Israel / Palestine

If you don’t like the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, blame Jesus!


Those that are regular readers of this blog, know that I think and write often about the Israeli/Palestine conflict.  I thought I had a deep knowledge of this subject and was really surprised when I learned about the importance of the Christian Zionist movement.

About seventy million evangelist born-again Christians in the United States believe that the gathering of the Jews in their biblical homeland is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Christ.   The original homeland includes Samaria and Judah which is inconvenient since this is where the West Bank/Palestine, is located.  About 40% of all tourists to Israel or, the Holly Land as  these particular tourists call it, are born again Christians.  They spend a few weeks traveling around Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, and visiting biblical sites.  They never visit Tel Aviv where I live part of the year.  If they did, they would be shocked to see what has become of the “People of the Book” in one of the hottest cities in the world (think Miami Beach with smart people.)  It’s full of great restaurants that never close, sexy soldiers in bikinis at the beach, and they have their own  as well as gay pride parades. 

The End of Days,  Armageddon and the Rapture

This part of the post is a bit difficult to write.  I am trying to respect the religious views of all people and frankly, all religions including mine are full of what I think is fantastical thinking.  However, I do have to list some key concepts because they actually affect the political situation in Israel and Palestine. So the basic concept of Armageddon is that armies in the region, led by some really bad dudes (think ISIS), attack the Israeli’s in the North of Israel at a place called Megiddo.  I have been there to Meggido, it is a beautiful area  which was important thousands of years ago because of its location. Not much is happening there now.  It is hard to imagine that this is where the “End of Days” will begin.  Armageddon is a Greek word derived from the Hebrew “Har Megiddo” or the Mountains of Megiddo.  They believe the armies are led by the antichrist who attack the Jews who are almost wiped out by these evil forces.   Jesus has to come back to earth to defeat  them and save his people, the Christians.

Israel Jesus Map

Evidently, those that are Born Again get to go to heaven, and those that are not are sent to hell.   This is called the Rapture.  Jews are given a special opportunity: they can finally accept Jesus as the true son of God and the Messiah and be reborn, or go to hell with the rest of their friends.  About a third of the Jews admit they have had it wrong for the last 2,000 years and fly up to heaven.  Now there are no Jews left which has been the goal of some other folks in the past.

Influence on Israeli Politics

If I ask you what the most powerful lobby group is in the USA supporting Israel, you would probably say APAC. This is what I would have said until last Sunday when I was watching an episode of Vice on HBO. It turns out that the largest support for Israel comes from the Christian Right.  Not only do they support Israel per se, but they are against an independent Palestinian State.   

Netanyahu understands this very well.  He knows that much of this support could vanish if there was a political settlement with the Palestinians which created an actual non-Jewish State in the ancient homeland of the Jews.  While the Jewish Lobby, APAC, does not make direct contributions to individual members of Congress, the Christian Right does.

The Settlers and the Christians

The Settler movement also understands the motivations of the Christian Right very well.  Not only do they benefit from the political support of these American Christians, but they also get direct economic support from the many tourists that visit them.  They even provide free labor to help construct them.  By the way, much of the support that the Christians provide to Israel is tax deductible.

Effect on the Two State Solution?

The situation is very complicated between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Settlements are just one of many issues. It is a very important one and the one that draws a lot of negative attention to Israel.  The Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, and Israeli security are others. I am very doubtful that there will ever be a Palestinian state. The Christian Right is not the only force supporting the Settlements, but it is a very important force and one that is generally, poorly understood. 

Now that I have learned about this, I will try to factor this into my future posts on the topic of Israel and Palestine.

Jesus and the Settlements

Frankly, I don’t know much about the teachings of Jesus but I am pretty sure he can not really be blamed for the problems between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians.  That honor belongs to the British. 

9 thoughts on “If you don’t like the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, blame Jesus!

  1. Mike Huckabee has led a number of tours to Israel for the Christian right. He has been doing this for awhile.
    AIPAC still has a lot of influence with Congress.

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  2. You’ve explain this very well. Now I know the real meaning of the term “mashuganas.” The shit people believe.

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  3. Something you wrote has touched on something that has nagged me since I was a little girl, sitting through those tortuous sermons at Catholic Church. I’m Christian now, not Catholic. Jesus was a Jew, so how did a Christian church evolve from him? Secondly, I’m interested in hearing how the British are responsible. I love reading your blog, Avram – always a thought-provoking subject. I hope to meet you one day. Without a doubt, you are a pioneer in the computer industry – just not fully acknowledged as of yet.

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    • I go to Mass more often than I do a Protestant service, and as the commenter knows, there are no Bibles in Catholic churches (nor Episcopalian churches). If they were than maybe she could see the how Christianity grew-up around Judaism, as well as other connections. I have always found Protestant sermons more boring and more secular than the shorter R.C. ones.

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    • *sigh* I have no idea how I get drawn into these…I am supposed to be working now…that is how!

      1. Christianity started at the time of the Roman Empire. It was outlawed because it was at conflict with the Roman religion -Zeus and friends. Judaism was outlawed too – think fall of the second temple and the exodus of the Jews from their holy land. Christianity went underground. Slowly it became more and more accepted until it was eventually the official religion of the Romans. (Huge simplification there). At this time it became formalised and developed into Catholicism. There are a lot of questions from this time period that have yet to be answered – like – why is Christianity so different from Judaism, what concessions had to be made to have the Romans accept Christianity, what was the role of women, what other teachings have been lost, etc.

      2. Most of the middle east was given to the UK to take care of at the end of WW1. Recent history has shown us just how bad a decision this was and just how badly they messed it up. Part of this was the area that is now Israel, Jordan and what is known as Palestine. England split this land into 2 called Trans-Jordan (now Jordan) and what today is roughly Israel and named that Palestine. They then largely ignored Palestine except to try prevent the numbers of Jews and Arabs from increasing. They also realised that they could buy the favours of the two tribes by promising the land to both of them and did just that. They essentially created and fanned much of the tension in the area. Then when the UN stepped in – the UK basically washed their hands of the whole affair and left. Which led to the first war in the area in 1948.

      One other thing that history has largely forgotten is that when the Jews were released from the concentration camps – they had a choice – go back to the country that had killed off their families like vermin or start a new life in a homeland with fellow Jews. Selecting the second option meant that they could end up in a BRITISH concentration camp. Yes, the British took German concentration camp survivors and placed them in their own concentration camps.

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  4. Avram – thank you for continued mentorship. Not only have you given me the closest thing to an MBA I will ever achieve but you are also continually educating me in Geopolitics.

    Keep writing! I am reading!
    Xxxxx

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  5. You write “All religions … are full of fantastical thinking” – unfortunately most are also full of FANATICAL thinking, which is what makes so many religions dangerous (the fantastical aspect just makes them comical).

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  6. Another version of end times theology teaches that the Jews, God’s chosen, are the “earth people” (or maybe “Earth people”). After the great battle, they will inherit the Earth (what’s left of it I guess), because God promised it to them, while the Christians will be in heaven.

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  7. Every country on earth with no exceptions exists on territory once occupied by others. After centuries of exile and abuse, the Jews deserve a place of their own at least as much as anyone else. Who supports this reality is irrelevant to the basic truth. If the Palestinians want the same, they can recognize Israel’s right.

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