On Wednesday (7/30), with two like-minded friends, I participated in an Israel solidarity rally held at Dallas City Hall Plaza in Downtown Dallas. As one would expect, this was an extremely diverse and wide coalition. It was comprised of approximately 4,000 individuals who were quite individualistic. In fact, as far as I could tell from my observations and the bits of conversation I overheard, the members of the Jewish community who came out to show their support for the Jewish state, were truly representative of the variety of expressions broadly defining Jewish identity in terms of its multifaceted ethnic, cultural, and religious components. The almost equally eclectic non-Jewish constituency in attendance ranged from secular social justice advocates to Texas Governor Rick Perry, and just about everything in between including many bible-believing evangelicals.
So what were the central unifying issues that brought this dissimilar group together? On what could they all agree on to agree on? Based on the reactions of the crowd to the speeches that were heard, I think that common ground was essentially this:
• It’s intolerable and morally indefensible that Israeli citizens be subjected to rocket attacks and terror squads from Gaza seeking to murder innocent men, women, and children.
• It’s intolerable and morally indefensible that instead of receiving encouragement from world democracies as they witness a fellow democracy under attack, much of the world is turning against Israel as evidenced by skyrocketing anti-Semitic attacks, condemnation by the U.N., blistering criticism by world leaders, and even pressure by our own President and Secretary of State to immediately stop defending themselves and accept a premature ceasefire!
• It’s intolerable and morally indefensible to insinuate that Israel does not have the right and responsibility to defend its citizens, both Jews and Arabs and those of other ethnicities. Let’s get real, in fighting the terrorists sworn to obliterate her, Israel is simply doing what any other civilized democracy would be forced to do to protect its own citizens.
• It’s tragic that civilians in Gaza are being killed and injured. But Israel is not targeting them! They are warning them to get out of the way using text messages, phone calls, leaflets and other measures. It is Hamas who is using civilians as human shields. It is Hamas who wants as many Palestinians to die as possible in the evil hope that this will cause the world to turn against Israel to an even greater degree. Therefore, Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for all the death and destruction. This war would not be happening if Hamas wasn’t continually attacking Israel.
So, in addition to rallying around this inclusive consensus passionately articulated and supported at the Israel solidarity event held in Dallas, here are two other things Messiah followers can rally around as we biblically and appropriately talk the talk and walk the walk as it pertains to the battle between Israel and Hamas:
• Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel. Speak out in her defense. Stand up against the injustice and evil she is being subjected to. Stand with her people who are under attack hour by hour, and show unconditional love and unwavering support. The Lord calls us to love Israel and the Jewish people not because they are perfect, but because He loves them and wants them to know Him in a real, personal, intimate, and spiritually reconciled way. Pray that Jewish people faith-embrace-the grace, found in the person and work of Jesus the Jewish Messiah.
• Pray for the Palestinians who are being crushed and oppressed by Hamas. When Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2006, it began to suffocate and oppress the Palestinian people. Hamas turned Gaza into a terrorist base camp. They have murdered those who speak out against them. They have enslaved the people. They have triggered three wars. They don’t care about the welfare of the Palestinian people. They only care about establishing a Radical Islamic caliphate and killing anyone who gets in their way. Pray that the Palestinian people be set free from the Hamas reign of terror. Because as with the Jewish people, the Lord also calls us to love the Arabic people not because they are perfect, but because He loves them and wants them to know Him in a real, personal, intimate, and spiritually reconciled way. So pray that the people who also rightly call Abraham father, faith-embrace-the grace, found in the person and work of Jesus the Jewish Messiah, the hope of both Israel and the nations.