Before 1967, I would say that most Western liberals were fairly sympathetic to Israel.
After 1967, when Israel became an occupier of Arab territory, that changed. There was a rapid cooling of attitude. But bizarrely, despite the fact that Israel was the party that was constantly striving for peace, that was accepting UN resolutions while the Arabs were rejecting them, that was offering to implement some form of modus vivendi with the Palestinian Arabs, and despite the fact that the Palestinians were launching wave after wave of terrorist campaigns against Israeli civilians, the world, nevertheless, became first unsympathetic, and then deeply hostile to Israel.
And that’s where we are today. And the question is Why?
There are many possible answers to that question. I just want to deal very briefly with three specific issues that a lot of people say, explain such liberal hostility to Israel.
First of all, there isn’t a Palestinian state still.
Then, the issue of the occupation and the settlements, and,
finally, of human rights.
So, let’s just very briefly look at these three issues:
In an ideal world, there would have been two states for two peoples. In fact, arguably ‘two states for two peoples’ were created at the time of the initial partition of Palestine in 1922.
But clearly, that wasn’t going to work and the Zionist leadership recognized that that was wasn’t going to work and so has subsequent Israeli leaderships, although some on the right of Israeli politics have talked intermittently about Jordan being Palestine; but, it doesn’t carry much traction internationally, not even within Israel itself.
It was the Israeli diplomat who said “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. It’s not just a nice turn of phrase, it’s actually a very accurate description of what has happened over the years.
I’ve just presented you with a few examples here: from the initial partition of Palestine, right up to the Trump plan of last year. All opportunities to establish two states for two peoples or, at least, to use them as a basis for negotiations have failed as a result of Arab rejectionism.
So, that’s a very bizarre reason to adopt a hostile attitude to Israel when it’s Israel’s adversaries who’ve repeatedly rejected offers of Palestinian statehood.
Now, what about the occupation and the settlements. Well, Israel is far from the only country that is accused of occupying other people’s territories.
This is a list produced by Jewish Human Rights Watch of 16 disputed territories around the world. Most of them, well, I’ve certainly never heard of. I’ve heard of a few of them but we don’t hear about them. They don’t get any coverage in the media; they’re certainly barely not even acknowledged, let alone discussed, in the UN or any of its bodies and yet the UN focuses disproportionately on Israel’s alleged occupation.
And that word, ‘disproportionate’, is not my term, it’s the term that was used by former Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon about the UN’s obsession with Israel.
And that disproportionate focus on Israel, on treating Israel unlike any other state in the world is in itself a form of anti-Semitism if we accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.
And then, the third of the three issues I’ve flagged up. What about human rights?
Maybe, well maybe Israel is such a dreadful abuser of human rights that you can understand why liberal opinion would turn against her. Until one stops to think about where Israel is located.
And it turns out that Israel is the only free country in the Middle East. It’s the only full democracy in the Middle East. It’s the only country which guarantees full and equal civil rights to all of its diverse communities.
And yet, liberal opinion is not supportive of Israel but appears to support many of her neighbours.
So, I’m just going to leave that question: ‘Why is this hostility occurring?’ I’m going to leave that hanging and perhaps we’ll come back to it later.
The result of all of this is that the UN remains implacably hostile to Israel.
Hillel Neuer, which is a name some of you may have heard of; he’s the Director of UN Watch, an NGO that tries to hold the UN to account for its bias against Israel and in many other areas as well.
It’s pretty cynical. Again, it’s something that is not discussed in the media and is not acknowledged, certainly not by the British government.
Then again, if we look at other UN institutions I’ve mentioned, UNRWA. Even if UNRWA was funded simply to look after these five and a half six million Palestinian people, the few original refugees still surviving and their descendants, well, l we may regard it as unhelpful but we could understand that.
However, it’s worse than that because, actually, the UNRWA is an incubator of conflict. It incites violence against Israel in all kinds of ways. Primarily, by delegitimizing Israel and refusing to acknowledge even the country’s existence.
So, it’s hardly any wonder that generation after generation of Palestinian children that are subjected to this kind of brainwashing become, when they grow into adulthood, deeply hostile to Israel and this simply perpetuates the conflict.
To minute 07:29 of the recording
Christians also supported Israel’s efforts in the land becoming fertile which was also seen as another fulfilment of prophecy Isaiah 35 / Ezekiel 36 speak about trees being planted in the land ancient cities being rebuilt, the land becoming fertile causing the desert to blossom as a rose to fill the face of the earth with fruit.
And the export of Israel’s agricultural achievements around the world is another sign of God’s blessing upon Israel. Also, technology and medicine and other achievements of Israel.
And out of this support for Israel came a number of pro-Israeli organizations including a lot of pro-Israel influence upon some of the God TV programs. Revelation TV has a regular pro-Israel slot with our friend Simon Barrett in which I think Sharon has also appeared.
And in America, even more so, we see that the influence of pro-Israel has spread to America through certain Christian influences such as Blackstone, the Scofield Reference Bible, giving a theological underpinning for the modern pro-Israel movement in the United States.
We also see that, in America, very influential evangelical churches are supporting Israel and even having a political influence upon the situation with many supporting Trump in his bringing the American Embassy up to Jerusalem, proposing a peace process which would leave Jerusalem undivided in Jewish hands, retaining the Judea and Samaria settlements, the Jordan Valley, and the Golan Heights.
So, we have this pro-Israel influence which has been particularly important in America advocating for Israel with a pro-Zionist voting bloc taking action.
To minute 09:30 of the recording
As for the Palestinian authority, that was established as a result of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.
They claim to be a State of Palestine that’s why Israel has been taken, has been referred to the International Criminal Court by what is described as the ‘State of Palestine’.
So, one would have thought they would take some responsibility for policies that are antithetical to peace and yet here we see the so-called ‘Pay-to-Slay Policy’ in action.
This is a table which shows you how the salary of a prisoner in Israel convicted of terrorist offenses: often, of murder, sometimes multiple murders. How the longer the sentence, which of course is commensurate with the number of people killed, the larger the salary that is paid to the family of the perpetrator.
Incidentally, these figures are out of date, they’re substantially in excess of the average earning capacity of Palestinian workers but these figures are, however generous they may look already, out of date. Because some of those numbers have increased just this month by around 50 percent.
To minute 11:01 of the recording
A movement called Sabael Arab Liberation Theology which often sees Jesus as a Palestinian freedom fighter against the Jews.
A movement called Sabeel Arab Liberation Theology which often sees Jesus as a Palestinian freedom fighter against the Jews.
Yasser Arafat speaking in Bethlehem in 1954 said: “This is the birthplace of our Lord the Messiah, the Palestinian. We pronounce this holy land, this holy city, this city of the Palestinian Jesus a liberated city forever.”
And this becomes a part of a rewrite of history by the Palestinian authority and by these pro-Israel pro-Palestinian Christian movement within the church to deny Israel’s right to exist to erase the Jewish people’s history in the land of Israel and invent an ancient Palestinian Muslim and Arab history in the land.
Basically it’s a fabrication. Jesus was not a Palestinian, he was Jewish, and the whole Palestinian aspect of it is something which has been made up.
One of the leaders of this movement is a man called Naim Ateek. In a quote from some of his writings he says:
And so, it goes on:
A gross exaggeration of the situation and something which is not giving the truth of what is taking place.
Obviously, there are injustices, there are problems, but the fact is that, in Bethlehem for example, the Christian population has fallen from around 80 percent in the 1970s when it was under Israel to around 20 to 30 percent now. That’s under the Palestinian authority and it’s not because of Israel. It’s because of Muslim infiltration.
In fact, the only place in the Middle East where traditional Arab Christians have peace and safety is within Israel. In Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian authority area, Gaza there’s been a massive decline not because of Israel but because of Islamic hostility.
To minute 14:22 of the recording
Okay, back to the UK. I had to provide some context for UK behaviour.
But let’s look at the UK voting record at the UN if we look just at the period 2015 to 2021. That’s February of this year.
The UN General Assembly voted 112 times against Israel. In 3 of these occasions the UK supported Israel. The UK abstained 27 times and voted against Israel 82 times.
In 2019, the UK abstained on the charge that Israel committed war crimes while trying to stop an invasion, effectively a Hamas instigated invasion, from Gaza and yet, this is during a period of a conservative government which claims to be an ally of Israel, claims to be a friend of Israel’s, and claims to regard Israel’s security as of paramount importance.
To minute 15:37 of the recording
Now, the influence of Sabeel and others has affected much of the church. The World Council of Churches with liberal theology has mixed traditional Christian contempt for the Jews with kind of Marxist liberation movements and liberation theology.
One of the major spokesmen for this has been Stephen Sizer. We also have Garth Hewitt of the Amos Trust, Colin Chapman, author of Who’s Promised Land, and others who are influencing mainline churches to oppose the existence of Israel and to oppose Zionism.
There’s a call to Western Christians to reject the assumption that the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and a large part of Palestine is somehow the fulfilment of prophecy.
The Church of Scotland produced a report in 2013, much influenced by Stephen Seizer, which said that the Christian Zionist viewpoint worldview has
I believe that is untrue. I’m a Christian Zionist. I believe in the State of Israel. I would like to see a just and lasting peace for Israel and the Arab world, but I know that the major problem in achieving this is that the Palestinians are, for the most part, motivated by an ideology which aims at the exclusion and expulsion of Israeli Jews, and even their extermination.
They may have formally renounced the Palestine National Covenant which calls for that, but they’re still acting upon it. And the Hamas covenant does call for the destruction of Israel.
These things are never mentioned by the opponents of Israel.
It’s interesting that after the Oslo accords, Arafat was accused by some of his supporters of betraying the cause by negotiating with the Jews. He said: “don’t worry this is part of the phased policy which we all agreed to in 1974.”
The ‘phased policy’, actually, the Ten Points phased Policy was a policy agreed by the PLO at that time (1974) to secure a territory on any part of Israel chooses to withdraw from and then use that as a base from which to dismantle Israel.
And you could say that that is basically the policy which even today. The Palestinian authority, and certainly Hamas, are supporting terror, indoctrinating their children with a hatred for Israel, and still, basically, aiming at the elimination of Israel.
To minute 18:22 of the recording
I just want to mention a couple of other rather disturbing phenomena that scar the British political landscape currently.
Something called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ is focused mainly on university campuses. There are currently around 30 UK universities which host ‘Israel Apartheid Week’. And this is based on essentially a propagandistic notion that Israel is comparable to apartheid South Africa and should be treated in the same way as a pariah state through isolation and boycotts.
Of course, it’s false. But many of the young students in encountering such assertions don’t have the knowledge to be able to refute the allegations.
A second phenomenon in which the UK has played a very major part, is the so-called BDS Movement (Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions).
And let me make it quite clear: there is no such thing as a boycotts dive divestment and sanctions movement against any country in the world other than Israel. Not against Iran, not against Saudi Arabia, not against North Korea, only Israel.
And British NGOs have been at the forefront of establishing the BDS Movement.
It really kicked off in the year 2001 at the Durban Conference, ironically called an ‘anti-racism conference’. Here are some of they’ve listed some of the NGOs that played a part in this. And very quickly, academics, trade unions, and others jumped on the bandwagon.
Now BDS may sound like an economic movement but its founder, Omar Barghouti, has more than once emphasized that the purpose of BDS is the destruction of Israel.
To minute 20:37 of the recording
We see also that they’re equating Zionism with racism according to the UN formula which is another horrible accusation. And generally, they side with the Islamic movement against Israel.
They don’t criticize the atrocious human rights record of Islamists but they do criticize Israel.
One of the most shameful things that happened was that Stephen Sizer went to Iran, had his book on Christian Zionism translated into Farsi, addressed a whole group of high up people in Iran with the approval of the daughter of Ayatollah Khamenei and spoke of Christian jihad as ‘submission to the will of God’. He said: it
Well, fundamentalist Islam is slaughtering Christians around the world, brings the terrible injustice of oppressive regimes on the suffering people of Iran, Afghanistan, wars, and terror in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Nigeria, much of the Sahel region of Africa, and now into Mozambique and other parts of Africa.
Generally, these people have nothing to say about this. Only that somehow Christians who support Israel’s right to exist with a hope for a peaceful democratic government in Israel are responsible for all the trouble in the world.
Now, we see sadly that this is a major influence on a number of NGOs and Christian organizations World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church, the Church of Scotland, World Vision, Christian Aid, Oxfam. All of these are supporting this view and supporting also the replacement theology, really, an idea of Augustine.
I once did a debate with Colin Chapman, the author whose comments on the Promised Land I spoke about in terms of the prophecies of the Jews coming from the North, South, East, and West to Israel and he said this will fulfil the Word of Jesus of ‘the gentiles coming from the North, South, East, and west into the church.’
A classic piece of replacement theology. They would reject and spiritualize prophecies about Israel’s restoration, the concept of a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob having anything to do with the land today and would have no concept of a Second Coming of Jesus Christ or a Millennial Reign from Jerusalem.
Paul Wilkinson describes the endgame which they’re working towards, that Sabeel is working towards:
That might sound okay, but if you follow it through and realize what it would mean, it would actually represent the end of Israel. It would mean that huge numbers of Palestinian refugees would flood into the land, they’d become a majority and, because of the hostility to the Jewish people, they would end up pushing Israel out of the land. And this would mean the end of the state of Israel.
You see that, basically, most of these people, if you really understand their program, have the same intentions as the left Islamic program exemplified in the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free”. In other words, following the words in Psalm 83:
To minute 24:24 of the recording
As far as UK- Israel trade is concerned, I have looked at this and got very confused because, on the one hand, we are told that Israeli exports to the UK have been rising exponentially. Here’s a headline from Jewish news just a year or two ago.
On the other hand, this Statista website (that’s a German website, a highly respected collector of international statistics) shows the opposite picture. The UK imports of goods from Israel have actually been declining significantly since 2012.
Well, I don’t know about you, I’m not an economist, but I don’t think both of those statements can be true.
So, I’m concerned about this. I’m not at all as complacent as as many other people seem to be about the impact of BDS, and it may well be that one or other of the of the sources of of those accounts is flawed in some way.
I don’t have time to go into media reporting, that is, UK media reporting of Israel. All I will say is that the BBC is regarded as the most authoritative news platform in the world bar none. Survey after survey has demonstrated this. People trust the BBC more than they trust any other organization whether it’s SKY or CNN or French or German channels.
So, the question I’m posing is: Is the BBC biased against Israel?
Many of us who observed BBC reporting about the Middle East feel that it is indeed biased. They deny it.
Here is a long-standing story which goes right back at least 15 years and I think it’s interesting that an independent inquiry was set up which didn’t publish its findings. It issued its findings, the Balen Report in 2004 but they’ve never been published.
Repeated Freedom of Information requests have attempted to get that Balen Report published and the BBC have spent (this may be out of date) this figure of 330,000 pounds in legal costs fighting those requests. Yet, it’s still unpublished to this day.
I think we can guess what it says. Michael Grade, who was chairman of the BBC seems to know what was in it, because he says the BBC has shown inexcusable bias on Israel.
So, I think we have a problem with the BBC and with the media in general but that’s really for another presentation altogether.
To minute 27:26 of the recording
We do see a growing anti-Semitism in Europe and the most potent form of this anti-Semitism is actually not the classic ‘Jews killed Jesus’ Christian-influenced anti-Semitism, it’s an alliance of left-wing and Islamist anti-Zionists.
If you look at these people, they’re pretty anti-Christian as well.
What we’re also seeing is a decline of America, the late great United States of America, a decline of the Christian and pro-Israel influence in America. It looks to me like the Biden administration is taking a very negative line on Israel.
The Iran nuclear issue is particularly dangerous for the future and we see that Israel is being betrayed by what is taking place at the present time.
Interesting that we’ve also seen some peace treaties with Israel and Arab countries which see Israel as an alliance against Iran.
We also see a kind of economic alliance which is built up between Israel, Egypt Greece, and Cyprus over the oil and gas find in the Mediterranean.
Detailed information about the complex political situation in the Middle East can be found here:
To minute 28:40 of the recording
The effect of all of this of all of these phenomena that I’ve been describing collectively on the British public means that any British sympathy for Israel that used to exist has been eroded now, I believe, to a disastrous extent.
This was a survey that was conducted about four or five years ago on a sample of 5,000 adults. The blue segment of the chart (6%) shows the proportion of those people who say their sympathies lie more with Israelis. And the red segment shows the proportion say their sympathies lie more with the Palestinians that’s 18% to 6%.
At one time, we used to talk about 10% on each side. We used to say (I’m going back now many years), we used to say 10 percent of the British public were pro-Israel, 10 were pro-Palestinian, and the other 80% didn’t know and didn’t care.
That is no longer the case. It may have been true, but this is a worrying situation and I can’t see any sign that it’s improving.
Some people may suggest, well, ‘this is all to do with anti-Semitism’. What is true is that anti-Semitism is thriving in Britain today again.
We know from the work of CST and others that around just under a third of the adult population
in Britain harboured negative feelings towards Jews amounting to prejudice, and that the number of anti-Semitic incidents, as monitored by the Community Security Trust, has been increasing steadily.
I’m talking pre-pandemic of course. So, anti-Semitism is a is a factor. To what extent can anti-Semitism explain hostility to Israel?
Well, I don’t know. I’ve often resisted this argument, that ‘the one kind leaks into the other’. Clearly, the vast majority of anti-Semites are critics of Israel. But not all critics of Israel are anti-Semites.
Nevertheless, and again I’m quoting research evidence here, that there is a statistical correlation between between people who harbour anti-Semitic views and those who harbour hostility towards Israel.
It’s not a direct match but there is a statistical correlation. If you are a so-called ‘severe critic of Israel’, you are statistically more likely to be an anti-Semite than if you’re not.
Again, I’m not conflating the two, I’m not saying both are identical. Otherwise, that would be absurd because most Israelis would then be anti-Semites since most Israelis are critics of Israel.
But what has happened now is that, as anti-Semitism has been highlighted specifically in the British Labour Party, the pushback against that has been to accuse Jews, or the so-called ‘Israel Lobby’, of manufacturing anti-Semitism in order to protect Israel.
This is the so-called ‘Livingston Formulation’, the idea that Jews are behaving in bad faith, they are lying about anti-Semitism, and they are simply inventing an anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour Party in order to stifle criticism by Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingston and others of Israel.
However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission clearly don’t agree with that view.
And, as we know, their report suggests that “anti-Semitism is embedded within” or “was embedded” at least “within the culture of the Labour Party”, which they said “at best, didn’t do enough to prevent anti-Semitism, and “at worst could be seen to accept it”.
Clearly, this is more evidence of an overlap. That’s, I think, as much as one can say about hostility to Israel and anti-Semitism.
To minute 33:09 of the recording
We see one movement towards peace but we also see movements towards war. Will there be war or peace in the Middle East? That’s actually the title of my latest magazine in the last days Bible prophecy.
Actually, it does indicate the coming of series of troubles including the war of Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38-39. And, if you follow through some of the passages in the Book of Ezekiel, you can see that countries are lining up pretty much as it says in the Bible. Russia is in Syria, Iran’s in Syria, Turkey is in Syria to the North of Israel. Iran is leading the hostility against Israel at the present time, and the possibility of war breaking up in the North is a real.
We see also that Jerusalem and the West Bank, Judea, and Samaria are the main issues for future negotiations which ties in with the prophecy in Zechariah chapter 12, of “Jerusalem being the burdensome stone burdening all nations”.
And in this we see also that there is both a Jewish and a Christian expectation of the coming of the Messiah.
I was looking at some articles by a man called Rabbi Winston, who takes Ezekiel 38-39 literally and Zechariah 12 to 14 literally, and he saw them as forerunners of the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
This doesn’t seem like the forerunner of the coming of Jesus but, as a Christian myself, I do see these as prophecies which are looking to the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah following the time of great trouble in the last days.
And it looks to me very much like we are living in the last days and we’re seeing the movement towards the fulfilment of these Bible prophecies as both the negative: and it says there’s going to be a time of great trouble unlike any that has been before or ever shall be, and, a positive: that it speaks about the coming of the Messiah. Who will then bring an end to war and bring in the prophecy of Isaiah.
“And the Lord will reign from Jerusalem, they’ll beat swords into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks, and not study war anymore. And the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
A hopeful future and hopeful end. Whatever happens “Am Yisrael Chai”, “The people of Israel live”.
And just in conclusion, I believe that whatever takes place in the coming days, believing Christians should stand by Israel and the Jewish people, they should inform themselves of what’s taking place, they should pray for Israel, should love the people of Israel, and should defend them against those who come to seek to destroy them.
To minute 35:54 of the recording
I want to finish now with a mention of this character who you’ll be familiar with.
I think Boris Johnson is somewhat of an enigma. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have said that.
He is said to be the most pro-Israel Prime Minister in British history. In fact, he said it himself. He knows Israel really well. He’s visited many times and he worked when he was a youngster on a kibbutz and has maintained strong links with it.
So, what an earth is he doing attempting to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran that will allow Iran even under the terms of the deal to acquire nuclear weapons?
Given that Iran’s explicit number one foreign policy objective is the obliteration of Israel, why does he continue to support UN resolutions that condemn so-called ‘illegal settlements’, when new homes are announced even in areas under full Israeli control.
First of all, there have been hardly any new settlements in the last 25 years announced by Israel in the West Bank but, where there have been some new buildings is within area which is under full Israeli control and which is under the Oslo accords.
Israel is permitted to build whatever she likes there. Now, you can argue that she shouldn’t do it, there are good political reasons for restraint, but to call them illegal when they’re clearly not…?
Why is Britain supporting these resolutions?
And we’ve mentioned the General Assembly anti-Israeli motions of the UN which around two-thirds of which the UK has supported.
If we look just last November, just a few months ago, Israel was condemned no less than 17 times by the UN General Assembly in that one month alone and the UK supported those resolutions 13 times.
So, I’m just suggesting: “with friends like these, who needs enemies?
And just to emphasize the point about Iranian foreign policy, something we don’t see mentioned on the BBC or other media. Iran has never once withdrawn its threat to destroy Israel. In fact, it keeps reiterating its threat to destroy Israel. They have something that they call the ‘Hourglass Festival’. And at this Hourglass Festival, they show the countdown to Israel’s destruction.
As far as they are concerned, it’s just a matter of time. The leader has set a deadline of 25 years to Israel’s destruction, so, we’ve got about (the first one in 2018), we’re three years away from that.
Nobody has demanded that Iran rescind this policy.
Just to let me try to finish on a slightly more upbeat note.
I’ve got some breaking news for you. From today, and this was a statement that Boris Johnson made in the House of Commons when he was presenting his Integrated Review of Foreign and Defence Policy, he said:
And, secondly. “The government remains extremely concerned by Iran’s influence in the region and its risk of developing a nuclear weapon.”
Does this represent a change in policy? Well, time will tell. Let’s hope so.
To the end of the recording