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Thirty-miles to the north-west of the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and our Lord’s ‘own city’ of Capernaum lies Tyre. Like so many other Biblical cities, it is now under attack from Israeli forces. The present Israeli war crimes against southern Lebanon, with hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who have lost their homes and livelihoods, can be likened to those of the Nazi invasion of western Poland in 1939. Then too, an innocent and virtually defenceless people was bombarded by a sophisticated war-machine, which unleashed panzers against cavalry.

Then, it is true, Great Britain and France at last had the courage to declare war against unrepentant Nazi Germany. Today Western governments, especially the American, support Israel. The American administration had been supplying Israel with the latest smart bombs and ‘bunker busters’ for several months before its latest war of aggression against the native people of the Middle East. As for the British government, at the beginning of hostilities in July, it was able very swiftly to send six warships to evacuate British citizens. It is difficult to believe that this was by chance. It is much more likely that the British government, like the US, knew well in advance exactly what the Israeli government was planning and had its warships in the right place at the right time.

As regards the rest of Western Europe, it stands by, hypocritically spouting empty words, without the slightest intention of taking any action whatsoever. And Israel knows this. And this is why it continues with impunity to smash the infrastructure of a whole country, massacring and maiming hundreds, if not thousands of men, women and children, destroying bridges, power stations and polluting the Mediterranean. Once again, the arrogant obscenities committed by the Israeli military in their ethnic cleansing of the Lebanon challenge Orthodox born or living in the West. How can Orthodox living in the West and citizens of Western countries remain silent in the face of the present outrages?

Orthodox have had to answer such questions in all ages, from the Roman Empire to the American Empire. Their answers are inevitably shaped by the belief that our Faith is more important than loyalty to any earthly State, for eternity is more important than time and space. Orthodox will always put their Faith above their temporal nationality and natural feelings of patriotism. As the West has for nearly a thousand years ideologically opposed the Gospel, incorporating secularism into its very ideology. Orthodox who are devoted to the Truth of Christ are inevitably ambivalent towards the West. We can never integrate the worldliness of the West. We may, and indeed should, love our countries, the USA, England, France or any other, but this is in spite of the actions of particular Western governments, let alone minority regimes, like that of Mr Blair.

For conscious Orthodox, Orthodoxy is in itself a nationality, the ‘nationality’ of Christ, which is above all nationalities and governments. As bombs fall on Orthodox in the Lebanon, we Orthodox feel solidarity with all other Orthodox. As bombs rain down on Roman Catholics and Muslims and rockets fall on Jews, we Orthodox also feel solidarity with all suffering mankind, which is abused and deceived by powerbrokers and their machines of war. All men are created in the image and likeness of God, whatever the religious label, Muslim, Jew, Roman Catholic or any other, which manmade misinterpretation of revelation, conditioned by race, history and politics, have attached to them.

Israel should be warned about its latest outburst of anti-Semitism (yes, the Arabs too are Semites). In the words of the proverb: ‘Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. The brothers and sisters of infants murdered and maimed today will not forget tomorrow. Every child that Israel murders or maims with its American bombs and European appeasement will be replaced by a hundred others. Only they will grow up into fanatical terrorists, who will fight against the Occupier a kamikaze guerrilla war, which Israel can never win. Foolishly, Israel breeds its own enemies.

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