The DVD With God on Our Side commences with a quotation from Josh 5:13-14a, reminding us that God doesn’t take sides (in spite of Christian Zionism’s insane belief that he does). [My asides in what follows are in brackets].
Scenes from John Hagee’s rallies are interspersed with interviews with people who believe that Christians must stand with Israel and who believe that Israel must be aided in establishing it’s ‘biblical borders’ by Christians.
As far as the Palestinians are concerned, Hagee and his [ilk] reject the very existence of these people. They’re ‘Arabs’, and they can claim neither land nor identity.
Furthermore, viewers are reminded that most visitors to Israel are fed an Israeli script and a ‘jaundiced view of Palestinian life’ is the fare fed by the American media. The rhetoric of fear is intended to keep you on the tourist trail (and the Israeli script).
So ordinary Palestinians are the focus of the film and the center of interest, and the notion that the Palestinians have always been the ‘aggressors’ is debunked.
In 1948 Israel perpetrated ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, driving 700,000 from their homes in their act of ‘independence’. It expanded its borders in 1967. Up to 400,000 new Palestinian refugees were driven from their homes. Palestinians rose up against this dehumanization in the Intifada and the Israeli response created extraordinarily harsh conditions for the refugees. Homes were occupied, schools were closed, jobs were eliminated, and Palestinians were essentially ‘ghettoized’. It was, in sum, an attempt by Israel to force Palestinians to leave altogether.
Attempts were made to divide the land for peace- in the so called Oslo Accords. The Oslo Peace Accords were signed by Israelis and Palestinians, with the Israelis systematically undermining every aspect of the ‘treaty’.
The Camp David Accords were also undermined systematically by the Israelis. The myth that the Palestinians rejected ‘a good offer’ is debunked thoroughly by means of ample historical evidence.
Furthermore, Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas are clearly an attempt by the Israeli government to colonize the areas. These settlements are illegal under international law and yet some churches support the construction of these immoral clusterings. The settlement enterprise is the foundation of all the human rights violations in the area. Hebron is a central case in point. 500 Jewish settlers are surrounded by 30,000 Palestinians and Israel funnels resources to the Israelis and away from Palestinians intentionally.
Some of these settlers throw acid on Palestinians as they pass by and shout at them to leave. They also throw stones and bricks and the Israeli soldiers stand by and do nothing.
In Jerusalem Israelis shout as they march through the streets “death to Arabs’, and the western media never reports it. Meanwhile, Hagee and his kind defend this immorality.
Christian Zionism is a very dangerous ideology which uses very dangerous ‘logic’: it uses the Bible to justify evil perpetrated against the Palestinians. It supports nothing less than Apartheid- and the Palestinians are the victims of the system. The separation barrier is the perfect symbol of this system of Apartheid. The wall annexes valuable land, and cuts up cities and towns. It doesn’t seal off Palestinians, it seals off property and the means to a livelihood for the Palestinians. It is, in sum, an economic weapon against the Palestinians. It wasn’t built on the boundary between Israelis and Palestinians, it was built IN Palestinian land to misappropriate Palestinian property.
[As I watch I wonder, how many Christians would support a state acting so immorally if they knew it was acting immorally?]
Palestinians are cut off from their own families, health care, education, jobs, fields, all in an attempt to make life so difficult and so filled with obstacles that they finally leave. This is Israel’s goal. It is, if you think about it, quite clever as a methodology of displacement.
[And it is evil.]
Most shockingly of all, the representatives of Christian Zionism are unconcerned about human suffering as brought about by Israeli oppression. [Hagee especially cares only for his view and human beings not Jewish be damned.]
Small wonder, then, that Christians even in the Middle East are viewed with suspicion, given the fact that Westerners in general and many Christians in particular are more concerned for Israeli expansion than human beings who happen to be Palestinians (many of whom are Christian!).
This pathology finds its support in dispensationalism- a 19th century heresy which insists that the Jews must return to Palestine before Jesus can return. Since Hagee and the other Christian Zionists are all dispensationalists, they are willing to see Armageddon descend and all destroyed but the ‘people of God’ (as they define that group). Nevertheless Christian Zionism is bad theology as it endorses bad behavior and illegal activity.
Evangelicals must rise up against this immorality and stand with the oppressed. Supporting occupiers and oppressors rather than their victims is neither biblical nor Christian. Modern Israel is NOT the same as Biblical Israel. Christians of every stripe must come to realize this. Zionist use of the Bible to legitimize a secular state is improper in the extreme.
Finally, Genesis 12 is not a mantra (in spite of Christian Zionism’s efforts to make it one) allowing a modern secular state carte blanche permission to do as it pleases to people it oppresses. For Christians, John 8 is equally probative: true descendants of Abraham are people of faith- not family as determined by genetics or bloodline.
Most importantly, the Christian Zionist belief in ‘Two Covenants’ is unbiblical. Rather, there is only one covenant. And one covenant alone. This isn’t ‘Replacement’ theology. It is Biblical theology. Christians are, in Paul’s term, ‘grafted in’, God has ‘broken down’ the wall that separates Jews and Gentiles in belief. The ‘Chosen People’ are believers in Christ, not some particular ethnic group.
[Hagee et al are foes of Christian faith. They disregard the sacrifice of Jesus and offer two ‘tracks’ to salvation- one for Jews (by just being Jews) and one for Gentiles (by faith in Christ). This isn’t Christian theology, it’s paganism].
Hagee isn’t promoting peace, he is adding oil to the fire. [He is, therefore, a foe of peace, and a foe of Christian belief.]
The people suffering most in the entire [sorry] episode are the Christians themselves. They are dying off and they, unlike Israel, are unsupported by and large in the West. But it is their presence there in that place that is the best hope for true peace. It’s ok to love Israel, unless that love for Israel becomes hatred of others. What’s needed most, then, is a theology of reconciliation, a theology of justice.
[That aim isn’t achieved when Palestinians are sealed off and displaced and mistreated simply so that a modern secular state called Israel can prosper and expand with the support of misguided and misinformed American Christians.]
Summary and Review–
This is an excellent film! There can be no doubt that the information it offers is accurate and neither can there be any doubt that every Christian ought to watch it- especially those given to the delusion called dispensationalism. I heartily commend it to you, your church, your Bible study group, and most of all, to your blindly Zionist friends.