Top Ten Reasons Christian Zionism "Impairs Israel's Interests"
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 01:38:52 PM EST
This is Part Two in a series about the dangers of Christian Zionism, and why organizations like J Street are badly needed to provide a different vision of what it means to be pro-Israel. See Part One here.

There are numerous reasons why the relationship with Christian Zionists "impairs Israel's interests," to borrow a recent comment directed at J Street by the Israeli Embassy. Ambassador Michael Oren is apparently snubbing J Street's upcoming first national conference although he spoke at John Hagee's Christian's United for Israel conference in July.  This is my list of the top ten reasons, based on years of research, why it is John Hagee and Christian Zionist activists who should be viewed as impairing Israel's interests, not moderate and liberal American Jews.  For brevity I have limited examples, quotes, and references for which I have large amounts of supporting documentation.

1  Christian Zionism has become the most recognizable and widely broadcast face of Zionism around the world, and it projects a vision of Israel that competes with the worst propaganda coming from Islamic extremists.  Christian Zionism mandates the end of religious pluralism and demands the creation of a Christian Zion or Christian Israel in preparation for the Millennium. Allowing John Hagee's CUFI or other Christian Zionist groups to define the meaning of "pro-Israel" creates a no-win situation for Israel and Jews worldwide

Christian Zionists talk openly about a "greater Israel" that consumes its neighbors and often provide graphic details of the slaughter of millions expected to accompany that territorial expansion.  Christian Zionist literature is filled with extensive and explicit details of how Israel's neighbors are to be destroyed including maps showing Israel extending from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates.  In his 2001 book "The Battle for Jerusalem," Hagee states on page 236, "In modern terms, Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia."  

Christian Zionist end-time narratives typically depict efforts towards peace as evil, an expected tactic that the anti-Christ and his minions will use to bring about a totalitarian world government. Christian Zionists exclude the possibility that Mideast conflict will ever be resolved by anything other than apocalyptic violence; in this view, there will never be a human peace for Jews or Israel.

Middle East and terrorism "experts" on major network news have included end times prophecy writers.  For instance, Mike Evans has been interviewed as a Middle East expert on Fox and MSNBC, and audiences are usually not informed that his main qualification is as an author of books on end time prophecy. Evans has written that there will be no peace until the Christian Millennium - which must be preceded by devastating and bloody wars.

That mentality was manifest in the original organizational logo of John Hagee's Christians United For Israel, which featured a photograph of the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount from which the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of The Rock had been airbrushed out. CUFI initially denied this until the JTA News Service picked up the story.

2   Christian Zionists work to fulfill their own prophecy that the rest of the world will soon turn on Jews and Israel.  This is often described as a "fishers and hunters" scenario, in reference to a verse of scripture, and as seen in numerous Christian Zionists accounts.  This means that fishers (Christian Zionists) are to entice Jews to return to Israel, then hunters (overt anti-Semites) will force the remaining Jews to Israel in a violent wave of worldwide anti-Semitism. This results in a scenario in which the goals of Christian Zionists and overt anti-Semites are strikingly similar. John Hagee expounded this theme, claiming that "...God sent a hunter. Hitler was a hunter," in a sermon that came to light during the 2008 US presidential election and led Senator John McCain to renounce Hagee's political endorsement. The sermon was not a philosophical treatise on the meaning of the Holocaust but typical of the Christian Zionist narrative of fishers and hunters. ( In a letter of apology to Abraham Foxman and the ADL, Hagee claimed the sermon was from 1999, but in fact he gave it in late 2005. In the sermon, the third of  a three-sermon set still marketed by John Hagee Ministries in 2008, titled "Jerusalem, Countdown to Crisis", Hagee referred to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. )

A number of Christian Zionist leaders describe this prophesied advent of "the hunters" as leading to the second Holocaust of the Jews. Not all Christian Zionists agree on the exact timing of these end time events, or even if they will still be around. Some now believe that they will remain on earth as Christian warriors instead of being Raptured, a significant shift from traditional fundamentalist end times belief.  Some report preparing shelters and escape routes in order to assist and proselytize Jews during the "second Holocaust." In Alaska this includes an airline ministry for the purpose of taking Jews to refuge.  The leader of Intercessors for Israel in an article titled "Tactical Prayer for the Salvation of Israel" states that God uses both fishers and hunters "to bring His People home and while we have entered the season of the hunters there is still some time left for fishing." [ See previous article by the author, Fishers and Hunters: The Continuing Saga of Christian Zionism]

But Christian Zionists are themselves working to create a cultural climate that will give rise to those "hunters", by distributing anti-Semitic ideas and propaganda on a scale that overt anti-Semites could only dream of achieving - worldwide. John Hagee's CUFI bio states that he is "telecast on eight major networks, 162 independent news stations, and 51radio stations throughout the globe broadcasting in 190 nations."

3  Christian Zionists are a major source of anti-Jewish conspiracy theory.  Again, this point sounds counterintuitive but makes sense if you are familiar with the history and end times narrative of the movement.  Jews are seen both as the source of salvation and also as the source of evil and rebellion against the divine order.  

Much of  Federal  Reserve banking and New World Order conspiracy theory, and other anti-Jewish conspiracy narratives that are currently percolating through society, are sourced in Christian Zionist apocalyptic literature.  Similar conspiracy narratives were also common in the 1920s and 1930s when leading American fundamentalists embraced the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" despite, or perhaps because of, their "restorationist" beliefs.  Pat Robertson opened the door to the revival of those old conspiracy theories as legitimate religious belief with his 1991 book "New World Order" which included quotes from and references to both historic and current anti-Semitic authors.  

But CUFI founder John Hagee has gone even further than Robertson, to claims that the Federal Reserve system is controlled by European-based Rothschilds who have conspired to attack the US middle class, and American patriotism, by devaluing the dollar. The ADL characterizes this class of conspiracy theory as A Classic Anti-Semitic Myth [also see the following articles 1, 2, 3]

4  Christian Zionism promotes the belief that the destinies of nations and peoples are determined by their biblical genealogy.  Islamic nations are doomed and Israel is restored, based on genetic inheritance.  This biblical genealogy sometimes works to the advantage of Jews, but it is the same tool that has been used to discredit and demonize Jews through history.  Many white supremacist groups in the US share a religious belief called Christian Identity, which is a mutation of British Israelism, a belief that Anglo-Saxon and other white races are the lost tribes of Israel.  British Israelism was initially Jewish friendly or philo-Semitic, but some adherents of this belief developed a narrative in which Jews are impostors in the family tree, and hated by God.  It is this race of pseudo-Jews, or `Esau-Edomites,' whom white supremacists accuse of controlling the globe with demonic powers and persecuting the true bloodline of Israel.  This is a recurrent theme in overt anti-Semitic media.

Christian Millennialists often use biblical genealogy to strip away the legitimacy of Jewish inheritance by deciding who is, and who is not, Israel.  Today there are growing numbers of Christian Zionists who see themselves as "Israelites."  Some of these groups have been encouraged by World Likud, and their organization Worldwide Biblical Zionists, to aspire to move to Israel.  Also, as these "Israelite" groups expand, there is indication that they may turn on Jews, or at least those Jews who refuse to cooperate in their proscribed `prophetic destiny'.

John Hagee claims that Hitler was partially Jewish and belonged to the Esau lineage of pseudo-Jews.  In his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown, (page 149 of 2006 edition), Hagee states, "It was Esau's descendant's who produced the half-breed Jews of history who have persecuted and murdered the Jews beyond human comprehension. Adolf Hitler was a distant descendant of Esau."  Hagee and other Christian Zionists control their own narratives.  If they can claim that the land of Israel belongs to Jews because of biblical genealogy, they can just as easily alter their narratives to strip that genealogical heritage from some, or all, Jews. It has been done before.

5  Christian Zionists rewrite Jewish history, including the Holocaust, to fit their millennial narrative, just as the Religious Right is currently rewriting American history to fit its agenda.[see: 1, 2, 3] One of the common reasons given for partnering with Christian Zionists is their interest in promoting Holocaust education and remembrance. Claims that Christian Zionists fight anti-Semitism do not hold up to scrutiny, and neither does this one.  

Christian Zionists media is certainly loaded with Holocaust references but much of this is presented from a Christian supremacist viewpoint. These accounts sometimes include apologies for the role of Christianity in Nazi Germany but tend to overemphasize  Catholicism as a villain while downplaying the Protestant role. In these Christian Zionist Holocaust narratives the heroes are "true" Christians while the Nazis are portrayed as liberals, communists, gays, and atheists - an inversion which depicts those societal groups, which were in fact targeted by the Nazis, as villains in the Holocaust. In this school of revisionist history "Nazi" is increasingly used to describe the enemies of "true Christianity," whoever those enemies are perceived to be, while Nazism is merged with Communism as a single anti-Christian entity.

Another danger of a Christian supremacist view of the Holocaust is that is easily leads to the prophecy narrative in which "born again" Christians become the persecuted or "new Jews" of the world.  An expectation of imminent persecution of Christian patriots, by satanically controlled government forces, has become a major theme in the Religious Right. These now-ubiquitous New World Order conspiracy theories typically claim the existence of a national network of  FEMA-run concentrations camps to which Christian patriots will transported in railroad cars, to be interned and even gassed. [see: 1, 2]

This inversion of the Holocaust is graphically portrayed in John Hagee's video dramatization of the end times, "Vanished", which has scenes evoking Kristallnacht.  However, rather than synagogues burning Hagee's film depicts churches aflame around the world, including one marked Berlin, while newly born again Christians are beaten in the streets. It is clear in the movie that the perpetrators who partner with the anti-Christ are Catholics and Jews. [see  link, scroll down to the section on Hagee's 2001 movie "Vanished, In the Twinkling of an Eye."]  

6   Christian Zionists objectify Jews in narratives that closely parallel those of medieval anti-Semitism, in which Jews supernaturally brought about droughts and plagues. Christians all over the globe, including in third world countries, are being told that by financially supporting and "blessing" Israel, they will be blessed by God in tangible ways.  Crops, droughts, hurricanes, and death of the innocent are supposedly the result of thwarting God's plan for Israel. There are entire books by Christian Zionists dedicated solely to cataloging American natural and human disasters, and painstakingly tying each disaster to political decisions that they claim were counter to God's plan for Israel.    

Incredibly, there are Jewish leaders who do not appear to see a problem with this process of dehumanization of Jews or notice the similarity to overtly anti-Semitic narratives. In fact some Jewish leaders have claimed that Christian Zionists' interpretation of Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those that bless you..," is positively impacting the perception of Israel. Daily I see accounts of people around the globe who believe that their well-being and prosperity are tied to "blessing" Israel, and vice versa.  Once communities worldwide truly believe that Jews hold this type of supernatural power over everyone else, it will not be possible to undo the damage.  Furthermore "blessing Israel" most often means something quite different than Israeli leaders might think.

"Blessing Israel" means cleansing Israel of its evils, including Judaism, in preparation for the Christian Millennium.  This is verbalized in a well established collection of prayer proclamations for Israel developed by the late Derek Prince and widely disseminated through dozens of Christian Zionist ministries, including that of Robert Stearns who leads the largest international Christian Zionist event which involves over 200,000 churches in 175 nations.  The prayers include the following: that the veil would be removed from the eyes of Jews so they will accept Yeshua (Jesus), that the spirit of Marxism and humanism in Israel would be broken, that new immigrants would lead others to Yeshua, that Israelis would be cleansed of their heart of stone and given a heart of flesh, and that God would "sprinkle the clean water of your Word on Israel and cleanse her of her filthiness and her idols, including abortion and the occult."  These groups do not just pray these prayers but participate in activism and financing to help bring them about.

7  Christian Zionists have presented a face of Zionism to the world that only the extreme right could love. Israeli leaders have talked for several years about campaigns to rebrand the nation's  image but have failed to consider "firing" Christian Zionists as their public representatives to the rest of the world. America's Voice, a radio program which has been broadcast throughout the US, came about when The Jerusalem Post teamed with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. The idea for the show was conceived after Malcolm Hoenlein took Rush Limbaugh to Israel in the 1990s. Two of the first participants were Oliver North (Iran-Contra) and G. Gordon Liddy (Watergate). If your "brand" is marketed by North, Liddy, Hagee and Pat Robertson, just to name a few, it is not hard to guess who your supporters will and won't be. These right wing extremists have helped to drive away moderate Jews and Christians alike, and to antagonize Muslims.

8  Christian Zionists are damaging Israel's relationship with other Christians.  Many Christians support religious pluralism and view Jews as fellow human beings, not as the supernatural power determining the future of the globe. The humanism of these Christians is being derided as anti-Semitic because of their refusal to make decisions about Israel on the basis of "Biblical Zionism."  In this form of Zionism, Israel is not to be viewed as a political state, or on the same basis as other nations, but only through the lens of biblical prophecy.  The humanity of the players in this end times drama is of no consequence, and both Christians and Jews who are concerned about the humanity of all peoples in the Middle East can be targeted as anti-Semites or self-hating Jews.   This is the tragedy of allowing Christian Zionists and the extreme right to redefine the meaning of anti-Semitism.  

9  Christian Zionists are using their "pro-Israel" support as a cover for large scale proselytizing of Jews, including providing a support system for a rapidly growing Messianic network. Messianics are Jews who have converted to Christianity but still claim to retain their Jewish identity, and they often continue with the outward trappings of Jewish ritual.  Today, Messianic congregations include large numbers of people with no Jewish background but who believe they are adopting the ritual of the early Hebrew Christians of the New Testament era.   As a part of this Hebrew roots movement, Jewish holidays and symbolism are co-opted for purposes that have absolutely nothing to do with Judaism. By co-opting Jewish symbolism, these Christian Zionists and Messianics together become the "real Jews" or "new covenant Jews" and so deny the legitimacy of rabbinic Judaism.

A "One New Man in Yeshua" narrative is currently exploding onto the Christian Zionists scene worldwide, along with "two-house" theology.  Yeshua is Hebrew for Jesus, and two-house theology is similar to British Israelism or Anglo-Israelism - in which Christians believe they are Israelites. (Increasingly there are Christian Zionists who believe that they have a hereditary right to land in Israel, particularly the West Bank, and there are Israeli politicians who willing to accommodate them.) In these emerging narratives, Christian Zionists and Messianics as the "new covenant Jews" have a mandate to advance the Christian Millennial but are impeded by those Jews who refuse to accept Yeshua.  Despite this, one of the major talking points being used to convince Jews to embrace Christian Zionists is that they no longer believe in "replacement theology."

10  The face of Christian Zionism is changing with the demographics of Christianity.  Pentecostal and charismatic belief is sweeping the globe and in many places is replacing the Christian faiths that were previously dominant.  Current estimates place the Pentecostal/Charismatic segment of Christianity at approximately 500 million and the second largest block of Christianity after Roman Catholicism.  Christian Zionist events such as the international Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem draw overwhelmingly from the Independent Charismatic portion of this stream. For better or worse, this is not the more familiar American fundamentalism of the last century.  

Those promoting the Christian Zionist partnership are using the current period of transition to convince Jews that this "new" Christian Zionism is benign and without end times motivations. Again, this is not true and, in fact, this movement has removed the theological barrier that tended to restrain fundamentalists from seeking to themselves move the hands of the prophetic clock. This sector of Christian Zionism differs from fundamentalism as these Independent Charismatics believe that their prophets receive new prophecy directly from God, as well as supernatural gifts in order to bring about their mandates.  Jews worldwide should anticipate and understand changes in this aggressively proselytizing and strongly millennial-minded movement  which is accessing Jewish communities through its Christian Zionist activities.

What does this list have to do with J Street?

The temperature of this millennial frenzy has been rising in recent years and the theology is changing in subtle ways.  The idea that this is somehow of no consequence to Jews and Israel, or that millennial aspirations no longer play much of a role in this support, as currently claimed by Ambassador Michael Oren and others, is absurd in light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Despite this, many Jewish organizations have turned a blind eye to the dangers of Christian Zionism and happily embraced the movement.  AIPAC featured John Hagee as a keynote speaker in 2007.  

It may seem counterintuitive to describe well-intentioned and very sincere Christian millennialists dancing around with Israeli flags and singing in Hebrew as a threat, but the history of millennial embrace and disillusionment tells us otherwise.  Obsession based on a prophecy narrative that has little to do with real flesh and blood Jews is dangerous.  We are near to or at the peak of a millennial frenzy that may be unmatched in history and certainly is unmatched in global reach, as this one has stretched into Africa, Asia, and South America.  What lies ahead, as Jews fail to fulfill the millennial expectations of Christian Zionists, should at least merit some dialogue.

It is important to note that I am not talking about all Christians who feel a close kinship with Israel or those who wish to travel or study in the Holy Land.  Christian Zionism refers to activism to move the hands of the prophetic clock.  The title of a book by European Christian Zionist leader, Johannes Facius says it all - "Hastening the Messiah, Your Role in Fulfilling Prophecy." Facius has served as the head of the Ebenezer Emergency Fund, whose Operation Exodus helps Jews in the former Soviet Union to immigrate to Israel.  The fourth chapter in Facius book is titled "Fishers and Hunters."  

If pro-Israel means wanting a peaceful Middle East, where the grandchildren of today's Jews can live in peace with the grandchildren of their Muslim neighbors, Christian Zionism is not the answer, it is part of the problem.

Time and again we see humans wanting to rush things along. Unfortunately for us whether it is the Apocalypse of Revelation or the Dominionists purge and plunder. Either way most of us lose if they win.

by Nightgaunt on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 05:46:23 PM EST

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