O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
These are the first two lines of a well-known hymn which opened the service at my local Anglican church on Sunday last. It is apparently taken from a 9th-century Latin hymn. I assume it is no accident that Muslim invaders were occupying Jerusalem at the time. But it doesn’t matter whether that linkage is historically true, it is incidental to my theme which is that Israel and the people of Israel — to wit the Jews, distinctly not Palestinian Arabs — figure prominently in Christianity and in Western civilisation.
Jesus, the Apostles, Saint Paul were part of a Jewish population long occupying the land to the west of the Jordan River, including Jerusalem. They were not interlopers. The interlopers came later via conquest. Imams did not go barefoot into the unknown carrying copies of the Koran to proselytize by sweet reason.
But step back. Conquest was the name of the game for much of the history of mankind. It is useless to attach blame based on recent norms. That leaves us to make a judgment call. Who should ‘we’ recognise as being the rightful owners of the city of Jerusalem. Leave aside the broader question of the rightful geographical boundaries of Israel; though it has strong historical claims to all of Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank), which it currently occupies.
Who is the ‘we’ to whom I refer? A good question. I would like to think that Christians – though approaching a rump in many Western countries – would think as one. But that is no longer true. Too many to count would seem to be content with followers of a “false prophet” (Matthew 7:15-16) administering the Old City where Christ’s mission reached its conclusion. Can you imagine a greater blasphemy? But that seems to be the state of affairs.
Obviously, I can’t include western continental Europe or the UK in the ‘we’. They have sold out to Islam and to Palestinian aspirations. America is still in the game under Trump, but watch the Democrats as they insidiously embrace Islam. Democrat Jews in America should listen to and look at Linda Sarsour performing. And perform she does. They should reflect on her rabble-rousing mannerisms. If they still don’t get it, they must have a death wish.
I want to narrow the ‘we’ down to Australians. Where do we stand. Perilously close I would say to throwing Israel to the “ravenous wolves.” The Labor Party (as part of the worldwide left generally) has already made common cause with Islam to appease Muslim voters. It will only get worse. When in government they are likely to vote for most anti-Israel UN resolutions of which there are many (twenty-one last year) or, at best, abstain.
Mind you, the Coalition under Turnbull and Bishop were no slouches in getting on board the Palestinian train. Infamously, for example, Australia abstained in November last year on a resolution to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem. One hundred and fifty-one yeas, nine abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo) and only six noble nays (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States). As consolation, it was at least better and more admirable to be in the company of Cameroon and Togo than it was to be in the company of the UK, or France, or Germany, or numbers of other Western nations; all now pale shadows of their former selves.
You might think there is hope by clinging to Morrison’s and Marise Payne’s official statement and media release announcing that the government will consider moving our embassy to Jerusalem. Think again. Cringingly, there is this sellout within the announcement which I have italicised: “… we should consider recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without prejudice to its final boundaries, while acknowledging East Jerusalem as the expected capital of a future Palestinian state.” You can imagine how this sellout would be further emphasised in the unlikely event it is decided to move the embassy. Israel would probably prefer us to leave the embassy in Tel Aviv rather than see us join the quisling choir offering up East Jerusalem to their implacable and insatiable enemies.
In fact, the embassy won’t be moved no matter what the government decides — if it ever does decide. Labor will be in government before anything can be done. Even a feckless gesture of deciding to establish a peripheral consulate office in Jerusalem – something that I have seen mooted and you can imagine the wimps at Foreign Affairs coming up with as a backstop – will be undone. A good job really. Pathetic sops are worse than doing nothing.
It’s all too bad. Jewish Jerusalem is a shining symbol of the start of our Judeo-Christian civilisation. Out of it has flowed individual freedom, a culture of tolerance and decency, science, technology, capitalism and prosperity. Nothing matches it. All other civilisations and cultures past and present are grossly inferior by comparison. We need to fight for its preservation. That means recognising all of Jerusalem as being an integral and indivisible part of the Jewish state of Israel. That’s the call we should make without qualification or caveat. All else is appeasement towards forces set on our demise.