I’ve been writing on more controversial subjects for Christians, here and on my dutch blog, but I don’t think this subject has been covered already, so let’s open a new controverse… Being just a belgian blogger without influence it will not make much dust-clouds, but I think the subject is important.
I’ll start with a quote from Samuel Lee’s 95 concerns (btw: very interesting to read all of the concerns of this more ”progressive’ pentecostel pastor who looks with a critical eye at Christianity as it is today) :
58. Concerning Israel, it is important to underscore the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Judaism is a religion, one of love and peace. By contrast, Zionism is a political agenda, a program that is unfortunately supported by our modern day evangelicalism and Pentecostalism.
59. I love Israel. I repeat: I love Israel, but I do not tolerate what Zionism does. Zionism acts in the flesh and not in the Spirit of God. And, Christian Zionism can be as dangerous as Islamic extremism. Zionism should not forget what Fascism and the Nazis did to the Jews during the World War II by the massacre of so many millions of Jews and others. The Jews know the pain and sorrow of the Holocaust. How much greater is their obligation to be loving and caring for others, especially their neighbors! God spoke to Abraham in Genesis (12:1-4), saying, “You will be a blessing to others.”
60. Furthermore, the fundamentalist Christianity that supports Zionism is a modern form of idol worship! We worship neither Israel, nor Zion; neither a temple, nor in a temple. None of these can offer humanity salvation. For we ourselves are the temple of God and His temple was restored on the day Christ Jesus rose from the dead.
I couldn’t say it better… A further observation is that some christians like to call everybody who criticises the state of Israel anti-semites. I for myself do not understand this way of black- and white thinking, in fact I see it as a bit autictic sometimes, but I do recognise that this ideology has its historical roots, and is based upon certain political and eschatological schools of thoughts that are far from mine, but that have been developed by thinking people too. and I know that ‘Christians for Israel’ still has a lot of influence on lots of evangelicals here in the benelux too….
But like I said, the idea of “anti-zionism=anti-semitism” is a bit silly, not even all jews do believe that the ‘new’ state of Israel is valid. For example the Hasidim, a historical minority here in Antwerp, who are still here for some reason, and not in Israel. A lot of Hasidim believe that without a God-annointed Messiah it is wrong to have this Israelian state again. So not even all jews (and you cant’ get more orthodox than the Hassidim) are for the state of Israel as it is now. Extreme anti-zionist jewish groups among the Hasidim for example are the Satmar, Toldos Aharon and Dushinsky. So anti-zionism does even exist among ultra-orthodox jews, which are the last people on earth to ever be accused of anti-semitism…
An interesting discussion on this topic can be found on Jason Cokers pastoralia blog, especially in the comment section, and on the Mike Todd blog it refers to. I’m not going into the discussion about the covenant with Israel for now, but I’l just say that something is totally wrong in the so-called ‘Holy Land’. A lot of wrong things do happen over there, on both sides of the conflict. The state of Israel does a lot of bad things, and the more radical Palestinians also do commit a lot of terrorism and stuff. So none of both sides is ‘right’ and none is ‘wrong’ (like in most conflicts) but the truth is that a lot of people are oppressed in palestine, and that’s injustice.
And we should not forget our brothers and sisters the christian palestines, who get persecution from both the state of Israel and some muslim groups. Indeed, to put a needle in the dispensationalist scheme about godless palestines getting erased for the state of Israel to reappear; not all of those ‘evil palestines’ who stand in the way of Israel are muslim, a minority of them are Christians.
I also remember how a friend of me, a belgian girl; who went to Israel and stayed with the palestines, was shoqued about the way how the palestines were treated. She talks on her blog (in flemish) about a friend she made there, a guy from palestine. He lived only 7 km from Jerusalem, but who hadn’t been there for years since like all of his people he was considered an enemy of the state. When the wall came in 2003, 50% of the men, who worked in Jerusalem lost their jobs since they weren’t able anymore to go there… From one day to the next people lost the freedom to go where they wanetd and they were pushed into their little patch of ground. And they started building their ultramodern villas illegaly on the ground stolen of the palestinians.
I’ll translate the end of her blog post as a whole:
“Imagine that I am a Palestinian and urgently need medical aid, which they cannot offer me here in Palestine. Can I get through the wall? Natalie shakes her head: Your don’t want to now how many people have already died by lack of resources.
It is strange to be here. Strangely to see the wall which ensures that no Palestinian can leave Palestine. Strangely to see how respectable, old Palestinians must undergo all kinds of (humiliating) formalities to the checkpoint… whereas they open a special small door for me, without even looking at my passport or visa. And in one way or another, we Christians have the inclination somewhere to favor the Jews… But don’t you see? I believe that we are called to have a heart for people.”
We are called to have a heart for people, and Jesus had a heart especially for the poor and oppressed. So what about our brothers and sisters in Palestine? should we not love them as well?