I have always wondered why some people think Zionism is a dirty word.
Many times in the news its kind of used as a slur for the way the way Jews have been returning to Israel from all across the diaspora, occasionally its even Christians, some that have studied all kinds of theology but appear to be perhaps lacking in what was taught in Isaiah and Jeremiah maybe. When speaking to people about my interests and visits to Israel, a couple of times I have been responded “Oh so you are a Zionist are you? ah yes these sorts of people hate Palestinians, Arabs and Iranians…” This is sad when people make rash and quick judgments like this.
There is plenty of authors of books critical of Israel, plenty are on sale on Amazon (even including some Jews, including people like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein etc) ex-US president Jimmy Carter and former TV newsreader celebrity nutter David Icke like to look at Zionism being the worst kind of evil organisation ever. Likened to the Freemasons or some other paranoid organisation which has a corrupting influence on the world, and that Jews in some way are controlling. Really this is and should be quite laughable. There were famous books printed like the Elder protocols of Zion and founder of the blue oval motor maker, Henry Ford wrote some similar poisonous material, some of these nasty propaganda manuals are still treated as legitimate reference material today, as part of other modern day hatred such as holocaust denial. Its part of what I think make Anti-Semitism a bigger problem than people think and worse than other hatred of any specific racial group.
In reality these views can be held completely nonsense, when you look at the wide number of ethnic people in Israel, and different types of Jews worldwide. If you look at Aliyah, its true people emigrated to Israel, especially around the early 1990s with going with ideal of all Jews going into one nation closely to what the Torah said, but at the same time many Jews also made Aliyah because they had to, albeit sometimes reluctantly, as persecution in their previous homelands of nations like Yemen, Iran, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia etc, was unbearable or meant they could of faced death. For some other Jewish people the idea to go may have been purely economic, the promise of a job and financial security. For this reason many Israelis I have met can be secular or atheistic.
Where as Israel gets sizable amounts of money from the US government, its no secret so has the Palestinian authority. The Magon David ambulance organisation in Israel has all its fleets of vehicles donated by Jewish organisations mostly in the US but sometimes also from Canada and France. There are many Christian organisations in the US that have supplied money to charities and needy people in Israel, mostly because a good proportion of tax Shekels have to go to the military defending Israel against frequent threats from terrorism or war with its neighbours. Despite this and than poverty in Israel is high, Israel has made a high contribution to the rest of the world in terms of its exports, large amounts of fruit and vegetables, technology (IT, telecoms, renewable power, water treatment, etc) medicine and healthcare innovations are just a small example of these.
I am a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, this could mean I could be considered to be a Christian Zionist, but would like to clarify things first. I believe God still has a plan for the Hebrew as outlined in the scriptures, that as Christians we are grafted in as his people. Sadly because of the false doctrine of what often known as replacement theology, people assume that Israel in the bible is more of a metaphorical ‘Israel’ for the modern day church. Paul says clearly in Romans 11 : 1 about this common misconception. I believe Jesus will still return to Jerusalem one days as promised in the scriptures, this is why Israel is never not in the mainstream news, as Satan attempts to twist and alter things in order to change unsuccessfully what God is planning.
Christians that support Israel are not always one particular breed or denomination. I have seen quite a few Christians visit Israel, from all over the place including Nigeria, South Korea and Japan. I have even seen a small group of people (they had name tags) at the Kotel recently from the Faeroe Islands, an extremely small little known Nordic island nation between Scotland and Iceland.
As a Christian I think its vital we don’t become complacent, and speak up and pray against hatred and lies spoke in governments around the world and in the media. I think God loves the Palestinian and the Arab and Persian people, its true also in recent times there have been large numbers of people in Islamic nations (do some searches on Youtube) come to Christ, normally this is secret as they can be in extreme danger, for this reason its hard to gauge how many Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs, etc come to Christ each year around the world.
The newspapers in the UK most definitely want to pick someone to blame for current world problems, whether its overpaid bankers, foreign immigrants coming in and wanting to change things to suit them, change the way our children are taught in British schools, worryingly extremist political groups like the BNP or Islam4UK, a kind of ‘bogeyman’ we can all blame. The scriptures in Ephesians 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Here its sin which can manifest into many different things that causes worry and distress.
For me, I only identify myself as a regular Christian, I may contribute in my church in welcome team, or being in prayer groups in some IT businesses I have worked at and in looking after the computer systems for Christian charity in Jerusalem. I am purely here as a servant to do whatever God leads me into doing, the only incentive or reward being able to see help go to the people that need it, make some new friends and get to study biblical places in more detail. I am not in Israel to convert people as this is greatly frowned upon and is illegal, its more of case of just a loving attitude in terms of me serving out there in terms of the context of my official volunteer job and spending time with some of my native Israeli friends.
When I see other Christians I know volunteer in nations like South Africa, Chile, Uganda, China etc, I don’t usually ask about politics, as its not fair to make assumptions based on what the media say, its not always easy to sum up what is right or wrong from casual observance. I also avoid mentioning political stuff to friends back in the UK (both Christian and non-Christian) due to antagonistic questions I have been asked and such.
For me, Israel is where almost all of the events of the bible happened, and where Christ himself will come again, and many things prophesied in the scriptures have become reality, the reformation of the modern state of Israel, a lot of its neighbours being its enemies, the way the Hebrew language which was something only ever kept for reading religious books has now made it into a usable language in business and every day, all of this in little over sixty years. It is only by sticking to a roadmap of what the Lord outlined in the bible will there be peace, as opposed to any artificial plan created by any other authority.
“Zionism” has come to mean different things in such a relatively short space of time. Do I believe the Jewish people control most of the wealth, and secretly run the West’s governments? No. Anti-Semitism is a good bandwagon to jump on, though, when you want to be heard. It’s how Hitler stirred up a lot of German people in 30’s and started an avalanche that led up to the Second World War.
What needs to be tackled is the subject of Zionism, and how it’s become this scapegoat which enables many regions and beliefs to attack Israel and its people.
Palestinians and Jews used to live side by side (Although pre 1947 it was Jewish terror groups Irgun Zvai Leumi & Lohamei Herut Israel carrying out attacks on Arabs) My personal opinion is that more could have been done to allow both sets of inhabitants of the land to mmake the big decisions, rather than British and US governments using double-talk and backstabbing to get their way to suit them (like we’re currently seeing with the botched invasion of Iraq). A two-state solution is the ONLY way this area is going to be able to move forward. But at the moment, because of the situation of ‘us vs them’ no one wants to blink first.
Theres two reasons why a two state solution is not workable. Both from the bible’s plans and from a logistical point of view.
The Palestinians will not accept a Jewish state at all. How can you negotiate with a neighbour that most of the population doesn’t acknowledge your right to exist. A lot of Israelis are willing to compromise, although recently PA boss Mahmoud Abbas said a future Palestinian state will not allow Jews to enter. Its a bit like trying to make friends with a large aggressive dog with toothache. If you look at the quirky roads system in Israel, there isn’t too many major roads, and they don’t go in a straight linear direction because of the many hills and mountains. If you take a look at my article on the West Bank highway I went to, you can see that there are tunnels as well as roads have to go around mountains. If I have to work in our Karmiel office, I have to go through a bit of the West Bank to do this, which means going through a normally brief security check point on one side.
Looking at the West Bank, it looks like an inverted B shaped piece of land with Jerusalem tightly wedged in the middle. You would have huge chunks cut out of an already tiny country the size of Wales, it would difficult to reroute roads around this bit. Plus a second chunk from where Gaza is. Both of these separate enclaved bits of land would have to share infrastructure with the Jewish state, tricky as water is getting more scarce, and during summer there are occasional electricity outages as too many people have AC switched on, that power suppliers can’t cope with. The logistics of this and making security arrangements to protect Jewish land would be enormously complicated. Don’t let any fool you that Palestinian terrorists would be content with a portion of the land here, they want all of it. There would be more bombing, death and destruction on Jews and Arabs alike. We really don’t want to go back to the intifada days.
Bits of land have already been given away in preparation for a Palestinian state without any benefits achieved, such as Gush Katif (near Gaza) in 2004, this had some very profitable farming and greenhouse businesses which could of provided jobs and prosperity for people of Gaza, oh except they smashed it all up and sold the greenhouses for scrap metal. There is also Hebron was given away in about 1998, yep that was also a worthwhile plan, seeing that is a no-go area as well these days. Ironically the divestment regime that want to boycot Israeli goods don’t know that a lot of fruit and vegetables that you find in Tescos come from all parts of the country including the West Bank and Gaza which losing this would hurt all parties.
Then there is Jerusalem. Muslims want all of this city. Thats what the whole darned Middle East argument is about. In Arab language its known as ‘Al Quds’ however this is odd from an Islamic theology point of view, there is not one single mention of this place in the Quran. At the end of the day this city is the centre point of the the Messiah’s return and the enemy does not want this to happen. Satan will try anything to alter this. Look at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem and you will see an Islamic cemetery put in the way in attempt to make it ‘unclean’ As if this will stop Jesus from returning through there, I blogged onto this place a while back. Zechariah 12:3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. All nations. Yep quite a few of those 22 Islamic countries are the ones that surround Israel and would rather she didn’t exist. This is seriously serious. Interfere with God’s plan for this city and great judgement will fall on anyone who tries to change anything. Former Prime Minister Aerial Sharon was making plans to give away more land, what happened to him, he spent the last few years in a coma.
The situations here are a long way off from ideal for all parties of course. I do know Arab people that prefer living under Israeli rule and are better jobs and income than they would under Palestinian ruling. I don’t pretend there has been some bad things done by Israel. I could give you a very long list of things that could be done better here. But its only by following what the bible says that there will be peace here. Jesus’s return is probably not that far off, quite possibly during our life times.
To argue against a two-state solution and prefer things as they are is saying you do not want a Palestinian state on the map. Which is what people are saying arabs want to do with Israel. YES there are many dangerous comments inferred by the leadership in Iran about wanting to wipe Israel off the map. But these shouldn’t detract from what most pro-Palestine factions are saying.
And to say Ariel Sharon is in a coma as he was prepared to give up a bit more, is a very Old Testament way of looking at it (perhaps like saying Martin Luther King Jr was shot in his prime as he was preaching anti-racism and God didn’t like it). I think the Jesus in the New Testament WANTS people to be peacemakers, willing to go the extra mile and be more concerned with people’s souls than their land disputes.
Don’t get me wrong, Israel and the Jewish people have played (and will continue to play) an important part in the Christian message, and I have no desire to label Israeli’s (or any Jew) as ‘bad’ or an ‘enemy’. But to base a homeland, where there was an independent state already running, because of a people’s history there thousands of years ago is akin to saying America should be broken up and given back to the Native Tribes that used to inhabit the land way back. The whole thing could have been handled a lot more tactfully in 1947. But poor foresight from the US and British has led to one of the biggest conflicts in history that shows no signs of abating.
Hi Rayne, in most cases hardship of the Palestinian people comes from Hamas and Hizbullah, the BBC et al have always been notoriously one sided and critical of Israel. The situation isn’t great at the moment, and my opinion won’t be popular by many, a one state solution with the sovereign borders as the bible described should be the plan. Also because I feel anything that divides or compromises this would cause more death and destruction for all parties, as I care enough by being here and praying for that not to happen.