“The leaders said to them, ‘Let them live.” So they became hewers of wood and drawers of
water for all the congregation, as the leaders had decided concerning them” (Joshua 9:21).
Israel calls the United States its greatest friend—maybe its only friend in the current climate of warfare against Palestinians. Why is it? And even a stranger question: Why would a democracy such as ours offer almost unqualified support of an ethnocracy? Yes it’s true; Israel calls itself a democracy, and in some sense it may be—but only for Jews. The poignant invitation from our Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, huddled masses, yearning to be free”
applies in Israel to Jews only. And that’s an old story, as you may read from the book of Joshua. The above quote refers to a place for the Gibeonites whom the Hebrew people wanted to be put to death, but whom their leaders spared only because they made an oath to allow their survival. Survive they did, but as slaves.
It’s not a great secret that our elected politicians of both parties have debts to pay to those who made their elections possible, and near the top are vested Jewish interests. That goes without saying. And it was our leaders who carved a state for Israel in Palestine following World War II, a state that had not existed before 1948. It was done by much pressure applied in the halls of the United Nations to a reluctant assembly of world leaders. Since then and to the present, it’s American financial support, three billion dollars annually, along with our weapons of warfare that are used at present against Palestinians. It’s somehow explained to our citizens as though this support fulfills a plan of God.
The Lord Almighty did make a covenant, or bargain with Abraham. Obey the Lord, and God would give the patriarch and his descendants a Promised Land. The purpose was to prepare the world for a new birth, a time of peace and prosperity for all nations, as predicted in the prophecy of Isaiah: “I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight…no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress” (Isaiah 65:18). This vision is the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ quoted from Isaiah more than any other prophet. He was the instrument by which this prophecy was to be realized. He is why God made that bargain with Abraham centuries before Christ’s coming to earth. That promise was fulfilled, but those who should have understood and welcomed it had not done so. “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isaiah 1:3).
It may be that the present leaders of Israel want nothing less than to retain ownership of the lands they now occupy, which according to the United Nations mandate belong to the Palestinians, in order to thwart or prevent a state of Palestine next door to Israel; but it’s not clear that the United States should make those ambitions come about. Yes, of course it was cruel and wrong of Nazi Germany to carry out their “Juden rein,” the attempt to eradicate Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other so-called “undesirables” from their nation; however, it’s just as wrong to inflict the same upon Palestinians.
I recall being in Jerusalem at Hebrew University years ago and asking a professor of history how such a program of elimination of Arabs could be justified. “You’re an American,” he replied. “What did you do to the Indians?” Might makes right—or does it? Do the victors always write history and justify their actions? To use a mundane metaphor of former President Clinton: We have no dog in this fight. Muslims have done horrid, cruel things to our Orthodox Christian brethren in the past. Nevertheless, we cannot but agonize and weep with our Lord Jesus Christ as He looked across to Jerusalem and said:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stone those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Luke 13:34).