It has happened again. Israel has been forced into the spotlight of current events by voices that speak for an Islamic community. Who’s animosity toward the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob cannot be contained. The most recent declarations, however, have had a more weighty and significant impact. Due to the people who made them stand as recognized and elected leaders in the highest places of power in the United States. Although she has since apologized for her remarks. The Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota conveyed a sentiment that no doubt runs well beyond directly criticizing a nation’s policies or religious orientation. The following is an excerpt from her full quote made at a panel meeting with fellow Congresswoman Rhashida Tlaib:
But it’s almost as if, every single time we say something regardless of what it is we say that is supposed to be about foreign policy, engagement, or advocacy about ending oppression, or the freeing of every human life and wanting dignity or we get to be labeled something, and that ends the discussion. Because we end up defending that and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine. So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.
Labeling can indeed be an effective way of deflecting focus and silencing voices that speak for a cause. However, in the quote above, Omar places herself with the oppressed. In a move that supposedly allows her the freedom to express an anti-Israel bias regarding Palestine. It was good that she was called to task for her remarks, but what she and others have done raises some long-standing questions and issues concerning the presence of Israel in the Holy Land. The world once again is being forced to ask, “What will we do with Israel?”
Since Islamic anti-Semitism occupies the current prominent place among those, who are against Israel, it will help to consider just what drives such hostility and hatred. And help to view this present hatred in the light of the Word of God. What it reveals and what seems to be an unsolvable dilemma between two people who are opposed to one another. According to one Muslim voice, theology is a significant driving force behind the hatred being expressed, and this historic disgust is worth a look in comparison to what the Bible teaches about this issue.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks freely of what motivated what was once a deeply-held animosity against the Jewish people. She shares that when she joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 15, specific teachings of the Koran were highlighted in order to fuel an attitude of justified hatred and spite against Israel. Regarding this instruction, she writes of the first of two aspects of education that built such views:
The first was theological. We were taught that the Jews betrayed our prophet, Muhammad. Through Quranic verses (such as 7:166, 2:65, and 5:60), we learned that Allah had eternally condemned them. That they were not human but descendants of pigs and monkeys, that we should aspire to kill them wherever we found them. We were taught to pray: “Dear God, please destroy the Jews, the Zionists, the state of Israel. Amen.”
When a child is instructed on what to do from what is considered to be a holy text, the ideas over time will have deeply implanted into their heart and mind and can have a lifelong influence. Ali goes on to speak of living in a charged atmosphere of antagonism against the Jews, and this divide was represented as being utterly legitimate in light of the holy doctrines held by the community. Is there any way to adequately counteract this kind of indoctrination? Is there a better way to understand the purpose and place of Israel in this world?
Turning to the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, will shed special light on this controversy and trace the roots of the matter to the very depths of how it all began and where it will come to an end. A summary of some critical truths will provide valuable insight into this recurring issue and hopefully bring a meaningful explanation to make better sense of this controversy.
According to the Genesis record, a deep division was placed by God between two groups of people who are separated by a vast spiritual chasm. In Genesis 3:15, the Lord declared that He was igniting enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman who would eventually bring victory to fallen humanity. The division stems from differing spiritual alignments, those who are righteous and those who are of the seed of Satan. This antagonism was in evidence in the fractured relationship between the first two people who knew themselves as brothers. So deep was wicked Cain’s hatred for his righteous brother Abel that he violently murdered him and catapulted his guilty life into perpetual chaos. As Genesis 4 describes it, the lesson is that at the heart of all human divide is a spiritual separation from God.
The call of Abraham in Genesis 12 was an act of God’s wonderful grace to develop further His saving plan to reconcile the seed of Adam. From Abraham would come a nation with the specific design and call to represent and proclaim the name of the Lord to a world He wanted to forgive and bless. Israel and specifically the descendants of Isaac and Jacob’s twelve sons were the conduits of an intended blessing. Since the call of Abraham and the freeing of Israel from Egypt, the world has fundamentally rejected God’s design. This rejection is represented well in the words of Pharaoh when he said in Exodus 5:2, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” This world has challenged and will continue to challenge the reality of the God of heaven and His saving purpose through those whom He has called.
The ultimate expression of the enmity between man’s heart and God was witnessed in the rejection and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Who came to bring the forgiveness and blessing promised in the Garden of Eden (John 1:10). Israel, however, remains a vital part of God’s purpose and plan, and expressions of animosity toward them are, in essence, a continued rejection of the call and purpose of God. Both Israeli and Arab need to heed that call and know the meaning of saving grace.
God will lead Israel to know Him in truth and mercy (Romans 11:25-26), and all who have been reconciled by the cross of Christ will know no enmity or divide. Because the time will come when God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10) What will we do with Israel? We should rejoice in the eternal purpose of God and let the sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be who they are meant to be. Doing this will bring a blessing to the Arab world and not a curse.