GORDON ROBERTSON: Why I Stand with Israel


PHOTO: Families and friends of about 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza call for their return as they participate in a five-day “March for the Hostages” in Israel, Nov. 16, 2023 (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

I have a profound conviction and an unwavering commitment to stand with Israel. My support of Israel is rooted in our shared values of liberty, democracy, equality, human rights, and self-determination.
 
The history of the Jewish people has been marred by centuries of suffering, persecution, and discrimination, often culminating in mass atrocities. There is a darkness that can turn humans into monsters, and that darkness seems to have a special target in the Jewish people.  October 7, 2023, is just the latest in a long line of horrors against Jews where the face of evil becomes evident for all to see.
 
In the 1880s, the pogroms of czarist Russia created the backdrop for the modern Zionist movement. The violent attacks targeted Jewish communities resulting in injury, death, and widespread destruction. The victims were often defenseless, and the attacks fueled an atmosphere of fear and insecurity for Jewish families. The horrors of these pogroms served as a precursor to the larger tragedy that would unfold in Europe less than six decades later.
 
In 1896, Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State, which declared that Jewish people should leave Europe for their historic homeland. A Jewish state was the only way to escape antisemitism and be free to be Jewish. Attempts were made to follow Herzl’s dream: the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, and the British Mandate. None of these efforts worked in time to stop the Nazis.

The systematic genocide of six million Jews during World War II stands as the largest atrocity in human history. The Holocaust exposed the depths of hatred that unchecked anti-Semitism could inspire. Its survivors bore witness to an indescribable nightmare, and the memory of those who perished serves as a solemn reminder of the pledge “Never again.”
 
For the Jewish people 75 years later, that pledge has become a new slogan: “Never again is now.” On October 7, the terrorist group Hamas tortured and murdered more than 1,400 Israeli men, women, and children, with the same chilling brutality shown by the Nazis. There is no difference between the German commandants of the concentration camps going home to their families for dinner after a day of killing and the Hamas terrorist pausing to call his parents to celebrate killing ten Jews. 
 
To stand with Israel is to ensure that such horrors are never repeated, that we remember the lessons of the Jewish ghettos, the pogroms, and the Holocaust, and that we actively work to prevent the rise of hatred and genocide. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was a monumental moment in the history of the world. The people of Israel emerged as a beacon of hope and a testament to resilience, arising from the ashes of the Holocaust and returning from a Diaspora of nearly 2,000 years. 
 
In the Arab world, the birth of Israel was considered a Nakba or “catastrophe” that triggered the expulsion of Jews from countries like Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. More than 800,000 Jews were forced to flee their homes, leaving behind centuries of heritage and history. The exodus of Jews from the Arab world in 1948 is a poignant reminder of the human cost of political conflicts and the displacement of entire communities.
 
In the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the expulsion of Jews from the West Bank and East Jerusalem added another layer of complexity to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Jews who had lived in these areas for centuries were forcefully displaced, and their properties were confiscated. From 1948 to 1967, it was illegal for Jews to enter the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Ethnic cleansing happened on a massive scale, every synagogue on the Jordanian side of Jerusalem and the West Bank was destroyed and every Jewish cemetery desecrated.
 
If you think that America is somehow immune to this behavior, think again.  According to the FBI, 55% of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the USA are against Jews. In America, every minority should have the same rights to liberty, democracy, and equality. Right now, in Europe and America, Jewish people are being advised by their governments to not wear anything that would identify them as Jewish in public. When your personal safety, your family or your property are at risk, you have no liberty.
 
The Jewish people have the same rights as any other people, and Israel should have the same rights as any other nation: the right to self-determination and the right to self-defense against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Self-determination is not a mere political concept; it is a fundamental human right that recognizes the aspirations and identity of a people who have endured centuries of persecution.
 
Part of that persecution is the current political claim that Israel is an apartheid, genocidal state bent on committing war crimes. In Israel, Muslim Arabs have full rights as citizens: they own homes and businesses, vote, and serve in the Israeli army. They are elected to the Knesset and appointed to the Supreme Court. In Gaza, there are no Jews; they have all been driven out. In every city controlled by the Palestinian Authority, there are no Jews. There are signs warning Israeli citizens to stay out because their safety is at risk. In Ramallah, the city square has monuments dedicated to terrorists who have killed Jews. The “Refrigerator Bomber” is celebrated for his death toll, and the inventor of the suicide vest is a hero for including ball bearings in the design so that more Jews could be killed. Taking civilians as hostages is a war crime; trying to get them back can never be a crime.
 
Israel, surrounded by nations with a history of hostility, has a legitimate right to protect its citizens and ensure its security. To stand with Israel is to support its right to safeguard its people. On October 7, Hamas took away Israel’s sense of security and Hamas now vows to repeat October 7 again and again until Israel ceases to exist. The barbaric attacks of October 7 should never happen again. I stand with Israel against any ideology that threatens its existence.
 
If you value liberty, democracy, equality, human rights, and self-determination, stand with Israel; it is the right thing to do.
 
– Gordon Robertson
  The Christian Broadcasting Network, Operation Blessing, Regent University

 



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