The Christian Zionist Movement and Jewish Confusion

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

Most people who regularly visit this blog know that I am Jewish. While I am not what one would call a pious Jew, being a Deist in outlook, I have always been very proud of my ethnicity and of the religion, which plays a central part in it. From their infancy, my children were immersed in Judaism both through education and by our family regularly taking part in Jewish Rituals, including regular Synagogue attendance. Where I part personally from normative Judaism is that I view the Torah, The Five Books of Moses, as primarily allegory with some real history thrown in. To me it is a work of some wise and some not so wise men, not the writings of God. I believe and have seen demonstrated in many families though, that the Torah and its 613 Commandments can serve as blueprint for living a fulfilling life.

The issue becomes complicated when it comes to my feelings about Israel. To me the existence ofI srael is a necessity for Jews to have a future in this world and if it comes to it, a final haven to make our last stand. I am an American first, so I would not willingly emigrate away from the country of my birth, unless those who hate Jews come to power. Contrary to the opinion of many, Jews are far from being a homogeneous ethnicity/religion. One cannot for instance refer to being an Orthodox Jew with any precision of description since that movement is in itself splintered on many details of interpretation. This is true of the other main branches of Judaism: Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionism. Perhaps it is because there is no central Jewish religious authority speaking for all Jews, as much as organizations like ADL, AIPAC, et. al. would claim to, that the range of Jewish opinion is so wide on so many subjects.

This brings me to an article I read at the titled: “The New Christian Zionism and the Jews”. Its’ thesis is that many Jewish supporters of Israel and the current Israeli government have allied themselves with Christian Fundamentalists whose “love” for Israel and Jews come from the wish to fulfill the prophecies of The Book of Revelations, where in fact Jews not willing to accept Jesus, will die in a horrid holocaust.  This trend has been one disturbing me for a long time. I have watched Jews and Israeli’s embrace Fundamentalist Christian support, in what to me is a shortsighted and irrational policy. This could be justified by saying that a country takes its allies where one can get them. Sometimes what seems an example of realpolitik is merely an instance of dangerously narrow opportunism, as I will elaborate. 

“In late October, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel spoke at a Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event hosted by the controversial Christian Zionist John Hagee at hisCornerstoneChurchinSan Antonio,Texas. Internationally broadcast on GodTV, Hagee presented $9 million in donations to 29 Israeli andU.S.Jewish organizations. Hagee is one of the world’s most successful televangelists and a prolific author who prophesizes that apocalyptic wars and the migration of Jews to the holy land will help trigger the return of Jesus and his thousand-year reign on earth.

Wiesel joins a long list of Jews and Israelis who show no discomfort at being in the center of someone else’s apocalyptic religious vision. Making common cause with Christian Zionists are the lobby group American Israel Political Action Committee, which hosted Hagee as a conference keynote speaker in 2007, and Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who attended a CUFI summit last July.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a very different kind of “pro-Israel” gathering was taking place.J Street, the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” lobby group, was holding its first national conference with panels featuring American, Israeli and Palestinian speakers. Hundreds gathered in the ballroom of the Washington D.C. Grand e wayHyatt for the conference, whose program explicitly stated thatJ Streetaims to challenge “right-wing Christian Zionists” – the very people Wiesel was addressing.”

The above was the opening of the article I linked below it and it is the centerpiece of this post. My assumption is that you would read it, so I am writing this as if the full discussion has been laid out, in the interests of brevity. The current Israeli Government headed by Bibi Netanyahu is I believe wrong in its approach to the settlement of the ongoing conflict. Their power base is an amalgam of Orthodox Jews and settlers on the West Bank, which is pretty much the same thing. The aims of this government date back to the founding of the Likud Party and Menachem Begin. This party skewed Israel away from its original heritage and moved it towards a more nationalistic stance, which also was one embracing a philosophy that was economically/politically conservative. They actively sought and received the support of the more extreme elements of Jewish Orthodoxy, that except for the crucial issue of Jesus, are philosophically akin to Christian Fundamentalists. In my opinion, Likud’s rise to power reflects the same kind of public attitude that also brings Republican’s to power in the U.S..  That is a false perception of strength through militancy and an economic system favoring Corporate interests disguised as freedom.

Begin, in the 70’s began building settlements in the West Bank as a means of justifying the perpetual occupation of these areas. Through the years this policy has continued, despite the fact that world opinion sees the only viable solution being a “two state” result. Two discrete states represent to me the only viable answer to this ongoing conflict and the only one that really coincides with I believe to be Jewish values. I further feel that it is the only way to ensure Israel’s future viability, since no characteristically Jewish State can exist with apartheid.

The agenda of the fundamentalist Christians, however, is to encourage no viable solution, but to encourage the ongoing violent struggle. This is of course to bring on  the “Glorious End Times” and Jesus return. They are for the existence of Israel only up until Armageddon and then God help those Jews who don’t see the light and convert. As an outsider to Christianity, The Book of Revelations has always seemed to me to be the demented vision of a Christian persecuted by the Romans. Written perhaps 150 years after Jesus it is notable for its’ bloody and turgid style, which is at odds with both the Gospels and other writings of the Christian Canon. It was included in the Canon though at the council of Nicaea, 320 CE, because it serves as a bogeyman tale to keep the faithful in line. It presents a wholly different Jesus than the being presented in the Gospels.

Given the ends these Fundamentalists seek, it is actually suicidal for Jews and Israeli’s to share the same bed with them. It is in the best interests of the Israeli’s, Palestinians, U.S., and world peace to resolve this conflict in a viable fashion. Given the views of these Christian Fundamentalists, a peaceful solution would be a terrible idea and in their minds delay God’s Plan. The inconsistency of believing in an all-powerful God whose “plans” and schedules are affected by Humankind is not apparent to them in their delighted rush to bring on the Rapture and thus bring the “faithful believers” into Heaven.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

80 thoughts on “The Christian Zionist Movement and Jewish Confusion”

  1. “I am just wondering where does the issue of colonialism fit here? That’s a word I haven’t heard you use. What about the rite of return?”


    I saw your first post as I was being called to cook dinner last night and since it’s a thoughtful question I didn’t want to just rush off an answer.

    The main thread lost in the whole discussion of the Middle East is its history. Firstly, with the exception of Iran, which isn’t Arab, none of the modern countries that make up the various Arab nations had defined borders or status until 1922. They were in fact under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which was founded in 1299 CE and had it last gasp in 1923 after being defeated in WW I.

    Some examples:

    1. Syria: granted independence in 1946 from its’ French Mandate.
    2.Jordan: granted independence in 1946 from its’ British Mandate.
    3. Egypt: granted independence in 1922 from its’ British Mandate.
    4. Lebanon: granted independence in 1943 by the Vichy French government
    5. Iraq: granted independence from British Mandate in 1932
    6. Saudi Arabia: became semi-autonomous from the Ottoman Empire after WW I. Finally became independent as unified State in 1932. The Sauds were one of many tribal factions that battled until Ibn Saud became king.
    7. Iran: Became a unified kingdom in 1501 and was free of Ottoman rule.

    The Ottoman Empire lasting for 624 years was a viable nation. Prior to the Ottomans was the Byzantine Empire, the successor to the Roman Empire. The entire Middle East represented a conglomeration of tribes and territories. The territories existed as administrative districts at the whim of the Empire. This was not a true case of Colonialism, but merely the stretch of a large contiguous nation, created by military force and lasting hundreds of years.

    Compare the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and you have similar history. In Britain, for instance, some Scots still chafe under British rule and want independence. the Irish, of course overthrew British Rule, except in their North. All of Great Britain is an amalgam of formerly independent tribes (ethnicities) conquered by a contiguous state. The same is true of all of the European nations if you look at their history you do not find homogeneity, except perhaps for language.

    Colonialism actually comes in as a concept when you think of the plunder and partition of Africa, the Far East, the Pacific and the America’s, North and South. It was European nations taking over chunks of nations far away for economic exploitation.

    The area known as Palestine administratively by the Ottomans was made up of many ethnicities, including a continuing presence of Jews, for two thousand years. Except for a small, ethnically diverse population, people came and went as economically the area waxed and waned. In the 20’s the Jewish and Arab populations were relatively equal, though the Arabs were the larger. The rise of NAZI’ism
    sent Jews fleeing to Palestine and of course the aftermath of WW II
    increased the emigration.

    In 1947 the UN decided to partition Palestine, which led to general Arab unhappiness and in 1948 the Israeli’s declared their independence, only to be attacked by all the surrounding , also new, countries. In truth the Israeli’s begged the Arabs within Israel to remain, but the attacking nations asked them to flee, so that their conquering armies would drive the Jews into the sea. Fleeing to Lebanon, for instance, were 100,000 Arabs, who were put into Lebanese internment camps and not allowed to work.

    Give the Leftist nature of the then Israeli government, had there been no attack from without, today we might have a pluralistic, Democratic State in Israel, instead we’ve had 63 years on continuous strife. I’m know it is seen differently from the Arab perspective, but here we are.
    The only way out is a two state solution, but with that must come removal of the West Bank settlements by the Israeli’s and recognition of Israel’s right to nationhood by the Arabs.

    As to the “Right of Return” this is a guiding principle of Israel and means that all Jews can come to Israel and gain citizenship. As I stated in previous posts as a Jew, knowledgeable of the history of my people, I’m very aware that our sojourns in country’s dominated by non-Jews can become treacherous and Israel’s existence gives me and mine a potential haven, if like in NAZI Germany things turn bad.
    Remember, prior to WW II the Jews fleeing Germany were not welcome in most countries, including the U.S..

  2. “What happens when the Hispanics start to outnumber the good ole boys?”

    Affirmative action for minorities will stop?

  3. “The US is not a Christian nation in theory. It certainly is in practice, I’m sure you’ll agree. Merry Xmas.”

    I think you mean “Happy Winter Festival,” if you’re envisioning public practice.

  4. Mike–The question I asked about U. S. Policy regarding Israel and the Palestinian conflict as it pertains to colonialism and US monetary support of Israel was not a rhetorical one. I would honestly like to hear your thoughts on this.

  5. Mike S.:

    Truly an outstanding post. And spot on. Israel obviously regards Christian fundamentalists as useful idiots. The danger is the extent to which U.S. foreign policy may be influenced by evangelicals. People like Hagee are not a problem, but the C-Streeters are.

  6. Mike, an outstanding posting, bravo. I have been given too many things to comment on regarding it, where does one start. I was unaware of the major role the CZ’s are playing and searching for reading material on that has been revelatory. I had no idea the played so prominant a role regarding settlements.

    When I read the article the first thing I thought was “you lay down with dogs (CZ’z) and you wake up with fleas”, an old cliche’ useful in a lot of situations. I’ve been giving that some thought after reading the link in Mikes article and doing some searches. The article Mike linked explained the different kinds of Christian support for Israel and regarding the Christian Zionists working most effectively in Israel remarks that they see their mission as “trying to move the clock forward”. That is the Rapture /Armageddon clock. These fleas are plague carriers and they want Israel and the rest of the world dead. The alliance is unhealthy, death focused and destructive.

    From my reading as I searched around a couple of things became apparent, the CZers are spending a lot of money to subsidize settlement building and recruit immigrants into Israel. Get all the Jews together in Zion and let the end time roll. More than one article I read said the living in Israel is very expensive and one of the reasons many people migrate to the settlements is because it’s cheaper to live in a nice home in a WB settlement than elsewhere in Israel. That is due in part because of the subsidies provided by the CZ’s.

    IMO The Settlements are a big problem psychologically for many initial supporters of Zionism (such as I)and have been for decades. The more of them there are the more support (in some quarters) Israel loses, the less likely a real two-state solution becomes, the more hatred neighbors, and dispossessed Palestinians from the WB, feel and the more dependant on mechanism’s like this unholy (and I would say immoral) alliance becomes.

    IMO, the settlements have to stop and the CZ’s need to be relegated to the most minor of players in Israel’s economy and political considerations. Between the far right in Israel’s own political/cultural population and the Christian Zionist’s I can’t imagine the situation ending well.

    Here’s a link that includes information on the points mentioned in my post:

  7. I think that the right-wing in Israel are, to some degree, going to get a frightening wake-up call. The Republican party decided to get into bed with the fundamentalists (with similar “bunch of rubes” thinking) back in the 70s and 80s. They assumed that the smarty-pants country club/Wall Street types could wrangle the goofball “rubes”, but I don’t think that it’s working as they hoped. McCain lost, in part, because he wasn’t “one of them”, so he tried to bring in Palin (failed “rube” wrangling textbook example), but still lost. The fundies weren’t on board to staff phone centers or knock on doors. Today, the “tea party” sub-brand is pretty inextricably linked to the fundies (see: Bachman, Perry, etc.) Those lunatics made clear idiots of themselves during the debt ceiling deal, and it was clear that Boehner’s balls were in a tea-bag vise. I’m biased, but I can’t imagine that the episode didn’t weaken the Republican brand overall…

    (This is all a re-play of what happened in Illinois. When Jack Ryan, moderate opponent of Obama for Senate, withdrew in scandal, proto-Tea Partiers took control of the situation and brought in Alan Keyes to run against Obama. It was an unmitigated disaster and turned the state heavily Blue for a few election cycles. Perry isn’t as full-on nutso as Keyes or Sharon Angle, but he may yet be God’s biggest gift to Obama and the Democratic party.)

    For a variety of reasons, I think that the Republicans are setting themselves up for a long period out in the cold, and bringing the fundies into the political game is a big part of their problem. The Christian fundamentalists aren’t “rubes” – they’re just as brilliant and potentially psychopathic and destructive as Muslim-fundamentalists, Communist-fundamentalists, Hindu-fundamentalists or Jewish-fundamentalists.

    I can only hope that the Likud-types in Israel take a lesson from what the fundies are doing the the Republican party and un-hitch their boat from them ASAP.

  8. “BTW, no AIPAC merit badge for you!”


    Never was, never will be. Don’t like them, their policies and their habit of kowtowing to the richest, most conservative among them.

  9. “True to form, Mike gives one quote for the lengthy excerpt and fails to provide any citations to support the various assumptions he needs to make the conclusion.”


    As usual, true to your form you want me to take an opinion piece and give citations of what? I would assume that perhaps if I gave scriptural quotes that would raise your level of conversation animation because to your mind we would be participating in competing exegeses of truth.

    “If Jews believe Christians to be, well, wrong, then the Christian notion of Armageddon is, well, wrong. And so if the Jews were to align with the Christians until the ‘Christian fantasy’ event occurs, what they have done is ultimately forged a continuing alliance that will never actually end.”

    You miss the point completely Jack and do it because of your own smug
    pre-judgments. The point isn’t whether Armageddon will or won’t take place. The Christian Fundamentalists wish to push Israel into such a hard-line stance that it will ensure a war that will fall somewhat short of
    Armageddon (which is a fantasy that shouldn’t even grace the Christian Canon), but will cause hundreds of thousands to die in war.

    Their encouragement of the current regime led by Bibi (the man who proves single handedly that all Jews aren’t smart) Netanyahu, to remain intransigent in continue to settle the West Bank. You actually think you have made a clever point, but in truth you’ve only shown your lack of understanding of the point you’re attempting to refute.

    As for “an alliance that will never end” you can be damn sure about that never happening, Those Fundamentalists forging such an alliance are doing so to ensure their world view is carried out. If the Israeli’s throw Bibi and his crew out, as the recent Israeli citizen’s demonstrations have shown to be likely, their “allies” will desert them in a trice when a Labor government comes in to try to reverse the inequality of Israeli income brought by the Likud’s right wing economic policies and reaches out to make peace.

    “If it were not for the Christian nations; i.e. the USA, Israel would have, and would be obliterated.”

    As others have pointed out Jack, you presume too much, since the US is not a “Christian Nation”. However, even if it was Israel does not owe its existence to other nations, for in fact is had they relied on other “Christian
    Nations” there would be no Israel.

    1. The British Christian Nation, that held the Palestine Mandate before and after WW II tried to keep Jews fleeing Hitler from emigrating to
    Palestine, to please their Oil Rich Corporations and Arab patrons. The
    nascent Israeli’s forced the British out and when they declared their Statehood they were attacked by a coalition of Muslim Nations led by
    Egypt, Syria and Jordan, who were all armed by the British. Indeed the vaunted Arab Legion of Jordan was commanded by a British General.

    2. While his old Jewish business partner from K.C. talked Harry Truman into voting for the UN’s acceptance of Israeli statehood, he would not allow them to buy US weapons. The Israeli’s and their Diasporan supporters bought arms from international Arms Dealers
    and had to smuggle them into Israel past the Brits blockade.

    3. The expectation of the Christian World, believing their own propaganda about Jews being weaklings, assumed that the attacking Arab Armies, which vastly outnumbered the Israeli’s, would drive them into the sea. They had forgotten history’s lesson that the Jewish revolts were some of the most fierce the Romans ever faced.

    4. It was in fact the belief that the Israeli’s, then known as the Palestinians, that caused Israels indigenous Arabs to flee before the war with the expectation that they would return after the Jews were annihilated.

    5. As I pointed out in the article the U.S. role had been to call Israel ally, but in fact actually act as Israel’s watchdog to appease the Oil Cartel. In the 1956 War, when Egypt had closed the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, against UN resolutions and International Law, Israel joined by the Brits and the French were stopped short of the Canal by U.S. diplomatic intervention, led by J.F. Dulles, who had been involved with banking for the Nazi’s before WW II.

    I could go through all the years after 1956 and show you how the U.S. has only publicly called the Israeli’s friends, while behind the scenes acting on behest of Big Oil. I just don’t have the space to do it all in and you wouldn’t understand it anyway. Isn’t it curious though that the
    Saudi’s always get the latest, most advanced US weapons systems denied the Israeli’s, but now unneeded because of Israels own Hi
    Tech capability. As I stated before, Israel’s nuclear capacity is what keeps it safe and nothing else.

    The implicit point I’m making Jack, since I see with your denseness I’ll have to spell it out, is that Christians of all beliefs, Mormons and
    Muslims have a vested belief, if they are pious, in thinking Jews less capable than themselves. The fantasy serves as justification of their expropriation of the Torah, believing Jews undeserving of their own literature and somehow lost souls. The truth is that after having survived the last 2,000 years there must be some strong stain of
    capability and faith running through our culture. The damnedest part of all this is that we are a faith that doesn’t proselytize or encourage conversion. This is because Jews recognize all humanity as God’s children and deserving of God’s blessings, with the only conditions being to lead a moral life. Inviting a lot of Christians in, who believe that the only way to God’s grace is through them, is like bringing a fox into the hen house.

  10. Mike–I am not going to act as if I understand all of the issues here because I don’t. I am just wondering where does the issue of colonialism fit here? That’s a word I haven’t heard you use. What about the rite of return? Again, I do not have as clear of an understanding as I’d like about all of this, but from where I sit, the US is the biggest problem in the so-called peace talks. How can we help to broker peace when we are not neutral. We constantly articulate our unwavering support for Israel ( not to mention the billions of dollars in support, you know, putting your money where your mouth is thing). If I were a Palestinian, I damn sure wouldn’t trust the ally of my enemy. I realize this is a bit off topic, but with the US now opposing Palestine’s appeal to the UN for statehood, how is our government any different from the CF?

  11. Exactly and to the point. Now if only some of this kind of lucid thought and advocacy for a return to humanitarian Jewish values only made it into the media, (US government) policy making, and public perception. But, alas, those of us who rail against the RW zionist juggernaut and their nefarious bed fellows seem relegated to the nether regions of blogosphere.

    Part of my own gripe relates not just to the so-called Christian zionists, but to all — including Likudists — who seek to appropriate the pretty tragic history of the Jewish people to serve the cause of a right wing, militaristic and increasingly apartheid Israeli government. Their leveraging the suffering of my forebears in this manner disgusts me.

    BTW, no AIPAC merit badge for you!

  12. What the fundamentalists don’t seem to understand is that if they get control today what happens when the Hispanics start to outnumber the good ole boys. And the nation becomes (gasp) Catholic.
    Or at some point OMG (pun intended) Muslim. If one religion can control the government then another could.

  13. Rafflaw, Gene….

    If I recall from readings… was not until after the war between the states that Christmas became generally acceptable….Thomas Nast…a Veteran Artist during the Civil War became celebrated with his art works created what I recall to be the “First Santa Claus”…..

    If I recall there were laws in the New England States that forbid closing and celebrating the 25th of December….

  14. I want to echo what Gene stated. The separation of Church and State is there to protect citizens and religions. We are an American nation, not a Catholic or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist nation.

  15. The US is not a Christian nation in theory. It certainly is in practice, I’m sure you’ll agree. Merry Xmas!

  16. The United States is not a “Christian nation”. That is a myth and an aspiration of the religious right-wing. Our 1st Amendment is a safeguard against there being any state sanctioned religions. Our Founders specifically created a secular government because they had seen the evils perpetuated in Europe by state religions such as the Church of England.

  17. True to form, Mike gives one quote for the lengthy excerpt and fails to provide any citations to support the various assumptions he needs to make the conclusion. Frankly, Mike has a poor track record of speaking before thinking/researching/questioning, etc. But even worse is his substitution of common sense for mindless pontification. If Jews believe Christians to be, well, wrong, then the Christian notion of Armageddon is, well, wrong. And so if the Jews were to align with the Christians until the ‘Christian fantasy’ event occurs, what they have done is ultimately forged a continuing alliance that will never actually end. To adopt this nonesensical position as laid out by Mike is only to cut one’s nose to spite one’s face. If it were not for the Christian nations; i.e. the USA, Israel would have, and would be obliterated.

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