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American Evangelical Christians—Cheerleaders for Zionist Israel and Mr. Trump 

posted on: Oct 14, 2020

American Evangelical Christians—Cheerleaders for Zionist Israel and Mr. Trump 
Trump gave away Holy Jerusalem to Israel for its capital–in fact, it belongs to all three Abrahamic faiths Photo credit WordPress.com

By: John Mason/Arab America Contributing Writer

Christian Zionism is a movement that is much more powerful and harmful than it might appear. It is anti-Arab, Islamophobic, rabidly pro-Netanyahu’s Israel, but purposely murky on the issue of what becomes of Jews in the theology of the Second Coming of Christ. Its idolatry of Trump is thorough. We look at the implications of this extreme political-religious movement for Arabs and Jews and for the well—being of our country.

Christian Zionism’s Biblical Prophecy for Trump and Israel

For those who may be unaware, Christian Zionism is the belief that the modern Israeli state’s establishment in the Holy Land is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. As such, it requires full support of Christians. Is such a prophecy, indeed, a legitimate understanding of scripture? How did it ever result in an ideology that claimed a return of all Jews to Palestine or Jews to all of Palestine? And all of this, amazingly, is intended to quicken the day of what is known in religious terms as “the end of times.”

Jewish and Christian Zionism derives from a minority theological belief in 19th century Europe, according to a Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. That report notes a tangled sense of what the end of times is. Questions lurk about when such times are coming? Where are the Christians going during the apocalyptic war of Armageddon? When does the reign of the millennial of the Messiah, or the second coming of Christ, begin? And what happens to Jews in this story?

Add to these puzzling questions the fact that Christian Zionism precedes Jewish Zionism and is rooted in the prophecy of a modern Israeli state. Of course, there’s not a moral or ethical nod towards the people who lived there for centuries, namely the Palestinians. Those people were known as Palestinians then and now, they have not disappeared in the wave of some theological wand, thus, dashing the dreams of one people in exchange for the so-called prophecy of another.

The Marriage of Christian Zionism and Israeli Pragmatism

The unity of U.S. white Christianity and Israel’s Zionism came when the right-leaning Likud party’s Menachem Begin, in the late 1970s, joined arms with such American evangelical leaders as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robison. These and other televangelists led burgeoning southern fundamentalist churches. This relationship has continued until today, especially as it is promoted by the Trump and Netanyahu administrations. While Zionist Christians had little to do with Jews either in the U.S. or Israel, especially since Jews were not fond of the end-of-time creed, given its uncertainty about their whereabouts with the second-coming. What did meld them together, however, was their fear and hatred of Muslims.

One televangelist in particular, John Hagee, has promoted a pro-Israeli stance, through his Christians United for Israel (CUFI). This movement promotes the undermining of Israeli-Palestinian peace and an increase in violence. It has no concern for the suffering of Palestinians. CUFI has witnessed an opposition by American Jews and Christian non-evangelicals to their pro-Israel rhetoric and massive funding for Israel. And it views the U.S., according to the earlier Washington Report, as “increasingly to be a party to injustice, rather than an honest broker for a just settlement of the conflict.”

American Evangelical Christians—Cheerleaders for Zionist Israel and Mr. Trump 
This progression of Israeli occupation of Palestine is what Christian Zionists really want Photo credit helpwire.comMaps

A 2006 statement by the American National Council of Churches condemned Christian Zionist doctrine as false, exclaiming, “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrine as false teaching that corrupts the Bible’s message of love, justice and reconciliation.”

50 Top Christian Zionist Cheerleaders Who Love Israel and Trump—a Sampling 

American Evangelical Christians—Cheerleaders for Zionist Israel and Mr. Trump 
Photo credit Christianbook.com

Israel’s top 50 Christian allies in 2020 were recently selected by the Israel Allies Foundation to be part of an exclusive list. These 2020 Christian leaders were honored for “their deep love and support for the State of Israel which stems from their faith.

Israel’s top 50 Christian allies in 2020 were recently selected by the Israel Allies Foundation to be part of an exclusive list. These 2020 Christian leaders were honored for “their deep love and support for the State of Israel which stems from their faith.

Here, we will list a few of the honorees, who are a mix of Americans and other nationals from around the world. We have chosen four Americans, since their Zionist-pro-Israel rhetoric is more direct. We quote directly from the Israel Allies Foundation list of Christian allies.

Paula White: “My deeply held faith and conviction has aligned me to stand with and support Israel in every possible way. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made a covenant with the Jewish people and promised them a nation. That nation, Israel, is the foundation and birthplace of my Christian faith.”

Pastor John Hagee: “is the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Hagee is an American Protestant pastor, televangelist and is also the founder of John Hagee Ministries. He has been involved in countless projects supporting Israel financially and politically for decades. John Hagee was recognized by the state of Israel on its 70th Anniversary as one of the 70 greatest contributors to Israel since statehood. He was also invited by U.S. Ambassador David Friedman to give the benediction at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.”

Pat Robertson: “We believe that the emergence of a Jewish State in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was ordained by God. We believe that God has a place for this nation, which He intends to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.”

Mike Huckabee: “I stand with Israel because God promises to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who don’t.”

What can we say? Perhaps we needn’t say more, except that if we tried to force politics and theology into a glove, we couldn’t find a closer fit.

You’ve Got to Ask—What do Christian and Israeli Zionists See in Each Other?

The answer is a strange one. The Evangelical community always sees something positive when a Republican president offers a gift to Israel. One such offering was that of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, to Israel as its capital. So, what explains that community’s devotion to the Israeli state?

A rather cynical explanation, from The National Review, is, “…the political marriage between American Evangelicals and Israelis represents a cynical form of mutual exploitation. Evangelicals support Israel to hasten the apocalypse, while Israelis (who obviously don’t believe Christian eschatology) are happy to humor the Evangelical community and milk that support for tourist dollars and political power.”

But, also according to the National Review, “the true narrative of American Christian support for Israel is substantially different. The end result is a community — including a political community — that believes two things with firm conviction. First, God has reserved Israel as the Jewish homeland, and second, that the creation of modern Israel was an act of divine providence. While there are many Christians who believe this act of divine providence may be a prelude to the Second Coming (whenever that may be), that is miles and miles away from the belief that Jews will burn in a fiery apocalypse.” It’s never exactly clear what happens to the Jews in this Second Coming.

Are America and Israel Better Off with the Christian Zionists?

The earlier-mentioned Christians United for Israel (CUFI) was seen to be heavily tied to Israel and to the Trump administration. CUFI is described by The Arab Daily News as a “political advocacy network based on an extreme version of Christian Zionism. This network calls on all Christians to offer total support for the State of Israel. As an American organization CUFI is part of the wider extreme right-wing culture.”

John Hagee leads one of the largest Christian Zionist organizations Photo credit org/righteous

CUFI’s John Hagee has asserted that Israel is “the only state in the world created by God” and the demand of Palestinians for statehood is a historic Fraud.” He further insisted that U.S. Democrats undermine America; he equates socialists with Nazis; claims the “American family is ‘broken’”; and that “secularism is evil.

The Daily Arab News criticized Hagee and his movement directly, noting, “Christian Zionism ties Christians to Jews too closely, alienates Christians from Muslims and considers Palestinians recent immigrants to the Holy land.” It was also critical of Hagee and his Christian Zionist followers, saying they see only in black and white terms: you are either a friend or an enemy of Israel; you can only follow Christ or the anti-Christ. They see Christians and Jews on one side, Muslims on the other.

In a related Fox News interview, Hagee declared that Trump won the elections because “he was the only one blessing Israel…and he is “doing a marvelous job as president”.  Besides CUFI’s role in its sycophantic bolstering of both Trump himself and Netanyahu’s Israel, it is pro-big business, anti-welfare, and thus virulently conservative. In this sense, it is contributing to the division of society into liberal, even moderate, and moderate conservative, against right-wing conservatism, thus “weaponizing open debate.”

Then, and not least, is CUFI’s indifferent, if not deplorable,  position on the Palestinians, one that dehumanizes them in the face of the do-no-wrong right-wing Israeli administration of Netanyahu. Through U.S. policy, it contributes to keeping the Palestinians on the edge of starvation, among other indignities. Finally, is CUFI’s hostility to Muslims worldwide, and, in concert with Trump, we can attribute to it a rampant Islamophobia. For Palestinians, Christians, and Muslims alike, CUFI is only contributing to their deteriorating situation. The Christian Zionist cause and its ideology and blindness to the sufferings of Palestinians does not enhance its cause and, accordingly, that cause will one day fade away in an expanded humanistic world.

References

“When and How did Evangelists become Zionists,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 5/2018

“Leading defenders and advocates for Israel worldwide for 2020,” Israel Allies Foundation, 2020

“The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel,” National Review, 3/22/2019

“Extreme Christian Zionists not helping America or Israel,” The Arab Daily News, 9/12/2020

John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo; John served with the United Nations in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries.

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