Grim historical reminder: Spanish official’s controversial Gaza War statement

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By Charles Gardner —

Yolanda Diaz, Spanish deputy prime minister



I was greatly shocked to hear of Yolanda Diaz, a Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, ending a speech on the Gaza War with the genocidal slogan “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”.¹

This of course is the Hamas chant that effectively calls for the extermination of the Jewish state and of her people worldwide. And is especially shocking in the wake of her country’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state – seen as a reward for the terror currently being inflicted on Israel.

It brings to mind the infamous three centuries-long Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834) when barbaric torture was meted out against the nation’s Jews, Muslims and Protestant Christians who refused to convert to Catholicism.

My own Sephardic Jewish ancestors somehow managed to survive the pogroms but were eventually forced to leave their Spanish (and then Portuguese) homes to seek refuge elsewhere – in Britain, South Africa, America and the Caribbean, as it turned out.

The Diaz view is particularly disappointing in the light of former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s 2010 call to support Israel as they were on the frontline of the battle to protect the West’s hard-won freedoms from the threat of radical Islam. If Israel went down, the rest of us would follow, he argued in a Times article.

As it is, Israel is now left to conduct a war on seven fronts, including Hamas and the Houthis to the south and Hezbollah and its Iranian masters to the north.

Countries like Spain, Ireland and Norway – with Britain quite possibly soon joining the fray – are adding fuel to the fire by encouraging ongoing terrorism with promises of recognition for a state of their own from which to continue bombarding Israel with rockets until their clearly stated goal is achieved.

I have just been reading how the great 19th century evangelist Henry Grattan Guinness stumbled across gruesome evidence of the Inquisition while journeying through Spain. Workmen building a road had uncovered the ashes of those who had been tortured and burned as heretics – two hands clasped tightly in prayer transfixed by a huge iron nail, a ribcage penetrated by a spear.²

Filled with a mixture of grief and revulsion, Henry collected some of the contents and took them home where they remained on his desk to remind him of the price paid by those, including Protestant Christians, who died for their faith while also driving him on to preach the gospel which alone offers peace and reconciliation to a hostile world.

From that time on he concentrated on prophetic writing, interpreting the Bible’s teaching about the end times and, in particular, on the restoration of Israel. His influence on the latter score was to be far-reaching, convincing major politicians including Lord Arthur Balfour, one-time British Prime Minister who, as Foreign Secretary, promised to do everything possible to re-establish the Jewish people in their own homeland.

And so it was that, in the wake of the calamity represented by his gruesome discovery, he would successfully advocate for the very people who had suffered so terribly in Spain.

There is a very real sense in which God has a way of following calamity with redemption. The Holocaust, for example, was quickly followed by the re-birth of Israel. Death is followed by resurrection.

The edict of 1492, expelling Jews from Spain on pain of death, was followed just a day later by the sailing of three ships under the command of one Christopher Columbus, who was to discover America which was to prove a refuge for countless Jews escaping subsequent pogroms in Europe.³

In the same way I believe that Israel’s current troubles will soon give way to unprecedented joy and freedom as the One they have pierced reveals himself to his family in the flesh (see Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 1:7).

Yes, as the prophet Habakkuk discovered to his dismay in his day, God is using the Babylonians – in a new form, but with the same ruthless nature bent on violence – as a fiery cauldron to burn off the dross of sin, rebellion and unbelief. (A similar scenario may well soon be inflicted on Great Britain with ultimately positive results).

And refined as gold by fire, a repentant nation will return to their Lord. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

The prophet considered the terror of the invaders and was appalled. Yet undeterred, he declared: “I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” And though nothing seems right now and there appears to be no fruit for his labours, he will rejoice in the Lord who is his strength. (Habakkuk 3:16-19)

Aaron Abramson, the new international CEO of Jews for Jesus, was depressed and drifted away from God after a close friend was kidnapped, tortured and killed by Hamas. But a number of Christians subsequently shared the gospel with him.

When he finally read the New Testament, “faith welled up inside me and I was filled with hope for the first time in years. I knew Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah and I wanted to tell my Israeli friends about him”.

A 19th century Russian journalist, Joseph Rabinowitz, in trying to understand why his people (the Jews) were so persecuted, came to the conclusion that it was all about Yeshua (Jesus) ‘our brother’. He was not only – as a fellow Jew – the reason they were despised, but also the solution to their problems.

He went on to form a community known as Israelites of the New Covenant (partly inspired by the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people), forerunners of today’s Messianic movement of Jews who follow Jesus.

Writing in the June 2024 Jews for Jesus newsletter, Aaron Abramson said: “I believe we are standing on the threshold of opportunity. The Bible is clear. God promised a future and a hope to the Jewish people. The Scriptures point to a revival the likes of which we have never seen.”

¹ Times of Israel, May 23, 2024
² The Guinness Spirit by Michele Guinness, published in 1999 by Hodder & Stoughton
³ Jonathan Cahn in The Book of Mysteries published by FrontLine

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