By Stuart Littlewood
Not long ago I quoted American journalist Grace Halsell in an article about the damaging influence of the Scofield Bible, not realising how sorely she was made to suffer for setting out the truth.
That article, ‘The Zionist cuckoos in Christianity’s nest’, showed how Cyrus Scofield corrupted the Biblical message and produced a propaganda classic that has been working its evil for 100 years.
Scofield, a convicted criminal and described by one American newspaper as “a shyster”, was commissioned to re-write the King James Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes. The idea was to change the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist sub-culture within Christianity. The Oxford University Press appointed Scofield as editor, and the Scofield Reference Bible was born.
It introduced a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, which did not exist until 1948 but was already being ‘prepped’ on the drawing board of the World Zionist movement.
It appealed to the impressionable and was seized on by religious chancers who have used inappropriate methods to establish a large and dangerously un-Christian fringe to the Christianity movement. They call themselves Christian Zionists.
Here is how Grace Halsell explained the re-hashed Biblical message: “Simply stated it is this: Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us. Never mind what Israel does, say the Christian Zionists. God wants this to happen…
"Scofield said that Christ cannot return to earth until certain events occur: The Jews must return to Palestine, gain control of Jerusalem and rebuild a temple, and then we all must engage in the final, great battle called Armageddon. Estimates vary, but most students of Armageddon theology agree that as a result of these relatively recent interpretations of Biblical scripture, 10 to 40 million Americans believe Palestine is God’s chosen land for the Jews.”
The problem, she said, was the belief system of Christian Zionists. “They believe that what Israel wants is what God wants. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to give the green light to whatever it is Israel wants and then conceal this from the American people. Anything, including lies, theft, even murder, is justified as long as Israel wants it.”
Those pseudo-Christians, who would have us all believe that God is some kind of racist real estate agent, thereafter made her life a misery.
Grace Halsell was a formidable campaigner for truth and justice and died on 16 August 2000 after a remarkable career as a journalist and author of 13 books. Using a clever suntan technique she daringly disguised herself as a black maid in Mississippi to write the book ‘Soul Sister’ (1969), a shocker that exposed America’s version of apartheid.
She wrote about hard times on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and posed as a Native American working for whites. Vietnam, Central America and Mexican immigrant also came under her spotlight.
In 1981 she published ‘Journey to Jerusalem’, which took a close look at Israeli torture, Israel’s illegal settlements and the oppressed lives Palestinians were forced to lead under occupation. For her pains she was viciously attacked by the usual suspects and dropped by mainstream publishers. Zionists sabotaged her lectures.
MacMillan sacked the executive who commissioned the book. Another MacMillan executive told her he’d been ordered to take the manuscript to the Israeli Embassy and let them read it. “They were not pleased,” he said. “They asked me, ‘You are not going to publish this book, are you?’ I asked, ‘Were there mistakes?’ ‘Not mistakes as such. But it shouldn’t be published. It’s anti-Israel.’”
"Somehow," wrote Grace, "despite obstacles to prevent it, the presses had started rolling. After its publication in 1980, I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Back then, there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, demolition of Palestinian homes, wanton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians."
The plight of the Palestinians – Christian and Muslim – remained uppermost in her work for the rest of her life.
America needs many more fearless champions of the truth like Grace Halsell. Let’s remember her with admiration and gratitude on 16 August.
– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.