Wednesday, January 07, 2009


The very fact that I feel a little wary writing anything about Israel and the current situation is perhaps all I need to illustrate the point. Amongst my fellow Christians are many who lean towards Zionism and see the destiny of the nation state of Israel as fundamentally tied up with God's purposes. On the other side of the conflict many Christian Palestinians suffer, either as a result of the deprivation in the Palestinian territories, or because they are perceived as in some sense compromised with the West.

The problem is that offering any critique of Israeli policy seems to open you up to allegations from some quarters of anti-semitism or sympathy with terrorists. Yet it doesn't follow. It is possible to talk about the political entity of the nation state of Israel without that being applicable to all Jews. After all, Israel prides itself on being a democracy and there is a genuine opposition and Israelis who want a different approach.

Surely it must also be possible to question the level of force used, or the methods, without saying that there isn't a legitimate grievance. Hamas rockets do need to stop, but was it necessary to fire tank shells at a school to achieve that end?

The more delicate question is whether the severe restrictions applied by Israel to the Palestinian areas have themselves served to recruit more to the cause of the militants. It was certainly the case when mistakes were made by the British military in Northern Ireland that militants recruited strongly.

We can only hope that the combination of international concern, the prospect of a new US administration with a different approach and the Franco-Egyptian truce plan will bring this dreadful spiral of mutual violence to an end.


LankyAnglican said...

I share your concern Mike. It often seems that the assumption of a point of view, especially on this topic, leads to characteriastion as partisan/prejudiced/anti-semitic etc.

Mike Peatman said...

Yes. In fact it would be condescending to exempt Israel's actions from the scrutiny that any other nation would be under. In a weird way it would be a kind of patronising racism.