Hating the stranger, and proud of it
As far as I am concerned, there is less excuse for these people than for the similar mobs that screamed and spat at little black kids going to school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, or New Orleans in 1960. Some of them - as in those days - call themselves Christians, just the kind that has no interest in what Jesus had to say about strangers or children.
About the same time, Israel is again trashing Gaza, supposedly because people there have been shooting rockets into Israel. These rockets began to fly, most immediately, because Israel was already obviously looking for a pretext to attack Gaza anyway, because they had just spent three weeks on a pogrom in the West Bank, supposedly to find three kidnapped boys which the government knew all along were already dead, and they were blaming the Hamas organization in Gaza which they knew perfectly well had nothing to do with it. As a direct result, Hamas in Gaza hunkered down and could no longer send out teams to stop others from launching rockets, and so rockets got launched.
Israel now routinely acts like the Germans in 1938, and you can imagine how much worse they would be if they were not still somewhat afraid of European opinion. Kristallnacht, as some of you may remember, was the German government's response to the assassination of a German consular official - opposed to the Nazis himself, as it happens - by a 17-year-old Jewish kid who was outraged by how the Jews were already being treated in Germany. So the present Israeli conduct looks familiar to those of us with memories.
And the Israeli state has the audacity to call itself Jewish, the kind of Jews that have no interest in what Moses and the prophets had to say about how to treat strangers.
It's no marvel that this kind of "Christian" and this kind of "Jew," both obscenities in Christian or Jewish terms, find each other so attractive.
Here Matthew 24 comes in, which describes how things will be just before Jesus returns. The reason it has been of great worth to us the past 2000 years before his return is that it describes not just that time, which could still be a long way off, but any time in which a civilization is collapsing. It was instructive in Jerusalem in AD 70, and as Rome collapsed, and now as modern industrial civilization heads for history's dumper.
To my mind, the most critical point is this: "Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved." It's obvious in that context that enduring to the end is not about shouting that Jesus is Lord - there's never any lack of that and never will be - but for our love not to grow cold in the face of increasing lawlessness. Christians will have to find that that particular endurance needs for us to know Jesus and have him around.