The Enemies of Jerusalem
History has been hard on the Jew. His race has been persecuted, exploited, exiled, enslaved, even massacred, by a series of alien civilizations.
Yet somehow, scattered across the globe, he has survived, even thrived. As Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1908, “The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he who neither fire, nor sword, nor Inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the Earth ….”
Today, however, the enemies of the Jews are growing again.
The State of Israel, founded in 1948 and surrounded by hostile nations, has become a lightning rod for anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide. In many cases, it has become impossible to distinguish political criticism from outright anti-Semitism. Israel is under attack not only for its policies, but for its existence.
The Arab and Islamic peoples that surround Israel appear to be the most dangerous foes of the Jew. But when we look beneath the surface, we see a problem stretching far beyond the borders of the Middle East—one more deadly than would first appear.
It is in this hostile climate that proposals are being put forward on how to bring peace to the region. The pressure for a solution is increasing, just as the national spirit and morale of the Jews is largely waning.
Within the next few years, the fate of Israel will be decided. Its very survival is at stake!
The trend in current events paints a grim picture. But only when we inform our perspective with the prophecies of the Bible can we recognize the truly enormous scale of the threat.
Almost 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ prophesied of what would befall Jerusalem just before the end of this age. Watch closely: The world is about to witness it!
“UN’s Dirty Little Secret”
Since the founding of the Jewish state, and especially since the latest Palestinian intifada began in the fall of 2000, the fervor of hatred within the Muslim world against Jews has grown worryingly intense.
“There is currently a culture of hatred that permeates books, magazines, newspapers, sermons, video-cassettes, the Internet, television and radio in the Arab Middle East, which has not been seen since the heyday of Nazi Germany,” Robert Wistrich wrote in the National Interest. “Indeed, the dehumanizing images of Jews and Israel that are penetrating the body politic of Islam are sufficiently radical in tone and content to constitute a new ‘warrant for genocide’” (Summer 2003).
This is truly alarming—but it is a mistake to think of judeophobia being a mostly Muslim problem. First, as Wistrich implied, history shows undeniably that the greatest persecutions of Jews have come at the hands of Western Christian society—tracing back clear to the first Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, Jews actually preferred life under Arab conquest to Christian discrimination! Even today, much of the libelous language, poisonous stereotypes and conspiracy theories briskly circulating among Israel’s enemies traces directly back to medieval Europe. It’s as if the Muslims are plagiarizing from the Nazi playbook.
Outstanding cases of flagrant anti-Semitism have flared to the surface around the world—Jews assaulted, Jewish schools and synagogues defaced, Jewish cemeteries desecrated. But perhaps more disturbing than individual incidents on the street is the pattern of mistreatment the Jews have received within the exalted chambers of international governance.
To take the most prominent example, the United Nations, since granting Israel statehood in 1948, has become a mouthpiece for incredible hostility against the Jewish state.
In December last year, the UN failed to pass a ground-breaking draft resolution protecting victims of anti-Semitism. A Wall Street Journal article reporting on this decision (“The UN’s Dirty Little Secret,” Dec. 8, 2003) detailed the UN’s repeated failures to defend persecuted Jews. For example, a 2003 resolution combating defamation of religions excluded anti-Semitism because it was considered racial, not religious, discrimination—yet, a 1965 treaty on racial discrimination omitted anti-Semitism on the grounds that it was “out of place.” And the infamous 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in South Africa, rather than condemning anti-Semitism, actually singled out Israel in a draft resolution as being guilty of genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
Such examples are plenteous. Last November, “a resolution condemning terrorist attacks on Israeli children failed to make it through the General Assembly while one on Palestinian children was adopted with only four states opposed. Israel was forced to withdraw its resolution because Egyptian amendments deleting ‘Israeli’ before every mention of the word ‘children’ were guaranteed an automatic UN majority” (ibid.). Israel has also been repeatedly attacked by the UN Commission on Human Rights (incidentally, under the chairmanship of nations such as Libya). “The commission went so far as to affirm, last April 15, the legitimacy of suicide bombing against Israelis, or in judgment-free UN-speak, ‘all available means, including armed struggle’” (U.S.News & World Report, Nov. 3, 2003).
For over four decades, Israel has been the only UN member deprived of representation on the UN Human Rights Commission, the Security Council, the World Court, UNICEF, and the Economic and Social Council. Simply put, the UN’s treatment of Israel has been woefully unjust. The United Nations essentially has given the stamp of legitimacy to anti-Israelism.
Remember these facts as we proceed. Because the UN, throttled by enemies of Israel and incapable of impartiality, is one of the entities floating proposals on how to solve Israel’s problems.
As the historical fountainhead of anti-Semitism, Europe has much to be ashamed of. For many years after World War II, it remained publicly circumspect in its treatment of Jews. But that time is over—and the Jewish community should be concerned.
A majority of Europeans now say they are tired of Holocaust remorse. According to a June 27, 2002, survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 58 percent of Germans, 57 percent of Spaniards, 56 percent of Austrians and 52 percent of Swiss believe “Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.” Other polls show old prejudices and suspicions creeping their way back into mainstream European thought.
Sadly, as the Arab-Israeli conflict persists, a growing number of Europeans seem to believe that the Jews must be at fault. A poll in October last year conducted among each of the EU’s member nations presented a list of 15 countries and asked, “[T]ell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world.” The country that received the most yes responses (59 percent) was not North Korea, not Iran, not Syria. It was the only Westernized, democratic country in the Middle East—Israel. Rather than be surprised to see such attitudes coming out of a continent still overshadowed by the history of the Holocaust, perhaps we should acknowledge the consistency in the pattern.
In a well-documented piece called “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: A New Frontier of Bigotry,” the American Jewish Committee’s Alvin H. Rosenfeld tracks several unambiguously anti-Semitic trends, particularly within Germany and France, and draws the following conclusion: “In the Muslim world, Jew-hatred is now pervasive, but in Europe and elsewhere, anti-Semitisms of every imaginable kind—political, social, cultural, theological, economic—are no longer held in check by the taboos that have restrained them in recent years but circulate openly and broadly” (www.ajc.org).
This new openness is being noticed. It was featured on the cover of U.S. News. It has been highlighted recently in several prominent analytical journals such as the National Interest and the Spectator. It even prompted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, at the request of the U.S. and the ADL, to host a conference last June specifically addressing European anti-Semitism.
Mark Strauss wrote this in Foreign Policy: “This new anti-Semitism is a kaleidoscope of old hatreds shattered and rearranged into random patterns at once familiar and strange. It is the medieval image of the ‘Christ killing’ Jew resurrected on the editorial pages of cosmopolitan European newspapers. It is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement refusing to put the Star of David on their ambulances. It is Zimbabwe and Malaysia—nations nearly bereft of Jews—warning of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world’s finances. It is neo-Nazis donning checkered Palestinian kaffiyehs and Palestinians lining up to buy copies of Mein Kampf” (November-December 2003).
Strauss documented how members of the far left and far right are finding common ground against their common enemy. All elements of the political spectrum have found refuge in “what French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman calls an anti-Semitic ‘brown-green-red alliance’ among ultra-nationalists, the populist green movement, and communism’s fellow travelers” (ibid.). Each of these groups puts a fresh face on a different form of classic judeophobia: Jews being usurers, controlling the world economy, sabotaging national culture, being loyal only to fellow Jews, being bloodthirsty colonialists, using the blood of Christian children in their Passover pastries, poisoning wells and spreading plague. Interestingly, though these hateful stereotypes are surfacing around the world, their roots all trace back historically to Europe.
As Strauss mentioned, the European press has not kept itself clean of this ugly hate-fest. U.S.News reported on a story in the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur “alleging that Israeli soldiers raped Palestinian women so that their relatives would kill them to preserve family honor” (op. cit.). Foreign Policy cited a French activist who “told a reporter that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was responsible for anti-Semitic attacks in France in order to distract attention from its government’s actions in the occupied territories” (op. cit.). The Guardian of England wrote that “Israel has no right to exist” (Jan. 3, 2001).
Rosenfeld has followed the depictions in the German press of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the past few years. Sharon has been regularly demonized “as a ‘bull,’ a ‘bulldozer,’ a ‘warmonger’ and a ‘slaughterer.’ He has been compared to Hitler and Nero and said to be ‘Israel’s highest-ranking arsonist.’ Other references peg him as a ‘political pyromaniac,’ an ungainly ‘old war criminal,’ a ‘right-wing extremist,’ a ‘warhorse’ and ‘catastrophe personified.’ … He is also described as being ‘politically deranged’ and thirsty for Palestinian blood. (According to Die Welt, ‘a lot of blood clings to his hands, starting from his Kibiya days in the 1950s, to Sabra and Shantila, up to his most recent provocation in the mosque in 2000’)”—implying that Sharon, not the Palestinian terrorists, is responsible for this latest round in the intifada (op. cit.).
All of this hate-mongering in print has its violent counterpart on European streets. The last two years in particular have seen notable rises in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe: regular vandalism, arson and assault against Jewish targets. Two representative examples: Last November, a 65th anniversary Holocaust ceremony commemorating Kristallnacht in Vienna was disrupted by protestors waving Palestinian flags and yelling anti-Israel slogans. And U.S.News related a recent incident in Berlin where a synagogue was spray-painted with the words “six million is not enough.”
This is not political criticism. This is racist warmongering.
One of the most perverse and disturbing trends within anti-Israel expression is the frequent, cavalier comparisons being made between the Jews and the Nazis. Worldwide at “antiwar” protests and rallies, Ariel Sharon is compared with Adolf Hitler, and Israeli flags are waved replacing the Star of David with the swastika. These actions illustrate not only the intensity, but also the irrationality, of some of the scorn being heaped on Israel.
Equating Israel’s efforts to protect itself against Palestinian terrorism with the systematic torture and murder by Hitler’s regime of millions of Jews in an effort to exterminate their race demonstrates an embarrassingly warped perspective that should have no place in civilized society. It is beyond perverse. It “is the basest form of Holocaust revisionism,” wrote Mark Strauss, “sending the message that the only ‘solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing less than the complete destruction of the Jewish state” (op. cit.).
Clearly, THE NAZI SPIRIT IN EUROPE WAS NEVER COMPLETELY ERADICATED. There is a sinister spirit afoot that should concern us all!
Where is it leading?
For the answer, let’s take a look at a prophecy Jesus Christ spoke and see how it is already in its early stages of being fulfilled.
“Abomination of Desolation”
During Jesus Christ’s ministry, His disciples asked, “[W]hat will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matt. 24:3, Revised Standard Version). Jesus didn’t dismiss the idea that the world as we know it would come to an end. No—He responded by laying out a specific set of signs that Christians should vigilantly watch for (found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). He concluded with the words, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).
One third of the world’s population considers itself Christian. So it should hardly seem unusual or unorthodox to take Jesus at His word. Do you?
One of the signs of imminent global calamity Christ gave was this: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (v. 20). The parallel account in Matthew 24 calls this “the abomination of desolation” (v. 15; see also Dan. 12:11). Jesus said this sign should affect His disciples so deeply, they should run when they see it (Matt. 24:16-18).
Why? Because, according to Christ, Jerusalem’s encirclement by foreign armies presages “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”—that is, unparalleled worldwide devastation (v. 21). “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [protected, or saved alive] …” (v. 22).
Jesus expected His disciples to understand this sign (v. 15)—to know specifically what to be watching for. Do you? Are you heeding Christ’s command to watch and pray—so you can be accounted worthy to escape?
If you are, you will realize that events are rapidly building toward the time of this abomination. Already, the enemies of Jerusalem are encroaching—tightening the noose around that ancient city. Most people today will be alive to see it—armies, plural, enclosing Jerusalem!
International Force in Israel
We must allow Christ’s words to aid our perspective as we monitor the demand internationally for a solution to the conflict within Israel. Do you realize that, for some years now, the idea of foreign armies entering the country and imposing peace has been gaining momentum? Can you understand the significance of this development?
Several prominent parties agree on the need to surround Israel with an international peacekeeping force. Kofi Annan, the UN’s secretary general, vigorously supports an armed peacekeeping force to break up the war within Israel. The European Union has long talked about setting up an international force in Jerusalem. The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, mentioned the option of sending an EU peacekeeping force to do the job. The bbc reported on April 8, 2002, on Germany’s considering sending Bundeswehr soldiers into Israel to de-escalate the Arab-Jew conflict. “Particularly because of its past, Germany has a special responsibility for peace in the Middle East,” it said.
According to the Middle East Newsline, even the U.S. has considered approving an international force to stop the war. “We’re not talking about another U.S. military deployment,” an official was quoted as saying. “Instead, we’re discussing a nato-type heavily armed combat force that would be based mostly on troop contributions from Europe. There has been some discussions and positive feedback from some of our European friends” (Aug. 27, 2003; emphasis mine throughout).
One of the most prominent plans is to “Europeanize” or “internationalize” the Jewish state. In June of 2000, Israel was granted Associate Member status in the EU. Then, last year, during Italy’s tenure as EU president, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised the prospect of eventual full membership for Israel. Bible prophecy shows this will never happen, but the fact that it was proposed is telling. Certainly Rome would like to gain control over Jerusalem, the Holy City. The pope himself has made proposals of this sort from time to time.
The problem is, none of these entities truly has Israel’s interests at heart. They all stand discredited, riddled internally with anti-Israelism, transparently working against Israel, incurably compromised as potential sources of genuine help to the Jews!
And this fact makes Christ’s prophecy about the “abomination that makes desolate” that much more poignant.
The Trumpet has often said that when Christ’s words are placed in context of other Bible prophecies (particularly Dan. 11:40-41), it becomes clear that these armies surrounding Jerusalem will not be Arab or Muslim. As vicious as the rhetoric within the Islamic world is getting, as many terrorist attacks as they commit, as much as their efforts may grind down the Jews’ will to fight, their offensive against Israel will not culminate in a complete besiegement of Jerusalem.
No—these soldiers in Christ’s prophecy will in fact be carrying the flags of the Jews’ historical arch-enemy, Europe!
The fact—supported by history, current events and biblical prophecy—is that EUROPE WANTS TO CONTROL JERUSALEM.
Having this Bible-based understanding has given the Trumpet a clear-eyed view of the situation for many years. Editor in Chief Gerald Flurry wrote back in December 1996, after a pro-Palestinian speech by French President Jacques Chirac, “[T]his is not just a serious slap at Israel. IT’S ALSO A STRONG MOVE AGAINST THE ISRAEL-AMERICAN AXIS. IT’S A POWER MOVE TO TAKE OVER THE PEACE PROCESS FOR EUROPE’S GREAT BENEFIT—at the expense of the U.S. and the Jews. The European Union is moving to be the heavyweight in the Middle East.
“Europe is moving not only to be a co-sponsor in the peace process—they want to take control of it!”
Already they are positioning themselves to do just that. Europe would like nothing more than to implement the “solution” to the present conflict. But that “solution” will result in the demise of the Jewish state!
Naturally, Israel has tended to regard the Continent with some suspicion—as well it should. But as the situation drags and Israelis grow in despair, this mistrust will give way to desperation. (Read the chapter “Judah’s Deadly Wound” in our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy for more information.)
We must see that the anti-Semitism cropping up around the world, especially in Europe, is not a fringe problem. It is a symptom of a deep sickness that is about to explode into a fevered nightmare.
An Oct. 28, 2003, DEBKAfile article, “Eurocrats and NATOcrats Plan Israel’s Non-Future,” quoted a “highly placed British intelligence official” with ties to NATO as saying, “Some people in the West have come to the conclusion that the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a mistake.” This official spoke of a plan for evicting the Jews from the Mideast, and “dropped a warning of SCHEMES BEING SPUN IN SECRET IN BRUSSELS to delegitimize the Israeli democracy, whittle away its independence and EVENTUALLY BRING THE STATE INTO ECLIPSE.”
The whole world is about to see those secret schemes become established foreign policy within a united Europe. Christ’s prophecy is sure! “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be LED AWAY CAPTIVE into all nations: and JERUSALEM SHALL BE TRODDEN DOWN OF THE GENTILES, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). “[I]t is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Rev. 11:2). This is not just one little city being besieged. Those who don’t die in this attack will be TAKEN CAPTIVE AS SLAVES! Other prophecies link this catastrophic event with the simultaneous besiegement of all Israel—and America and Britain! Request The United States and Britain in Prophecy to study the full extent of the destruction about to be unleashed.
This is a shocking reality the whole world must face. Events are already bearing out the truth in Jesus Christ’s prophecy. In the short-term, we can expect to witness a brutal escalation of anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence. We can also expect increasing efforts on Europe’s part to reconcile with Israel—efforts to legitimize its status as a peacekeeper and a savior. (Read “The Counterfeit Peacemaker” in our August 2001 issue online at www.theTrumpet.com. ) We can expect more failure to establish peace, more violence, more terrorism. We can expect the situation to grow more desperate, and the Jews to fail in hope.
But trace Christ’s prophecy through (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21), and you will see that these calamities will climax in a glorious end! Luke 21:27-28 reads, “And then shall they see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY. And when these things begin to come to pass, then LOOK UP, and LIFT UP YOUR HEADS; for YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH.”