The use of battlefield weapons against a trapped civilian population.
That was the charge made against Israel during the fighting in the Gaza Strip three years ago, and it deeply hurt and humiliated and angered Muslims everywhere.
Now to their horror they’re seeing it happen before their eyes in the Syrian city of Homs, and at the hands of fellow Muslims. The Syrian dictator Assad is attempting to crush a rebellion the same way his father did in 1982–but in the era of the Internet it cannot be hidden.
Terrible times like these are times when truth becomes clear. And I believe it’s becoming clearer across the Middle East that Israel is not the source of all evil. Religiously-inspired hatred of the Jews has been a great unifying factor for Muslims in the region for at least the past 80 years. But now as the Shiite Alawites in Syria massacre their Sunni neighbors it’s no longer possible to paper over the deep fissures in the Muslim world.
Why is it important to know that the fault lies not in the Jews, but in ourselves?
First of all the Hebrew scriptures have taught us the fundamental equality of all humanity–equal in dignity since we are all created in the image of God, equal in our need of grace since all are sinners.
And it is especially damaging to single out the Jewish people for condemnation, since it is they who brought the revelation of God to the world. To them belong the promises and the patriarchs and the Messiah. Indeed it is bearing the name of God that has caused much of their suffering through the ages. They have paid a heavy price for our sakes.
Peace and hope will only come to the Muslim world when they are reconciled to their Jewish neighbors.