It seems that in the last few days and weeks the subject of anti-semitism has been coming up again and again on the web, and worse -- hate crimes aimed at Jews have been occurring and recurring right here in Canada. Most recently, the library at a Jewish public school in Montreal -- a public school, for heaven's sakes -- was firebombed, and a note left at the scene indicated that it was an act of revenge against the Israeli government and that this was "just the beginning" of what the perpetrators intended to do.
It's bad enough that buses and cafes full of innocent Israeli civilians are being blown up by terrorist organizations like Hamas in the so-called "fight for freedom", but the deliberate and persistent targeting of children, in a country half a world away, just because they are Jews? It makes me want to vomit.
To be sure, I do not support or endorse every action taken by the Israeli government in relation to the Palestinian issue. I know full well that atrocities have been committed and injustice perpetrated on both sides. Innocent people have suffered and died as a result of clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian "freedom fighters". And there are surely many people on both sides who only wish to live in peace, and deplore all forms of violence. Nevertheless, I'd like to point out a few things which ought to make people a little less inclined to dismiss the current conflict as an obvious case of injustice and racist oppression of the Palestinians by Israel:
a) there are a great many Israeli Arabs who have full rights as citizens and live alongside their Jewish neighbours;
b) Israel offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of Gaza, but the proposal (like so many others) was rejected by the Palestinian government, who continue to take a rigid "all or nothing" stance;
c) the Israeli Defense Force works daily on behalf of Palestinians to coordinate and facilitate their medical care and ensure that they receive ambulance services -- including transfer to hospitals in Israel if necessary -- as well as allowing and facilitating the passage of humanitarian goods and workers into Palestinian areas;
d) while the checkpoints may move slowly and pose an inconvenience to innocent Palestinians, they are essential to preventing more acts of violence and terror aimed at Israeli civilians. Complaints have been made that Palestinian women are being harassed by being subjected to searches, but border policemen at a checkpoint north of Israel found a pistol, two ammunition clips, and a knife hidden in a Palestinian woman's baby carriage -- obviously it isn't safe to exempt anyone from suspicion.
Israel is a tiny postage-stamp of a country surrounded by a sea of powerful, well-populated Arab countries. It was in fact the leaders of those Arab countries who created the Palestinian crisis in the first place back in 1948, by telling the Arabs then living in Israel to evacuate their homes so that they could "push all the Jews into the sea" -- an objective their armies failed to accomplish, leaving large numbers of Palestinians dispossessed (though the Palestinian Arabs who had not obeyed the evacuation order and remained in Israel were granted citizenship). Furthermore, most of the area which had been set aside for the Palestinian homeland was taken over by the nations of Jordan and Egypt, who themselves built refugee camps to contain the Palestinian refugees and encourage resentment and unrest among them.
Israel was meant to be a refuge for the Jews after the devastation of the Holocaust; instead she has had to continually struggle for her existence in the face of persistent attempts by her enemies to wipe her off the map -- as many speeches by Palestinian and other Arab leaders (including Nobel peace prize winner Yasser Arafat) have repeatedly made plain, nothing less than the total elimination of Israel will suffice. As Abba Eban once remarked, "The Arab nations have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity" when it came to making peace with Israel -- why should they agree to exchange land for peace, or recognize Israel's right to exist, when her very presence in the Middle East is an affront to them?
As I said before, I am not denying that injustices have been perpetrated and wrong decisions made by the Israeli government in their dealings with the Palestinians, or with the Arab nations around them. But nevertheless, I believe that the nation of Israel has a right to exist. I believe that Israeli citizens need to be protected by a strong military, because no one else in the Middle East has the slightest interest in stopping the acts of terrorism being regularly committed against them. I believe that when the Palestinian government itself refuses to show good faith by arresting known terrorist leaders who encourage their followers to perpetrate suicide bombings, they should not be surprised or outraged when the Israeli army moves in to do the job for them.
I am a gentile and a Christian, and have no Jewish ancestry whatsoever (that I'm aware of, anyway). But I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and look forward to the fulfillment of God's ancient promises to bless Israel and establish her in her own land.
Yes, I am a Zionist. And I am not ashamed.