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How And Why America’s Christians Must Care For Israel (Second Of Two Parts)


Prepared Remarks Delivered By Professor Louis Rene Beres At Windsor Hills Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February 29, 2004

The Palestinians continue to speak of “occupied territories.” They are joined by their civilized European allies whose traditional anti-Semitism is now reinvigorated by Arab/Islamic Jew hatred.

No one pays attention to the fact that the PLO was formed in 1964, three years before Israel even took control of Judea/Samaria and Gaza. They fail to note that these territories were won in a war of self defense in 1967. What, then, was the PLO planning to liberate between 1964 and 1967?

Not just Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but also “mainstream” and “moderate” PLO still call for Israel’s liquidation. To this very day - after all of the bowing and scraping of American presidents before the defiled altars of Arab terrorism – the PLO Charter still calls openly for Israel’s elimination. Unashamedly. Self-righteously.

As for the Charter of Hamas, its position is rather unambiguous: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one to be dealt with on this premise: ‘I swear by he who holds in his hands the soul of Muhammad: I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I promise to assault and kill; assault and kill; assault and kill.’”

These are the exact words from the published Charter of Hamas. Are they ever even quoted on the evening news or in our newspapers?

Israel’s conflict with the Arab/Islamic world has almost nothing to do with Arab/Islamic interest in Jewish lands. Israel comprises 1.2% of the land in the Middle East. Arab/Islamic states take up 98.8 % of these lands. Israel is despised in the Arab/Islamic world because it is Jewish. Period.

As painful as are the torments for Israel of suicide-bombings – the most blatantly cowardly forms of modern terrorism - there is an even far- greater danger. I refer to the very real prospect of WMD terror attacks upon Israeli populations, or even of  chemical/biological/ nuclear war. Presently, with Iraq immobilized by our own country’s Operation Iraqi Freedom, the main nuclear threat to Israel lies in non-Arab Iran. (And let us not forget that Israel’s own preemptive destruction of Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981 is THE reason why we can’t find any nuclear weapons in Iraq today – it is the ONLY reason).


Moreover, it is not out of the question that a nuclear-armed Islamic adversary of Israel might be irrational; that is, it might be the individual Islamic suicide-bomber in macrocosm – a state willing to die itself in order to achieve a religiously-desired outcome.

Nuclear deterrence is based upon assumptions of rationality. Where such assumptions might be unfounded, deterrence could be immobilized. With this in mind, Israel – preferably together with its only ally, the United States of America – must prepare, once again, for acts of anticipatory self-defense.

Alternatively, it could place all of its hopes in ballistic missile defense - in Israel the system is called the Arrow - but these would be decidedly vain hopes.

As we know from our own recent American experience with the Patriot ATBM system, even we are very far from achieving a minimally high probability of interception. Best estimates are that in the first Gulf War, our American reliability of BMD intercept was less than 10%.

As Chair of “Project Daniel,” a small group that has been advising Israel’s Prime Minister on existential security matters, I can confirm with some authority that neither we nor the Israelis are presently prepared to rely heavily on ballistic missile defense.

In this connection, our Project Daniel final report to the PM - Israel’s Strategic Future -emphasizes the legal and tactical imperatives of preemption, of striking first, against enemy hard targets. This is sometimes jokingly referred to in military and defense communities as “Pre-Boost Phase Intercept.”

But we come back again now to Israel as G-d’s land and the People of Israel as G-d’s people. In the end, the war for Jewish survival in the Land of Israel cannot be won entirely by superior armaments. Indeed, a look at Israel’s brief history reveals rather straightforwardly that victories in 1948, 1967 and even in 1973 cannot be explained by military greatness alone.

True, Israel’s armed forces are vastly better than the armies of their enemies, but the force ratios are so resoundingly unfavorable that quality should long ago have yielded to quantity.

Even Von Clausewitz, the classic Prussian writer of On War, understands that there comes a time when “mass counts.” Israel’s genocidal enemies have long had such mass; but they have nonetheless lost every major war against a country that is half the size of an American lake. It seems that something else is going on here.

A popular Palestinian refrain today is this: “Today the Saturday people; tomorrow the Sunday people.” We are both now despised as “occupiers” in the imperiled Land of Israel - Jews and Christians alike – and we both have an obligation to protect and serve G-d’s own chosen land.

None of us - Jew or Christian – now has any right to stand silently by as Israel suffers grotesque calumny from the Arab/Islamic world and growing threats to its physical survival from that world. All of us must now recall from Isaiah a most sacred injunction: “For Zion’s sake, I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem I will not be still.”

What shall we do? We – Jews and Christians - know full well that Israel and America are not the problem. We know that Israel and America are the solution. We – Jews and Christians alike – know full well that the Arab/Islamic world of the Middle East is largely animated by a resurgent medievalism – a giant leap backward into history that now seeks to replace coexistence with Jihad (Holy War) and to supplant reason with hateful indoctrination.

The Christian world, along with its kindred Jewish world, has already seen the violence of militant Islam – not only in Israel, but in places like Lebanon, Egypt, India, the Sudan, Ethiopia, and elsewhere.

Now is the time for Christians to stand by their Jewish brothers and sisters against a common and retrograde threat.

We together – Jews and Christians – have already borne witness to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in the Land of Israel. We have witnessed the ingathering of the Jews to Zion and the recovery of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. We both know and recognize that Jerusalem is the exclusive and eternal capital of the Jewish state – even when that knowledge and recognition is denied by the President and Secretary of State of these United States. (Contrary to Congressional authorizations, our embassy remains in Tel Aviv).

Today we are together here, in Oklahoma City – a place that has known terrorism directly. (I was here myself for the ceremonies of the five-year memorial).

Here, in this great church – from this pulpit of a very inspired preacher – Pastor James A. Vineyard – a sacred movement can now begin to align ALL of America’s Bible-believing Christians with the Land and People of Israel.

Zionism and its corollary protection of Israel must quickly become a living article of faith for all Christians in this great land of America.

Christians believe that Zionism is a prelude to the Redemption. For Christians, as for Jews, Zionism is necessarily understood as a great and holy movement. Zionism is understood by all Christians as a Divine process that cannot be turned back ? and most certainly not by a resurgent medievalism that seeks to separate G-d’s land from G-d’s people through mayhem and murder.

In conclusion, let me become more pragmatic.

America’s Christians have an obligation to fight anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly and decidedly un-Christian head. America’s Christians must stand up for Israel in the newspapers, on the radio, on television, wherever G-d’s land is under propagandistic and violent attack.

America’s Christians must recognize and condemn the altogether unique barbarism of Palestinian terrorism, acknowledging publicly that there is no “cycle of violence” in the Middle East – no “equivalence” between terror and counter-terror – but only an endless cycle of Arab attacks upon Jewish civilians followed by unavoidable Israeli efforts at essential self-defense.

America’s Christians should visit Israel, showing solidarity with the Jewish People. (Of course your own pastor, Dr. Vineyard, has just done exactly that. My Israeli friends who had the honor to meet the Pastor have already reported back to me about his strong and valiant show of support – for which they are profoundly grateful.)

America’s Christians should have courage, and should now join together with other churches and movements that seek to protect Israel – e.g., the National Unity Coalition; Christians For Israel Political Action Committee (CIPAC); and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. (Also, my current work with Gary Bauer, who is a great and heroic champion of Israel).

America’s Christians should read beyond the mainstream press, both at internet sources and informed print media. Here, especially, they should read The Jewish Press, America’s most honest and altogether best Jewish newspaper.

America’s Christians should become engaged politically in defense of Israel, speaking out against politicians who would themselves prefer personal power over Christian duty.

Finally, America’s Christians must pray for Israel, for the Jewish People and for the Peace of Jerusalem ? not a peace of surrender to the new and sinister forms of totalitarianism, but for a peace that would recall G-d’s blessing upon Abraham:

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse Him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the Earth be blessed”(Genesis 12:3)

Thank you.

Copyright © The Jewish Press. All Rights Reserved.

Louis Rene Beres was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on
international relations and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.

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