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The Bible in the News
Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism
Israel Apartheid Weeks and the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign Against Israel.
Saturday, April 06, 2013  Audio & Print versions

The federation of students at York University in Toronto, Canada passed a resolution this week endorsing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This is really a symbolic move and the university has no plans to proceed in the same direction. However, York is Canada's third largest university and a well known site of "Israel Apartheid Week", which has produced tension and intimidation of Jewish students on campus. The apartheid week took place in March this year.
In the book, "The anatomy of Israel's survival", by Hirsh Goodman, he writes on page 145:

"De-legitimization is the new tool the Palestinians and their supporters have found to hurt Israel. The Internet has made it easier, while the UN has given legitimacy to even the most outrageous claims against the country. On campuses around the world, efficient provocateurs have managed to make it difficult for Israelis to express themselves openly. Shimon Peres, the country's president who more than anyone else symbolizes Israel's desire for peace, was booed and heckled at the usually civilized Oxford University in 2008, an unprecedented occurrence in that forum."

On page 140 Hirsh Goodman notes that the debate has shifted from the occupied territories to the very right of Israel as a nation to exist at all:

"It is not exactly clear when criticism of the country stopped being about its policies in the occupied territories and started being about Israel's legitimacy, its right to exist among the family of nations."

Antisemitism continues to raise its ugly head worldwide and has become worse over the last decade. The big question is when does criticism of the state of Israel become antisemitism?

The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews. So if a person or group criticizes or condemns Israel based on their hatred of Jews rather than facts, that would be antisemitism. Antisemitism is not based on facts but on prejudice of Jews. Every government makes mistakes, has failures or performs nefarious actions - Israel's included. So legitimate criticism of the state of Israel may be warranted. If however, the criticism contains unwarranted slander or myths, based on ancient libels against the Jewish people, it would be antisemitic. For example, cartoons with stereotypical images of Jews or cartoons with shades of libels against the Jews would most likely be motivated by antisemitism. When criticism of the state of Israel descends to calls to "kill the Jews" or to "wipe the state of Israel" off the map, one can be sure antisemitism is the motive. Comparisons of Jews in the state of Israel or the state itself, to Nazis or the Nazi regime would be antisemitic, because it is such an absurd comparison, which is completely irrational, that it must have another basis besides facts. The accuser may carry some ties or sympathy with the Nazis and may be trying to state that in some way the Nazis weren't so bad after all.

The idea that Israel is an apartheid state in itself is irrational. When this idea is combined with comparisons to Nazis or with antisemitic imagery, it is almost certainly based on antisemitism. In reality Israel is the state which is the furthest from being apartheid in the Middle East. For example, the Kingdom of Jordan is ruled by a Hashemite monarchy, based on a Hashemite minority of the largely Palestinian population. Syria is ruled by the Alawite Assad family, again the Alawites are a minority 12% of the population. All these Middle Eastern countries don't have the freedoms, rights and democracy that Israel has. Hirsh Goodman on page 43 of "The anatomy of Israel's survival", cites poll results that have been conducted regarding Israel's Arab population, with quite astounding results.

"Still, the Israeli Arabs have not come out too badly. In every poll conducted, when asked whether, as Israeli Arabs, they would rather live in Palestine than Israel, over 85 percent opt for the Jewish state."

It is true that Arabs in the West Bank don't have the same rights and freedoms as Israeli Arabs or Jews. Yet they do for the most part have autonomy in the areas in which they live. Israel has never annexed these areas and made them a defacto part of the state, the correct term for these areas would be disputed territories. Until the questions of who will have sovereignty over them are settled, it would be absurd for Israel to grant all the residents voting rights and all the other benefits of citizenship. So long as most of the terrorism emanates from the areas it would be even more absurd for Israel to grant the residents freedom of movement throughout the country. The wall which was constructed around the West Bank area in the Sharon area in an attempt to stop terrorism has been labeled the "apartheid wall" and has been made a symbol of oppression. Most people don't realize that the wall is a very small segment of what is really a large border fence and the wall was only constructed where there had been sniper attacks on civilians. In reality Jews and Arabs live on both sides of the wall and fence. The accusation that Israel is apartheid is simple preposterous.

The idea that Israel would be the subject of baseless hatred in the last days is contained in the Bible. In Joel 3 the prophet says: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”

The prophet Micah speaking of the same gathering of nations says:

“Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.” (Micah 4:11)

The nations are gathered against Zion to defile her. The idea is to take something that is Holy and mar it - make it filthy. Defiling Zion is to destroy her claims to being God’s chosen nation. One way is to murder the Jews and expel them from the land that God has brought them back to.

The gathering of the nations to defile Zion will be a holy war. It will be a Christian crusade against the Jewish development in the holy land. The prophet Joel continues in chapter 3 verse 9:
“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.”

The verb here for “prepare” is the imperative of the verb 'to be holy'. The idea is to sanctify war. The nations will sanctify war against Israel to defile it. We see the seeds of this all around us in the world, in the media, in antisemitism, in apartheid weeks, in the boycott campaigns - the seeds of Armageddon.

Apartheid is any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc. God's system of truth is in fact a system of separation based on certain criteria. When the kingdom of God is established only certain people will be able to reside in the land of Israel, from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates as promised to Abraham. These people will all be of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12), and will consist of those that have been called out of the Gentiles as a people for his name (Acts 15:14), and the Jewish nation cleansed by the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33). All others will "have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 2:20).

Return next week God willing as we examine another aspect of the Bible in the News, here at This has been David Billington with you.

Printed:  Saturday, April 06, 2013


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