In Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice discovers three gardeners busily working on a large rose bush, painting red paint onto white roses. In response to her curious question, one of the gardeners explains, “Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes…” (chapter 8).
‘Painting the roses red’ has become a metaphor for putting a spin on the truth, for covering up unpleasant realities. Today’s media look at the Jewish state of Israel through ‘rose-red’ colored glasses, explaining away threats and redefining unpleasant realities. The result is that many people do not have a clear, in-focus biblical understanding of Middle East events.
This newsletter will try to gently sandblast some layers of paint off of these Middle Eastern petals, and restore needed clarity and contrast to several spiritual issues of burning importance.
Painting terrorists as ‘militants’
A quick glance at the world’s top newspapers reveals that over the past decade the term ‘terrorist’ has been replaced by the word ‘militant.’ Palestinian gunmen or Islamic suicide bombers who attack, murder and maim civilians are now blithely described as militants.
One hundred years ago the term ‘militant’ had a totally different meaning. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as meaning “aggressively active, especially in support of a (usually political) cause.” Striking teachers would have been described as ‘militant about workers’ rights.’ Teresa Billington Grieg’s 1911 book about the “votes for women” movement was called the “Militant Suffrage Movement,” while suffragette Annie Kenney’s 1924 autobiography was titled “Memories of a Militant.”
How has this change come about? Why is it now politically incorrect to call Islamic terrorists by their proper name?
The foundation for this change is directly connected with the collapse of the West’s Bible-based ethical and religious underpinnings. European thinkers have led the way in this endeavor over the past three centuries. Those who initiated this process (by jettisoning belief in the accuracy of Biblical revelation) also intensified the direction by eventually abandoning the religious and moral authority of the Ten Commandments and of the gospel (as Dr. Francis Schaeffer continually warned).
Once liberal theologians discarded the bedrock of Biblical faith, how could they claim that Islamic beliefs and practices are wrong – even when Islamic teachings fundamentally oppose both Torah and gospel? Once Western faith had been gutted, its spokesmen had become gutless.
To a post-Christian world, it has become offensive to describe the faith-based actions of Islamic jihadis as terrorism. In the same way, liberal Christians and Jews had difficulty calling Marxist terror by its proper name. ‘Revolutionary activity on the part of freedom fighters’ sounded a lot better, and even gave the illusion of holding the moral high ground. The German Rote Armee Fraktion (or Baader-Meinhof terror cells) saw themselves as freedom fighters, even as they kidnapped, selected and murdered Jews in the 1976 Entebbe operation.
Gerald Seymour (in his 1975 novel Harry’s Game) coined the proverb, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” The fact remains that one man’s terrorist – is still a terrorist.
Painting jihadi Islam as ‘a religion of peace’
The terror attacks of 9/11 presented a unique and pressing challenge for many Western leaders – how to hold together their shaky and morally bankrupt partnership with oil-rich Islamic dictatorships while papering over the fast-spreading cracks in the international wallpaper.
The strategic response was not long in coming – it involved getting Western audiences to believe that ‘real Islam’ was peaceful, and that the Islamic faith of the 19 Al Qa’eda terrorists was a perversion of Islam. This (it was hoped) would afford a small fig leaf of modesty for Saudi Arabia – fifteen of whose citizens were hijackers, and where the lion’s share of funding comes for jihadi terror.
President George W. Bush declared on 9/17 in Washington’s Islamic Center: “…(A)cts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that … The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace” (http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/nationalsecurity/faq-what.html).
U.S. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer added on the same day, “This attack had nothing to do with Islam. This attack was a perversion of Islam” (www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=47565#axzz1WcENB9eB).
The unpainted facts are much less perverted: jihad as violent military attack is a central tenet and commandment of Islam, and was taught and practiced by Mohammed (see “A perspective on Islam”; https://davidstent.org/Images/a_perspective_on_islam.pdf). Though Islam teaches many things and some are good, its jihadi commandments and future vision involve world conquest and dictatorship achieved by force of arms.
The Islamic terrorists of 9/11 believed that they were very much obedient to a Koranic perspective. The majority of Muslims in the Middle East see them as heroes. Therefore it is a perversion of truth to call such an Islamic perspective ‘a religion of peace.’ Please note the fresh red paint on the roses.
Painting Islamic revolt as an ‘Arab Spring’
TV screens have been gorged with pictures of Islamic countries shaken by street riots and revolt. Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Libya – each has had or is having far more than its fifteen minutes of fame, to paraphrase Andy Warhol. All the major 24-hour news channels have ‘spun’ the story, declaring that the spontaneous uprisings are leading the Muslim world into a 21st century version of the French Revolution. Soon liberty, equality and fraternity will reign supreme in Luxor, in Hama, in Jerba and in Sana’a!
The bouquets of red roses lovingly FedExed by Western media groupies are nevertheless masking the fact that the Islamist movement (also known as the Muslim Brotherhood; see http://davidstent.com/words/, February 2006, “Hurtling Through The Fog of War: A Messianic Perspective On The New Hamastan”) in each country is the strongest and most organized political force waiting in the wings. Even as Hamas (a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate) controls Gaza and oversees rocket attacks on Israel, so Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen are all tottering on the cusp of Islamist disaster and dictatorship.
The unvarnished white color of the roses, in this case, foretells an Islamist winter and not a promising Arab Spring.
How winning a war became ‘an obstacle to peace’
Before Israel again became a recognized sovereign country in May 1948, the Arab and Islamic world was prophesying its destruction, and preparing its armies for invasion and slaughter. The Arab nation would complete the genocidal task that Hitler had not finished. In 1943 the Mufti of Jerusalem declared on Nazi radio, “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This is pleasing to Allah.”
On May 15 1948 the Secretary General of the Arab League Azzam Pasha, speaking in Cairo, declared a jihad against the Jews (reported in the New York Times, May 16, 1948): “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades” (http://tech.mit.edu/V123/N12/kraus12.12c.html).
President Gamel Abd al-Nasser of Egypt declared on September 27 1961 at the UN General Assembly (when the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan and East Jerusalem were all in Islamic hands), that “the only solution to Palestine…is … the annulment of Israel’s existence.”
On May 28 1967, prior to the Six-Day War, Nasser added that “we will not accept any…coexistence with Israel … Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel….The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.”
On 1 September 1960, Nasser clearly pointed out that any return of Arab refugees to the state of Israel would destroy Israel as an independent country: “If the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”
On April 23, 1964 Nasser declared in a speech in Sana’a, Yemen, “… (T)here is no room for Israel within the Arab nation.”
Were one to add the PLO’s “plan of stages” (first the return of territory, then the final battle of annihilation), or Iran’s President Ahmedinejad’s call for the violent destruction of Israel, or Hamas’ ongoing declaration that Israel will be destroyed by the armies of Islam, it becomes crystal clear –
- Before Israel existed as a sovereign nation, the combined Islamic forces of the Arab world attempted to destroy her
- It is not Israel’s victories on the battlefield which are the obstacles to peace, nor Israel’s possession of East Jerusalem, the Golan, the West Bank or even Gaza. It is the Islamic refusal to countenance any Jewish sovereign state in the Middle East.
Mass media declare that Israel’s holding on to its biblical inheritance is one of the major (if not the major) obstacles to peace. But the real obstacle is Islamic war-mongering. Any other explanation is simply painting the roses red.
How dividing Jerusalem became a world consensus
Though many Bible-believers have not thought a lot about it, Israel’s birth as a sovereign nation came about as a result of the nations of the world advocating the partitioning of the land of Israel and the re-division of Jerusalem.
The UN Partition Plan adopted on November 29, 1947 was passed by a majority of 33 in favor, 13 against, 10 abstentions and one absent. Since that day, though those who love the Scriptures rejoice in the decision to recognize a Jewish state, it is important to remember that world consensus went on record as dividing up the land of Israel.
All potential peace discussions, conferences and treaties take this division of the land of Israel as a given. All political parties in Israel accept this 1947 division as a fait accompli. When the nations get together to discuss ‘peace,’ the question they really are asking is simply, how much will the borders of the land of Israel be tightened, shortened and shaved.
This above perspective is bolstered when one examines the private declarations of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Paris to the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Sa’dun Hammadi on December 17 1975: “We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions … (ed., to the point where) it will be like Lebanon, struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world … If the issue is the existence of Israel, we can’t cooperate. But if the issue is more normal borders, we can cooperate” (www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB107/iraq04.pdf).
What does God think about painting the roses
The God of the Bible is also the God of Israel. The land of Israel belongs to Him (Leviticus 25:23; Ezekiel 36:5) and He is very sensitive about how the nations treat either the Jewish people (Zech.2:8) or the land of the Jews (Zechariah 12:2-3).
The two most detailed descriptions of Messiah Yeshua’s return to Planet Earth involve Him bringing judgment on the nations who invade, divide up and despoil the Jewish people and their land (Zechariah 14:1-4; Joel 3:1-2). All the red dye in the world will not parry God’s x-ray vision. He sees exactly what nefarious plans are concealed under a thin coating of politicized paint.
After the Lord touches down in Jerusalem, the Scriptures tell us that He will roar (Joel 3:12-17) in judgment as He chastens the nations (Zechariah 14:12-13). To paraphrase Bobby Bare’s Christian country waltz, the God of Israel will drop-kick the rebellious among the nations through the goalposts of divine judgment – those who have painted over God’s truth and heart regarding the land and the people of Israel: “For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness …” (Romans 1:18).
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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