Last week’s murder of a Christian visitor to Jerusalem by a Palestinian terrorist sent a shiver down my spine; not simply because of the horror and brutality of the attack, but because just 24 hours earlier, I too had been a Christian visitor in the holy city of Jerusalem.
I am an American college professor who had visited with an American group of students from Liberty University. Our tour had ended just one day before terrorism once again shattered the serenity of this mysterious city, because of fool-hearted and dangerous beliefs. Perhaps even more concerning was that even as the building which houses many of the media bureaus in Jerusalem was literally shaken by the blast, it seems that many of its inhabitants still need to be shaken from the fog of bias that clouds their reporting.
This and the other acts of Palestinian aggression that occurred during my visit are to me simply incomprehensible. There can be no excusing or condoning such brutality. Yet somehow, some of the world’s most well regarded analysts and politicians seek to portray this as part of an ongoing conflict, with justifiable and understandable cause. They seem oblivious to the reality that this terrorism is an expression of a basic refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist.
Even in such a blatant act of terrorism, they find some way to condemn the State of Israel for provoking the Palestinians. The overt bias is almost laughable. Within the last few weeks, an entire Jewish family was stabbed to death in their home at night, a shipment of Hamas-bound weapons was intercepted in the Mediterranean, and 54 rockets were fired into the Western Negev in a single 15-minute period. Israel cannot be blamed for being the provocateur.
In fact, these shameful acts should be an embarrassment to every supporter of the Palestinian cause. Instead, like the ones before it, this act of war will be met with cheers in Hamas’ training camps even as Palestinian leaders give lip service to the international community and condemn the attacks in English, while praising them privately in Arabic.
Last week, I led a group of 47 evangelical Christian students on a tour of Israel. Along the way, we studied Israel’s history and biblical history, with particular attention to the justifiable reasons for the existence of the State of Israel. We visited Capernaum, Tabgha, and the Garden Tomb, but we also visited the Golan Heights, Mount Bental, and the Holocaust Museum. We wanted to give our students a clear understanding of the objective reality in Israel.
I knew that the message was understood when one of our students asked, “I see Palestinian neighborhoods all over Israel, what is the problem with Israelis having neighborhoods (settlements) within Palestinian areas?” His point was poignant as it highlighted Israel’s preparedness to live in peace with its neighbors and the refusal with which this has been met.
I try to make objectivity the measure of my belief, and objectively speaking, Israel deserves our support. Terrorists, or supporters of terrorists, are criminals, and the Jewish people deserve their right to exist in peace.
Professor of Religion Johnnie Moore is the vice president and campus pastor of Liberty University. His first book, Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe, is due to be released in September 2011.
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