The New Christian Zionism and the Jews
Rachel Tabachnick is an independent researcher and contributor to Talk2Action.org, the group blog about the Christian Right. She frequently presents workshops and talks about Christian Zionism.
In late October, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel spoke at a Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event hosted by the controversial Christian Zionist John Hagee at his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Internationally broadcast on GodTV, Hagee presented $9 million in donations to 29 Israeli and U.S. Jewish organizations. Hagee is one of the world’s most successful televangelists and a prolific author who prophesizes that apocalyptic wars and the migration of Jews to the holy land will help trigger the return of Jesus and his thousand-year reign on earth.
Wiesel joins a long list of Jews and Israelis who show no discomfort at being in the center of someone else’s apocalyptic religious vision. Making common cause with Christian Zionists are the lobby group American Israel Political Action Committee, which hosted Hagee as a conference keynote speaker in 2007, and Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who attended a CUFI summit last July.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a very different kind of “pro-Israel” gathering was taking place. J Street, the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” lobby group, was holding its first national conference with panels featuring American, Israeli and Palestinian speakers. Hundreds gathered in the ballroom of the Washington D.C. Grand Hyatt for the conference, whose program explicitly stated that J Street aims to challenge “right-wing Christian Zionists” – the very people Wiesel was addressing.
J Street ’s leaders are not the first in the Jewish community to resist the embrace of Christian Zionism. Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has stated that an alliance with Christian Zionists must be rejected for the sake of Israel. Still, there has been little education in the Jewish community on the precise nature of these dangers. Indeed, some Jews may avoid publicly criticizing Christian Zionists out of concern that it would damage interfaith relations – though Christians show no hesitation in criticizing Hagee. Others, including a few questioned at the J Street conference, say Christian Zionist beliefs are of absolutely no interest to them.
Yet it is their beliefs about the end times which drive their activism. The traditional fundamentalist leaders of the movement preach that Jews returning to the Holy Land are a necessary part of the end times in which born-again Christians will escape death as they are raptured into heaven. Jews and other nonbelievers will remain on earth to suffer under the seven-year reign of the anti-Christ. Then, as the story goes, Jesus will come back with his armies, be accepted by the surviving Jews, and reign for a thousand years. This belief motivates adherents to send funds for West Bank settlements, to lobby for preemptive wars seen as precursors to the end times, and support Jews in the diaspora to make “aliyah” and move to Israel.
Now Christian Zionism – along with much of evangelicalism – is being swept by a charismatic movement which has rewritten the role of Jews in their end times narrative.  These charismatics, like Pentecostals, believe that they are endowed by God with supernatural spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and faith healing. However, these charismatic also believe that God directly reveals new prophecy to their leaders who are unifying the church in preparation for the end times. In their increasingly popular narrative, it is not unconverted but only converted or so-called Messianic Jews who will serve as the trigger for the return of Jesus and the advent of the millennial (thousand year) kingdom on earth. This growing belief is driving the movement to aggressively proselytize Jews and to support “Messianic” ministries in both Israel and Jewish communities worldwide. One splinter group has even taken this story to an extreme, saying they themselves are the “true Israelites” who will play the prophetic role of establishing heaven on earth by moving to Israel.
As we shall see, their distinct end times narratives share an implicit antisemitism creating the movement’s paradoxical love/hate relationship with the Jews. Far from positive, the obsessive “philosemitism” – or love of Jews – of Christian Zionists is tied to a volatile and changing view of the end times that also changes their view of how they should “support” Jews and Israel in fulfilling prophecy. And this obsession has a history of turning ugly.
Antisemitism and Historic Christian Zionism
The partnership of Christian Zionists with Israeli leaders dates back to the 1970s, when Israeli prime minister Menachim Begin of the Likud Party and Christian Right leader Jerry Falwell joined forces to oppose U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s support for a Palestinian state. Israel’s alliance with Christian Zionists has only grown in recent decades. As support from increasingly alienated U.S. Jews lagged, Christian Zionists filled the gap with donations and tourism.. Israeli Ambassador Oren even rejected an invitation to attend J Street’s October conference while attending CUFI’s in July.
Ambassador Oren would be wise to reconsider his choice of allies.
Camouflaged in love and an exuberant support for Israel, Hagee and other Christian Zionists openly teach narratives that parallel the story lines of overt anti-Semitism in which Jews are portrayed not as ordinary people, but as superhuman or subhuman. With almost no challenge (and often endorsement) from Jewish leadership, Christian Zionists are stripping away the hard-won humanity of Jews with a broadcast capacity and international reach that overtly antisemitic organizations could never match. Their belief that they are saving Jews from themselves allows them to proceed with a sense of self-righteousness and to draw in millions of well-meaning people. History demonstrates that once this humanity has been stripped away, the door is opened for unconcealed hatred, fear, and even genocide of these perceived superhuman/subhuman beings.
Even the long-established Christian Zionist narrative has antisemitic undertones. Christian Zionists talk about themselves as “fishers” who entice Jews to move to Israel, while “hunters” are those who violently force the Jews who are unresponsive to the fishers. This well-used motif –found throughout the movement’s media –is problematic for many reasons, not least in requiring a worldwide wave of antisemitism, described by some as a second holocaust, to ensure Jews fulfill their prophetic destiny.
Hagee is always careful not to use the phrase “second holocaust” but he drew on this motif when he notoriously said that Hitler was a hunter sent by God, prompting John McCain to reject his endorsement in the 2008 Presidential race. The Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman and other Jewish leaders should not have accepted Hagee at face value when he said he was joining rabbinical discourse in making his Hitler remark.
Christian Zionist literature regularly uses this threat of the second holocaust to warn, or intimidate, Jews to move to Israel before it is “too late,” and steeps it with additional antisemitic imagery. In Let My People Go, Tom Hess describes his vision of trains taking fleeing Jews from the major cities of the world as they voluntarily leave for Israel, thus saving themselves from an impending holocaust. Its cover shows a Jewish businessman chained to Wall Street, and the book is filled with stereotypes of Jews as money-oriented materialists and worse. Hess’ ministry, based in Israel, sends the books to Jewish households around the world , and claims to have distributed tens of thousands to the “fish” as he calls the Jews of Russia and Ukraine. Hess also hosts the annual Christian Governmental Leaders Luncheon in conjunction with the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus.
Another book, Blow the Trumpet in Zion, lists “The Jew’s Final Holocaust” above “Why Christians Should Love Jews” on its back cover promotion. Its author is Richard Booker, who has worked with the Christian Allies Caucus and Jerusalem Connection, headed by former CUFI director James Hutchens. The best-selling book of another prominent Christian Zionist describes this second holocaust as “beyond the horrors of Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz – all of the death camps combined.”
These Christian Zionists believe a second holocaust is necessary to force the repentance of Jews.
Hagee argues that his support for Israel has “absolutely nothing to do with eschatology,” referring to end times theology. Yet he has built an international broadcast audience advertised as reaching 190 nations with his apocalyptic sermons echoing these themes. Hagee often delivers these sermons while standing in front of large panels illustrating figures of the end times including the Antichrist – who he describes as gay and “partially Jewish as was Adolph Hitler” –and the “Great Harlot of Mystery Babylon,” whom Hagee claims represents “Romanism” or the Roman Catholic church.
Former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold, when questioned about the dangers of this end times eschatology – which ends with the destruction of Judaism – responded, “All religions have eschatology. The question is whether somebody believes they can move the clock of eschatology forward by themselves. The only one who says that is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran.”
But in fact many Christian Zionists do believe they can move the clock, as a quick glance at Armageddonbooks.com shows. Among the titles is Hastening the Messiah, Your Role in Fulfilling Prophecy. The author, Johannes Facius, is a former head of the Ebenezer Emergency Fund and Operation Exodus, credited with moving over 116,000 Jews to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Hagee’s mentor wrote the foreword. Its fourth chapter is titled “Fishers and Hunters.”
John Hagee’s ministry magazine also suggests evangelicals can move the clock – by donating to Hagee’s ministry. In an issue with a dramatic war scene and the words “World War III Has Begun” on its cover, a page two ad solicits funds with the headline, “Become a Part of Biblical Prophecy.” The ad’s donation form states, “I want to be a part of fulfillment of prophecy and the courageous effort to return Jewish families to their homeland.”
Millennialism and Antisemitism, Past and Present
Unless put in context of these paradoxical end times narratives, it is easy to misinterpret Christian Zionists’ millennial obsession. CUFI’s Jewish participants are moved by the Christian Zionist outpouring of emotion for Israel, and the trapping of Jewish ritual, blowing shofars, singing in Hebrew, wearing tallitot (prayer shawls), and celebrating Jewish holidays. The CUFI “Night to Honor Israel” event at which Wiesel spoke was double-billed as the “Feast of Tabernacles,” a celebration based on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot which Hagee infuses with a millennial and Christian supremacist theology.
Wiesel acknowledged the outpouring of support for Israel at the event, saying, "Never in the history of my people have we witnessed an event such as this.” Yet the current wave of Christian Zionism is eerily reminiscent of the wave of Judeocentric millennialism of a century ago, picking up on similar terminology and end times narratives. The millennial wave of the last century included fascination with Hebrew roots, groups claiming to be Israelites, and a philosemitic embrace of Jews.
Narratives based on biblical genealogy and Israelite “Identity” included Anglo- or British-Israelism, which was exported to the United States and adopted by evangelists including Charles Parham, the founder of Pentecostalism. Queen Victoria’s genealogy was traced back to King David, and colonialism was justified as the proper role of “the chosen people” –Anglo-Israelites. Like Christian Zionists of today, they described wars in terms of biblical genealogy, and depending on strategic alliances of the moment, described Germans as either fellow “Israelites” or descendants of the hated Assyrians. These philosemitic British Israelites attacked antisemitism from the pages of the journal “The Banner of Israel.” But a prominent British Israelite was also editor of the notoriously antisemitic Dearborn Independent, a lead newspaper publishing conspiracies based on the notorious forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The movement’s philosemitism easily transitioned into antisemitism.
The volatility of the last century’s obsession with biblical genealogy and Judeocentric narratives also spawned Christian Identity, the theology held by contemporary White supremacists. They view Jews as an evil race descending from Esau, and see themselves as the true heirs of Israel. Their practice often includes “Hebrew” ritual including the “Feast of Tabernacles” based on Sukkot.
Hagee shares this obsession with a distinct race descended from Esau. In his book Jerusalem Countdown, he claims that a genetically evil race of “half-breed Jews” spawned Hitler and credits Esau’s descendants with the persecution of Jews throughout history.
The recognized theological source of modern Christian Zionism is U.S. fundamentalism from the last century, which has its own history of embracing antisemitism. Many leaders such as William Bell Riley, perhaps the major leader of fundamentalism, merged religious narratives with secular antisemitic conspiracies including the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion which theysaw as supporting their end times narrative.
Today’s internationally broadcast Christian Zionist media is a major source of anti-Jewish conspiracy thinking and features New World Order conspiracism. Hagee preaches from the pulpit that the American dollar is being intentionally devalued through the Federal Reserve by a conspiracy of the Illuminati, Rothschilds, and European bankers.
These narratives echo claims from the Middle Ages that Jews have supernatural control over the destiny of others, a concept that is now being spread by Christian Zionists to Africa and other continents, paving the way for acceptance of virulently antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Entire Christian Zionist books are dedicated to linking natural or human disasters to Israel. For instance, in John McTernan’s recent book, As America has done to Israel, he claims that Katrina victims were drowned in their attics as God’s retribution for the removal of settlers from Gaza who had fled to their rooftops to avoid eviction. William Koenig’s 2004 book Eye to Eye lists terrorist attacks and misfortunes of presidents as God’s revenge on America for “land for peace” negotiations. The writers frame their accounts as pro-Israel, and the fulfillment of Genesis 12:3, which reads, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.”
Hagee picks up on another antisemitic story line with a long history when he demeans the much revered Rabbi Hillel. In Final Dawn over Jerusalem, Hagee states that antisemitism comes from the bowels of hell but, in the same book, claims Hillel was an “extremist” and his Pharisee followers were “sword-carrying legalists” who plotted to have Jesus killed. It is they, he claims, who are responsible for Christian antisemitism.
The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber analyzed how propaganda mischaracterizing the Pharisees as the more legalistic sect of Judaism in the time of Jesus impacted 1920s anti-Semitism. Author Paul R. Mendes-Flor states about Buber, “Debating the opponents of Jewry, he realized that the anti-Pharisaism which pervaded modern attitudes toward Judaism was not only a distortion but animated virtually every species of metaphysical anti-Semitism.” The demonization of Pharisees is becoming increasingly common today, particularly in Pentecostal and other charismatic media. They equate the Pharisees with a literal demon said to be the source of legalism and division in the church.
Today those Jewish leaders who embrace Christian Zionists heap ridicule on those who resist, accusing them of being overly defensive. In Evangelicals and Israel, author Stephen Spector quotes Elliot Abrams as saying “anti-Christian bias seems to be the only form of prejudice that American Jews consider respectable.” The unwillingness of Jews to return the embrace of that era’s millennial-minded “philosemites” was also ridiculed in a famous publication of 1920,
The future of the Jew, as prophetically outlined, is intimately bound up with the future of this planet, and the Christian church in large part – at least by the evangelical wing, which the Jews most condemn – sees a Restoration of the Chosen People yet to come. If the mass of the Jews knew how understandingly and sympathetically all the prophecies concerning them are being studied in the Church, and the faith that exists that these prophecies will find fulfillment and that they will result in great Jewish service to society at large, they would probably regard the Church with another mind.
The quote is from Henry Ford’s The International Jew, derived from his reading of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Marketing efforts by CUFI and others to convince today’s Jews to embrace Christian Zionists frequently cite the last century’s support for “regathering of the Jews” in Palestine as evidence that the movement is friendly or benign. This cherry-picking of history ignores the fact that the same millennial narratives played a significant role in the objectification of, and obsession with, Jews in the early 20th century. Since then these quasi-religious narratives have kept the motifs of antisemitism alive during a time when overt antisemitism is not acceptable in society. Today’s Christian Zionism has reintroduced these dehumanizing narratives back into the mainstream of much of the evangelical world as well as the general public.
Christian Zionism in Transition
As Christian Zionism changes, attacks on Judaism are becoming more overt. The bulk of the shift in Christian Zionism is a result of the growing international dominance of charismatics who reject the concept of being raptured and stress the conversion of Jews to trigger the end times.
In their version of the end times drama, they do not watch idly from the grandstands of heaven after being raptured but remain on earth to fight evil and the anti-Christ themselves. It is Jesus who remains in heaven until the job is completed and a Christian Israel calls out for his return. This cleansing of the earth is done by the combined forces of charismatic or “spirit-filled” Christians and their Messianic partners, the term applied to Jews who convert but retain Jewish identity. The shorthand catchphrase for this distinctive end times narrative involving converted Jews is “one new man in Yeshua.”
Not surprisingly, the growing importance of converts in the end times narrative is encouraging a new wave of proselytizing to convert Jews to Christianity. As Hagee’s Jewish allies are quick to point out, he publicly opposes proselytizing, but much of his organization’s leadership and events are hosted by those who have embraced this “one new man” ideology and you can find it throughout Christian Zionist media. Hagee also publicly endorsed a Messianic ministry in Israel.
These charismatics identify with a coalescing movement called the New Apostolic Reformation (or simply “Apostolic and Prophetic”) which teaches that a unified church will lead the fight during the end times. Lou Engle, made famous in the film Jesus Camp, is a leading “Apostle” in the movement and Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, partnered in the movement’s launch. Sarah Palin has close ties to leading Apostles and during the 2008 elections their broadcasted prophecies claimed that Palin was divinely “anointed” for leadership. 
CUFI director Stephen Strang is a prominent Apostle and uses his magazine, Charisma, to promote it. In celebration of Israel’s sixtieth birthday, Charisma dedicated much of its May 2008 issue to Christian Zionists and Messianics who are working to proselytize Jews in Israel. Another CUFI director, Robert Stearns, is the editor of a popular Apostolic and Prophetic magazine and cofounder of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ). The DPPJ is the largest single Christian Zionist event with advertised participation of 200,000 churches in 175 nations, and endorsed by the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus.
What are these 200,000 churches praying for when they pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
In a 2005 Christian Broadcast Network interview, Stearns said that all participating churches received the book Your People Shall Be My People which explains the“one new man in Yeshua” ideology and pleads with churches to support Messianic ministries. Author Don Finto introduces a multidenominational council of charismatic leaders whose mission is to “recognize and welcome Jewish believers in Yeshua without requiring them to abandon their Jewish identity and practice” with the “ultimate purpose in unifying the Body and restoring the Jewish believers to their rightful place is the hastening of the coming of the Lord Yeshua in glory and the full accomplishment of His work in the kingdom of God.”
By repenting of the Holocaust and allowing Messianics to retain their Jewish identity, these Christian Zionists teach that the stumbling blocks will be removed and Jews will convert in large numbers. In his book Prepare the Way, Stearns claimed that this is happening at an unprecedented rate, stating, “Our elder brother is returning from the dead.” This echoes his CUFI colleague Hagee, who after his infamous Hitler as hunter quote said, “Now they (the Jews) are physically alive, but they are not spiritually alive.”
Stearns ally Jack Hayford, a charismatic leader who cofounded the Day of Prayer, also founded The King’s College and Seminary which has a special division to train Messianics to become the “anointed Spirit-filled team players in the redemption of all Israel.” The seminary coordinates with Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, which trains Messianic leaders in Jewish communities in Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine in order to bring “life to the dead” as stated in its promotional materials.
Another stated goal of the Christian Zionist/Messianic partnership is to fight antisemitism. However while they are very anxious to defend Israel from an Islamic world they view as a common enemy, this conceals the fact that they are equally determined to save Israel from Judaism.
In Your People Shall Be My People, Finto quotes convert Dan Juster as stating “Rabbinic Judaism is a more severe departure from biblical faith than I had ever realized in my early days of Jewish recovery... We who are Jewish are biblical New Covenant Jews, not Rabbinic Jews!”
Stearns describes Juster as the Thomas Jefferson of Messianic Judaism and a “sovereign vessel the Lord has raised up to pioneer this End-Time move.” Juster explained to the 2009 Promise Keepers revival in Boulder that, “The conversion of Israel is a necessary precondition for ushering in the Messianic age. We can only accomplish this task by coming together as one new man. Only then will we have the power to convert Israel.”
Despite easily accessible evidence to the contrary, Robert Stearns was portrayed throughout the book Evangelicals and Israel as the ideal Christian Zionist who refuses to proselytize and has no ulterior end times motives. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has personally endorsed Stearn’s ministry. Evangelicals and Israel has endorsements on the back cover from ADL’s Abraham Foxman and Walter Russell Mead. And in a truly wrongheaded review of the book in Foreign Affairs, Mead suggested that Democrats court Christian Zionists to join their party.
Millennial Disillusionment: Better Jews Than the Jews
Richard Landes, director of the Center for the Millennial Studies project of Boston University, has described cycles of millennial expectation and disappointment dating back to the year 1000. In 1999 he described the modern wave as constituting “the most sustained and unusually philo-Judaic apocalyptic manifestation in the history of Christianity.” Many Jewish leaders dismiss millennialism as benign because they don’t believe that the predicted trials or Jesus’ return to earth will take place. However, Landes warns that the real danger stems from the disillusionment when Jesus doesn’t come back. He asks, “How long can an apocalyptic wave continue? Does all this apocalyptic philo-Judaism of the upswing imply a coming wave of equally intense anti-Judaism in the wake of (inevitable) disappointment?”
We already are seeing the onset of disillusionment with Jews who resist playing their assigned prophetic role. Believing themselves to be better Jews than the Jews, Christian Zionists step in to fill the role themselves. Like the British Israelites of the last century, today a group calling themselves Ephraimites believe themselves to be the true Israelites. But unlike the British Israelites, they are multiracial, including Whites, Blacks and Latinos, and even international.
Members of Israel’s Likud Party are working with these Ephraimites and other Christian Zionists through World Likud, headed by Danny Danon. Following a 2007 conference in Texas with Likud leaders, Joel Bell and friends launched a new organization called Worldwide Biblical Zionism (WBZ) to provide housing, legal assistance, employment aid, and military training to Christian Zionists who wish to make aliyah to Israel and the West Bank.
Several leaders in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government participated in the inaugural WBZ event on November 16, 2008, including Gideon Sa’ar, current Minister of Education; Ayoob Kara, Deputy Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee; and Yulie Edelstein, Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs. Much of the outreach in the United States has been by Sagiv Assulin, the Knesset Leader of the Young.
One group reporting contact with Assulin is the Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA), whose name is misleading since the organization is comprised of Ephraimite Christians who believe they have a right to land in Israel. Before their 2008 national convention, they formed a “Provisional Israelite Council in Exile” and demanded their “inalienable right of return to their biblical inheritance and historical territory located in current Samaria and Judea.”
The Ephraimites of MIA believe that they must be fruitful and fill the population gap that will occur as Israel expands to its future borders and “to replace the 235,000,000 non-Jews” who will be removed from the “Red Sea” to the “River Euphrates.” MIA’s leader, Angus Wootten, stated in a 2008 newsletter, “If YHVH would tomorrow remove the million plus Palestinians, who are citizens of Israel, and the three and half million in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, how would, or how could, the present Jewish population of Israel take possession of the land the Palestinians had occupied? And if that isn’t a big enough challenge, add taking possession of Southern Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Western Arabia, and the Sinai.”
Christian Zionists commonly describe the millions of current occupants as expendable, and John Hagee has written, “In modern terms Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia.”
In his December 18, 2007 newsletter, Wootten, unhappy with the then-current Israeli government, stated, “SOS Israel, an umbrella group of Jewish settlers now living in Judea and Samaria, has said that in fulfillment of their biblical mandate they will declare a new Jewish state independent of Israel... Their objective is to form a New Jewish Congress that will eventually gain sovereignty of the Jewish Nation over the secular state.” Any Israeli government that does not see Christian Zionists as part of the “Nation of Israel” is illegitimate, he charged.
On August 10, 2008, as part of their international convention, the MIA conducted a “March to the Arch” carrying banners, shofars, flags, and wearing t-shirts stating, “We are Israel.”
It is not clear whether WBZ will succeed in bringing substantial numbers of Christians to the West Bank even as Christian Zionist funds continue to flow to the region; Ariel, described as the capital of “Samaria,” has a swimming pool named for CUFI director Billye Brim, located in the “John Hagee Building.” In fact, there are signs of a backlash within Likud against Christian Zionism that could interfere with the Ephraimites fulfilling their hopes. Moshe Feiglin is among the most right-wing of Likud politicians, but he recently disengaged from his partnership with Christian Zionists. He wrote in the Jewish Press,
The Christian conquest is much more dangerous than the Muslim conquest because it is not direct. It is not violent. Embracing and supportive, it connects with Israel against the Muslim enemy. It supports a Jewish Land of Israel in its entirety – even speaking up for the sanctity of the connection between the Nation of Israel, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel. It just forgets to specify which Nation of Israel and which Torah.
Christian Zionism Goes Global
In Singapore a stadium of people sing popular Messianic music in Hebrew. In Zambia a network of churches define themselves as Messianic, call their preachers “rabbis,” and celebrate Christianized versions of Jewish holidays. In London, Christian Zionist leaders endorsed by the Israeli Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus meet with members of Parliament in order to lobby for support of Israel based on biblical mandates. In Germany, Christian Zionists who call themselves the Saxon Christian Friends of Israel join with Israeli representatives to commemorate the Holocaust by attacking Islam as the “next reincarnation of fascism.”
A Nigerian pastor travels to Jerusalem and tells the Knesset that any nation that does not serve them will perish, and adds that Africans Christians “would love to kiss the feet of a Jew.” Seven hundred Brazilians travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual Feast of Tabernacles event sponsored by the Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, joining thousands from around the globe. In Tubingen, Germany, a congregation described by the pastor as 70 percent children and grandchildren of Nazis, “reconciles” with Jews by sponsoring Messianic music productions and joint Christian and Messianic Jewish events including Messianic Holocaust events. These have now been imported to the United States.
From Argentina to Ukraine “pro-Israel” groups are singing in Hebrew to the same popular Messianic melodies, dressing in similar costumes, and waving similar flags. It is increasingly difficult to tell if the participants are Christian Zionists or Messianic Jews.
Christian Zionism is increasingly global, aggressively missionary, and openly attacking Judaism as the obstacle to a Christian utopia on earth. Nevertheless, the current Israeli government views the growth of Christian Zionism as an opportunity for building increased support internationally for Israeli policies and is endorsing the spread of this ideology and activism around the globe. Even liberals on this issue are simply uninformed. In a conversation at the J Street conference, a U.S. Congressman told me that Hagee could not possibly be spreading antisemitic notions. “You must be confused,” he added. “Hagee is pro-Israel!”
The widely held belief that a visibly “pro-Israel” Christian Zionist could not possibly be a danger to Jews, needs to be reevaluated.
If J Street or other moderate and progressive Jewish organizations are going to challenge the shortsighted embrace of Christian Zionists, they will have to become literate in end times narratives, and competent in explaining the serious threats, to both Israel and Jews worldwide, from this millennial movement.
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