals.
Why believe Israel’s enemies? That’s the question asked by many commentators in the media. First, the people we are talking about are not Israel’s enemies, many are better friends than Israel deserves. Second, speaking personally, their accounts match with past experience. If you’ve watched at a checkpoint, seen soldiers reacting in the presence of angry settlers and frightened Palestinians, if you’ve seen where the ‘Wall’ goes, you can have little doubt that this fits with a general sense that Arabs are of less value than Jews.
So I come to a question that’s been significant for me; what is the role of Faith in this? I’ve heard and read justifications for Israel from orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists of different hues. Even some who are critical of some Israeli actions are largely supportive of the basic premise: Jewish interest trumps everything else. I am not an academic theologian, (probably obvious) but I do take the view that theology is too important to be left to the experts, and I cannot find justification for this belief anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. You can, of course, create justification but only by lifting texts out of the context of God’s Story.
Christian supporters of ‘Israel, right or wrong’ are in a worse mess: Jews at least have the excuse that they’re still waiting on the ‘Messiah’. Christians who fail to understand Jesus’ place in God’s story need to re-read their New Testament. Perhaps though, many are like Lloyd George who, a lover of the Old Testament, reportedly regarded the New with much disdain.
more to follow: Peace