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*Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to **U.S.** - **Middle East*

*Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to **U.S.** - **Middle East**
Understanding*
October 26, 2005
For Immediate Release

Christian Zionism, a belief that paradise for Christians can only be
achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land, is gathering
strength in the United States and forging alliances that are giving
increasingly weird shape to American policy toward the Middle East.  The
nature of the movement and its detrimental impact on policy was the
subject of the 22^nd Capitol Hill public hearing presented by the
Council for the National Interest yesterday.

A new Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=216012122&url_num=2&url=http://www.cnionline.org/learn/polls/czandlobby/index.htm>
shows that 31 percent of those surveyed in the national poll strongly
believe or somewhat believe in the ideas behind Christian Zionism,
defined as "the belief that Jews must have all of the promised land,
including all of Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the
messiah."   Other polls bear similar messages, that 53% of Americans
believe that Israel was given by God to the Jews (Pew), and that 59% of
the American public believes the prophecies contained in the Book of
Revelations will come true (CNN/Time.)

The international implications of such beliefs are profound, as an
increasing number of Americans believe that God sets foreign policy
goals.  Rev. Robert O. Smith, Lutheran pastor at the University of
Chicago, one of the speakers at the hearing, discussed the development
of this belief that dates to the 19^th century and how it has received a
powerful new impetus with the founding this year of a new group of the
Christian right called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).  And yet
while it works closely with Jewish Zionist organizations in the US,
including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to promote the
continued occupation of Palestine by the Israel (land God has given the
Jews), it works just as effectively in dehumanizing the original
inhabitants of the Holy Land, both Muslims and Christians.

Another speaker, Rammy Haija, who teaches at Radford University, drew
attention to the necessity in the Christian Zionist dogma for the
Israelis to retain control not only of the whole of the occupied
territory but also all of Jerusalem. Christian Zionists have pushed the
militarist policies of both Israel and the U.S. in an effort to secure
the Holy Land in preparation for the coming of the "promised land."  As
part of this strategy, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is deemed absolutely
necessary.

The irony of the alliance between Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists
is that the one ideology promotes the ultimate destruction of the other.
As Smith pointed out, the "Christians United for Israel" is all about
Israel, not about the Israelis, and only a little surface digging into
Christian Zionism shows how anti-Semitic it really is.  So much so that
Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the
ceaseless champions of Zionism in this country, has called the Christian
right one of the direst threats to American Jews.  This has not
prevented top Israeli officials from paying homage to the Christian
right, including Ariel Sharon (before he descended into a comatose state
brought on by the withdrawal of the settlers from Gaza, Pat Robertson
opined), the Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon, and Benjamin Netanyahu,
and a host of others. The ability of CUFI and other far right Christian
religious leaders like Jerry Farwell and Pat Robertson to raise money
for Israel, including Israeli settlements, is well documented.

Christian Zionism, Smith concluded, has a fundamental lack of earthly
concerns, is divorced from reality, and undermines the work of politics.
Its practical impact is the killing of people in the Holy Land.  The
recent statement by the Christian religious leaders of Jerusalem that
warned against Christian Zionism's policies of racist intolerance and
perpetual war was much needed, but it should have come from America's
religious leaders.


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