By Khalid Amayreh
“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, and shall be cast out and trodden under the foot of men.” Matthew: 5-13
“They may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
Millions of Christian Zionists think that by blindly supporting Israel’s apartheid policies against the tormented Palestinians, including Palestinian Christians, they are upholding the truth and doing the right thing in the sight of God. Frankly, they are wrong; supporting blatantly unjust policies, including murder, persecution and theft, is never morally correct no matter how many verses one can quote from the Old Testament or any other religious text. Moreover, these pseudo-Christians, many of whom think they are following in the footsteps of Jesus, are convinced that they are doing his will by absolutely and unconditionally embracing evil actions which are in reality the antithesis of everything that Jesus Christ preached.
I am not talking about something about which I have scanty information or rudimentary knowledge. I have written a Master’s thesis on Christian Zionists’ distorted theology, met and spoken with some of their leaders, watched their TV antics and read their books. I heard the late Jerry Falwell on several occasions claim that “if you criticize Israel, you criticize God”, adding that the Almighty “treats nations according to how nations treat Israel”. Similarly, I heard and watched another demented evangelical, Pat Robertson of the 700-Club, who would invoke Old Testament atrocities to justify Israel’s modern equivalents, even those committed against Palestinians who are his fellow Christians. I also know that some evangelical preachers have called for applying the “Biblical approach” to the Palestinians and Lebanese people for resisting Israeli aggression. That “Biblical approach” is nought but a euphemism for genocidal ethnic cleansing.
Unfortunately, this scandalous distortion of Christ’s teachings is being promoted by wealthy Zionist circles that pay lip-service to Christianity, especially among Protestant communities and evangelicals, for purely political reasons, while maligning everything and anyone professing Christianity living in Israel. If anyone still has doubts about the veracity of this claim, let them ask some of the leaders of the Christian communities in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
This mindless infatuation with Zionism, an essentially Godless ideology that views religion including Judaism with contempt, is an expression of mental and spiritual sickness. What else explains the enthusiasm among such “Christians” for Israeli atrocities in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank? Christian Zionists claim to be following the way of Jesus. However, a brief scrutiny of their behaviour reveals people who are more concerned about pleasing Israeli-Jewish supremacists than pleasing Jesus. They have the audacity to claim that they love the Palestinians, Israel’s victims, while they quite happily give support to Israel’s criminal acts, such as demolishing Palestinians’ homes, bulldozing their farms, fields and orchards, even burning them with white phosphorus. What kind of “Christian charity and love” portrays evil as good in this way? Jesus would never have condoned the actions of Zionists as even a cursory examination of his ministry will reveal.
It is often understood that “love” rather than “justice” is the essence of Christianity. But is love compatible and consistent with supporting oppression and persecution against innocent people just because they happen to be non-members of a “chosen tribe”? In fact, it is only through the fair treatment of others that true love can be manifested and conveyed. In Islam, true love is called “Ihsan” which is an advanced degree of charity and forgiveness.
It is a positive sign that the erstwhile power and influence of the cult known as Christian Zionism people who support Israel right or wrong has been receding, especially in the United States. Nevertheless, we who are the victims of Zionism and America’s enduring embrace of Israeli criminality, want to see true Christians in America and elsewhere speak out and repair the damage wreaked by successive US administrations on an innocent people whose only “crime” is their determination to free themselves from the shackles of neo-apartheid.
It is easy to “prove” any argument with selective readings from sacred texts; taken out of context, such texts can be misused and this is what has happened with fanatical Bible-thumpers viewing the Lord as no more than a Tribal Chief or real estate-dealer. The reality is that, ultimately, God does not condone oppression, even if the oppressor is Jewish.
Any theology that condones and, indeed, endorses oppression against non-Jews (including Christians) by Jews is a theology devoid of morality, a theology which owes more to Satan than to true guidance from the Almighty.
I am not suggesting that Christians should become the enemies of any particular people; I am only challenging them to behave in accordance with the teachings of Christ. If that is done, we will see organisations called “Christians united for justice” rather than “Christians united for Israel”, because true Christians can never be instrumental in implementing oppressive policies.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.