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Tony Campolo, one of American Christianity’s most well-known evangelists, is doing the Gospel of Jesus Christ a grave disservice with misinformation, unscriptural political analysis and dangerously bad theology.
In a speech in Canada recently, Campolo gave a rambling presentation explaining the absolute necessity of creating a new Palestinian state to win over the Muslim world.
If Campolo really believes what he said in this speech, he is ignorant of history. If he doesn’t believe what he said, he is a politically motivated liar misusing the Gospel to further a hopelessly evil political agenda.
You decide for yourself.
He claims firstly that the church “has forgotten that there’s a group of people called Palestinians. And unless we stand up and speak for justice on behalf of the Palestinians, we are going to lose the missionary struggle in the next hundred years.”
These “Palestinians,” Campolo explains, are being suppressed by the Israelis.
He then explains that Israel is a state birthed only in a relentless war of terrorism waged by Jews against British rule after World War I.
“The British were so worn out [by] terrorism over the next 20 years that they wanted out of the mess,” he says. “So after World War II, they presented to the United Nations meeting, in New York, a proposal: that the land that hitherto had belonged to people who lived in Palestine was going to be partitioned and made into the state of Israel.”
This simplistic statement is so wrong in so many ways I could write 100,000 words refuting it. In fact, I already have. But let me, as an Arab-American Christian, just try to set the record straight in the limited space I have today.
The British, who conquered the region (not the country – but the region) of Palestine in World War I promised to recreate a Jewish state there. It was an ideal piece of real estate – neglected, largely uninhabited and the historical homeland of the Jews who had been massacred by the Roman Empire and dispersed throughout the world many centuries earlier.
Nevertheless, despite enormous persecution throughout those centuries – persecution by Rome, by Christians and lastly by Muslims – a significant remnant of Jews stayed in their Holy Land. Before the British won their military victory in the Middle East, Jews represented the majority of the population of Jerusalem and other cities in the region.
In fact, right up until 1947 when Israel was re-created as a Jewish state by a vote of the United Nations, the term “Palestinians” was synonymous with “Jews.” Today the term has been co-opted by Yasser Arafat’s terrorists and propagandists who suggest Palestine was an Arab country.
There has never been an Arab country known as Palestine in the history of the world.
The overwhelming number of Arabs in this territory today have come from other Arab countries for very good and understandable reasons – jobs, economic opportunity, freedom that they have never known in their homelands.
The British did not throw any Arabs out of their homes. The U.N. did not throw any Arabs out of their homes. The Israelis did not throw any Arabs out of their homes. Some left the region in 1948 at the urging of Arab leaders who declared a war on Israel the day it was reborn.
Why did they declare war? Because they didn’t want any Jewish state in the region. The U.N. had voted to create two nations – one Arab and one Jewish in the region of Palestine, but that was not acceptable to the Arabs.
It is still not acceptable to the vast majority of Arabs today. They want it all – and nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish state will satisfy them.
Campolo conveniently forgets that some 750,000 Jews – all living in Israel today – were kicked out of their homes in Arab and Muslim countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc. They were forced out with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many didn’t make it at all. Many died in pogroms before they got the chance to leave.
Tony Campolo is a moral relativist and a political ideologue – a man who embraced Bill Clinton and rationalized and excused his unconscionable behavior in the White House for eight years. He served as his personal spiritual counselor. Judge him by his fruits.