Mar 19, 2017

Same Old, Same Old

News came this week that U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt would travel to Israel to meet with Israeli officials. It is supposed to represent the friendliest air both sides have breathed together in a decade.

With Donald Trump now in the White House, and many Israel-sympathetic aids like Jared Kushner (the President’s son-in-law), pro Israel folks are giddy at the prospect of what two pro Israel governments can accomplish when they put their minds to it.

But, not so fast.

A bill has been introduced in the Knesset that would allow the Jewish state to annex a “controversial” “settlement,” Ma’ale Adumim, which is located just east of Jerusalem. The community (which is gorgeous, by the way) is controversial in part because it would cut off Arab communities from Jerusalem in the event a Palestinian state is ever birthed.

According to a report in the Times of Israel:

“A vote on a contentious bill annexing a large West Bank settlement was delayed at the last minute Tuesday, as the Jewish Home party agreed to push off the move to avoid friction with the Trump administration.

“The vote on annexing the Ma’ale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem will now take place Sunday, possibly avoiding clashing with a visit by US official Jason Greenblatt, dispatched to the region this week to help formulate Washington’s policy on settlements and possibly look to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”

As it has for decades, Israel must defer to the international community and the insane and evil land-for-peace deal.

If Israel’s own government cannot conduct business because it’s feared that a U.S. friend would be offended or politically “embarrassed,” how does anyone think Trump’s campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will come through?

Since the American billionaire improbably won the election against the Establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, pro Israel supporters have salivated at the prospect that the long-awaited embassy move would take place.

But Greenblatt can’t be embarrassed.

The request for the delay came after a meeting between Greenblatt and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Diplomats and politicians are concerned (of course they are) that annexing the 40,000 population will cut off the southern and northern parts of Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank as it’s known these days.

What seems clear is that the failed Oslo process is going to be with us until Jesus comes back, and I’m only half-facetious.

I don’t believe for a minute that the aids around Trump, such as senior advisor Steve Bannon, are anti-Semitic, as has been reported by the left-wing Press.

But I do believe that most if not all of the Trump Team is mainstream political, which means that the “Palestinian-Israeli negotiations” for “peace” still resonates. It makes sense to politicians.

After all, we can’t expect them to embrace a Bible most have never opened or been introduced to. This is still Washington, after all.

And not to sound depressing, but those who thought Trump might radically redraw the American political landscape might end up being disappointed. Can Obamacare be repealed? Will Trump get a handle on the fiendish press? Will Establishment operatives like John McCain be neutralized politically?

No one knows yet how all this will play out.

When it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, we do know already that humanistic peace schemes are still the order of the day.

At least Mr. Greenblatt was spared the unthinkable: Israel seeing to its own dignity.


Mar 12, 2017

Jesus Was A…Refugee?

We’ve been discussing Replacement Theology of late, and it comes in many forms. It also almost always comes with a denial by a person who actually holds to Replacement Theology.

As Andy Stanley likes to say often, and I’m paraphrasing, PR is all-important in church life today. One wants to project a positive image, and things like the dislike of Jews is…problematic.

It’s one thing for a stodgy Presbyterian (I’m not picking on Presbyterians; Pentecostals and Baptists can be stodgy, too) to pitch a tent in the Replacement Theology camp. It’s another thing for Progressives to do it. They are connecting with a different audience: Millennials.

This week, writer Jonathan Merritt “liked” a tweet by Evangelical/Leftist/Progressive/Hippie/Radical/Activist Shane Claiborne, in which Claiborne alleges that Jesus Christ was a refugee. Claiborne is a founder of The Simple Way, a community of activists who feed the hungry, renovate houses, and the like. Merritt is a senior columnist for Religion News Service, contributing writer for The Atlantic, and contributing editor for The Week.

Those are high-profile platforms for a boy from Atlanta (now living in New York City), whose father happens to be former Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt. Merritt the Younger is part of SBC royalty, and that proves useful for a fellow who is leftwing but wants evangelicals to think he’s one of them. He’s a leading change-agent within the American Church.

He and his friend Shane Claiborne teach Millennials that Jesus was a refugee!

In Claiborne’s tweet, which I consider to be fiendish, he posts a cartoon of what appears to be Mary and Joseph in a life raft, approaching a beach patrolled by an Israeli soldier. Just behind the soldier is a barbed wire fence. The sun in the sky appears to be shaped like a Star of David. The IDF soldier stops the little family, stating, “Sorry. There’s no room.”

As in, the inn. You know, the one the parents of Jesus tried to find for his birth. Just as the biblical family was turned away in Bethlehem, so too are oppressed Palestinians turned away from entering “their territory” via checkpoints (which the IDF sets up to prevent terrorism).

As with most progressives, Claiborne’s winsome personality belies a nasty undercurrent of contempt for conservatives and those who identify as Bible-believing Christians. Merritt projects a similar persona, but he also has little patience with his ideological opponents. To like such an anti-Semitic tweet is very telling.

The “Jesus was a refugee” canard is classic PLO propaganda and anti-Semitism. It’s the kind of stuff the late serial killer, Yasser Arafat, used to peddle to willing dupes and useful idiots he cultivated within the Christian mainline in America. These days, that same hateful ideology is pumped into the bloodstream of America’s youth.

Typically, pro Palestinian activists like Claiborne portray Israelis as Nazi-like oppressors of the downtrodden Palestinians. They lift Jewish history from the pages of the Bible and give it a modern, twisted slant.

For example, it is true that Jesus lived for a time in Egypt with his parents. However, they were all Jews living in Judea, then under Roman occupation. Today, Israel-haters flip this and make the Israelis the occupiers and the Palestinians the oppressed “Jews” of today.

It’s all a toxic stew of political and religious claptrap, designed to turn more Millennials against the Jewish state.

It works.

Given the nation’s biblical illiteracy, coupled with Millennials’ general gullibility—we were all once young and naïve—progressives like Claiborne are free to roam around presenting false history and get away with it. In this case of historical revisionism, the victim is the democratic state of Israel, a champion of women’s and minority rights, among other things.

You’d think Claiborne and Merritt would write about that. But then, one can’t raise the ire of one’s Muslim buddies and overlords.

There’s much more to this issue, but just know for now that young activists like Merritt and Claiborne are working overtime to overturn evangelical support for Israel. It’s one of their pet projects.

In early February, Merritt tweeted, “This may be the first ‘good’ surprise from this administration. (If true.)”

He then links to an article by Michael Wilner, the Jerusalem Post’s Washington bureau chief: “Exclusive: Donald Trump supports a two-state solution and is warning #Israel to cease settlement announcements.”

First, the contempt Merritt, Claiborne (and perhaps, Wilner?) & Friends have for the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is palpable. They thirst for a Palestinian state, and whether they recognize or realize the Palestinians intend to use it as a terror launching pad against Israel for a final assault is not known. Perhaps they are naïve. It would be preferable to the alternative.

Second, no one knows what Trump is telling the Israelis behind closed doors and certainly no one knows if he is “warning” them (cue the horror movie music). In fact, in a joint press conference recently with Netanyahu, Trump skillfully said that he supports whatever kind of state Netanyahu wants.

Doesn’t really sound like warning and doom and brimstone to me.

But progressives like Claiborne and Merritt need their government to put the screws to Israel. Their ideology demands it.

It’s only slightly ironic that Merritt grew up in the SBC, which used to tend toward support for Israel. The denomination’s leadership now is making troubling noise that this won’t always be the case.

Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and was mentored by the equally winsome Tony Campolo, who uses his engaging personality to mask his own contempt for conservatives. He is a long-time Palestinian activist. Claiborne also studied at Wheaton, home to anti-Israel professor Gary Burge, and he served an internship at Willow Creek Community Church, founded by Palestinian activists Bill and Lynne Hybels.

It’s all a neat, well-funded network of radical progressive change agents who loathe Donald Trump, Netanyahu, and us knuckle-draggers who hold on to our guns and Bibles.

I encourage you especially to read Jonathan Merritt’s blogs online. Notice the phrasing, the manipulation of issues to promote a progressive agenda. The smiling face masks a menacing view of conservatives and, in this case, Israel.

Jesus wasn’t a refugee. He was, is, and will always be a Jew from Judea, the Son of the Living God, who loves His people.

Not everyone loves them.