Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

British Christians Countering Anti-Israel Claptrap

The latest post from that most welcome organisation Christian Middle East Watch concerns the insidious Israel-undermining initiative "The Balfour Project" (whose mainstays include, tellingly enough for what the ladies and gentlemen of the Project have in mind regarding the Balfour Declaration's anniversary in 2017), the now UK-based John Bond, ex-secretary of the National Sorry Day Committee, Australia.

Inter alia, the post observes:
'The Balfour Project makes use of several revisionist articles to claim that Britain needs to apologise to both Jews and Arabs for its historical "balagan" (Arab for a proper foul-up), but betrays itself as another attempt at delegitimisation by its own strap-line "Contributing to justice, peace and reconciliation in the Middle East". As soon as you see the words "justice", "peace", "reconciliation" and "Middle East" in the same sentence, you know you are facing another attempt to denigrate and delegitimise the state of Israel.
The Balfour Project has already started holding meetings around the UK and while, to their credit, their meeting in Winchester included speakers opposed to the aims of the Project, most of the speakers and writers involved are also heavily connected to the BDS and delegitimisation movements, including Rev Stephen Sizer, Prof Ilan Pappe and others.
The Balfour Project aims to make sufficient impact in Britain that the Government will be forced into an apology for the Balfour Declaration on its centenary in 2017. This apology is not needed, will not contribute to peace or justice and will not diminish the depth of feelings for and against Israel. The Balfour Project claims it does not deny the right of Israel to exist, but Rabbi Dan Cohen-Sherbok threw a spanner in the works in his speech at the Project's meeting in Winchester by pointing out that if the Balfour Declaration should not have been made then does that mean that the Jews should not have been offered a homeland and that Israel should not exist today?'  (Read more here)
Meanwhile, the following, by Ian G, is cross-posted from The Almond Rod blog, and is a sequel to this cross-post:

Developing Christian Zionism, my next steps. Between the wars, 1967-73.

In 1967, I was a young Christian who had much to learn about the scriptures and even more to learn about Israel and Zionism. I would not have used that term then, but as I have already indicated here , the basics were already in place. I still had to survive school, a gap-year, discover what I really wanted to do and get into college. It would be misleading to say that Israel was at the forefront of my thinking.

For me, as for many, it is only when those years were looked at in retrospect that we realised what had been happening. What seemed like an intensely personal journey, which it was, turned out to be road on which many others were also travelling. Sometimes called 'The Jesus Movement' what had happened was actually a unique form of revival. In the past, Christian revivals have always been associated with places and spread from there. This time it took place across a generation. Roughly between the Israeli wars, a generation came to faith in Jesus Christ in a radical (proper sense - not political), evangelical and charismatic way. Denominational barriers came crashing down, and were viewed by many as irrelevant.

In 1967 a great many Christians were looking at their Bibles and wondering what is was they were witnessing. For me, as for many, these words of Jesus were taking on a new significance: “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.

Now there are many who argue that is nothing to do with current day Israel and some of them are conservative evangelical Christians. But there were and are a great many Christians who looked at the state of the world and began to wonder if these were truly the end-times.

(Before anyone posts saying the last days started with Pentecost, I know that. The question is are we reaching the end of the last days?)

We had only just begun to emerge from the shadow of WW2, the Korean War had ground to a halt, the Vietnam war was rumbling on and we had survived the Cuba crisis. Most people of my age were too young to understand the Cuba crisis, but everyone a few years older and paying attention was scared witless.

The vast armies and massive devastation of the apocalyptic books of the Bible began to look a lot less symbolic.

We were beginning to realise that we were looking at a series of 'firsts'. For the first time in history we had the capability of destroying not only ourselves but everything else as well. The end of the world was suddenly nigher than we wanted it to be. For the first time we had the ability to translate the scriptures into every language on the planet and for the first time the gospel could be preached to every nation even without going there by Radio and TV.  (The internet was in its infancy so very few knew about it and the Web was decades away.)

And of course, the big first, the clincher for many bible-believing Christians, was the emergence of the Nation of Israel in the Land and it kept on surviving wars where human reason expected that it would be destroyed. Not only that, Israel was gaining territory!

Then, we began to hear of Jews coming to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. I know that Jewish readers will have their own opinions about this last one and I will have to examine it another time.  Suffice it to say, for the moment, that the Early Christians (all Jews) decided that Gentiles did not have to become Jews in order to join the Church. Similarly, there is no reason why a Jew should magically cease to be a Jew when joining the Church. After all, Jesus is a Jewish Messiah.

Of course, it didn't work out like that historically and there are knotty issues even today. I will explore these in other posts. 

Finally, those Christians who take an interest in such matters began to realise that devout Jews were beginning to look for the coming of the Messiah. We were beginning to see some sort of understanding, a lessening of hostility and a common hope. The only difference was over one word. Christians are also looking for the (second) coming of the Messiah.

Unpacking that one word should be interesting.

Post Script

Shortly after the '67 conflict, I read Obadiah as part of my daily devotions. As a result, I concluded that some sort of conflict in Lebanon was to be expected. That one is still working itself out! I still think that Israel will have to create some sort of protected zone for the Lebanese people who want to live in peace and are also in danger from Israel's enemies, rather like the Kurds were given in Saddam's Iraq.'


  1. Irish Zionists!
    Pro-Israel Irish Christian Group Calls on Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister to Reject Israel Boycott