The Fourth Arab-Israeli War, according to some breathless commentaries, threatens to start the Third World War. Whether it will or not, it will definitely threaten coalition fracture on the left and the right in the United States today and possibly in other Western countries. Each coalition has its own glue to hold it together. But the war now raging in Gaza and the Negev threatens to weaken both those glues. So each coalition must find another fastening, or fall apart.
Coalition fracture on the left: competing victimhoods
The leftist coalition has always had victimhood to hold it together, as Dr. Steve Turley said earlier today.
Every member of the coalition claims to be a victim of one particular group above all: Caucasians of European descent. Caucasians – that is, whites – are guilty of crimes against all other groups. In fact the leftist coalition designates one particular kind of white as The Oppressor: heterosexual, cis-gendered males.
This is, of course, the essence of critical theory, according to which:
- Racist ≡ White
- Sexist ≡ Male
- Homophobic ≡ Heterosexual
- Transphobic ≡ Cis-gendered
(Note: the mathematical symbol ≡ means and reads “is identical to.”)
And: Antisemitic ≡ Gentile and Christian, and Islamophobic ≡ Christian. And that is the plane of coalition fracture today. As Dr. Turley asked in the above-embedded video, what happens when one victim group attacks another? When that happens, the victimhood narrative threatens to tear the coalition apart. So the coalition must reconcile the differences between the two groups – or suffer coalition fracture.
The two sets of putative victims
This is the precise situation with the Fourth Arab-Israeli War. Reports coming from the war zone are rapidly forcing even the most reluctant people to make a judgment. The Islamic Resistance Movement (Arabic Harakah al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, abbreviated HAMAS), which is the army of Gaza, has violated every norm of civilized warfare by commanding its invading forces to commit an incredible series of atrocities. These acts include kidnap of civilians, rape, and murder. (One expects an army to take military prisoners but not civilian prisoners. And the killing of a helpless civilian, especially a child, constitutes murder.)
HAMAS denies this, as CNAV would expect them to do under the circumstances.As CNAV said yesterday, sympathizers with HAMAS started with denying it, not being willing to judge such atrocious acts. But now that testimony to these atrocities becomes incontrovertible, the sympathizers radically changed their tune.
There are four ways I can defend murder. Number one, it wasn’t murder – suicide or accidental. Number two, you didn’t do it. Number three, you were legally justified, say in the protection of your home, or self-defense. Number four, the killing was excusable. Actor James Stewart, as Paul Biegler, Attorney at law, in Anatomy of a Murder (1959).
From “they didn’t do it” to “we should excuse them”
After four days of saying, “We/they didn’t do it” (or “it never happened”), now they’re saying the victims deserved it. Very plainly they are saying those that have suffered and died from these atrocities, are legitimate substitutionary proxies for their government, which has oppressed the Gazans. (Some of them are simply running away from questioners, as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., did. And absurdly, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela actually says Jesus was a Palestinian Arab!)
As Dr. Turley’s video depicts, Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-defamation League, has exploded in outrage. This time, he has reason. However often he has cried “Wolf!” before, the villagers have seen the wolf for themselves. But – unfortunately for the leftist coalition – this particular wolf is a part of the coalition. Worse yet, no one on the left is even offering to try to reconcile the differences involved.
So now, as the Israeli Air Force reduces swaths of Gaza City and other Gaza towns to rubble, the shoe squeezes the other foot. As some leftists cry out that the civilians in Gaza did nothing to deserve death, others ask what about the rights of those who died in even more violent and humiliating ways? Furthermore, the civilians of Gaza might indeed be dying of their own immediate choices. The Israel Defense Forces warned them. HAMAS ordered the population it guards to ignore the warnings. Furthermore they have a history of hiding munitions and conducting operational planning inside hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, and the like.
Further signs of widening conflict
The situation in Judea and Samaria is interesting in itself. The King of Jordan seems to be sending troops toward the Jordan River, intent on repeating the Six-day War.
While they approach, convoys of women and children are trying to cross into Jordan, according to Frontline News. The IDF have let them pass – but the Jordanians might have stopped them.
In Gaza, the founder and head of HAMAS wants Muslims the world over to rise up and march on Jerusalem. D-Day is this upcoming Friday.
“Brother Rachid,” a convert to Christ from Islam, shared a rough translation:
And here in America, Black Lives Matter Chicago dropped a post, which they later deleted – after someone screencapped it.
Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-N.Y.), member of “The Squad,” no doubt recognized how bad it would look to support such behavior.
Apparently mortified, BLM apologized – sort of.
Likely Green Party Presidential candidate Cornel West actually called the HAMAS atrocities legitimate resistance.
The Harvard case: classic coalition fracture
Finally: the leaders of 31 student associations at Harvard University signed a letter blaming Israel for everything that has happened. (Source: The New York Post.) Google Docs originally hosted it but now seem to have scrubbed it. DocumentCloud, however, did not.
That letter provoked shocked – and negative – reaction.
A former President of Harvard dropped this thread, eloquent of outrage and profound sadness:
One would almost expect him to tear his dress shirt on the strength of it. But one other user pointed out that he bears much of the blame.
More to the point, The Harvard Crimson reports that many of the students involved are now on a hiring blacklist.
The idiocy – and the outrage in reaction – did not limit itself to Harvard.
All of which to say that the world now sees a demonstration of coalition fracture. The leftist coalition has cleaved as neatly as a steak under a butcher’s knife.
Coalition fracture – on the right
Less obviously, the rightist coalition is just as vulnerable to fracture, which only a serious logical inquiry can prevent. A significant number of conservative influencers also have tried to deny the HAMAS atrocities. They know they could never, ever, excuse such behavior. So they point to previous examples of “atrocity propaganda,” from the Irish Rebellion to Operations Desert Shield/Storm and Enduring Freedom. They assume that the atrocity stories have no more basis in fact than the lurid tales of:
- Iraqi soldiers taking newborns out of incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals as they invaded that emirate, or
- Chemical and biological weapons stocks and mobile laboratories in Iraq.
The first of those stories relied on only one witness, and the “mobile labs” of the second were “duds.” But the HAMAS atrocity stories are too well-supported by now. CNAV would challenge any of these influencers to look a mother in the eye and suggest that she should “roll with” the loss of her baby in the interest of world peace.
These influencers say they fear conscription and deployment of Americans into the Negev theater – or a larger theater. Thus far neither the State of Israel nor the IDF have requested such a thing. Instead, young Jewish adults are flying in from all over the world – to enlist.
Israel would want to fight its own war
Nor would the IDF necessarily want a larger American expeditionary force, with its own commander, to move in. (And likely take over, as did General of the Army Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower.) More likely they will reactivate the 1948-era Machal (Mitnadvei Chutz LaAretz, literally Volunteers from Outside the Land). Or perhaps make do with merchandise credits for replacement aircraft, vehicles, and munitions.
Furthermore, the last time the U.S. Navy had ships anywhere near the combat zone of an Arab-Israeli War, one of those ships suffered strafing, then hits from torpedoes: USS Liberty AGTR-5. Those were accidents, but Liberty became and remains a focal point for antisemitic sentiment on the right. For that reason, a few influencers are very quick to believe that Israel likes to trick people into supporting them when they shouldn’t. The appalling intelligence failure that let HAMAS do what it has done, fuels the paranoid flames.
Two visions of the end of history
But a misunderstanding of Scripture lies at the heart of most, maybe all, of this “anti-Zionist” sentiment. This misunderstanding is in the area of Scriptural interpretation (“hermeneutics,” from the Greek word for “interpretation”) called eschatology. From eschar a burned-out thing and logos a word, eschatology is the study of the Last Happenings on Earth.
St. John of Jerusalem, while in exile on an island called Patmos, received there a Revelation, which he wrote down. This was a prophecy – a vision of the future. The Christian Church at first believed this prophecy unfulfilled. But after centuries – indeed a millennium – passed after the birth of Christ, Christians came to believe that John’s prophecy is fulfilled. Which would mean that God is Finished with ethnic Israel. Accordingly, the re-establishment of something called “Israel” in modern times, becomes an affront to Christ, according to that view.
But beginning with John Nelson Darby in the early nineteenth century, Christians began to question whether all prophecy was fulfilled. Most Christians ignored his new doctrines of Dispensationalism and, more relevant here, Futurism. They much preferred Preterism, the notion that all prophecy was indeed fulfilled. They also preferred its companion doctrine: Covenantalism, which presumes that the promises God made to Abraham now belong to the Church, not to ethnic Israel.
A Titanic reassessment
Then, on April 14, 1912, at 11:40 p.m., the Royal Merchant Ship Titanic struck an iceberg and eventually sank. Because an unnamed deck hand had once said, “Not even God can sink this ship!”, Christians took notice. Then they turned away from doctrines like Preterism, because they suggested that the role of Christ’s followers would be to roll out the red carpet for Him upon His return, as if they were His triumphal vanguard. (And no doubt hailing Jesus Marshal (Latin Imperator)on the field, and crying the English equivalent of Io triumphe!)Such arrogant, overweaning pride struck them as the sort of thing that had brought about the Titanic disaster.Futurism, with its emphasis on a test-to-destruction (Greek Peirasmos) to come, now became far more attractive. But: Futurism dictates the re-establishment of a nation-state called Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple.
Whether any of these musings influenced the decision to accept the recommendations of Lord Balfour to grant the Jews a homeland, in return for services rendered to the British Crown and Allied Powers in World War One, none can guess. But today, eschatological Futurism informs Christian support for Israel. Preterism, on the other hand, informs the contrary notion that modern Israel is worse than a waste of time.
Preventing coalition fracture with logic
Preterism suffers from the obvious weakness that a thousand years of peace has never been a part of human history. Futurism takes its strength from the very re-establishment of Israel, a thing once thought impossible to accomplish or even imagine.
Sadly, antisemitic commentaries and commentators have infiltrated Dr. Steve Turley’s “nationalist populist right.” For that reason, the rightist coalition is just as vulnerable to coalition fracture as the left. Preventing that fracture requires serious study of the Bible, and an understanding of its many prophecies in addition to John’s Revelation that remain unfulfilled. And CNAV would hope that sincere Christians would recognize the folly of making common cause with a revisionist religion, and one that teaches lying and slaughter as situational virtues (“Fight and slay the infidels!”, etc.), for no better reason than to excuse atrocity, deny the continued existence of evil – or in a vain attempt to atone for the attack on a ship that ought never have strayed into someone else’s hot zone, as USS Liberty did.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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