COMMENTARY: Footballers Salute the Fuehrer!

Why do Christians (on the whole) not get the connection between following Jesus and befriending the Jews?

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Bearing in mind the obvious success of President Trump’s “Don’t mess with me” strategy in getting dictators to the negotiating table, surely lessons can be learnt from this. It certainly gives a whole new meaning to ‘playing the trump card’.

But the stubborn Europeans refuse to take note, or even learn from history. Did not Jesus indicate that wisdom – and recognition of his Lordship in particular – was hidden from “the wise”, but revealed to “little children”? (Matthew 11.25)

I am more staggered than ever at the lengths to which the British Government will go to appease dictators since learning for the first time last Saturday that the England football team had, in 1938, raised a Nazi salute to Hitler in front of a crowd of 105,000 before a friendly match against Germany in Berlin – on the orders of the Foreign Office!

This was apparently designed to pave the way for Neville Chamberlain’s efforts to appease the Fuehrer, instead of squaring up to him as Churchill was later to do.

(A copy of the infamous ‘Nazi salute’ photo, reproduced in last Saturday’s Daily Mail, was sent to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson from his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in response to Johnson’s suggestion that Russia was using the World Cup for propaganda purposes in the same way that Hitler had done with the 1936 Olympics.)

This shameful (1938) episode in Britain’s history was a natural progression of their foreign policy in bending over backwards to keep the Arabs happy throughout the 20s and 30s when they were supposed to be preparing a home for the Jewish people.

Buckling under the pressure of Muslim-inspired riots over the prospect of a Jewish nation in their midst, Britain betrayed both their international obligation and their own Balfour Declaration promising to do all they could to ensure that Zionist aspirations were met.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict could well have been nipped in the bud if we had acted with more integrity and courage. And after all these years, Britain is still batting for the wrong side by refusing to follow President Trump’s lead in recognising Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.

Fear of Muslim-Arab fury, rather than pleasing God in blessing Israel, once again turns us into cowards presiding over the potential ruin of our country (see Isaiah 60.12).

Theresa May and her European allies are also refusing to take President Trump (and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu) seriously over the danger posed by Iran, insisting on sticking to the Obama-led nuclear deal designed to keep the lid on the rogue state’s weapons build-up.

The Ayatollah’s threat of removing and eradicating the “malignant cancerous tumour” he calls Israel is shrugged off in a manner reminiscent of the 1930s, when Hitler’s rantings were not taken seriously.

Mr Netanyahu says it is “amazing that at the beginning of the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel – that means destroying another six million-plus Jews…”

This is the same country that was behind the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community centre in 1994, leaving 85 dead, an atrocity that has blighted Argentina ever since.

Our weakness with Iran seems to chime with our stance on its terrorist proxy Hezbollah who, last Sunday, were once again free to parade their hate-filled views on Israel through the streets of London despite ongoing calls for a ban.

Refusing to apply an outright ban on the organization (in recognising separate political and military wings which Hezbollah itself does not acknowledge) is not only encouraging ‘hate speech’ which is supposed to be illegal, but is obviously against the interests of our 300,000-strong Jewish community as well as Israel.

By sanctioning the belligerence of those who seek Israel’s demise, we are certainly not being a blessing to the seed of Abraham, and are thus in grave danger of bringing a curse upon our nation (Genesis 12.3). We at least have a chance to begin putting things right later this month when Prince William makes the first ever official visit to Israel from a British royal.

Can we not learn from Brazil where, just a fortnight ago, two million Christians took to the streets of Sao Paulo for their annual March for Jesus? According to one report, the crowd were waving Israeli flags while cheering and praying for the Jewish state.

For the first time in nearly 20 years of the event, Jewish officials were invited to attend. Addressing the gathering, Israel’s consul Dori Goren said: “Attending the march is our way to express our gratitude for the evangelical people and the Brazilian people.”

Argentinian evangelist Andrew Palau, son of Luis, preached the gospel and a “sea of hands” were raised in response to his call to faith and repentance.

Tens of thousands of Iranians have also expressed support for Israel in a Twitter campaign to distance themselves from the opinions of their regime.

Christians who know their Bible and are committed to following Jesus are also serious about their love for Jews. For it was they who gave us the patriarchs, the prophets, the Bible itself and indeed the Lord Jesus.

Since God consistently proclaims his unfailing love for his chosen people despite their repeated backsliding, Bible believers naturally follow the same path so that it becomes the case that if you love Jesus, you find yourself also loving the Jew.

Christians are those who follow Jesus – “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53.3) – and are thus prepared to suffer abuse and ridicule as he did. In the same way they will also be ready to wave Israeli flags, which is to swim very much against the tide in almost every generation.

True Christians are happy to nail their colours to the mast – and to support the real victims of society, not necessarily those groups beloved of our politically-correct world.

So why do British Christians (on the whole) not get the connection between following Jesus and befriending the Jews? Could it perhaps be something to do with Pentecost, which I touched on last week? For Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit, poured out at Pentecost, would “guide you into all the truth”. (John 16.13)

And he also said: “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9.26)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


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