Dispensational theology involves in some measure a belief in Christian Zionism (Israel has a right to its land in the Middle East).  The converse is not always true.  Not all Christian Zionists are dispensationalists.  In recent times, dispensationalists have been accused of influencing American foreign policy in the Middle East in a bad direction (pro-Israel).  Strangely, at the same time it has been claimed that dispensationalism is in serious decline within evangelicalism.  In any case, dispensationalists are overwhelmingly pro-Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

That position was put to the test (as it is from time to time) in the recent controversial event of Israel’s military stopping and boarding the so-called Gaza Flotilla which allegedly carried humanitarian aid to Gaza, the territory controlled by Hamas.  Unfortunately, in the confrontation that occurred, nine people were killed.  For those who love Israel there is an ethical dilemma.  Was Israel wrong here as a matter of policy?  Are the nation’s leaders at fault for misreading the situation?  Were the flotilla activists “peace activists” or were they (at least partly) jihadists taking military supplies to Gaza?  In actuality, there appeared to be little in the way of weapons found (although there were some).  But do the past attempts at smuggling weapons into Gaza help justify the Israeli blockade and concern about these kinds of things? 

This is part of a larger debate.  There are those who see Israel as the oppressor of Arabs who do not possess freedom or access to what they need to better themselves.  On the other side are those who see Israel as the victim of a serious anti-Semitism which wants to eliminate its very existence. 

Unfortunately, the international outcry and the media blitz on this event left us with no clear picture of what really happened.  Both sides even had their own videos to spin things in their favor.  The anti-Israel forces were out in droves complaining of favoritism for Israel.  The pro-Israel forces were out in large numbers insisting that Israel was being treated with a double standard among nations.  Those who are pro-Israel could easily use this event as a reminder that 50% of U.N. Resolutions condemning nations are directed at Israel.  It is almost like “crying wolf.”  It has happened so often, it is just assumed that the world’s out of kilter bent is against Israel.  Therefore, there is skepticism about the Arab position.

How should dispensationalists and other Christians respond to all of this?  Let me suggest three things.  First, we should not cry out “Israel right or wrong” every time something happens. We should be willing to objectively evaluate the current events on the basis of what is right and wrong as we understand Scripture.  Arabs must be treated humanely.  Jews in the Middle East must be treated humanely.  Both groups should be protected by any attempt to annihilate them.  At this level, one must be both pro-Israel and pro-Arab at the same time, although the world tries not to let you do that. 

Second, we must be honest about the facts on the ground.  Who has been attempting to kill whom down through the years?  I think those evangelicals who hold to a pro-Arab position sometimes misrepresent or simply misunderstand just what has happened since 1948 (and even before).  It is the Arab nations that have tried to wipe out Israel, not the other way around.  Remember Munich 1972.  Remember Entebbe 1976.  Who attacked whom in 1948 and 1973?  Who forced Israel to do a pre-emptive strike in 1967?  Who forced Israel’s hand in 1982 with Katusha rockets?  Are there many Jewish suicide bombers?  While there have been atrocities going from Jew against Arab, the historical record is much more on the side of Israel.  We need to be honest about that record.  In a day when the Holocaust is being denied, evangelicals have no excuse for sloppiness in looking at recent history.

Third, Bible-believing Christians should go to the Bible as the source for all thought about Israel.  If the Bible suggests that the land belongs to Israel, then the Christian should agree with that.  If the Bible suggests that actions by the nation of Israel are ethically wrong, then Christians should criticize the action.  In all of this, the believer must recognize that it is not the current history that is the main thing.  The main thing is the Word of God and God’s thoughts about the matter.  Based upon that, the Jews are still the Chosen People.