What Sort of Christians become Zionists?

By Stuart Littlewood – London

‘We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.’ – The Jerusalem Declaration.

Not all Jews are Zionists. Many reject the Zionist project and fight against it.

So why on earth would a non-Jew wish to be one? Indeed, how could a genuine Christian seriously consider becoming a Zionist? It has puzzled me for a long time. The two ideas are incompatible, are they not?

So consider for a moment Anglican Friends of Israel, as an example. Their stated aims include:

• To support the people of Israel and to secure defensible borders for the State of Israel.

• To recall the Church to G-d’s Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith.

• To call Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs – of both word and deed – inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

• To fight all libels against Israel and the Jewish people and their State.

• To protect the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

Are they Zionists? It sounds very much like it. For them Israel can do no wrong and Christians need to apologise to the Jewish people… er, what for?

And what makes them think that Muslims are more of a threat than Israeli extremists to Christian communities?

You should also see the sort of stuff the Anglican Friends of Israel post on their website.

“Anglican Friends of Israel are dismayed at international condemnation of Israel following attacks upon Israeli Defence Force personnel [by] a supposedly peaceful aid convoy… Israeli offers of peaceful means to deliver the aid into Gaza were refused. Video footage proves that the violence which tragically resulted in the deaths of some passengers and injuries to others including IDF personnel was begun by Aid convoy members… Terrorists in Gaza continue to fire rockets into Israel – over 60 this year so far – and to explode bombs in order to kill and maim Israeli citizens.

‘Western spokespersons might bear in mind that the terror threat to western nations springs from the same source as that faced daily by Israelis and be more circumspect in making demands on Israel before all relevant facts have emerged.” (AFI Press Release: The Mavi Marmara;  02 June 2010)

Anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was actually penned by the crapaganda unit in Tel Aviv. These Anglicans (if they are Anglicans) swallowed Israel’s poisonous concoction hook, line and sinker and re-broadcast it while the abducted flotilla aid workers – witnesses to the murderous assault and executions – were incarcerated in Israeli jails and unable to tell the outside world what really happened.

I don’t know of any danger to us from Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran, if those are the "terror" sources referred to. I doubt if groups who wish to see the Israeli nuclear threat to their region neutralised are also gunning for us, even though people like Anglican Friends of Israel and foreign secretary William Hague are doing their best to provoke them. But Israel of course wishes to make the British feel threatened and to draw us for strategic reasons into their schemes for permanent occupation and domination. There are always plenty of useful idiots to do their bidding.

A few days earlier the Anglicans issued a press release stating that the flotilla to Gaza was “a publicity stunt, not a genuine aid convoy”. The item was actually a statement by the Israeli embassy repeated word for word and containing meaningless information like… “Since last year’s January cease fire, 133 million liters of fuel entered Gaza from Israel – That’s more than enough fuel to fill the fuel tank of every car and truck in Israel!” and “Since the ceasefire, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel – That’s almost a ton of aid for every man woman and child in Gaza.”

Meaningless, because the figures lacked context. You have to go to the UN for that. Whatever Israel lets in, says the UN, it’s only one-fifth of what’s needed.

Some apparently responsible people, it seems, would rather accept without question the disinformation fed them by the Israeli authorities than on-the-spot assessments and reports by the UN and various charities.

Actually Israel is letting in only a quarter of what it let in before Hamas was elected.

Without question there was a publicity angle to the voyage. The organisers had a political point to make – the whole ugly US/UK-created mess out there is a political cesspit. The Israelis couldn’t afford to see their illegal blockade breached. The evidence points to a planned execution raid on the Mavi Marmara in the dead of night with a pre-prepared hit-list.

And in a letter to the BBC these Anglicans insisted that Operation Cast Lead (Israel’s blitzkrieg on Gaza after breaking the ceasefire with Hamas, subsequently killing 1400, maiming heaven knows how many and making hundreds of thousands homeless) was an act of “self-defense”.

If you are as bewildered as I am why so-called Christians are persuaded to sign up to Zionism, a short paper explaining the phenomenon is available from Sadaka, The Ireland Palestine Alliance – see www.sadaka.ie. I found it very helpful.

"The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. Within their land, Jerusalem is recognised to be their exclusive, undivided and eternal capital, and therefore it cannot be shared or divided.

“At the heart of Jerusalem will be the rebuilt Jewish temple, to which all the nations will come to worship God. Just prior to the return of Jesus, there will be seven years of calamities and war known as the tribulation, which will culminate in a great battle called Armageddon, during which the godless forces opposed to both God and Israel will be defeated.

Jesus will then return as the Jewish Messiah and king to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy a privileged status and role in the world."

That’s the Zionist dream in a nutshell.

As I understand it, the Jews were expelled by the Roman occupation in 70AD, when the second temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and again in 135AD.

These days the right of return is regarded as an inalienable right. But it should be exercised as soon as the reason for expulsion (e.g. foreign occupation) ceases. In the Jews’ case an opportunity would have occurred in the 4th century AD as the Roman Empire collapsed. But they didn’t take it. They can hardly expect to change their mind 16 centuries later. Their right expired a very long time ago.

By comparison the Palestinians’ right of return after being ethnically cleansed in 1948 and ever since is much stronger because the enemy occupation has not yet ended and the UN has endorsed their right.

Nevertheless Zionists claim Jerusalem is theirs by heavenly decree. However, this holiest of cities was already 2000 years old when King David captured it. It dates back 5000 years and was named after the Canaanite God of Dusk.

Historians say that Jerusalem, in its ‘City of David’ form, lasted a mere 73 years. In 928BC the kingdom divided into Israel and Judah, and in 597BC the Babylonians conquered the city and destroyed Solomon’s temple. The Jews recaptured it in 164BC but finally lost it to the Roman Empire in 63BC. Before the present-day conflict the Jews, in total, controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, whereas it was subsequently ruled by Muslims for 1,277 years. Before the Jews it belonged to the Canaanites. And for nearly 90 years it was also a Christian kingdom. A lot of competing claims, then, which is probably why the UN declared it should be independently administered as an international city.

In 1187 Saladin restored the city to Islam while allowing Jews and Christians to remain. Today Jewish religious groups want control of the city for their spiritual centre and for a third temple to be built in accordance with ancient prophecies. The plan to make the Israeli occupation permanent threatens especially the Muslim but also the Christian holy places and serves to keep political tension boiling. It is no surprise, given Israel’s reliance on ‘black’ propaganda, that when the Iranian president quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying the unfriendly regime occupying Jerusalem “must vanish from the page of time”, he was immediately reported as wanting to wipe Israel off the map.

Sadaka puts the genuine Christian position by quoting The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a statement by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued in 2006:.

“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

“We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.

“We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!”

The Declaration, explains Sadaka, asserts that "Christian Zionists have aggressively imposed an aberrant expression of the Christian faith and an erroneous interpretation of the Bible, which is subservient to the political agenda of the modern State of Israel… Christian Zionism thrives on a literal and futurist hermeneutic in which Old Testament promises made to the ancient Jewish people are transferred to the contemporary State of Israel in anticipation of a final future fulfillment."

I haven’t yet seen credible response from the Christian Zionists.

Alarmingly, the US-based Unity Coalition for Israel brings together over 200 organisations and is the largest pro-Israel network in the world. They claim to have 40 million active members and lobby on behalf of Israel through 1,700 religious radio stations, 245 Christian TV stations and 120 Christian newspapers.

The question I’d like answered is this. Are we to believe that an all-powerful supernatural Being has chosen and elevated one group of humans to a position of supremacy above all others, and has approved the use any means including murder and brutal eviction to achieve their goal, and now mobilizes millions of lesser mortals from around the globe, like those who regard themselves as upstanding Christians, to serve as tools and sing the praises of this ‘Grand Design’?

In the meantime I’m with the Churches of Jerusalem on this one.

It took an 89-year old woman, the formidable White House correspondent Helen Thomas, to prick the Zionists’ over-inflated balloon when she said last week that the Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home… to Germany, Poland, America and everywhere else.”

The hatchet squad roaming America’s den of iniquity promptly fell on her. They may have silenced her, and may even have destroyed this frail lady, but the power of her words will live on…

– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out