- Jim Fletcher
“A Burdensome Stone”
There is a tightening of pressure on Israel.
We all know this. Sadly, some of the worst offenders come from within the
Several years ago, I corresponded with a journalist from a
mainline denomination. She had written that she was a member of a delegation
that met with then-Palestinian warlord Yasser Arafat, in Washington.
During the meeting, the master terrorist lamented that Israel
restricted worship at holy places.
I wrote to her and told her that I had just come from Israel and was denied access
to the Temple
Mount, simply because I
wasn’t Muslim. It was the Palestinian Wakf that denied me access to a place
central to my faith. I described in detail the gate guarded by police, the
Palestinians roaming freely on the Temple Mount,
and my efforts to try again later. This attempt also failed.
In contrast, Israeli authorities grant access to holy sites
anywhere in the country, unless there is threat of violence from terrorists.
This is as obvious as the sun shining to anyone visiting the country.
I told this journalist that her report was not only
inaccurate, but bias based on the propaganda of a terror mastermind. Arafat had
been schooled long ago in Marxist propaganda efforts, and he put those skills to
good use in dealing with gullible Westerners. This kind of lying really hardens
Western opinions of Israel.
We somehow think that we can believe whatever someone tells us.
Typically, the reaction of this journalist was one of
indignation; she wouldn’t have admitted the validity of my documentation if
you’d put her hands in fire (which, for example, Hamas would do to her). But a
curious thing also developed: I could tell she was taken aback that anyone would
have the facts to refute her. She backpedaled. She knew she was caught.
That experience taught me a lesson. It told me that pro
Israel Christians can stand up for the Jewish state, armed with facts and
A few years before this encounter, I read a syndicated
column in which the writer compared then-President Bill Clinton
with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. The writer listed some obvious
similarities between the heads of state: charisma, age, etc. But then she said
“in neither does one find experience in their respective armies.”
Certainly that old Arkansas polecat Bill
Clinton never got near military service. But Netanyahu? Bibi was a decorated
officer in the Sayeret Matkal, the Israel Defense Forces’ elite commando unit.
He fought in the Yom Kippur War, and took part in hijacking rescues, once being
wounded. His two brothers also had seen combat; one was killed.
Yes, Bibi Netanyahu has experience in the Israeli army.
But do you know what was chilling about this column? The
writer (I spoke with her by phone) evaded the facts, yet her three decades of
covering the Middle East would easily make her aware that
all able-bodied Israelis serve a stint in the military. She claimed not to know
I will tell you very frankly that I believe she was lying.
She’s too smart, too connected.
You see, she wanted to plant the idea that Netanyahu was an
empty suit: a political lightweight who had no experience in the matters he was
dealing with. This was the height of the Oslo Years, when Clinton
tried to make the Israelis cry “Uncle!” while negotiating with the PLO.
I believe she basically succeeded in her efforts. There was
no retraction, and the piece will swirl around cyber space for quite some time,
if the Lord tarries. This was also during the period of time called “The Year of
Hating Bibi,” the title of a column by a principled member of the Left, who
admitted that his colleagues hated Netanyahu because the prime minister insisted
on tough measures with the Palestinians. He was maligned constantly while in
In my conversation with this journalist, I asked her where
she heard that Netanyahu didn’t have military experience. She said she heard it
from someone. I asked about her source. She claimed she had heard it at a dinner
party at the home of U.S. Ambassador to Israel,
Sam Lewis. I asked if I could quote her.
“I’d rather you didn’t,” she said meekly.
She was caught. And yet, her arrogance would not allow her
to print a retraction. That would damage her agenda, which was to push the
Leftist view of the peace process.
Only today, in an online piece describing the horror in
Gaza, a Christianity Today writer — while briefly acknowledging that Hamas has
taken over Gaza — went into some detail about Israel security measures stifling
the freedom and even well-being of Palestinian evangelical Christians in that
CT can always be counted on to subtly or openly criticize Israel.
The magazine has changed greatly over the years, as what I would call a centrist
editorial staff has taken the reigns. An infamous 1998 cover story portrayed
dispensationalists as an ignorant fringe. Like-minded scholars like Mark Noll
(previously of Wheaton College
and now at Notre Dame) ridicule folks who believe in Bible prophecy.
This kind of bias against Israel
has been going on for quite a number of years, first in the mainline
denominations and seminaries, and now openly spilling over into the evangelical
community. It is no coincidence that the Emergent movement also dismisses Bible
prophecy. Many of us — yours truly included — have been caught off-guard by the
seeming suddenness with which this thinking has been brought to Christianity.
My great hero, the
scholar Robert Dick Wilson, wrote almost 100 years ago:
“Attacks upon Isaiah, Daniel, and other books, because they
abound in wonderful predictions, will have weight only with those who deny the
fundamentals of Christianity.”
discerned the times.
Mark Burns, who is a supporter of Israel
and brings tour groups to the country every year, also has some wisdom in our
"Christians who read the Hebrew Scriptures know God made a promise with Israel,"
he said. "People who are clueless about the Old Testament can be persuaded to
support the other side."
There you have it. The moving away from really teaching the Old
Testament in our church culture has brought us to this point. Things that should
be obvious to people, regarding Israel,
are not obvious but hidden. A veil is over their eyes.
This, as I mention repeatedly, is the deadly teaching that undermines Israel
every day. We can’t teach the Bible as myth, legend, and metaphor without seeing
an erosion in rock-solid belief. The Emergent spokesmen essentially teach that
we can’t be rock-solid sure about anything.
What then are we left with? Go embrace Buddhism. Try the New Age.
Because if you don’t believe the Bible is what it clearly claims to be, then all
roads can lead to God. Or nowhere.
is becoming that burdensome stone spoken of by the prophet. Once friendly
nations are now behaving like rabid dogs when they look to Jerusalem.
The irony is, all this gathering danger is “playing into” God’s hands.
A dear Christian gentleman once told me that Satan is certainly
super-intelligent. But in a crazy sort of way. He used the example of Hitler
allowing hundreds of thousands of Allied troops to be evacuated from Dunkirk,
to fight another day. His own troops watched from the cliffs above, as British
military and civilian craft plucked the stranded troops off the beach. This was
one of a half-dozen huge blunders that lost the war for the Nazis.
“Satan is the same way,” my friend said. “He certainly causes a lot of havoc and
destruction, and sometimes it even looks like he’s winning. But he’s insane, and
his insanity will always cause him to make a mistake.”
Remember this when the nations attack Israel.
Let us stand with Israel
in prayer and deeds, and resolve to support her for the duration.
Be informed. Be vigilant. Be outspoken.
Creator, give us courage to stand for the Jews. We beseech you to continue
sheltering your people, in their own land, until such time as you enter our
world again. Amen.