Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some Thoughts on Israel and Lebanon

I am back from a long hiatus from blogging, but should be back and regular now.

As you guys know, I post about what I am reading and learning, and seldom post about topics on which I am an expert. Today is no different. There has been recent turmoil in the Middle East (what's new?) and this time it involves Israel, a longtime US ally and a nation many Evangelicals think the US has a duty to support, invading Lebanon, a country pretty much in shambles, because of the kidnapping of some Israeli soldiers.

At this time, I invite you to read the article I read on this. It isn't too long and it is a good synopsis of what is going on as well as an honest opinion of the situation. The article is here and comes from the e-magazine that is highly recommended by Donald Miller called the Burnside Collective. I, too, recommend the site and the article. Here are some quotes from the article before I make some comments.

There are many reasons why I find the particular kind of support that America gives to Israel disturbing; I will discuss two. First, on a yearly basis billions of American taxpayers' of dollars are going to buy weapons that are used to terrorize a refugee population (half of whom are children) that is already marginalized and living in extreme poverty. Second, the effect of our attempt to "build democracy" seems to be having the opposite effect - increasing violence and producing more "terrorists" and suicide-bombers. The hatred of America around the world has never been more acute, and I'm no expert, but I don't think this makes us safer.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered -- death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo -- but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

I have never really known what to make of the whole "support Israel/don't support Israel" debate. I mean it is true that they were God's chosen people, but is that still true? I mean, I don't believe that "Replacement Theology" crap about how the Jews are out and the churh is in, because I think Paul makes it clear in Romans that this idea is bogus. But, it is certainly true that it is no longer soley about the Jews and about Israel. Even if it was, supporting terrorism and the slaughtering of children is not a very Christlike mission. I have to say that I agree with Penny in the article; that we have pretty blindly supported and are continuing to support Israel despite their wrong actions.

This is a pretty hot issue, and one that I think many people don't know where they stand. I think it is hard not to condemn these actions if you are a Christian and you take an honest look at the situation. As Penny mentioned, Lebanon certainly started the war, but that does not justify a terrorist regime as an answer.

Please converse with me about this topic. I am still processing and searching for truth myself. Thanks for your time.


Nick K said...

The actions of Israel's government have been extreme, bloodthirsty, and repressive on a daily basis for at least the last 30 years. Anyone who objects to their policies is dismissed as an Anti-Semite.
Should we be supporting Gods "Chosen People"?? Of course - but we should also be supporting everyone else, and be careful not to pick sides unless we really have to.
But supporting the Jewish culture and religion DOESN'T mean supporting what is, at best, an act of genocide, at worst, condemning them to misery and bad health for generations. We must always seperate a government from its people before commenting on a nation. (After all - look at the U.S. - a majority of good people with a corrupt and oppresive government also commiting genocide).

Nick said...

You make an interesting point, Nick, about seperating a government from its people. this is certainly true. Lebanon is a good example, because if we were to judge them by a small group, like the Hezbolla, it would be very non-spicific to the whole. We certainly judge a group, Muslims, for instance, by the most radical and newsworthy, which are the worst ones.

blessedmiriam said...

[I feel very passionately about this topic. My comment will expose the fact that I am more sympathetic towards Palestine than Israel. Will knowing that I love Muslims (who are our spiritual cousins) and desire to see reconciliation come to Islamic/Christian relations, help you (anyone reading) can better understand my bias?]

First of all, Lebanon DID NOT start this war. Radical members of Hezbollah (a pro-Palestinian militant group partially residing within Lebanon's borders) kidnapped TWO Israeli soldiers and shot at an Israeli ship. As a result, Israel systematically and (in)discriminately bombed "the tar out of" Lebanon. To say that Israel responded with "disproportionate force" is a gross understatement. Not only that, but they eventually agreed upon a cease fire, and then THEY turned around and violated the cease fire less than 24 hours later. I personally feel that the Israeli government, which is largely secular by the way, was waiting for an opportunity to "teach Lebanon a lesson" as well as neighboring Syria, and Iran. My heart is saddened and weeps at what is happening in the Middle East.

I pray for the peace of Israel. In order for that to happen, I feel that the international community certainly needs to restrain Israel. The Word, who is Jesus, says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” As believers, our calling is to be peacemakers as we walk and live on this earth. How is this calling lived out/worked out in this conflict? How is it lived out in any conflict? As ministers of the gospel of reconciliation, believers are called to be witnesses in order to reconcile people to God and then people one to another. As believers, how can we be about the work of making peace and bringing reconciliation to the war-torn areas of the world?

Oh, Lord, make us your peacemakers. May we be your hands and your feet in this twisted world. “Jesus, how would you have us respond?”

Nick said...

Thanks again for the comment. I didnt think anybody actually read my blog anymore.

This is a hot issue, and I'm glad someone agrees with me the Israel isnt perfect. I agree with your sentiment that we need to continually ask "Lord, what would you have us do?" Thanks Mary.