This will be my final post for a week or two. I’ll be away on holiday and will have more important things to think about — things like sunbathing, reading, relaxing and having fun with my family.
As no reader can fail to be aware, military violence between Israel and Palestine (specifically Hamas) has escalated in recent days. Hamas has been tossing rockets into Israel, while Israel has been sending guided missiles into Gaza.
As soon as these kinds of events begin to unfold, it’s generally only a matter of a few hours at most before related posts begin to pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. These are invariably posted by Christians, and are always urging support for Israel. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen in the past three or four days with slogans like “I stand with Israel, and so should you!”
Such posts trouble me greatly, and I’d like spend just a few moments unpacking why. I don’t have long, so I’ll try to be brief. (Ha ha, I hear you say.)
First, apart from any theological considerations, such posts espouse and propagate a simplistic worldview in which there is always a hero and a villain, a clear-cut case of right and wrong. Anyone who honestly thinks there isn’t a lot more to this situation than meets the eye — or rather, than our extremely biased media, which use fear and drama to sell stories, would have us believe — is seriously living in La La Land and needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
There is always, always, always more going on than the media-fuelled propaganda would have you believe. The back-story to any news item is always far more complex and messy than the headlines suggest. To get more of a feel for just some of the complexities that lie behind the current morass in Israel and Gaza, just read this article in the New York Times. Sadly, Christians often seem to swallow the simplistic headlines more quickly than anyone else — especially when doing so fits their judgemental, God-will-slay-the-infidels paradigm.