26 Apr 2021

The Aggressiveness of Evil

Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City is a marvelous place. In modern times, it is the place where the British General Allenby entered in December, 1917, marking the end of Turkish Ottoman rule in Palestine.

A sparkling, new mall is located just outside the gate. Inside are cafes, a hostel where Mark Twain once stayed, and Christ Church, the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. As always, birds chirp and the stone alleyways are the perfect acoustic.

Twenty years ago I visited an antiquities shop there, noticing (and coveting) a stone stamped with the mark of the 10th Roman Legion, the soldiers that laid siege to Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Unfortunately, in even such an historic and usually tranquil place, evil lurks. This week I read this from the Meir Amit Intelligence Center:

“On April 19, 2021, a crowd of about 50 Palestinians threw rocks and attacked Israeli passersby near the Jaffa Gate in east Jerusalem. The police detained six suspects who were involved in the attack, and they were taken for interrogation (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit.

“On April 15, 2021, al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, the official PA newspaper, condemned the so- called ‘Israeli aggression’ against al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.”

I was struck by this because unlike a few hundred yards away in mostly Palestinian East Jerusalem, where clashes with police are more routine, the Jaffa Gate area of West Jerusalem is a beehive of tourist activity and peace. Just steps away is some of the priciest real estate in the world, the Yemen Moshe neighborhood.

Tourism has been greatly reduced in the past year of course, but still it is jarring to know that 50 Palestinian thugs gathered specifically at Jaffa Gate. It is a reminder that Arab aggression against Israel is with us until Jesus comes back. He is the only One that will bring peace.

The Palestinian community has been raised on a diet of hatred for Jews. Further—in a devilish development we are now experiencing in the U.S.—their media spew propaganda 24 hours a day. No Israelis are being “aggressive” during Ramadan at the Al-Aksa Mosque. In fact, the second Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount is a nest for terrorists and their rhetoric. The Israelis don’t harass them.

Here is another note:

“On April 13, 2021, the first day of Ramadan, before the end of the night prayer, Palestinians rioted at the Nablus Gate in east Jerusalem. The reason was allegedly the Israeli police decision, in view of the coronavirus situation, to place barricades to keep people from sitting on the steps to the Temple Mount compound during the month. The Palestinians threw rocks, Molotov cocktails and small explosive devices at a police position nearby and at buses driving past. The windows of a bus were shattered and a policeman was wounded by flying glass; two drivers and three passengers were also injured.”

These evildoers are about violence, aggression, and murder. It’s all Arafat was. It’s all Abbas is.

We err if we think we can appeal to peoples’ “better angels.” There is no such thing. I assume tourism to Israel will resume. I assume Jaffa Gate will again teem with tourists and their shopping bags and cameras. But we must realize that our only real task—beyond activism and even beyond education—is prayer for peace. Prayer that even one person will escape bloody injuries inflicted by the devil himself.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to Israel. At least in this life.

I used to think that educating people more was the key. If only they had the facts. But I hope you will join me in praying for peace in Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalm 122:6)



19 Apr 2021

“Christianity” Today

Something I think few of us ever thought we’d see has actually been with us a long time in the American Church:

Bashing Israel.

It’s horrifying to watch the continued slide away from the People of the Book. That it’s accelerating due to the help of American Christians is mind-boggling. I write about this frequently, in part because it’s also an underreported story. Some outlets, like CAMERA, do a terrific job highlighting this blight on the Church. Most ignore it.

The flagship periodical of the evangelical world, Christianity Today, has been operating from the Chicago suburbs since 1955. CT was never conservative—it was founded in part to counter the fundamentalists—but for at least 25 years, the leftward drift has been disturbing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the reporting about the Jewish state.

I have said plainly many times: many, many American professing Christians simply don’t like Jews. I base this on documented hit pieces from the Christianity community and at least hundreds of personal conversations and exchanges with leadership and laity. When Christian leaders like Mart Green and Russell Moore refuse to be interviewed about their disturbing views on Israel, one realizes the animus towards Israel is profound.

A year ago, CT ran a piece by Griffin Paul Jackson, a Chicago writer, reporting on the effects of the coronavirus on Palestinians. Let me note the obvious: Israel and the international Jewish community had nothing to do with the virus unleashed on all of us by the Chinese Communists. In fact, Israel has been at the forefront of dealing with the outbreak.

The article by Griffin Paul Jackson highlights the toll taken by the coronavirus outbreak in the Palestinian territories, including Bethlehem and Nazareth. Interestingly, the headline chosen for the piece blasts Israel:

“Bethlehem Christians Bear Burden of Israel’s Coronavirus Crackdown.”

Let me say this plainly, too: That headline is an intentional lie aimed at hurting Israel among America’s evangelical population.

Buried in the story is this:

“Thousands of residents and foreign visitors are already living under quarantine. Churches and mosques have closed their doors. And the Palestinian Authority has barred all pilgrims and vacationers for at least two weeks.

“As a result, Bethlehem, where 70 percent of the economy revolves around tourism, is now entirely blocked to tourists.

“’The virus outbreak will ruin the city economically,’ said Mitri Raheb, president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. (The university has been closed since March 5, ordered to suspend all programs by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.)”

And there was this:

“And the Palestinian Authority has barred all pilgrims and vacationers for at least two weeks.”

Notice in all these paragraphs that Israel is nowhere to be seen. The villains in reality are the coronavirus and PLO/PA decision-making.

This logic though will be lost on the many who will see the inflammatory CT headline and think (yet again), “Those dirty Jews…”

Quoting anti-Israel activists like Raheb and Munther Isaac, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College, is old hat for anti-Israel activists, who are growing like weeds within evangelicalism. A decade ago, then-director of Christians United for Israel, David Brog said that if something isn’t done, the situation will be grim in 10 years.

Here we are.

(David himself worked and works mightily to combat these evil prejudices, but I know from personal experience many other groups did nothing to stop this rot.)

Throughout the article, Jackson and CT discuss other devastations to the local Palestinian economy, including the Arab Spring in Egypt a few years ago. None of these events had anything at all to do with Israel!

No, this is outright propaganda.

Jackson’s website bio reads thus:

“Griffin Paul Jackson is a husband, father, and writer living in Chicago. He is a regular contributor for Christianity Today and is the lead writer for one of the world’s top economic consultancies. Griffin edited and wrote for the Chicago Tribune from 2012 through 2015, then moved to Lebanon to work in refugee emergency response, which he did for two years. Griffin grew up in Michigan, graduated from Calvin College, and earned his master’s in international relations from the University of Chicago. His work has appeared in Slate and Al Jazeera, among other places.”

This is a garden-variety bio for an evangelical, anti-Israel activist. Calvin College is left-wing (as is Wheaton). And why would any self-respecting Christian writer allow his byline to appear at Al Jazeera?

Though he has been mocked by the elitists for years, Hal Lindsey was prescient in writing such books as The Terminal Generation.

What an accurate description for a people that, among other things, hate Jews and Israel.