Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Sderot

Photo: picture alliance

The Jews are God’s chosen people. Israel is their prophesied homeland. Those who fight against Israel are fighting against God.


               That’s what I believe, and that’s what America believed as the nation of Israel was formed in the Middle East after World War II. Early Israeli heroes were American heroes – Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, David Ben-Gurion – and the people of the United States prayed for Israel, donated to Israel, and voted for Israel.


               There were community drives to plant trees in the Holy Land, people sent clothes and farm implements to kibbutzim, and fundraisers were held to help Jews in the diaspora migrate to Israel.


               Because we believed in Israel.


               And because we believed that the Jews had been horrifically wronged and that justice demanded they be given a haven, someplace on the face of the earth which they could call home, and where they could be safe.


               The Holocaust was not history then, it was contemporary, and the decimated Jewry of Europe, where all had been displaced and most had been interred, needed a place to live. In part because the people conquered by Nazi Germany had usually been all too glad to turn in their Jewish neighbors and pillage their abandoned properties.


               Hitler wasn’t the only one who hated the Jews.


               And hatred wasn’t the only sin. There was also the shame of looking the other way. The Catholic Church had been concerned with the preservation of its own property and power, and had done almost nothing to protect the Jews in its midst. And though the American Congress voted for generous immigration quotas for European Jews, the Franklin Roosevelt administration left those quotas 90 percent unfilled. Americans and Soviets liberated the death camps, but almost always incidentally, on the way to another objective.


               And so as the war ended and international politics caught up with biblical prophecy. The dissolution of the British empire, European desires to get rid of the remaining Jews, and pressure from the United States led to an agreement in the United Nations to the creation of a Jewish homeland, a sovereign nation named Israel, to be situated on lands where the Israelites had lived for something on the order of 4,000 years, lands where the Bible said one day they would make their eternal home.


               That’s what Americans believed then.


               But politics seem to be our national religion now, and Israel and Israel’s God have drifted from their place of importance in the American heart. The rise of progressivism has flipped the narrative, identifying Israeli Jews with white colonizers displacing indigenous Palestinians, much as the newly hated founders of a repudiated America conquered and vanquished Native Americans. Liberal members of the Democratic Party have identified with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and chided Israel, with the chant “From the river to the sea” becoming part of the progressive lexicon.


               And the government of the United States, under the administrations of Joe Biden and Barack Obama, has funneled billions of dollars to Iran, a direct funder of racist, anti-Israel terrorist groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah. And so it was that Saturday morning in a surprise attack planned by Iran, more Israelis were killed than American soldiers died in any single year of the war in Afghanistan.


               A music festival was targeted, and hundreds died there. Thousands of rockets, murderers on motorcycles, and machine guns mounted in pick-up trucks, not attacking the Israeli military, but killing civilians, kidnapping hundreds, women and children battered, bleeding, and dragged off by the hair.


               The intelligence services of the West were caught flat-footed. The CIA knew nothing, the Mossad knew nothing, the MI6 knew nothing. And the Palestinian terrorists – in civilian clothes to blend in – cut through southern Israel like a hot knife through butter.


               And that’s where we are.


               The first punch has been thrown from Gaza, attacking Israel from the south. Another punch is likely from Hezbollah, besieging Israel from the north. And across the Muslim world there is cheering in the streets.


               Because, though the furnaces of Auschwitz have gone cold, the hatred of Jews in the hearts of evil people burns white hot, as malicious and insatiable as it has ever been.


               But while the flame of that hatred lights the Muslim world, it burns less conspicuously in most societies around the globe, posing as politics, culture, or policy differences. Anti-Semitism knows how to dress for polite company.


               And so as the Israelis fight for their lives, the world has to decide where it stands. With those who attack or those who defend. With people who hold elections or people who hold swords. Lovers of freedom or lovers of butchery.


               With God’s chosen people, or against them.

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