NOTABLE BOOKS ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS
Book of the Month
by Judith Butler
Butler engages Jewish philosophical positions to articulate a critique of political Zionism and its practices of illegitimate state violence, nationalism, and state-sponsored racism. At the same time, she moves beyond communitarian frameworks, including Jewish ones, that fail to arrive at a radical democratic notion of political cohabitation. Amazon Review
NEWS N BLOGS ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM and CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS
Updated March 5, 2014
- The Star
- Counter Punch
Christian Zionism: The Heresy that Undermines Middle East Peace
by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer
from the Information Clearing House
At least one in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism. The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals. Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches. It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.
The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ. The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East. Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years. Some of Theodore Herzl’s strongest advocates were Christian clergy.
Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism. It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel. It propagates a worldview in which the Christian message is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.
Followers of Christian Zionism are convinced that the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 were the miraculous fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham that he would establish Israel as a Jewish nation forever in Palestine.
Resource for the Study of Christian Zionism and Christian Zionists
Articles on Christian Zionism and Christian Zionists
Sabeel Makes a Statement at the Christian Zionist Parade in Jerusalem
Evangelical Theology and American Politics in the Middle East
by Stephen Sizer
On September 12th, following the tragic news of the murder of Ambassador Stevens, together with members of his staff, sheltering in the US Consulate in Benghazi, a grief stricken Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton asked a simple question. A question that was on the lips of many Americans: “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?” Andrew Bacevich, writing in Newsweek, asks,
“Why the Arab anger against the United States? Why the absence of gratitude among the very people the United States helped save, in the very countries Americans helped liberate? The way Secretary Clinton frames the question practically guarantees a self-satisfying but defective answer.”
The question, he argues, is predicated on three propositions that are regarded as sacrosanct by most US politicians and policy makers.
“First: humanity yearns for liberation, as defined in Western (meaning predominantly liberal and secular terms). Second: the United States has a providentially assigned role to nurture and promote this liberation… Third: given that American intentions are righteous and benign (most of the time) – the exercise of US power on a global scale merits respect and ought to command compliance.”[i]
I would add a fourth proposition, assumed as self evident, especially among Evangelicals, that, as God’s ‘chosen people’ the security of the State of Israel is synonymous with US interests in the Middle East and her God ordained role.
The problem is that the Arab world and Muslims, in particular, do not only not share these propositions, they repudiate them theologically. It is not that they do not aspire to political freedom from despotic rulers and oppressive governments. The Arab Spring has shown that many do indeed hunger for freedom. The problem is, observes Bacevich, “that 21st century Muslims don’t necessarily buy America’s 21st century definition of it – a definition increasingly devoid of moral content.”
by James Zogby
For decades now, Christians have been the “invisible or ignored victims” of conflicts in the Middle East. At best, the US has paid scant attention as once thriving communities of indigenous Christians in Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Egypt have been attacked, threatened, or forced to endure indignity and hardship.