One of my dearest friends was born in a kibbutz two miles from Gaza. His village was able to evacuate when Hamas launched its murderous assault last Saturday. However, a neighboring kibbutz called Kfar Aza was targeted by the terrorists.
Yesterday, my friend forwarded to me a survivor’s description of what happened:
A thriving community of one thousand people, men and women, was brutally crushed within forty-eight hours. Whole families, parents, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers were murdered in cold blood. Their houses were turned into piles of earth and ashes, and their lives as they knew them—destroyed. They lost their homes, their livelihoods, and all their property. They lost neighbors, both relatives and beloved friends, in one of the greatest terrorist attacks in history. Those saved from the slaughter were trapped for two days under fire until they were rescued with only the clothes on their backs.
An Associated Press reporter quotes an Israeli army general who stood amid the wreckage of the village: “You see the babies, the mothers, the fathers in their bedrooms and how the terrorists killed. It’s not a battlefield. It’s a massacre.”
Harvard students blame Israel
The Israeli death toll has passed 1,100 at this writing. President Biden confirmed yesterday in his address to the nation that fourteen US citizens were killed in the conflict and that Americans are known to be among the hostages held by Hamas.
And yet . . .
- A coalition of thirty-four Harvard University student organizations signed a statement that they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” and added that “the apartheid regime is the only one to blame.” A Columbia University student group also celebrated Hamas’s “historic” massacre of Israeli civilians.
- A pro-Hamas rally held Sunday in Manhattan’s Times Square praised the slaughter of Israeli civilians.
- Demonstrators in London launched fireworks in the direction of the Israeli embassy and British student groups praised the attacks as mobs around the UK cheered One demonstrator called the attacks “beautiful and inspiring.”
- Crowds in Germany celebrated the terrorist raids.
- The United Nations Human Rights Council held a moment of silence for the “loss of innocent lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere,” nowhere mentioning the Israeli victims who were slaughtered.
- Horrifically, a group gathered in Sydney, Australia, to celebrate the attacks chanted, “Gas the Jews.”
From Egypt’s genocide in the time of Moses to the devastation by ancient Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, to Hitler’s “Final Solution” and its slaughter of six million Jews, the scourge of antisemitism has persisted for millennia.
Why do so many people hate the Jews today?
“Bad ideas have victims”
With regard to Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel, three explanations are relevant.
First, as I explained in my book, Radical Islam: What You Need to Know and in my latest website paper, Hamas and their fellow jihadists would answer by claiming that the State of Israel stole its land from the rightful Palestinian owners and that its citizens are complicit in this “theft” by participating in their democracy. They believe they are required by the Qur’an (2:190, 192) to defend Islam by attacking Israelis and destroying Israel. Many have become convinced that Jews are in fact hostis humani generis, the enemies of mankind itself.
Second, those influenced by Critical Theory (which includes the Harvard and Columbia students and many of the West’s intellectual, academic, and cultural elites) would answer that Israel is a majority oppressor of the Palestinian persecuted minority. They claim that the only answer is for the oppressed to reverse the equation by oppressing their oppressor.
Third, many of Iran’s leaders believe the existence of Israel constitutes the “greatest barrier” to the reappearance of the Mahdi (a messiah-like figure). They therefore seek the eradication of the Jewish nation to hasten his arrival.
These are three tragic examples of a statement by my friend John Stonestreet that I quote often: “Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims.” In this case, the victim is Israel.
“There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness”
In this battle for the future of Israel, we are called by Scripture to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) and to “seek [her] good” (v. 9).
This means that we repudiate the sin of antisemitism, a plague that is rising in the US and Europe today. It means that we pray for Israel’s leaders and people to be safe from their enemies and resolute in defending their country. It means that we seek practical ways to support those in Israel and around the world devastated by these atrocities, knowing that our God “comforts the downcast” (2 Corinthians 7:6) and calls us to do the same (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).
And it means that we do all we can to lead everyone we can to the only One who can truly heal our broken world.
When Christ is our Lord, we serve only one master. We serve him and not ourselves, whatever the cost to ourselves. We serve him by serving others whether they serve us or not. And we serve out of love for the One who first loved us (1 John 4:19).
John Piper was right: “Faith in Jesus Christ frees you from the slavery of sin for the sacrifices of love.”
How strong is your “faith in Jesus Christ” today?
NOTE: Can God still do today what he did in the first-century church? If we know that he can, then why aren’t most of us experiencing his power in our churches and in our personal lives? In my latest book release, Bold Faith: First-Century Lessons for Twenty-First-Century Christians, I answer that question through a cultural commentary of the book of Acts. I encourage you to request your copy today.