Why You Should Stand with Israel and Jews (and Why Many Won’t) Part 1

By John Zmirak Published on May 1, 2024

Oysters won’t make any pearls unless there’s sand to irritate them. The pearl of great price that is The Truth demands that we irritate ourselves with inconvenient facts and unsettling ideas. And reader, I’m here to help.

In this and several subsequent columns, I will lay out many of the complex and bedeviling facts about the conflicts between Christians, Jews, and Muslims and the various countries where they live in a bluntly challenging form intended to help people understand the savage frenzy that’s now playing out before our eyes.

Some of what I say will “trigger” you, since I’m including facts that are often misused by people with dark, wicked intentions. But I’ll include them nonetheless, since my goal is at once ambitious and simple: I want people to stand with Israel and Jews, and to understand precisely why many other people don’t. They should, but they don’t and won’t, and you need to know why that is true — what pretexts the enemy of our souls uses to sow chaos in our countries, and hatred for the cousins of Christ.

In each installment of this multipart series, I will list one of the reasons why various groups of people don’t support Israel’s right to defend itself or Jews’ right to support a national homeland for their people. Then I’ll try to counter those reasons, as best as I can without making this a 100,000-word book.

Claim #1: The Bible Doesn’t Promise a Modern Nation State to Secular Jews

This argument appears in many forms. It was put most bluntly in 2010 by Melkite Catholic Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, quoted here by a Palestinian website:

“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians,” Bustros said at the close of a two-week conference in Rome, Italy, “to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands.”

The Archbishop then questioned the biblical idea of a “promised land” set aside by a specific group of people. “We Christians cannot speak of the promised land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,” Bustros continued. “This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”

Here Bustros mish-mashes two very different things.

On the one hand, he’s drawing on the “replacement theology” which has prevailed among most Christians since the early Church — the idea that the Church completely replaces ethnic Israel as the beneficiary of God’s promises. Christians are now the “real” Jews, they say, and no Jew who rejects Jesus is really part of God’s people anymore. Such Jews are more like Samaritans, who fell away from the “saving remnant” — that is, the Jews who accepted Christ and formed the Church.

This view was held by St. Augustine, then the medieval Catholic Church, and accepted by most Reformers right up through the 19th century. It’s what led Pope Pius X to reject Zionist leaders who approached him for support.

The horrors of the Holocaust forced Christians to radically reassess the status of the Jews and examine the Church’s conscience. Hadn’t centuries of theological smugness and routine anti-Judaism helped in some sense to lay down the tracks to Auschwitz? Pope John Paul II thought so, which is why he decided the Vatican should finally recognize the State of Israel, essentially punting on the question of whether its existence was justified by sacred or secular arguments. Likewise, Orthodox Jews who’d claimed it was unbiblical for secular Jews to found an irreligious Israel (instead of God refounding a sacred kingdom via the Messiah) were mostly persuaded by the Holocaust that Jews needed at least one safe place on Earth.

Interchangeable Featherless Bipeds

But Bustros isn’t even asserting such old, controversial Christian positions. He’s twisting them to channel modern, universalist, humanitarian nonsense, since he doesn’t think the Church inherits Israel’s ancient promises and privileges. Instead, those claims now belong to “all men and women of all countries,” regardless of their ethnicity or religion.

Therefore, nobody has any sacred claim to anything; we’re all just interchangeable featherless bipeds milling around the planet. If we follow Pope Francis’s leftist logic, all borders should be open so hordes of people can go wherever they like and squat in other people’s homes. (And Catholic church agencies should make billions facilitating this great replacement.)

It’s a Muslim Planet. We Just Live Here

Certainly this isn’t what Muslims believe. They’re taught that they have a right to rule over the entire planet, that non-Muslims are rebels against God Himself and deserve to be conquered and dominated. Those who won’t convert may be tolerated as second-class citizens, provided a) that they’re monotheists and b) that they offer willing submission to Muslims. They may not preach their false religions, must pay special taxes, and generally must be treated as black people were under South African apartheid.

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The word for this condition is “dhimmitude.” If you want to know what it’s like, ask the Copts in Egypt, who can’t build churches authorized by the government, since mobs of jihadis will descend on them and destroy them. (You know, the way jihadis and their allies are now tazing Jewish students trying to go to class in America.)

Furthermore, Muslims believe and aggressively teach that every country which was ever controlled by Muslims at any point in history belongs to Muslims forever. Yes, that includes modern-day Israel. But it also includes all of Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary, among other countries — places which suffered Muslim oppression for centuries, and only liberated themselves a few decades before Israel did. If Israel is destroyed, the global Islamic jihad wouldn’t even pause to take a breath before launching its campaigns against those countries in particular. In that sense, Israel serves as a bug-zapper for jihadis. Spaniards, Greeks, and Bulgarians ought to give some thought to that.

But then, Muslims in France, Britain, Germany, and other western countries which were never conquered by jihad are already trying to outbreed the natives and impose sharia law without the claim that those places were historic Islamic territory. (Muslims gonna … Muslim. As someone whose Croatian ancestors fought the Turks for hundreds of years, I can’t shake my gut feeling that one of the first functions of government is keeping out the Saracens.)

But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that we agree with Archbishop Bustros. We won’t ground Jews’ claims to Israel on the promises in the Hebrew Bible. What I’d ask that bearded Arab Catholic now living in America is this: So what?

Which Chapter of Deuteronomy Justifies the Empire of Japan?

Do we need Bible verses to justify the existence of Armenia? Of Lebanon? Of Japan? Is there some sacred text (no, the Book of Mormon doesn’t count) promising the United States of America to European colonists? Since there isn’t, are we obliged to give the land back to the descendants of the feuding tribes we conquered to gain it? Will pro-Palestine protestors at Columbia turn their parents’ homes in upstate New York over to the Iroquois?

More pointedly: Are Muslims obliged to give Egypt back to the Copts and Istanbul back to the Greeks? If not, then why should the Jews who successfully conquered Israel in 1948 be obliged to give land back to the Arabs?

Why single out the Jews as a people who don’t deserve a homeland of their own? Why weaponize Arab Muslims associated with the one-time Ottoman province of Palestine as uniquely privileged victims whose suffering is more important than that of other stateless peoples, such as the Kurds or the Assyrian Christians of Iraq?

Unlike the Kurds, the Assyrians, or increasingly the Jews, there are plenty of Sunni Arab countries where Palestinians ought to be able to fit in and live in peace. It’s just that Arab governments prefer to keep them in permanent refugee status, chained up and hungry in the yard to snarl at the Zionists. Treat a dog that way long enough, and you can’t bring him in as part of the family. That’s what Arab governments have cynically done to the Palestinians, and it’s not Israel’s fault.

Next time, I’ll examine political and tribal reasons many conservatives are tempted to abandon Israel and Jews to the abuse of Muslims and the radical left.

 

John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His newest book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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