It’s been said that people hate Israel because it’s the “Jew among the nations”. I certainly think this is true – as far as it goes.
But wait, it gets worse.
Israel is not only the Jew among the nations: it’s the Jesus among the nations. Everybody wants it to die for their sins.
The nation is put up on a cross, and expected to beam lovingly down upon its attackers and say, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” This is the only act of redemption that Israel can perform to its tormentors’ satisfaction.
Israel must die slowly and painfully, in the face of ignorance, unrestrained mob rage masquerading as righteous revenge, and the unchecked rising up to the surface of deep, ancient, archetypal hatred. And it must remain calm, forgiving, and faithful to the principles of universal love.
This formula illustrates why Israel is hated with such passionate intensity. And it really is passion: intoxicating, overpowering and utterly beyond anything rational.
Those who seek to destroy it can – must – unleash the darkest possible passions, for only by being unleashed upon a forgiving, Christ-like Israel can those passions be redeemed.
The less Israel agrees to do this, the more it infuriates people.
According to this formula, if Jesus died for everyone’s sins, and Israel refuses to, then everyone’s sins are not yet cleansed. Their sins will only be cleansed when Israel dies, which is not happening any time soon.
The more people read analogies of their own dark impulses into Israel’s behaviour, the more intensely they demand that Israel die a willing, redemptive death.
Every missile fired from Gaza is another nail on the cross that Israel is expected to die on. And it’s refusing to die.
Not only that: it’s killing its tormentors, which is an unforgivable betrayal of the Jesus contract. So those selfish Israelis are breaking the covenant with history that the West perceives them to have signed.
But the Israelis never signed such a covenant. It exists only in the minds of Israel’s critics. The only covenant that Israel signed with history is Never Again.
You don’t need to be a believing Christian to sign up to this demand. Ironically, devout Christians seem to be far more forgiving of Israel. The ones who really can’t forgive it are the ones who, whilst professing not to believe in God, are completely obsessed with seeing Israel die a cleansing death.
Perhaps, deep down, Christian theology has affected these people more than they think. And it’s time to update their belief system.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the unreasonable demands people make of Israel come from the West, and not from India, China, Japan, or any other non-Abrahamic cultures.
Israel is not Jesus. It’s not obliged to die for anyone’s sins.
It will forgive you for hating it – it always does. But can you forgive it for not being Jesus?
If so, you can start by dismantling the cross you’ve built for the world’s only Jewish nation.