• Gaza, Israel and the truth

Gaza, Israel and the truth

Rockets and bombs are dropping.

Children are dying.

Families are being torn apart.

Anger is growing.

Rational thought is diminishing beneath waves of fear and war-mongering.

And the blogosphere and twitterverse are abuzz with rhetoric decrying both sides.

Yesterday I saw two Facebook posts on friends’ timelines that illustrate that the war in Gaza is not just about bombs, rockets, bullets and land…it’s also a war of ideas.

The first was shared by a decidedly Right-wing friend…


The second by a Palestinian friend…



Which is the truth?

Is Israel merely acting to “defend themselves” from “hundreds of terrorist rocket attacks” using “surgical precision” against an enemy who wants to “wipe them off the map“?

Or are the people of Gaza suffering massive disproportionate retaliation by Netanyahu and other war-mongers in Israel who are looking for any excuse to flex their military muscle in an ongoing 60+ year-long military occupation of land they’ve stolen?

How one answers these questions is determined by whichever version of history one adopts…and that’s the hard part.


Because historical understanding of complicated geopolitical events is…well…hard work. It takes lots of reading, listening, and a willingness to question the assumptions we’ve come to hold regarding who are the “bad guys” and who are the “good guys”.

And frankly, most people–particularly most Americans–are either too lazy, busy, or biased to put in the time needed to better understand what’s going on right now in that little strip of land on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

So what do we do? We find news outlets that agree with our worldview and we listen to them.

If we believe Israel is a righteous nation who are surrounded by hostile evil bent on its destruction, we listen to the Glenn Becks and Fox News summaries out there and ignore the human rights abuses and illegal actions Israel has committed for decades.

If we believe Israel is the evil pariah nation who has oppressed and subjugated righteous Palestinians for decades and must be destroyed, ignore the evils of radical Islamic leaders (like THIS) who use Israeli attacks to fan the fires of hatred and violence among their followers.

We hear what we want to hear and pick our side to root for.

We even insist to others that God is on our side in this war and name our campaigns of violence after passages from our respective Scriptures.

All the while, children die and families are destroyed.


So what are we, particularly those of us who follow Jesus as Messiah, supposed to do?

What are we to think?


Who are we to “stand with“??


I believe we are to stand with the innocent who are suffering–regardless of their nationality, religion, or flag color.

I believe we are to stand with the peacemakers–regardless of whether or not we agree with everything else they may believe.

I believe we are to stand with the truth–and do everything in our power to listen to the voices who say what we don’t want to hear in order to weigh carefully their claims.

I believe we are to stand with our Messiah–who achieved ultimate victory through suffering as a Lamb rather than roaring like a Lion.


What are we to stand against then?


I believe we are to stand against all forms of hatred based on race, religion, or nationality.

I believe we are to stand against all distortion of truth regarding historical facts.

I believe we are to stand against the strong when they oppress the weak.

I believe we are to stand against the weak when they seek to use the weapons of the strong from which they themselves have suffered for so long.

I believe we are to stand against stereotypes which play upon people’s fears, hatred, suspicion and desires for revenge.


Isn’t the Middle East a lost cause? Haven’t they been fighting since Biblical times?


This itself is an urban legend which needs to be rejected by any follower of the Prince of Peace.

There has been peace in the Middle East…and there can be again. Ultimate peace will only come about when Jesus returns and puts all things right. But relative peace can exist in the meantime–in fact, that’s precisely what Jesus’ followers should be constantly seeking to aid in bringing about!


But in order to do that, we must seek truth. And in this age of entertainment-disguised-as-journalism such truth is hard to come by.

However, we still must try.

And our zeal for “our side” should never outweigh our knowledge of the situation. It’s easy to feel that we know more than we really do, especially after we’ve seen a Youtube video or read a book. But truth takes more than that. It takes listening to or reading from voices with which we disagree. It takes talking with others and having our ideas or assumptions tested or exposed.

In short, it takes intellectual humility…something that is not good for TV ratings or blog hit counts.


May we lift up in prayer all those who are suffering–refusing to only pray for one people or one nation’s well-being!

May we love “our enemies” tangibly and self-sacrificially–refusing to demonize them through comments on social media.

May we put pressure on those in power–on all sides–to stop such madness and put people above ideology.

May we never lose hope that in the end, the God who searches the depths of every heart and mind and who knows the motives of every action will bring all things to light.

Then he said to me,

These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them.

16 They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat, 17 because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:14b-17 (Disciple Dojo’s translation)



Blessings from the Dojo…especially to our brothers and sisters in Israel and Gaza,


For more on understanding the theological foundations which affect how people view such conflicts in the Middle East, get a copy of JM’s new book “You WANT to be ‘Left Behind’!!” over at Amazon.com for only $2.99 and listen to Disciple Dojo’s course “Apocalypse Now??” on understanding the Bible and the End Times (also available streaming for for free download at http://sermon.net/jmsmith)


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  1. This attempt to find some “middle ground” which will bring all sides together is a laudable one, and certainly of merit. It is, in fact, the position many American Christians have taken over the years. What is often missing, however, is the dis-proportionality of the conflict. This is the American government against Native Americans. This is the white South African government at the height of its military prowess against an poorly armed and organized African indigenous population. The sides, in other words, aren’t even in the same ball park, which is why the body count is always far greater on the Palestinian side; not only the body count, the absolute destruction as a well armed, well organized military systematically destroys the infrastructure of what is essentially an open air concentration camp, as the Israelis control all access to the strip – land, sea, air.

    The myth that somehow the Gazans have what it takes to cause any kind of harm to Israel, either its infrastructure or its people, is just that – a myth; a myth that is being used by the hard core Netanyahu government as an excuse to drive the Gazans into an even deeper submission to their will.

    What the Israelis are counting on is: 1) their narrative to be swallowed nearly whole by the western press (we are fighting terrorism here, folks! We’re saving democracy) 2) peace activists to continue to say “we need to realize that there is fault on both sides, which essentially means doing nothing at all, as there is no way to prophetically challenge two sides that are equally at fault.

    It’s time we came to realize that the fault in this conflict is on the Israeli side, just as we finally came to that realization in South Africa. There, too, the ANC used terrorist tactics to try and bring down the apartheid regime. There, too, it was important to critique these tactics. But it was clear that the onus of fault lay on the backs of the racist white regime. It’s time we realize that the apparatus of the occupation puts the onus of this conflict on the Israelis.


    jm Reply:

    I agree that in terms of military ability, Israel is by far the stronger and more dominant party. I made this point a few years ago before Operation Cast Lead, using the analogy of Native Americans as well

    They must be challenged prophetically indeed.

    But so must those in Gaza who use terrorist tactics and violence against civilians or indiscriminately. They only feed the propaganda machine of hardline Zionists with such things and perpetuate the disproportionate retaliation.

    I can’t in good conscience only call out one party. I would say that seeking a middle ground doesn’t mean “not doing anything”; it means refusing to accept any injustice on either side.


    Comment by jhubers on November 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  2. Rana

    You should share some of what I am posting JM there is a better way. Reconciliation with God and each other. Walking in the Holy Spirit and in union with Christ. Putting off the old man with all our idols and living in adoration of the Most High God. Adoration heals our worldview and self-image. Certainly has healed me and you can testify of that! I am no longer so heavily invested in the worldview/ culture wars and my identity is in Christ. No injury, nothing will harm me. My freedom is in Him. My worldview is adoration owed to Gods His created Spiritual beings and my identity is in Christ. A great place to be!

    Grace and Peace,
    from Palestine and believes in a better way


    Comment by Rana on November 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  3. Rana

    OOPS! owed to God singular!


    Comment by Rana on November 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

  4. Twitty

    I hope that Israel gains peace and safety from this operation.


    Comment by Twitty on July 13, 2014 at 11:01 am

  5. Roy Van Rijn

    Just a few comments (they may not be politically correct, just know I’m not trying to offend anyone. If I offend anyone feel free to correct me):

    I’ve been told by some of my South African friends that there are many blacks who would prefer to go back to the days of apartheid. Not because they like segregation but because many needs we’re provided for by the government. It’s got nothing to do with this post, except that it show an assumption that’s wrong.

    Likewise I know that most American Africans are better off in this country than they would be in Africa. I know this because I’ve been to Africa three times and I’ve seen how different it is in so many ways. Of course it would be even nicer if these folks had the choice as to where they want to live. Oh wait they do. I think we can say te same about many other people groups who have prospered, but at the cost of many lives due to a (perceived) oppressor.

    As far as Palestinians go, or even many muslems in the Middle East, I see no such thing. They believe in a religion that causes their culture to remain unchanged for the last 1000 years. They are not open to western ideologies, and would rather kill westerners. At least, that’s what the Quran teaches- kill the Jew and kill the infidel. True, 90% of the muslems currently alive would probably not do this, but it leaves 10%, or about 160 million.

    What I can tell you is that muslems in Holland, where I’m from, for the most part do not integrate into European culture. They take over, no matter what the cost. We have outspoken politicians who keep bodyguards around them 24/7 because they spoke out against Islam, and there’s a price on their head. They’re very biased, and it seems the media has picked up this bias.

    As far as the question, who got there first, who stole whose land, it’s simple. The earth is the Lord’s… Everything else is just pointing fingers.

    Also. Biblically this goes back to Jacob and Esau. Fair or not, that what it says. The rest, in my opinion, is not for me to judge (ie, should they or should they not have their land) as far as fairness is concerned. Obviously, in OT days God wiped out all of mankind except a few. So to me the question is not about what’s rational, reasonable, fair, etc. It’s really just about what God says. Just my opinion…


    Comment by Roy Van Rijn on July 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm

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