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Friend or Foe?

by Charles Gardner
Charles Gardner

We must make up our mind whose side we’re on

By Charles Gardner, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer’s Opinion)

Gavin Williamson speaking smallerLONDON, UK (ANS – February 8, 2018) — Fine-sounding words are not enough. Actions speak much louder. The apostle James berated those who boasted about their faith when it wasn’t matched by their deeds (James 2.14).

Britain’s new Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said the United Kingdom “will always be Israel’s friend” and spoke of how the Jewish state is a “beacon of light and hope in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt.”

In addressing the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual parliamentary reception, he also hailed “the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel.”

I was heartened by his resounding praise for the Jewish state, and do not doubt his sincerity, but he is part of a government that in recent days has refused to follow U.S. President Trump’s lead in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and which also continues to desist from applying a full ban on the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Stabbing of Israeli rabbi smallerBoth these actions encourage Israel’s enemies to believe they have our support for their bloodthirsty Jihad (holy war) against the Jews, illustrated once more on Monday with the brutal stabbing to death of a 29-year-old Israeli rabbi at a bus stop in Samaria. Itamar Ben-Gal leaves a wife and four children.

This followed last month’s murder, also in Samaria, of a 35-year-old rabbi and father-of-six in a drive-by shooting outside Nablus (the biblical Shechem, home to Joseph’s Tomb and Jacob’s Well.) Ten children in the area are thus left fatherless in the space of a few weeks.

At best, we are sending out mixed messages, the modus operandi of Palestinian politicians who have often been caught saying one thing to their Arab audience and quite another to the English-speaking world. (For examples of this, see Palestinian Media Watch at https://www.palwatch.org/).

Oh yes, I know that diplomats are charged with seeking peace and should try, if at all possible, to accommodate all parties, but appeasement will only ever succeed in putting off the evil day of reckoning which, when it comes, will be much more difficult to unravel. The current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is itself an example of the persistent failure of short-term deals made to keep the ‘peace’ with Arab parties ever since the Balfour Declaration was published 100 years ago.

Instead of getting on with it and immediately implementing its declared goal – the resettlement of Jews from the diaspora in the Promised Land – we dithered and dallied for decades in a fruitless effort to please all parties. The enemies of Israel saw it as weakness, which they exploited to the hilt with violence that had us chasing our tails looking for a way out of the awesome responsibility we had been given.

Now, just days after marking Holocaust Memorial Day in Parliament and all over the country, we hear of rising anti-Semitism in Britain, Ireland and France.

nablus smallerThe Community Security Trust, in their annual report on anti-Semitism, said there were 1,382 such incidents in Britain in 2017 — the highest since it began gathering data in 1984.1

In Paris, an eight-year-old boy was attacked in the second assault on Jewish children in the area in three weeks, drawing condemnation from French President Emmanuel Macron, rightly concerned at the prospect of losing yet more citizens as a result.2 France has Europe’s largest Jewish community, but many have made Aliyah (emigrated) to Israel in the wake of increasing anti-Semitism in recent years.

The Irish Parliament, meanwhile, is considering a Bill that would boycott goods produced by Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, with up to five years’ imprisonment awaiting offenders.3

Quite apart from the fact that such a boycott would also harm Palestinian workers, it is a shocking form of anti-Semitism which, not surprisingly, provoked anger from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with reported intervention from the United States. The parliament has now postponed voting on the Bill, which is likely to be re-visited in the summer.

From Britain’s point of view, the situation is aggravated by worrying in-fighting among the ranks of the Conservative-led government — mostly over Brexit — which could open the door to a Labour Party having its own problems with anti-Semitism.

The Bible says: “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” (Proverbs 28.2)

The Irish, like the South African government, have clearly fallen into the trap, set by Palestinian propaganda, of seeing Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state. South African diplomat Clinton Swemmer told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that apartheid, once used to describe black disenfranchisement in South Africa, now applies to Israel because of its policies towards Palestinians.

He said: “Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state.”4

Dan Diker smallerBut as Dan Diker, Fellow of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, points out, Swemmer is speaking for many who know little or nothing about Israel and never lived through apartheid. “There is not even one point of similarity (between apartheid South Africa and Israel),” Diker said, adding: “Our parliament, Supreme Court, universities, bathrooms, hospitals and everything else in Israel are fully integrated.”5

At the end of the day, the word of God is clear, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling…” (Psalm 132.13)


1Christians United for Israel, 2 February 2018



4United with Israel, 29 January 2018


Photo captions: 1) Gavin Williamson speaking at the CFI event 2) The scene of the attack and the victim, Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal (Photo: Yair Sagi) 3) A view over Nablus (biblical Shechem), home of Joseph’s Tomb and Jacob’s Well, where a father-of-six rabbi was murdered. (Photo: Charles Gardner). 4) Dan Diker, Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (RT). 5) Charles Gardner with ANS founder, Dan Wooding, during Dan’s visit to the UK last year.

Dan Wooding and Charles Gardner smallerAbout the writer: Charles Gardner is a veteran Cape Town-born British journalist working on plans to launch a new UK national newspaper, reporting and interpreting the news from a biblical perspective. With his South African forebears having had close links with the legendary devotional writer Andrew Murray, Charles is similarly determined to make an impact for Christ with his pen. He is also author of Israel the Chosen (Amazon) and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com, and has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 40 years. Part-Jewish, he is married to Linda, who takes the Christian message around many schools in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster. He has four children and nine grandchildren, and can be reached by phone on +44 (0) 1302 832987, or by e-mail at chazgardner@btinternet.com

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