When, in a few days, on May 15th, Israel celebrates 68 years as a nation state, not all Israelis will share in the joy. Some, Israeli Jews, will have misgivings about the direction Zionism has taken, away from the socialist-utopian ideal of some of the founding fathers. Others at how distant Zionism is from the cultural or religious Judaism they were taught. Others again, Arab Israelis; Muslim, Christian, secular; will have mixed feelings: glad they live in a liberal western style state, but as 2nd class. Christian or Muslim Arabs as citizens in a ‘Jewish state’ is simply a contradiction. Nor are they allowed to celebrate their own history.
In the illegally occupied territories and externally controlled Gaza there will be no celebration, except in the West Bank in the doubly illegal Zionist-Jewish settlements.
But Palestinians don’t have to wait till 15th May for ‘Remembrance’, for Plan Dalet, their ‘nemesis/Nakba’ had already begun. More than a month earlier, on 9th April troops of the terrorist gangs Stern and Irgun massacred the population of Deir Yassin. Small wonder the villagers of Qalunya, Saris, Beit Suril Biddu fled their homes in fear. Deir Yassin may be the best known but the massacres and expulsions continued into 1949. Weren’t the Arabs equally guilty? Guilty, yes; equally is too harsh a judgement, they were, after all, defending their homeland from invasion. The ‘iron wall’ philosophy continues to this day.
For some British and American Christians the events of 1947-49 (and of 1967 and to the present) are justified very simply as ‘God’s plan for God’s people’. It is impossible for this evangelical Christian to see anything just, anything righteous, anything holy, anything remotely Godly in the rape of women, the destruction of children and the exile of the weak and the old. It is no argument to claim that God willed the event but not the means. Scripturally, it is precisely the means that demonstrates the will. For those who will see it that’s the testimony of the crucifixion.
15th May should be no celebration but a day for reflection on the lost moral compass of parts of Judaism and parts of Christianity. For God’s purpose in Israel in both Old and New Covenants is not a pseudo-ethnic nationalism, not imperialist colonialism, nor religious totalitarianism. Rather it is a kingdom whose Authority is Love and whose Administration is Grace.
Israel, the modern nation state, is one among many attempts of evil to co-opt God into its selfish and self-deluded programme, (IS is another, as were the ‘Christian’ crusades). Sad that so many Christians (and some Jews) have bought the lie. It must surely be evident that you cannot have Zionism as a political ideology, which it was and is, without what Zionism does. The effect of Zionism is the other side of the ideological coin, you cannot have one without the other. But it is debased coinage, fools gold, spiritual, cultural, religious and moral bankruptcy.
Nothing to celebrate – much to mourn – for all the peoples of the region —- and ourselves