". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


PERKINS: Israel, Iran, and The Road Ahead

April 24, 2024

Monday night in Israel, as Jewish families gathered around the Passover table for their first Seder since the tragedy of October 7, there were too many empty chairs. Some held hands, still hoping for the release of their hostage loved ones. Thousands of others tasted the meal’s bitter herbs with a fresh wave of grief for the ones who will never return. Across the country, Jews and non-Jews hold their breath, wondering what next year’s holiday will look like. More than that, wondering whether the world, a place rocked by hatred, conflict, and chaos, can survive it.

“Why is this night different?” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked poignantly as dusk fell. “On this night, 133 of our dear brothers and sisters are not around the Seder table, and they are still held hostage by Hamas in hellish conditions,” he said somberly. “… And why is this night not different?” he prompted. Because Passover, of all holidays, recognizes that the Jewish people have been oppressed and hunted throughout history. “In every generation they rise up to destroy us,” Netanyahu reminded his people, “and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from them. This time as well,” he insisted, “we will overcome those who seek our lives.”

But it will not be because Israel’s friends have stood strong in their defense. Here at home, the Biden administration has all but abandoned America’s strongest, most significant Middle Eastern ally. As the Jewish state stands on the brink of war with the entire Islamic world, this president and his party seem more intent on placating his radical, anti-Semitic base than supporting Israel’s right to self-defense. After Iran fired more than 300 drones and ballistic missiles at the tiny nation in an unprecedented attack, what did the president demand? Restraint — not from the ayatollah, but from the country the religious dictator sought to destroy.

Even as President Biden declared his “ironclad” support of Israel Monday, the world knows he’s simultaneously tied Netanyahu’s hands and made the Jewish state vulnerable to greater hostilities. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and I talked about last week on “Washington Watch,” the best way to contain this global threat is for America to stand with Israel. “The only thing the ayatollah and the thugs of the world appreciate is strength,” Graham emphasized. “They’re not normal people. Quit treating the ayatollah and his regime as normal. The whole reason they live is to … destroy the Jews and Christians.” But, he pointed out, if they believed America would truly support Israel, “they would think twice [about trying to] wipe them off the map.”

Instead, what every evil opportunistic leader in the world sees is an America whose president is vacillating in his support of Israel. Joe Biden is so afraid of the young pro-Hamas, extremist protestors in his party that he refuses to send a message of resolve to Iran — and anyone who would prey on the Jewish state. And frankly, that’s what got Israel into this mess in the first place. The White House invited this aggression and emboldened Israel’s enemies by projecting weakness and uncertainty.

And what this administration fails to recognize — to our great detriment — is that America’s security is intertwined with our support of Israel. Yes, this president’s foreign policy has been a disaster from China to Afghanistan, but his indifference toward Israel’s enemies may be the most dangerous decision he’s made for the future United States. “The ayatollah and his henchmen talk every day about the destruction of the Jewish state,” Graham warned. “So to those Americans who believe this doesn’t matter to you, I promise you, if Israel is destroyed ... you’re next on their list. This idea of sitting on the sidelines and watching the only democracy that practices religious tolerance to be wiped out by a theocracy, who has as its goal to purify the world’s religion, is insane. Have you learned nothing from the ’30s?”

This is not just another skirmish. This is a very, very serious moment for our nation. The world as we know it is at a tipping point. What America does in our foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle East has greater significance now than ever before, because if we get this wrong, we will embolden the enemies of Israel and watch the entire region unravel into one massive conflict.

From a biblical perspective, Jesus warned us that these days were coming. In John 15:11, He says, “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” So how should Christians approach this moment? I believe with great prayer and supplication, understanding that God doesn’t want us to be anxious or worried. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus told His followers in John 14:27. “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

God intends for us to walk in peace and joy, even when it seems the world is spinning out of control. In reality, everything is falling into place. The timeline, we may not know. But what we do know is this: as believers, we’re called to do everything we can to spread the gospel, to work for the wellbeing of people, and to bless the Jewish people. You cannot separate the hatred of the Jewish state from the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. and around the globe. Now, more than ever, we need to stand with Israel. That means we must pray for Israel, and we must also vote for those who are willing to stand with the Jewish people.

As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu during a meeting in Israel just a few weeks ago, “We stand with you because we’re people of the book.” Genesis 12:3 tells us, “I will bless those who bless you [Israel], and I will curse those who curse you.” This is an opportunity to witness to the world that we believe God’s promises. As former Knesset member Ohad Tal warned, “Those who take a pass on standing with Israel, their future is in question as well.”

Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.