At a recent dinner “In Defense of Christians” targeted at Middle Eastern Christians, Ted Cruz was literally booed off the stage when he started making comments in support of Israel. It seems that Middle Eastern Christians are less willing than Americans to endorse the Judeo-Christian alliance. There are many reasons for this, and almost none of them are specifically Anti-Semitic.
Since 1948, Israel has been under constant threat of invasion and attack from the surrounding Arabic countries. She has responded to these threats with extraordinary force and ruthlessness. Even if you support Israel in its attempts to protect itself, you cannot deny that her tactics have made victims of many innocent bystanders. And the greatest number of those innocent bystanders are Middle Eastern Christians.
Muslims despise Middle Eastern Christians, and Israel has no real love for them either. So Middle Eastern Christians often become the expendable pawns in a PR campaign drawn up in innocent blood. Middle Eastern Christians in Palestine have been brutalized by Israeli policies. They are the ones who become the human shields between Islam and Israel. Muslims want them to die anyway, but they also have no problem using Christian deaths to paint Israel as imperially ravenous and militarily reckless.
Note that this in itself has nothing to do with Anti-Semitism. Middle Eastern Christians have suffered long under the collateral haze of the Jewish-Muslim feud. And they have no desire to side with Israel. Or Islam. They are the true people without a homeland.
That’s why Ted Cruz was blind-sided during his speech. It probably felt like a real betrayal to these Christians. Even at a dinner specifically for Middle Eastern Christians, they could not garner their own support. Ted Cruz was basically saying to them, “You can be protected if you are subsumed into the Israeli cause. But you have no independent claim for America’s protection and support.” They must be wondering, “Isn’t anyone on our side? Why must we be part of Israel to receive American support?” I understand that sentiment. For too long, Middle Eastern concerns have been about Arabs and Jews.
But what really matters here is not race. It’s religion.
And Zionism is just a different version of the Islamic State. That may be hard for us to understand. But one religious empire by force of arms is not really better than another, even if Israel’s politics might be more opportune for America geopolitically. Most American Christians are too concerned about what is best for America. Their support of Israel is a strange and troubled alliance between their patriotism and their faith. But somehow, their allegiance to God is always subordinated to their allegiance to country. That is what is most offensive to Middle Eastern Christians. They have no country. They have only one allegiance. And we don’t get it.
There is only one religion of peace in the Middle East—Christianity. If we truly want peace in the Middle East, we need to be supporting their cause for its own sake. Ted Cruz and others in the pro-Israel camp would do well to take that into account.