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Weekly Update: Moral Clarity

15 December 2023

The Presidents of three major US universities – University of Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard – were questioned this week in Washington about the failure of their universities to police their own policies against hate speech. Their answers were alarming.  The President of U Penn has since resigned, there is pressure on the others to be dismissed.

Since the 7th October barbaric attack and slaughter by Hamas on Israeli territory, there has been an explosion of antisemitism on universities and college campuses in the western world. This includes massive demonstrations calling for the liberation of Palestine “from the river to the sea”.

This is unmistakenly a call for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. Everyone understands that this can easily be interpreted as a call for violence against the Jewish people. It threatens the safety of Jews in the Middle East and wherever they are located.

These calls long pre-date, and are separate from, legitimate objections or concerns about the large number of civilian casualties of Israel’s campaign to eliminate Hamas and secure the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

One can legitimately express concern or even outrage at Israel’s handling of its campaign in Gaza.

Yet calling for the destruction of Israel and violence against Jews goes well beyond any acceptable expression of free speech.

The refusal by the university Presidents to condemn this phenomenon exposed their hypocrisy and lack of moral clarity.

More than ever, we need world leaders who can distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel, and calls for its destruction.

History tells us that the Jewish people inevitably face persecution and violence. The State of Israel was established in recognition of this fact, and the need for a safe haven for the Jewish people.

Israel is far from perfect, but it is in fact one of diminishing number of countries that genuinely tries to protect minority rights and comply with the rule of law. The Israeli army (IDF) seeks to act morally and comply with international law. This does not mean that no mistakes are made, or that all Israeli soldiers never act immorally (acts by IDF soldiers desecrating mosques or mishandling Palestinian prisoners should rightly be investigated and prosecuted).

But it does mean there is a fundamental difference between a nation that genuinely attempts to act morally, and a group that intentionally attempts to cause as much killing as possible.

Those who refuse to condemn Hamas and to take principled action against those who call for the killing of Jews, are standing on the wrong side of history.

Calls for a ceasefire as was expressed in a UN General Assembly resolution this week, in which Hamas was not even mentioned or required to release the hostages and give up its genocidal campaign to eliminate the Jewish people, is an example of this moral confusion. Austria, Czech Republic, USA and a small number of other states acted courageously by voting against this resolution. As usual, most voted in favor, and a significant number of states avoided responsibility by abstaining from voting.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Woke Cowardice: Wrong University Presidents at the Wrong Time
Prof Alan Dershowitz writes: “The forced resignation of the president of the University of Pennsylvania is a good first step in dealing with a far more pervasive problem in higher education. The three university presidents who disgraced themselves and their universities by their abysmal testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce represent a far larger concern.”
> Read more..

UN General Assembly votes by large majority for immediate humanitarian ceasefire during emergency session
Member States adopted a resolution, demanding an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and well as “ensuring humanitarian access”. The resolution does not condemn Hamas or make any specific reference to the extremist group.
> Read more..

The wonder of Hanukkah celebrated in Odessa
Many an obstacle must be overcome nowadays to reach Odessa in winter. The border crossing from Moldova to Odessa in Ukraine has been closed for days due to snow drifts. In war times, all planning is tentative. But the effort is worth it for a Hanukkah celebration with Holocaust survivors who are waiting for us in this Black Sea city with its rich and tragic Jewish history.
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Looking On the One They Have Pierced
Prophecy in the Bible is like a stone thrown in a pond. The little waves caused by the stone draw ever-widening circles. Therefore,  prophecy in God’s Word can be read and will be meaningful in all times and in all places worldwide. The ripples of the impact of prophecy are immediately meaningful for the time and the situation in which it was proclaimed. A first fulfilment. But, continually more fulfilments will follow. Until ultimately the final fulfilment and the final ripples hit the shores of eternity. As an example, let’s take a look at the threefold fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10-14.
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Menorah lighting in Sderot
Frank van Oordt, director of Christians for Israel Netherlands, was in the city of Sderot in Southern Israel yesterday to celebrate the final evening of Hanukkah. He shares his experience of being in the war zone.


How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.