Saturday, July 16, 2016

Craig M. Nielsen on "Christian Zionist Heresy" - repost

Repost of an old article:

I followed a rabbit trail last week. After seeing that the preterist folk had visited my blog, I followed them back to their home and noted that they'd linked one of my posts. But it wasn't that which attracted my attention - it was a link to another article on the Mondoweiss website: WhyChristian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy. The article plugs Craig Michael Nielsen's book Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict. Of Christian Zionism the article notes:

Yet few, if any, scholarly Christian theologians support this view. It is a belief advanced mostly by powerful TV evangelists and lobby groups. The average “garden variety” Christian has little to arm themselves against the deluge of almost hysterical demands on Christians that they must support the Zionists’ absolute entitlement to their colonialist project in the Holy Land with its dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs.

The blurb on Nielsen's book tells us that:

.... We must stop defending the radically anti-Christian Zionist movement. It's not anti-Semitic to oppose Israel's genocide of Palestinians. It's anti-Christian to accept it. Find out how wrong we have been about Israel. Then demand that the U.S. stop funding the Palestinian Holocaust. It's the Christian thing to do. (Emphases mine)

The notions of genocide and Palestinian Holocaust, as applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are both shameful and factually challenged. If you want a quick rundown on Nielsen's thoughts on Zionism, you can read them HERE. This excerpt captures it in a nutshell:

Christian Zionist ethics are driven by a mantra of “the end justifies the means”. For them, since God is bringing back the Jewish people to Israel according to prophecy, the Jewish people’s responsibility to treat non-Jews with equality and mercy in Israel can be ignored. What matters is that they take all the land, every other consideration is trumped by the golden rule of “take the land by whatever means necessary”.

Mondoweiss claims to be driven by a "progressive Jewish perspective." In fact it is one of the most biased sites in the anti-Israel market place. One left wing editor has even claimed that Israel was behind the Passover Kansas City shootings. You know, just like Jews were behind 9/11 and all that other stuff. Daniel Greenfield observes of them:

Mondoweiss is probably the leading anti-Israel site on the internet after Stormfront. Its editors are often openly bigoted. One Mondoweiss editor said, “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, but I can understand why some are.”

One contributing Mondoweiss writer is Stephen Sizer's collaborator Ben White. Are you starting to get the picture? White has written articles asking why there has been a rise in anti-Semitism. He has his theories: an oppressive, occupying Israel can only blame itself. White cites the "alleged anti-Semitic remarks made by Jürgen Möllemann" and concedes that comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are unsound. But then he writes as if with authority:

Comparisons between the Israeli government and the Nazis is (sic) unwise and unsound, since the Israelis have not (at the time of going to press) exterminated in a systematic fashion an enormous percentage of the Palestinians. Cold-blooded killings, beatings, house demolitions, vandalism, occupation, military assaults, and two historical pushes at ethnic cleansing–yes. Full fledged genocide–no.

One inconvenient fact is that the Jews have been hounded and persecuted for centuries - even when they weren't in the land. There's always some excuse (or lie) for anti-Semitism. White has attempted to draw the reader's attention to what others have said about Israel. Then he's tried to distance himself from that egregious narrative while actually promoting it. I guess he's still working on his Matt 5:9.

But let's get back to Craig Nielsen. Nielsen is associated with the Palestinian Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). One of the stated goals of PIEN is to foster peaceful relations between the Palestinians and Israel. A closer look at its website reveals it to be an anti-Israel instigator. In one 16 page document the word "occupation" is used 33 times. The word "suffering" appears 14 times and is presented as a motivation for Palestinian violence:

When we review the history of the nations, we see many wars and much resistance to war by war, to violence by violence. The Palestinian people has (sic) gone the way of the peoples, particularly in the first stages of its struggle with the Israeli occupation.

Aside from not providing hard data for these assertions, one doesn't see any reprimand about how Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority, treat their populations (especially the Christian minorities) or their historical hatred for Jews. PIEN even links to an article by Hanan Ashrawi who blames Israel for the evacuation of Christians in the Middle East. Ashrawi is a member of the PLO Executive Committee, a terrorist apologist and a revisionist.

That Christians are leaving the Middle East (and other areas) in droves has nothing to do with Israel. One should read Persecuted - The Global Assault On Christians and/or watch the authors being interviewed HERE to understand that the culprit isn't Israel.

I'll say it once again -Israel isn't perfect. But neither is it the oppressor that instigators like White, Nielsen and Sizer portray. And neither is Israel's alleged occupation the motivating factor for the violence against it. That notion should be discarded along with the one that claims poverty breeds terrorism.

What motive undergirds this narrative? I can hear familiar protests - I'm not an anti-Semite; I'm anti-oppression and anti-occupation. It has nothing to do with the Jew. What would Jesus do?

It has everything to do with the Jews.

As I grow older I should be growing kindlier and more patient. Sadly, I've become cynical in some areas. May God forgive me...but when your time is exclusively occupied in trumping up charges against Israel and ignoring abundant data that contradicts your narrative, and when you consistently ignore oppression elsewhere - then you are likely an anti-Semite. It's an insidious cancer that creeps up on you. The antidote is to read your Bible carefully and worshipfully.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that debating people who embrace these views is rarely fruitful, especially when they insist on ignoring or re-interpreting Scripture.

Further resources:

Supersessionism, the Holocaust, and the Modern State of Israel


Epicenter 2012 - Panel Discussion on RT

“Hating Jews More Than is Absolutely Necessary”  

Debunking the Palestine Lie 

Christian Palestinianism

The world’s fastest growing faith is not Islam!

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