ISRAEL and ISIS – The Only Similarity is the First Two Letters

It seems to me that the mainstream media have moved very quickly from the atrocities being committed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq to the bombardment of Gaza by the Israel Defence Force. Headlines are filled with one sad story after another from the schools, hospitals and neighborhoods of Gaza while few references to the treatment of Christians in Mosul or Kurdish Muslims in Syria, make their way to the front page.

The varied crises of the Middle East are complex. While Lebanon has maintained relative recent calm compared to the years of its long civil war, Syria has become a battlefield. Out of that war has emerged the group that was too extreme for Al Qaeda. The Islamic State is now waging war on several fronts: against the Iraqi Shi’ites and Christians; against the Syrian government; and against the Syrian Kurds[1], who like their brethren in the north of Iraq are defending themselves in an endeavor to control their own destiny. The presidency of the Syrian Kurdish region recently declared, referencing the consequence of the flight of the Iraq forces and the surrender into IS hands of vast amounts of military hardware: The attacks from Isis have reached an acute level following their recent acquisition of heavy artillery. [2]

IS are committed to bringing the Kurdish region of Syria into their Caliphate, as they also make Mosul in northern Iraq its capital. In the process they are using whatever means they can to intimidate, inspire fear, and ultimately destroy resistance to their vision of the will of Allah.

Israel by contrast is continuing its battle for survival. I recently referenced the Qu’ranic basis for the hatred some Muslims have for the Jews. [3] Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant published in 1988 includes the words: The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. The preamble to the covenant states: Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized.

No matter how much we may want to protest that this is not how civilized peoples behave, the evidence tells us that in many places around the world, the grievances of many, founded or otherwise, against the West, and therefore against the so-called Christian world, are many. Be it colonial legacy, or modern multi-nationals; control of capital and labor, or even the missionary expression of the Christian church, the West must take a share of the blame. It is, after all, only seven decades since a civilized and Christian Germany was exterminating the Jewish race.

Israel and the IS begin with the same letters in our Latin script, but there the similarity ends. Israel is a democracy. Arab and Muslim alike have a share in the democratic process in Israel. The worshipping rights and privileges of resident Christian and Muslim are protected. Israel is the only Jewish nation in the world and it is their historic homeland, just as Arabia is the homeland of the Arab people. Political Islam by contrast is a theocracy based on one man’s vision of 7th century Arabia. Like Muhammas, ISIS tolerates none who do not think like it, beheading Shi’a, driving Christians from their homes and destroying churches and Shi’a mosques alike.

The Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul states that Islamic Fundamentalism has the basic cruelty of allowing only one people The Arabs, the original peoples of the prophet, a past, and sacred places, pilgrimages and earth reverence. Islamic Fundamentalism is the most uncompromising kind of imperialism.[4] Meanwhile Christian apologist Robert Morey claims that Islam is actually the deification of seventh-century Arabian culture. In a very profound sense, Islam is more cultural than it is religious.[5] He goes on to say that: Whenever Islam becomes the dominant religion in a country, it alters the culture of that nation and transforms it into the culture of seventh century Arabia.[6] That would sound extreme, if not offensive to my Muslim acquaintances but juxtaposed with the frequent sight of veiled or burqa’d women in Western communities, and the media image of bearded fighters in various conflicts around the globe, it is not hard for the man in a western street to see a correlation.

In 1998 I attended a seminar on the Palestinian issue in Richmond. One of the speakers was a local college professor and leader in the local Palestinian and Muslim communities. I asked him why he thought that the Palestinian people had a legitimate case for an independent state while the Arabs and Turks consistently refused the idea that the Kurdish people had a right to an independent state. He stated that the two situations were totally different without giving any explanation.

I do not doubt that the Israeli Defence Forces are guilty of some atrocities. I do not deny that the Palestinian people have endured long suffering. However, until Hamas and its allies surrender the idea that a nation has no right to exist I cannot accept their legitimacy. In their eyes, their sad circumstances and those of many Palestinian refugees may be a consequence of 1948, but the rest of the Arab world must bear a share of the blame. Keeping hundreds of thousands of Palestinians contained in densely populated surroundings without ever assisting with their resettlement seems to serve the purpose of the Arab world’s wider agenda.[7]

In the meantime we in the Christian community are still commanded to love neighbor and enemy alike.


[1] The Kurds are an ethnic minority people spread through Northern Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. Their origins are believed to be with Medes, and they hold much more lightly to their Islam, than the Arabs.

[2] While Iraq burns, Isis takes advantage in Syria – – accessed July 29, 2014


[4] V.S.Naipaul – Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples p.64 – Vintage Press, 1999

[5] Robert Morey – Islamic Invasion p.20 – Harvest House, 1992

[6] Ibid p.22

[7] Palestinian citizenship is a complex issue in Arab nations, for example in Jordan: Although most Palestinians have Jordanian citizenship and many have integrated, Jordan still considers them refugees with a right of return to Palestine. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported in 2006 that over 1.8 million Palestinians were registered as refugees and displaced persons in Jordan. Around 150,000 Palestinians, mostly from Gaza but also those who remained in the West Bank after 1967 and only later came to Jordan, are denied citizenship. – World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples –  – accessed July 29, 2014

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