Imagine, purely hypothetically, if Israel indiscriminately fired a missile at an Arab bus station, killing one person and wounding around 30 others. I don't mean an Israeli retaliatory attack, or a missile fired at a target hidden within the bus station, or an act carried out during war. I just mean imagine if the Israeli military, completely out of the blue and for no reason whatsoever, decided to blow up a bus station in the Arab West Bank or Gaza. There would - rightly - be complete uproar and utter global condemnation. At the vanguard of such protest would be the many Christians who are deeply critical of Israel and despise Christian Zionism. After all, they have a track record of criticising Israel's actions whenever the opportunity arises. Well, it has been a little over a week since a terrorist bomb - completely unhypothetically - was denotated at Jerusalem's main bus station with the express intention of causing as many civilian casualties as possible. Yet we've barely heard a squeak from the Christian anti-Israel brigade. Indeed, so far I've only come across one Chrisian organisation critical of Israel which released a statement condemning unequivocally the Jerusalem bombing (earning my respect, despite disagreements I may have with them, as an organisation to be taken more seriously).
Now imagine that if, during the course of this hypothetical Israeli attack on the Arab bus station, the only person to die was actually an Evangelical Christian. Just consider for a moment the massive significance of such an occurrence for those who condemn Christian support for Israel. Inevitably, Christian friends of Israel would be severely criticised for supporting a state committing an atrocity that had resulted in the death of a believer, and come under tremendous pressure to ditch such support for Israel. Yet the single individual who died in last week's far from hypothetical cowardly bombing in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists was indeed an Evangelical Christian, a Bible translator with Wycliffe who was brushing up on her Hebrew in preparation for her return to Africa to translate portions of Scripture into a little-known African language. Yet more than a week after the bombing and death of Mary Jean Gardner, Christian critics of both Israel and the Jewish state's Evangelical friends have been strangely quiet... well, quiet about that particular bombing, but in some cases far from quiet in continuing to demonise Israel during the past week (including just a day or two after the Jerusalem bombing).
At best, such hypocrisy is distasteful to the memory of a believer who was brutally killed as she went about God's work (and thus a real martyr, a far cry from those who - in the name of God- wrap explosives and bags of nails about their body and denotate themselves among everyday folk going about their business). But there is also another issue at play here, one where some (not all) Christian critics of Israel are so driven by hate towards the Jewish state that they will quite easily draw on the plight of believers if it suits their political purposes (indeed they have a track record of doing so), yet remain eerily silent when the situation is completely reversed. It all rather smacks of taking a side "right or wrong", which is deeply ironic given this is the very charge they lay at the door of anyone remotely holding to the view that God retains a plan and purpose for the Jewish people (whether or not they are Christian Zionists). It also demonstrates a complete inability to respond to issues and events honestly and objectively, and such selectivity doesn't go unnoticed by those who want to engage in genuine debate and dialogue. Indeed, there is a very important lesson to be learned here for Israel's Christian friends, namely, to avoid similar selectivity and lack of objectivity when responding to the conflict. There are some people on both sides of the debate who genuinely seek to be sincere and objective, dealing openly and frankly with some of the complexities of the current conflict, engaging fairly with arguments on the other side, and as such commanding respect and a far greater likelihood of being listened to (I, for one, will now take much more seriously the group which unequivocally condemned the Jerusalem bombing, while I have debated with Christians who take a different view from me but whose honesty and fairness has won my respect). Then there are the others who are highly selective, simplistic, polarised and disingenuous, even if it means ignoring an inconvenient truth, all in the name of "my side right or wrong" (or in this case "Israel is always wrong"). They are a classic example of how not to be taken seriously.