The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hatred and Truth

Some years ago, as an employee of a large multinational company, I had frequent interaction with a colleague who despised Israel. His hatred was so deep, so all-encompassing, that he believed Israel, a nation about the size of New Jersey, was the ultimate source of all the world's problems. I can recall sitting next to him in the company cafeteria on the morning of Sepember 11, 2001. As we watched the horrendous events of that morning on a large screen TV, I suggested that it was probably the work of Islamist terrorists. He just groaned and said, "No way. The Israelis are behind this. You'll see." The next day I asked him if he'd seen the news footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets as they celebrated the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Yes, he had seen them but he was certain they were phony: "Probably some old file footage they threw on the air." As you might expect he became a full-fledged truther, convinced that 9/11 was the work of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. Over time, though, it became clear that the nation of Israel was not the real target of his hatred. On several occasions he let his guard down and grumbled about the "(bleeping) Jews". He was nothing more (or less) than a garden variety anti-Semite.
Truthers: 9/11 an Israeli plot?
My former colleague is, of course, not alone in his hatred. It's very much in vogue today to despise Israel for doing anything that promotes its continued existence and to overlook any violence against Israel by its neighboring Muslim states. And yet, when we take even a cursory look at Israel's enemies, what we find are a collection of despotic regimes that make every effort to focus their citizens' hatred on Israel. This, of course, is a strategy of distraction. If those in power can convince the people that all their ills originate with Israel and the Jews, the people will be less likely to turn their attention to the despots who rule them. Adolph Hitler was fairly successful doing much the same back in the 1930s.

When it comes to Israel, though, one often hears that, as a nation, it should never have been brought into being, that the Jews were latecomers who evicted the land's rightful inhabitants, the Palestinians. I've expended a lot of energy arguing against this, but when someone is motivated by an irrational hatred, no argument will move him. And then, the other day, I came across an article written by Dennis Prager, an unapologetic supporter of Israel. The article compares the creation of two nations -- Israel in 1948 and Pakistan in 1947 -- and asks why the legitimacy of Israel is so often questioned while that of Pakistan is universally accepted. It's an interesting question and the obvious answer is as disturbing as my former colleague's deep-seated hatred. Here's a link to Prager's column: Why is Pakistan More Legitimate than Israel?
Christian Persecution in Pakistan
The United States and Israel have shared a special and close relationship since Israel's founding. Although, like any relationship, it's had its ups and downs, our common dedication to individual freedom and representative, constitutional government have kept the relationship close. Ironically, Muslims in Israel have more political freedom than their co-coreligionists in any other Middle Eastern state, and certainly more than that experienced by Jews and Christians who live in Islamic nations. I would also argue that Israel is really the only nation in the Middle East that reflects the values of Western Civilization. This becomes particularly important as the Christian populations of most Middle Eastern countries decrease, largely as a result of persecution by Islamists. As the radicalization of the Islamic world increases, Israel may well be our only reliable ally in the region.
ISIS Murdering Christians

Our president, however, seems to be more willing to appease our sworn enemies than to support our beleaguered ally. The recent agreement with the Iranians is an obvious example in that it provides a definite pathway to the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon. It also provides this regime with billions to spend on delivery systems and the support of its puppet terrorist organizations. One can only wonder how the Israelis, along with the other gulf states, will respond to the very real threat posed by a nuclear Iran with lots of cash to spread around among its terrorist friends. I can foresee no possible positive outcome as a result of this agreement.

The president has labeled those who do not support the agreement as "crazies" while his supporters blame the Zionist lobby. I have never thought of myself as a crazy Zionist, but I guess that's what the administration thinks I am...of course I'm joined by a majority of the American public. (See CNN poll.) I also suggest you read this article by Steve Apfel in The American Thinker in which the author exposes the "blame the Zionists for humanity's ills" bogeyman for what it is.

Pray for our nation and its political leadership. And pray for the Christians of the Middle East. They are a courageous people, unafraid to declare their faith in the presence of murderous hatred. Could we do the same?
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death..." [Rev 12:10-11]

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