Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2002 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

The Jewish mission
is far from finished

These remarks delivered to the Zionist Organization of America at the New York Hilton on October 27, 2002 drew an extended standing ovation from the audience.

By Cal Thomas | I would first like to thank my wife, Ray, for joining me this evening. She is just back from Northern Ireland where she furnished our new apartment. People ask, "Why do you want a place in Northern Ireland?" I reply, "We wanted to live someplace where people get along and it was either there, or the Middle East."

Thank you for an honor I shall treasure as long as I live. I am well aware of the honor having been bestowed on the great Abe Rosenthal, Sydney Zion and others who have preceded me. I labor in their shadows, but I shall attempt to be as worthy of the honor as they are.

This means more to me than the Pulitzer Prize, mostly because I am not going to win the Pulitzer Prize for obvious reasons. If you do not know the reasons, see me afterwards and I will tell you.

In recent weeks we have again heard the accusation that gentile Christians support Israel for theological reasons. They are said to believe that once all of the Jews are back in the Land of Israel - their ancient homeland - then the Messiah will come.

I want you to know that my love for Israel and the Jewish people is unconditional and has no agenda attached to it. Besides, I was not in on those meetings and G-d did not share His precise timetable with me. There are some who believe He shared it with them and they have managed to make quite a bit of money writing novels for those who believe that armageddon is just around the corner. If it is, they had better hury up and spend their millions.

Why do I love the Jewish People and the Nation of Israel, which I have visited 13 times? Oscar Hammerstein wrote in another context, "Who can explain it, who can tell you why? fools give you reasons, wise men never try."

I would be less than honest if I did not cite Scripture, in which I believe and trust, that warns people not to persecute the Jews. Throughout history, bad things have happened to people who mistreat the Jewish People. If Hitler could be extracted from hell, he might have a different opinion about his original objectives.

I love the Hebrew language. It connects me with ancient times and ancient events that were the early evidence of G-d working in and through the Jewish People for the salvation of sinful humankind. while I know only a few words, I enjoy listening to others who are fluent. and I especially enjoy the music.

The food is another matter!

Through the Jews, humanity first heard of G-d, His nature, His laws and other requirements, and His great love for us, even while we were wicked and stiff-necked people. By the way, don't think you have a corner on rebellion!

The Psalms and Proverbs are some of the most beautiful and wisest words ever written. King Solomon reminds us of how "meaningless" and "a chasing after the wind" it is to pursure material things and pleasure apart from the pursuit of G-d.

In Exodus we learn of G-d's faithfulness to His People Israel and in I Samuel we are promised that he who honors G-d will be honored by Him. The major and minor prophets looked forward to the time when G-d would redeem the world and restore it to its original order before the fall.

No people have been targeted for extinction on so many occasions, by so many tyrants, evil philosophies and false theologies as have the jewish people. No people have given more to the world than the Jewish People - from theology, to culture to the creative arts, to economics and education and especially charity.

No people have longed for peace and tolerance for more years than the Jewish people. Yet, the world refuses to leave the Jews alone, much less to think well of them. The world continues to hate the Jews, not so much because of things they have done, but because their very existence is a rebuke to the inability of cultures and nation-states to deal with their own failures - most especially the failure to overcome their own bigotry. So they take it out on the Jews, because Jews are convenient and they are small in number compared to their oppressors and few will condemnd them for doing so. Oil covers a multitude of sins.

There is not much to be hopeful about in our day. Terrorists abound not only in Israel - slaughtering the innocents in the midst of indifference from an uncritical and immoral world - but they are turning up within our own borders, which we until recently believed were safe and secure.

The snipers are the first wave of the post 9/11 invaders. There will be more. Many more. They are here to kill us. Why do we not realize that and why are so many politicians intent on offering the bromide of "peaceful religion" when the evidence is to the contrary? I do not doubt there are many peace-loving Muslims, but they are not the ones with the guns, the explosives and the suicidal commission from an angry god they believe must be pacificed by his servants, who feed him, like a vampire, with the blood of others.

I tell it this way: Two people are in a room. One says to the other, "My god says you are going to hell" and tries to persuade him to accept his faith. The other responds, "my god says you are going to hell" and seeks to persuade him to accept his faith. both go home and sleep comfortably in their own beds without fear that they will be arrested by the theologcial police. Later, a third person enters the room and says, "My god says both of you are going to hell and what's more he has appointed me to send you there." That is when we have a problem.

One of my favorite prophets is Jeremiah. In fact, I think he would have made an excellent newspaper columnist --- not in Ha'aretz, but maybe in The Jeruslam Post.

In the 30th chapter of Jeremiah, beginning in verse 7, that great prophet of G-d is writing about the future. I cannot say if what he saw is what we are experiencing today. But if it is not, it certainly is a preview of coming attractions.

Here is what he wrote about the future:

"In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel. Yet, in the end, they will be saved.

"For in that day, says the L-rd Almighty, I will break the yoke from their necks and snap their chains. Foreigners will no longer be their masters. for my people will serve the L-rd their G-d and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

"So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel, says the L-rd. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return and will have peace and quiet in their own land, and no one will make them afraid. For I am with you and will save you, says the L-rd. I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. But I must discipline you; I cannot let you go unpunished.

"This is what the L-rd says: Yours is an incurable bruise, a terrible wound. there is none to help you or bind up your injury. You are beyond the help of any medicine. All your allies have left you and do not care about you anymore. I have wounded you cruelly, as though I were your enemy. For your sins are many, and your guilt is great. Why do you protest your punishment - this wound that has no cure? I have had to punish you because your sins are many and your guilt is great.

"But in that coming day, all who destroy you will be destroyed, and all your enemies will be sent into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered, and those who attack you will be attacked. I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord.

"Now you are called an outcast - Jerusalem for whom nobody cares. But the L-rd says this: When I bring you home again from your captivity and restore your fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on her ruins. The palace will be reconstructed as it was before. There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving and I will multiply my People and make of them a great and honored nation. Their children will prosper as they did long ago. I will establish them as a nation before me, and I will punish anyone who hurts them. They will have their own ruler again, and he will not be a foreigner. I will invite him to approach me, says the L-rd, for who would dare to come unless invited. You will be my people, and I will be your G-d."

Dear G-d, may that day come soon. Havanu shalom alechem.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, "The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas". Comment by clicking here.


© 2002, Cal Thomas<