Israel's Self-Defense, Borders, and Statehood

From the Jesus Creed: this link.

And video:

And quote from Scot McKnight:

“Andrew, though I disagree completely, for many defending Israel is close to the heart of evangelicalism.”

On this issue, I have a large amount of conflict. On the one hand, as a post-colonial theologian, I recognize the rights of all persons to self-determine what communities they belong, i.e., create nation-states, congregations, freedom of assembly/expression, yada yada. As a pacifist, I abhor most forms, okay, okay, all forms of nationalism, even if it is of yet-to-be country variety (like Palestine). I fully affirm a two state solution and the current borders as they stand. I know it is of no controversy to defend Israel’s right to defend itself, I mean, that’s the evangelical Christian line. I think Israel is best served defending itself (i.e., its reputation as a democracy) by becoming a decolonizing force in the world, as a republic–and respecting human rights. Maybe the United States, that shining light on a hill, could better persuade such action by dismantling its world-wide military installments. I stand by my post, 100% on Sunday; people should stop pretending they are pacifists (and condemning Israel for being violent) but defending President Obama’s war-mongering.

It is sickening and hypocritical.

Nonviolence is a matter of believing in the sanctity of life (another heart of evangelicalism)- you are either for us or against us. No middle ground.

0 thoughts on “Israel's Self-Defense, Borders, and Statehood

  1. Tusk

    “I fully affirm a two state solution and the current borders as they stand. I know it is of no controversy to defend Israel’s right to defend itself”

    I have one question and one comment on this statement.

    Firstly, Why do you affirm a two-state solution? Personally, I do not. I think that a one-state solution is the only option if democracy is to prevail. I feel that a two-state solution is not tenable (and counter-productive), but this is mostly because of my comment on your statement to follow…

    The issue at hand has nothing to do with Israel defending itself, I think. This is not even solely an evangelical line. No country should be denied the right to defend itself. The issue has more to deal with the notion of Israel being a purely “Jewish State,” which it demonstrably is not, yet it consistently commits war crimes to try and prove this false. This kind of delves into the lines of Zionism, which is admittedly separate (and also abhorrent) from Israeli [Not read Jewish] independence. The fact remains,…Jews are not the only people who live in Israel. Jews have never been the only people who lived in the region. There are Muslims, Christians, atheists, Jewish-born atheist, (perhaps even Hindus and Buddists for all we know) also living there. I can understand that Israel’s establishment in the late 1940s is thought to be the hearkening of some ancient written prophecy, but I’m sure you can understand that it was not. A democracy cannot possibly be considered serious so long as disagreeing with the majority is persecuted.

    ” I think Israel is best served defending itself (i.e., its reputation as a democracy) by becoming a decolonizing force in the world, as a republic–and respecting human rights.”

    Forgive me, but I can’t tell if this final hyphenated statement (respecting human rights) is sarcastic…because Israel has consistently not. I don’t say this to sound anti-Semitic or Pro-Palestinian, because both sides have too much blood on their hands. I’m simply saying that the Jewish-run-government’s track record is not nearly as clean as we might expect “God’s chosen people” to have…or perhaps (considering the OT) it’s exactly as clean. If this was sarcastic, please clarify.

    “Maybe the United States, that shining light on a hill, could better persuade such action by dismantling its world-wide military installments.”

    YES YES YES! Brilliant!

    As for your Sunday post on “Unsettled Christianity,” I read it, and I loved it. But it doesn’t necessarily apply to me, having not supported action in Lybia. An accurate assessment of the hypocrisy at hand though. Bravo.

    I do, however, disagree that nonviolence and the sanctity of life is at the heart of evangelicalism. Even here there is cherry-picking within the establishment.

    Reply
    1. Rod of Alexandria Post author

      Hey Tusk,

      “I do, however, disagree that nonviolence and the sanctity of life is at the heart of evangelicalism. Even here there is cherry-picking within the establishment.”

      What I meant by this comment was more of the latter, the sanctity of lie. Evangelicals are too cozy to war and the death penalty to be dedicated to nonviolence.

      “If this was sarcastic, please clarify.”

      The comment was neither descriptive or sarcastic. What I meant is that one of the best ways that Israel can defend its way of life is to show how different they are from Hamas, perhaps by halting settlements in Palestinian territory and making plans conditionally to tear down their fence/wall (conditionally–on the condition Palestine recognizes Israel’s right to exist).

      Lastly,

      “Firstly, Why do you affirm a two-state solution?”

      The 2 state solution is what the United Nations called for 3 years ago, and basically, that has been due to the Palestinians since 1948. The land of Israel has a complex history, and while conservatives like to talk about some ideal religion, the fact is that the country has been under the feet of different empires for the longest of time. I think that is the true miracle of the creation of Israel, not that it was a Jewish state, but that it was an independent one in the Middle East.

      Reply
  2. Tusk

    1. “Evangelicals are too cozy to war and the DEATH penalty to be dedicated to nonviolence”…and the sanctity of life too, right? How can one be pro-life and pro-death penalty?

    I think I understand what you’re saying, but when I read it, it seems like doublespeak. Sure, I agree that evangelicals are for the sanctity of life before a human is actually alive. But, as you pointed out in your previous comment, they are too cozy with the idea of killing people after they’re grown up.

    2. Thank you for the clarification. I almost completely agree. Probably the only part where I would disagree is with the idea that Palestinians don’t want to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Palestinians only refuse to regocnize Israel’s existence as a purely Jewish state. Which, as I stated earlier, it is not and cannot possibly be if it wishes to exist as a true democracy. Palestinians were not involved in the 6 Day War. They were collateral damage for both sides. And while I admit that their recent alliance with Hamas rubs me the wrong way, I think it seems more like an act of desperation by an oppressed minority. What do you do when you’re being bullied? When your land has been reconstituted consistently for decades? You find bigger stronger friends to stand up for you. Israel has us (albeit inexplicably, in light of recent an not so recent events)…Palestinians might be looking for help of their own.

    3. Forgive me…but so what? It seems you’re saying you affirm the 2-State solution because the UN said so. I hope I’m misunderstanding you. I understand Israel’s history is complex, but that it is an independent nation among a dozen other independent nations even in the same region doesn’t strike me as miraculous.The same miracle might be applied to Azerbaijan or Andora or or South Korea or the Vatican or (Perhaps) Tibet someday.

    Reply
    1. Rod of Alexandria Post author

      response to #2:

      I dont see anyone claiming that Israel is a purely Jewish state. I was under the impression it was secular. In the gaze of evangelicals, Israel is probably a Jewish state but that is because of their theology more than anything.

      response #3: Tusk, originally, I was under the impression when Israel was formed, it was an independent nation among dependent nations, remember the whole Middle east being colonies of Britain, Europe before the 1950s. That is what I was referring to. NOthing more, nothing less. But I just double checked, and actually, when the United Nations charter was made in 1946, it “de-colonized” the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. I was off by two years. Anyways, to develop as it did says a lot. And I would say that de-colonization today may mean something different, other than just countries leaving (which should happen militarily by all nations) but also escaping other powers such as transnational corporations, but that is for another day. Yes these nations are independent, but are they “developed” (i hate that word btw)? That is the question.

      And Yes I favor the 2 states because I do believe in much of the work of the United Nations. I think the stipulation should be 2 (secular) states.

      Reply

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