Joe Klein is a Jewish, American, political journalist who has his own column in Time magazine. I like to read him. His column in Time magazine, March 30, 2015, is entitled “Disgrace in Victory.” It is about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu winning the Israel election last week in a disgraceful manner. I blogged about it last week.
I didn’t mention in the blog post that Netanyahu used a scare tactic by saying Israeli Arabs were voting in droves like never before. Well, they had always dismissed Israel’s elections as a support for the status quo of no Palestinian state. Then in the closing weeks of the election, Palestinian Knesset lawmakers united their small political parties to form Joint List that place third in the election.
So, Klein and I agree that Netanyahu stooped to dirty politics in the closing moments of his political campaign by saying there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, thus overthrowing his speech in 2009 when he first embraced the two-state solution concept. Before that, he had always been opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. He played the trump card at the last moment–hate Palestinians and deny them their own state.
Why did Netanyahu do that? A reliable poll published only four days before the election had Netanyahu and his conservative Likud Party losing the election to Isaac Herzog and his Zionist Union Party (formerly Labor Party). Klein says of Netanyahu that even before he made those remarks in the closing moments of the campaign, “about 200 former Israeli military and intelligence leaders publicly opposed his dangeroulsy bellicose foreign policy. He won because he ran as a bigot. This is a sad reality: a great many Jews have come to regard Arabs as the rest of the world traditionally regarded Jews.” Klein adds that despite atrocities directed against Israeli Jews by Palestinian groups like Hamas, “plus loathsome genocidal statements from the Iranians and others…. there has been a tragic sense of superiority and destiny on the Israeli side as well.” It is that far-right element in the Israeli electorate that Netanyahu appealed to with his alaraming remarks in order to pull out a surpise victory.
This feeling of Jewish superiority has been encouraged to a large extent by much of my Evangelical community. This is an embarrassment to me. Christians should love Jews and support the existence of the State of Israel. But Christians should also love all people and therefore love Palestinians and support the concept of a Palestinian state. If Jews are entitled to their own state, then Palestinians are entitled to their own state as well. There are just as many Israeli Jews in the world as there are Palestinians.
Some say, “but give Palestinians their own state and they will still call for the extinction of the State of Israel.” I don’t believe that. You can’t blame Palestinians for being angry that Jews took their land away from them–primarily the West Bank–and that they want their own state. Create a Palestinian state that is acceptable to most Palestinians and most of the hatred will become a thing of the past. However, I’m not predicting that there will thereafter always be peace between Israel and Palestine. Jesus said, “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars;… nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” until his kingdom comes (Matt 24.6-7). He meant war is just a reality of life in this fallen world. But until the end, humans should work for peace between nations as much as possible, just as we try to live in peace with our next-door neightbors. For Jesus also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” in kingdom come (Matt 5.9).
I tell about this in my book, Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia (1990). Menachem Begin was Israel’s Prime Minister from 1977 to 1983. I quote him from his autobiography. He had been the head of the Jewish terrorist organization Irgun before and during Israel’s war of independence. He says the terrorism that Irgun foisted upon Arabs, later called Palestinians, was absolutely necessary for the creation of the State of Israel. Compare that with what Hamas says in its Charter–same thing.
God says repeatedly in the Bible that even though he has a unique covenant with Jews in general, he himself is not a respecter of persons and that we humans should be the same way. People should be assessed by how they live their lives, not whether they are black or white, Russian or American, Jew or Gentile, Arab or Israeli Jew, or whatever. That’s how God is. Guess what–we’ll see it in action right after the end of days at the Judgment.
Right after the election, Netanyahu started backpeddling. He said he wasn’t entirely against the creation of a Palestinian state but that circumstances need to change for the two-state solution to remain alive. Yeah, but he is contributing immensely to its demise. And U.S. President Barak Obama’s stance on this subject merely reflects how most people in the world feel about this Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Klein says peace between Jews and Arabs “seems impossible now. For the sake of his own future, Benjamin Netanyahu has made dreadful Jewish history: he is the man who made anti-Arab bigotry an overt factor in Israeli political life. This is beyond tragic. It is shameful and embarrassing.”