I know that there are a number of smart conservatives who side with Rod Dreher in the flap over Ted Cruz’s short-lived speech to the In Defense of Christians summit dinner.
However as much as our feelings may get conflicted on these issues, I think Ted Cruz is right. We don’t always get to pick who are friends and opponents are in war, and sometimes the people we’d like to have on our side, aren’t. Some of the Lebanese and “Palestinian” Christians, are reminiscent of the Finns in World War II.
While many of Hitler’s allies in World War II were horrible, and actively participated in the evil Nazi programs of oppression and genocide, some of the specific national situations turned out to be more complex. Most notably, Finland was unique among Hitler’s allies. Finland kept its independence from Germany. Finland retained its liberal Republic during the war, did not persecute the Jews or other groups the Nazis targeted, and even kept its military forces out of the Nazi chain of command. They didn’t even sign the Axis treaty.
Finland did let Nazi troops into Finland to attack the Soviet Union though. That’s because Finland had been already at war with the Soviets long before Operation Barbarossa started the Nazi attacks on the Soviet Union. The Winter War saw the Soviets invading Finland, and Finland fighting back. Finland lost territory in the war, and was not happy about it.
So in 1941 when the Germans wanted to use Finnish territory to aid in their invasion of the Soviet Union, the Finns were happy to accept the opportunity to fight what they called the Continuation War. They didn’t love the Nazis, and in fact throughout the war the Finnish government was dominated by liberals and social democrats, but they were still angry about what the Soviets had just done to them, so they were happy to see the Nazis hit them back.
I think in the case of the Arab Christians, we’re seeing much of the same thing. Many Arabs resent the existence of Israel, as a state heavily settled from Europe, seeing it surely as an imposition from outside. The Muslim majorities have been the drivers of the military and political efforts to wipe Israel back off the map, complete with a vicious hatred of Jews. Arab Christians though, being Arabs, have been caught in the middle.
And being in the middle of a shooting war means getting shot at. Being outside of the Israeli security fence, and being shot at, means the armed people closest to you, ready to shoot back at the people shooting at you, are the radical Islamist and ‘Palestinian’ groups seeking to eradicate Israel. So, we see many of Arab Christians becoming allies of those groups.
Like the Finns, the Arab Christians are allying with awful people in order to fight back against a country they feel has wronged them. Unlike the Finns, they have no army, and no homeland of their own to create a defensible border on. So being vulnerable and Christian, we’re sympathetic to their plight, and wish them well.
I’m sure many of us are sympathetic to Finland, too, being invaded by the Red Army in the same way the Baltics were, suffering that unprovoked aggression, and losing tens of thousands of men having to fight off that attack. But sympathy only goes so far. It is still a war. One side’s going to win, and one side’s going to lose.
Ted Cruz wants Israel to win its war, and the array of Islamist forces to lose, and he’s right to want that. If the bulk of the Arab Christian population counts itself allied with the Islamists against Israel, then they too must lose.
Ted Cruz is right. We stand with Israel, against those who seek Israel’s destruction, just as we stood with our allies the United Nations against the Axis. We need make no apology for that, even if we do regret some of the peoples who choose to ally with our enemies in this war.