[This was first posted in February 2015 and has been updated]
From 1933 until as late as 1940 Nazi Germany was struggling with the ‘problem’ of, ‘who is the Jew?’ Various attempts were made and laws passed, often cited generally as the ‘Mischlinge’ regulations. The intention was to protect the ‘good Aryan’ blood in the mixed breeds, (mischlinge), people who had some Jewish heritage. Inconsistently, a full Jew, not even a mischling, could be declared Aryan for services to the state, as was Field Marshal Erhard Milch, declared by Adolf Hitler ‘of German blood’ through the influence of his boss, Hermann Goring.
I’d be grateful if someone could point out to me what is substantially different in the laws the Israeli Prime Minister is trying to force through the Knesset. For many observers what has been happening in Israel for many years is remarkably similar to what was being done in Germany in those years before the Second World War. (Note: the situation in 2018 is much worse than in 2015). The recent changes (October 2015) for the first time require Israeli-Arabs who are Christian to serve in the Israeli military. Rather like the Mischlinge laws it is an attempt to divide Palestinian Christians from their Arab-Muslim neighbours.
As late as October 1941 Hitlers intention for the Jews was deportation not destruction.They could be forced Eastward and become a ‘burden’ on the hated Communist Soviet; anywhere except Germanic lands, which for Hitler included Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania. The Zionist aim for Palestine from the late 1920’s on was (and is) the same, get all the Jews into Palestine. In that regard it is noteworthy that, 70 years after the establishment of the State fewer than 50% of Jews worldwide want to live there.
Many Germans claimed that they did not know what their Nazi rulers were doing. Did not know, or did not want to know. Even many Jews, well into the war and with plenty of evidence, could not believe what was happening in their modern civilized nation. It was the prophet Isaiah who asked, “who is blind like my servant Israel?” Ancient Israel’s blindness was chosen, they didn’t want to see. That may be the case for Israeli Jews who have been taught to fear, taught that the Arabs are less than human, that they want to kill them. And they have had hundreds of years of fear in preparation. Is it the case that many in the diaspora, and those Christians who give unquestioning support to ‘democratic Israel’ that they are blind because they don’t want to see, refusing to accept evidence that is all too clear.
Any who genuinely care for the Jewish people should examine their own conscience for Judaism is being destroyed by Zionism. Zionism has taken Judaism and led it down a blind alley, perverting all that is good in that faith. The Christian Church, having bent over backwards to say sorry for past sins will find it impossible to know what to say when the Judaism they purport to love disappears in a flame of hate. Sadly, many Christians expect to be cheering on the destruction – from the safety of heaven, except they may be busy trying themselves to escape the inferno.
‘Never forgive’ is the Israeli mantra, but that can only work if all you do is hate, and ultimately it is destructive. Whenever we come face to face with the enemy as an individual, as a person, we are presented with a choice, to hate or to understand. Of course, even when we understand we may still feel we have reason to hate, but here’s the quandary, we may not. Understanding is a step on the way that may end in forgiveness. And, whilst understanding and forgiveness have the power to bring peace, hate can only consume us, it never bribgs peace. That is why Judaism is in grave danger of dying for Israel’s actions generate fear and hate in both Arab and Israeli. There too is the irony. Just supposing that Israel and the West is able for ever to contain the bitterness and pain of our ‘enemies’, what kind of people will we have become?
What morality will remain when our souls are not torn by the images of dead and dying children and mothers? How will we rationalise the collateral damage of innocent young lives hideously shortened? ‘They’ will not be Jewish, and we shall not be Christian.
There is time, although not much. So this must the time, the Kairos Time. Christians must set aside their differences and unite for peace with justice. Not just for Palestinians oppressed for more than 70 years, not just for Syrian Sunni Muslims, or Saudi Shiite, but for all who suffer oppression wherever it may be. On these issues we must seek partners with those of other faiths, especially the increasing number of Jews who are challenging what is being done in their name. We need to act with urgency to call to account our political and faith leaders who have failed to see where they are leading. Words are fine, but meaningless unless tied to action.
For those of us who claim to follow Jesus nothing less than His gospel is at stake; we cannot ‘talk the talk’ unless we ‘walk the walk’, and the call is to ‘take up your cross and follow’. Jesus did it for us, we must do it for our neighbour – who may think herself an enemy but whom we must treat as friend. It’s Time.