Zionism plus Christian Fundamentalism in the USA – a major obstacle to Peace in the Middle East – by Joe McVeigh

One of the great obstacles to peace in the Middle -east is the support for Zionism among right wing fundamentalist Christians in the USA.

In her book, ‘The Last Crusade’, the author, Barbara Victor, shows how the Christian right has grown in the USA to become a great ally of Zionism and an enemy of the Palestinian cause. The Religious Right, Christian and Zionist, are as much a real threat to world peace today as is extreme Islam. This group has much influence in the US where it represents over 20 per cent of voters. It played a big part in putting Bush into power in 2002 and Trump into power in 2017 and still has much influence in the corridors of power on Capitol Hill.

As well as being a religion of sorts Christian Fundamentalism in the US has a very clear political agenda not just for the United States but with regard to the Middle East. These people are opposed to the Palestinians and are intent in preventing this people prospering or having a say in government. They are very wealthy and in positions of power and influence in the USA. They strongly support Netanyahu and the Israeli army.

I believe the Palestinian people have a just cause but they will have to stay united. In order to begin a Peace process like the one in Ireland Hamas will need to call a ceasefire and renounce the use of violence for political ends as part of a new peace process..

To support the rights of Palestinians is to risk being called anti-Semitic by the Zionists. These people are active on social media as I discovered some years ago after speaking in London in support of the Palestinians. To support Palestine is not to be anti-Semitic nor is it to support the tactics of Hamas. It is to show compassion for a people who have suffered for generations from Israeli attacks. It is to be realistic about the only way of bringing peace to the middle –east. Those who want to bring about peace and an end to militarism must engage in dialogue and must receive the help and support of the nations of the world. The statement of the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, is to be welcomed. The response of the Israeli ambassador shows just how arrogant the Israelis are and how self-righteous. They seem to think that because they have US support they can do what they like. They will have to accept that they have wronged the Palestinians for along long time. The nations must first of all acknowledge the history of Israeli repression. The nations must also respect the right of Palestine to be involved in any government in the middle east. The Zionists and Right wing Christians in the USA are opposed to such a solution. Not all Jewish people or Jewish religious leader support the apartheid policies of the Israeli government of Netanyahu

When I took part in a pro-Palestinian conference alongside some Jewish rabbis in London in 2005, I became aware that for the Palestinian people there is a problem with a particular form of Christian Biblical theology that has presented the Exodus story as a paradigm for liberation struggles. The narrow presentation of the Exodus as the Israelites being ‘God’s chosen people’ achieving their freedom in ‘a land of milk and honey’ raises very serious questions for all oppressed and dispossessed peoples and in particular for the Palestinian people who since 1948 have been dispossessed of their land. Zionists and Christian fundamentalists take the Exodus story literally and regard the Jews as ‘the Chosen people’.

A more progressive interpretation of the Exodus story, in the context of liberation theology, is that it is the oppressed and the poor who are ‘God’s chosen people’- always and everywhere. The oppressed Palestinians are also God’s chosen people. In the Bible, God is on the side of the Oppressed and the Poor -not the Jews.

This is a quote which is worth pondering : ‘The Cherokee word for land also means history, culture and religion. We have no history, no culture if we have no land for them to come from. We cannot think of ourselves as existing without existing directly in the land. Land for us is not just property or even a place to build a house or plant crops. It is something truly sacred in the profound sense, and it is a part of ourselves.” (Jimmie Durham, IFDA Dossier 6 April 1979, quoted in Food, Poverty and Power, 1982)

The Palestinian people are an ancient people and they have a right and a strong desire to live in their own country and to live in dignity and peace. On a visit there many years ago, it was obvious to me that the Jewish settlers in the newly established state of Israel were in control of the whole region. Israeli soldiers were everywhere. The Arab/Palestinian people were confined to a narrow piece of land called Gaza(the size of county Louth) and the West Bank of the river Jordan which included East Jerusalem. There was an uneasy peace. This political arrangement, supported by the US, was to facilitate the Israelis. That could never be a lasting solution. In recent years the Israeli government has been confiscating property on the West Bank and making life difficult for the Palestinians in Gaza with check-points and tight security. At present we are seeing the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people with severe loss of life and destruction of property. These attacks on civilians must stop. The Dublin government must become pro-active in bringing about an end to the humiliation of the Palestinian people.

If there is going to be peace the Israelis are going to have to negotiate with the Palestinian people and their representatives, whoever the people have chosen to represent them. They will have to come to some new and imaginative political arrangement where they agree to share power and share the land. The question is when will they do it for the sake of the children and for the sake of peace and justice. In order to avoid further bloodshed and loss of life it should be sooner rather than later. The world powers must now put pressure on the Israelis to negotiate a just settlement rather than encouraging them to intensify the war against the Palestinian people in the name of self-defence.

One Response to Zionism plus Christian Fundamentalism in the USA – a major obstacle to Peace in the Middle East – by Joe McVeigh

  1. Joe Martin October 26, 2023 at 4:57 pm #

    Unfortunately the Zionists are out of control, their recent actions show it. They use the bible to justify their inhumane and cowardly actions. They don’t view the Palestinians as equals, so there will not be peace talks with this present Govt, and many many jews are totally opposed to zionism and even more are opposed to this Govt. Many of the Israelis killed on Oct7th were killed by IDF bullets. This is their final push to finish of the Palestinians, the US etc know this hence their warships in the area. The only solution is one state, Jew, christian and muslin living side by side. This will happen but unfortunately Israel will have to be humbled. It’s going to be nasty, but if we feel for the Palestinians -as many jews do- we will have to accept what comes, as they have lived under the most inhumane conditions for too long, oil prices will go up etc but the West won’t be in control any more, the present world order will change. Check out the interviews with Israeli soldiers -when in their 70’s and 80’s and living with guilt at what they did in the late 40’s to poor the Palestinian people. The bullied became the bully. The US supported them as they wanted to have an ally in the Middle East, but its come at a high price.