The Truth is in The Hashtag

Specifically, the hashtag of Obama’s visit to Palestine/Israel:

obamaNotice how Palestine and the Palestinians are effectively excised and marginalized.  Of course, the hashtag could just as easily have been #ObamaInPalestine but then the Israelis and Christian Zionists would have had a cow.  Or it could have been #PrezInPalIsrael.  Shorter than either of the others.  But to make sure that the Palestinians were demoted and the Israelis elevated- what was chosen, was chosen.

Now Online- “With God on Our Side”

You MUST watch this video.  You must.

‘With God On Our Side’ takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.

The $3.99 price is more than worth it.  I bought the video for nearly $20 and I’d do it again.

Bibi the Manipulator

Bibi Netanyahu just can’t keep himself from being evil.

That Christian Zionists support this man and his government just shows how very far they are from true Christianity.  He is unethical and immoral and supporting him is supporting wickedness.  And when people of faith support evil, they contribute to the evil in the world.

Perverse and Incredibly Wicked Hate Speech Aimed at Palestinians: And the Odd Silence of Christian Zionists

At Chen’s Hair Salon in “downtown” Sderot [Israel], three women shot the breeze until I showed up and told them I’m a reporter who had come from Jerusalem to hear how they felt about the “situation.” “Ahhh, have a seat,” said Riki, a tall woman with cropped bleach-blonde hair, as she pointed to a chair next to Linda, the owner. Both Riki and Avigayel, who sat in the styling chair, were unemployed and spent a lot of time hanging out at Linda’s salon.

The ladies bemoaned the economic and security situations. But when I asked them about a solution to the rockets a debate broke out in the small smoky hair salon.  “We need a tsunami on all of Gaza. Every pregnant Arab woman has a terrorist inside her,” said Linda.  Avigayel and Riki lept in: “Noo, Linda, noo. Not all of them. Oyoyoy, Linda.”  “Yes, all of them,” Linda said, adding: “I speak from pain.”

If a Palestinian had said that the Christian Zionists would have declared holy war.  But since an Israeli has said it, about Palestinians, it’s perfectly acceptable.  Isn’t it Mr. Hagee.

Isn’t it remarkable that the very people who should express the love of God for all the world play favorites and pretend that only Jews matter in the Middle East…

More on Malina

Robert Myles, who has a pretty good series going on reviewing Crossley’s ‘Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism’, has another post along the same lines- this time focusing on the views of Bruce Malina.

I’d just add two observations (and I am not a ‘fan’ of Malina’s work, but when someone is telling the truth, well, he’s telling the truth).

1- Malina is simply following Shlomo Sands and other researchers when he points out that there is no connection between modern Israelis and ancient Israelites.

2- There is in fact something amiss in our labeling of Israeli’s as ‘settlers’ when they take Palestinian land.  And it is in fact the case that Christian Zionism is tremendously problematic as both something Christian and as Zionism.

Indeed, Myles’ quote from Malina isn’t at all evidence of Malina’s ‘wrongness’ on the subject.  Quite the contrary, Malina is right when he says-

Consider the language used in the United States relative to contemporary Israel. Israeli squatters are called ‘settlers’; Israel’s army of occupation is called a ‘defense force’; Israel’s theft of Palestinian property is called a ‘return’; Israel’s racist anti-Gentilism is called ‘Zionism’; and any and all criticism of Israel’s chosen people’s behavior is labeled ‘anti-Semitism’!… Dissidence, as my statements indicate, is in essence a semiotic phenomenon employing meaningful signs that result in cognitive disorientation of true believers. Israelis and Christian fundamentalists in the United States find my statements quite disorienting; as a matter of fact, they are sufficient to label me ‘an enemy of Israel,’ or, more derogatorily, ‘an anti-Semite.’

There’s nothing untrue in that paragraph.

As to Myles’ other points they are of less interest to me (sorry).  But Myles’ criticism of Malina on the above two points seems inappropriate.

Christian Zionism Examined

Steven Paas, Christian Zionism Examined: A Review of Ideas on Israel, the Church and the Kingdom. Pb., 135 pp., VTR Publications, Nürnberg / RVB, Hamburg: 2012, ISBN 978-3-941750-86-9, Retail price: €[D] 14.95 / £ 12.95 / $ 18.95:

According to the author Christian Zionism has decentralized Christ and decreased his uniqueness, thus undermining the Church’s foundation and its calling of universally directed mission. Moreover, he suggests that Christian Zionism has distorted Christian-Jewish relations and has failed to find a safe sailing route between the cliffs of antisemitism and philosemitism.

Although the author himself sympathizes with Jews and modern Israel as a nation, he maintains that an exaggerated philosemitism has always tended to be morphed into antisemitism in history. The author gives a very readable historical overview of the theological development of Christian Zionism, and also answers the claim of Christian Zionists who characterize the view of their opponents as ´replacement theology´.

My review is here.

Hey Christian Zionists, Jewish Voters ‘Just Aren’t Into You’

Whilst Christian Zionists seem to spend most of their time declaring their love for Israel, Jewish voters in the United States prefer Muslims and Mormons as political candidates more than persons on the Christian Right (inhabited of course by the Christian Zionists).

Jewish Americans hold more favorable views of Mormons and Muslims than those belonging to the “Christian Right,” according to a recently published survey on Jewish values.

The findings were part of the “2012 Jewish Values Survey,” which was published on April 3 by the non-Jewish Public Religion Research Institute. For the study, researchers asked 1,000 Jewish Americans to rate how favorably they view Mormons, Muslims, and members of the so-called “Christian Right” on a scale of 1 to 100.

Of the three groups, Mormons received the highest favorability rating of 47%, followed by the Muslims at 41.4%. The Christian Right, on the hand, received a much lower favorability rating of 20.9%.

Your love, CZ’s, is one sided. They’re just not that into you.  Jewish voters like Muslims twice as much as they like you!  Talk about jilted…   Apparently you just don’t do it for them.

What Obama Should Say At AIPAC But Won’t

This is not the United States of Israel, it is the United States of America.  Our foreign policy will not be dictated by one external entity, whether friend or foe.  Our view of Iran will be determined through our own lens and not through the lens of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, or John Hagee, Christian Zionism, or AIPAC.

In Israel They Have Reason to Be Worried

The far right has been given the authority to indoctrinate Israel’s children.  That should worry everyone.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar has made a mockery of Breaking the Silence. For a year the organization has been pestering him to allow its members to lead junior high school pupils on a tour of Hebron, just like the right-wing non-profit organizations do – and finally he agreed. But before the first student had boarded the first bus the police arrived and cancelled the tour. How surprising.

Sa’ar is a consistent politician with a consolidated worldview, and he was well aware of what he was doing. On the one hand, he really and truly believes that the trips to Jerusalem’s City of David, the Cave of the Patriarchs and the museum at Beit Hadassah in Hebron are important milestones in forging the national and Jewish identity of Israeli students. On the other hand, he is aware of and sensitive to the criticism expressed by many parents in his social milieu. They are not at all pleased with the route of the tour. Nor are they pleased about the fact that a private, extreme rightwing non-profit organization, funded by a Jewish millionaire, is in charge of the ideological education of their children – especially in the sensitive and controversial area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Parents in Israel should be displeased.  What’s happening there, this incredible ‘Talibanization’ of Israel, should cause the entire world to be very, very troubled.  It’s the equivalent of giving the Christian Zionists of America exclusive rights to determine educational standards and programs.  And yes, that’s a disturbing and frightening thought, isn’t it.

Israel is in serious trouble.

Andrew Adler is a Disgusting Human Being and He Should Be Arrested for Treason

And then HE should be locked up in a 3×5 cell for the rest of his life.  May it be long and misery filled.  What a contemptible beast:

The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.

I don’t care what you think of ANY President’s policy- suggesting that they should be assassinated?  That’s Satanic.  Mr Adler is a tool.  Of Satan.  Who needs to be arrested for treason.

This is the damnable ignorance fomented by the vile heresy of Christian Zionism- which is the only reason that Zionism holds so much sway in the United States:

Adler, who has since apologized for his article, listed three options for Israel to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons in an article published in his newspaper last Friday. The first is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, the second is to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the third is to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”

This traitor can apologize all he wants.  You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube once it’s out and you can’t take back a call to kill the President just so that the US can bow down at the altar of Israel.

Again, then, Andrew Adler is a disgusting human being and he should be arrested for treason, carted off to Guantanamo, and left there to rot.

Thankfully,

The American Jewish Committee in Atlanta last night issued a harsh condemnation of Adler’s article, saying that his proposals are “shocking beyond belief.”  “While we acknowledge Mr. Adler’s apology, we are flabbergasted that he could ever say such a thing in the first place. How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea?” said Dov Wilker, director of AJC Atlanta. “Mr. Adler surely owes immediate apologies to President Obama, as well as to the State of Israel and his readership, the Atlanta Jewish community.”

And he should be arrested for treason, taken to Cuba, and left there.  Till he expires.

Excerpts From ‘An Open Letter to Christian Zionists’

Here’s the salient part-

This letter, though, is not about religious Jewish Zionism and its destructive effects on Israeli policy. It is about the Christian version of the same belief. This Christian version of Zionism matters deeply, not just because theology intrinsically matters, but because it is overwhelmingly clear that American evangelical-fundamentalist Christian Zionism affects US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians in distressing ways. It is one reason why the United States stands almost alone in the world community in supporting Israeli policies which our international friends generally find intolerable if not immoral and illegal.

Not to put too fine a point on it, we wish to claim here that the prevailing version of American Christian Zionism—that is, your belief system—underwrites theft of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinian people, helps create the conditions for an explosion of violence, and pushes US policy in a destructive direction that violates our nation’s commitment to universal human rights. In all of these, American Christian Zionism as it currently stands is sinful and produces sin. We write as evangelical Christians committed lifelong to Israel’s security, and we are seriously worried about your support for policies that violate biblical warnings about injustice and may lead to the outcome you most fear—serious harm to or even destruction of Israel.

You can, and should, read the rest here.  It’s the truth.  I’ve highlighted the core of it and the very reason I find Christian Zionism so utterly unacceptable, so utterly un-Christian.

The 10 Most Annoying Things of 2011

10- Harold Camping and his intolerable lies.
9- Fred Phelps.
8- The United States Congress.
7- Christian Zionists.
6- The High price of SBL annual meeting registration.
5- Cats.
4- Dogs.
3- Every ‘News’ report about the Kardashians.
2- Snow.

And the absolutely MOST annoying thing of 2011?

1- Top 10 and ‘best of’  lists of all sorts, types, and genders, paraded by their purveyors as if they had actually looked at absolutely everything and could determine the best from the worst.  Such foolishness.

How Zionism in General and Christian Zionism in Particular Are Destroying America, and Israel

Here’s one of the best essays on the subject of the toxic nature of Christian Zionism I’ve ever read.

With people of Jewish faith making up just 2% of the potential vote, why are American politicians pandering to the whims of Israel?
The answer partly lies in the fact that there are an estimated 40 million American Christian Zionists or Christian conservatives that constitutes a sizeable portion of the US vote. So what is Christian Zionism and how is it fundamentally different from other Christian teachings?

Great questions and better answers:

It is evident that both Jewish and Christian Zionists have a significant influence on Congress and indeed on US Foreign policy. Policy that favours Israel above any other middle-east country and more importantly over American citizens.

Damningly of Obama-

From 1976 onward, Israel has been the leading country for US economic assistance. In his 2012 budget speech President Obama requested a record $3.075 billion worth of weapons for Israel, a $75 million increase from 2011. This in stark contrast to the $700 million that was earmarked for Palestine but was withdrawn after pressure from Jewish lobby groups when Palestine attempted to achieve recognition as an UN member state. Israel has one of the highest economic growth rates and mean living standards in the world whilst Palestine has one of the lowest.

It is plain to the entire world that Israel is being treated more specially than any other country in the world. And that’s immoral. Shamefully the only public figure willing to speak the truth on the subject is Ron Paul.

Refreshingly, Ron Paul, US Presidential hopeful has called for the halting of all US aid. In a debate in October of this year, Ron Paul stated, “It’s not authorized in the constitution that we can take money from you (the American people) and give it to particular countries around the world. To me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries.” He went on to say, “That foreign aid makes Israel dependent on us… It softens them for their own economy. And they should have their sovereignty back, they should be able to deal with their neighbors at their own will.”

Indeed. Unfortunately the dreadful cowards in Washington would rather pander to the heretical fringe than act in judicious righteousness.

Sick of paying taxes to the military-industrial complex?  Then tell your Congressional delegation to stop giving Israel money hand over fist.    Tired of seeing the Palestinians treated like trash while Israel is treated as if it were God himeslf?  Then tell your elected officials to get their noses out of Christian Zionism’s posterior.

If You’re in Cupertino, California (Or Nearby)

Here’s an event or two at the Peninsula Bible Church you’ll want to attend-

Christians and the Israel–Palestine conflict: Two opportunities to learn about this difficult issue. On Monday, November 14, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, in Fellowship Hall, Botrus Mansour, director of Nazareth Baptist School, will talk about his life as an Arab Palestinian Israeli Evangelical Christian.

On Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 pm in the Auditorium, we will present With God on our Side (2010, 80 mins.), a movie about the theology of Christian Zionism, followed by a Q&A session with the director, Porter Speakman, and Stephen Sizer, an Anglican pastor from England who is featured on the movie. Questions? contact Bernard Bell.

Via Christ at the Checkpoint on the twitter.

If You Live in Britain, Watch the Heretical Christian Zionists Handed their Hat in a Live Debate

Stephen Sizer

How can I be certain that the proponent of Christianity will be victorious over the heretical CZ-anist? Simple- the facts always prevail in honest debate.

Tonight: 9 – 10:30pm (GMT – Weds 9th Nov) is the much anticipated showdown between Dr Calvin Smith – the leading Christian Zionist scholar in the UK – and Revd Stephen Sizer – the foremost Christian anti-Zionist in the UK.  For links from this blog giving you some background information on Stephen Sizer: click here, and for a blog post written by Calvin Smith addressing Sizer, that I featured on this blog back in February 2010: click here.  The debate can be viewed live on Revelation TV and will be held in front of a studio audience in London – wish I were attending!

Me too. But maybe they’ll put it on YouTube. Tell us if they do!

The Contest of the Century

Christ at the Checkpoint is running a blogger’s contest offering various prizes to those willing to help publicize their upcoming Peace Conference.  I’m happy to help even without the promise of a potential windfall because:

1- I believe that there should be peace in the Middle East and anything that furthers that goal is worth mentioning.

2- I got a bit of ‘hate mail’ the other day because I was supporting (in a previous post) the Christ at the Checkpoint project (which my emailer described as a racist and anti-semitic project).   When I see honest efforts for peace demonized by Christian Zionists I’m naturally motivated to promote them even more.

And 3- If you can attend the Conference, you really should go.  Here’s what the Conference is REALLY about (in case you too have had the Christian Zionists stoop to deception)

The aim of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference is to provide an opportunity for Evangelical Christians to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation in the context of the realities on the ground in the Palestinian Territories. It will also provide a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.

Even if you can’t go, you can pray.

‘With God on Our Side’

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].

Content

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.

I Guess the Christian Zionists are Liars

The heretics and misrepresenters of biblical theology known as ‘christian zionists’  keep insisting that America must support Israel if it wishes to be blessed.

America is supporting Israel (to the exclusion and harm of countless others) and yet the economy is in the toilet, fear rules Wall Street, and even the beloved far right politicos are sticking their feet under toilet stalls at airports and looking for a hook-up.

I guess the Christian Zionists are liars.  And worse, they’re misrepresenting God.

‘With God on Our Side’ – A Movie I Must See

It sounds fantastic.

With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.”

Exactly!  I’ve ordered a copy.  Christian Zionism is a well known heresy and any film which exposes it for what it is, is worth watching.