(This article is published in Mondoweiss.)
A guerrilla-style documentary video published by news organization AJ+ (which is part of the larger Al Jazeera Media Network) offers viewers a candid glimpse into the topsy-turvy world of American right-wing Christian Zionists (that is to say, Christians who believe God gave the land of historic Palestine to the Jewish people).
Host Dena Takruri visited a conservative summit in Iowa, where Christian Zionists, among other things, exposed their anti-Semitism on video.
The following are the particularly egregious excerpts from Takruri’s interviews:
(Conservative Christian) “[Israel is] our only ally in the Middle East that is not looking to destroy us.”
This is interesting. I wonder what happened to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, and Iraq.
An attendee also openly maintains that Iran plans on bombing the US.
(Takruri) “You think Iran wants to bomb the United States.”
(Conservative Christian) “Absolutely.”
Another conservative claims the Iran nuclear deal—made explicitly to prevent Iran from having anywhere near the nuclear potential to create a nuclear bomb—is “gonna give them the pathway to the bomb.”
The interviewed Christian Zionists also claim that, if they do not support the Israeli government, God will abandon them.
(Christian Zionist) “I’m a Bible-believing Christian and I believe those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who do not will not.”
Significantly more American Christians (55%), and particularly white evangelical Christians (%82), believe God gave the land of historic Palestine to the Jewish people than American Jews themselves (just 40%).
(Christian Zionist) “If we back out of supporting Israel, I—as a strong Christian and believer in God—I think that His support of us will also go away.”
These same Christians, whose Zionism is rooted in Christianity, appear to be blissfully unaware of the existence of Palestinian Christians—one of, if not the oldest Christian population in the world.
(Takruri) “Do you think at all about the Palestinian Christians who also live in the Holy Land who are affected by Israel’s policies in a negative way?”
(Christian Zionist 1) “Um, you know, I don’t know how they’re affected.”
(Christian Zionist 2) “That I don’t know a lot about.”
(Christian Zionist 3) “I don’t know enough about that case.”
The most striking moment in the brief video, however, is when a Christian Zionist admits that his diehard support of Israel is ultimately rooted in a form of eschatological Christian anti-Semitism that sees Jews as future potential Christians. In this fundamentally anti-Semitic view, Christian Zionists believe Jesus will (imminently) return and, upon his Second Coming, Jews will either accept him as their savior or die and burn in Hell for all eternity.
(Christian Zionist) “It says in the bible we need to support Israel.”
(Takruri) “So that’s important to you as a Christian?”
(Christian Zionist) “As a Christian.”
(Takruri) “Even though it’s a Jewish state?”
(Christian Zionist) “Correct. … Because in the end, they will see the light and they will become Christians.”
(Takruri) “The Jews in Israel will become Christians in the end?”
(Christian Zionist) “Yes.”
I have written before about the anti-Semitism that sits at the heart of Christian Zionism.
Evangelical pastor John Hagee, the leader of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the US’ largest pro-Israel organization, with over two million members, adamantly reassured critics that his Christian Zionism is rooted in the idea that Jews who do not accept Jesus will be doomed to suffer in hellfire.
Hagee is a raging anti-Semite and Holocaust revisionist who called Hitler a “half-breed Jew” and who blames anti-Semitism on Jews. He is also a close ally of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, both of whom have spoken glowingly of CUFI at its annual summits.
As I wrote before:
Hagee, who thinks we are the last generation of humans, is no stranger to controversy. In late 2014, he claimed that Ebola (along with the civil rights protests in Ferguson and elsewhere) was God’s way of “punishing” America, because Obama was trying to “divide” Israel.
The pastor has even gone so far as to essentially defend Adolf Hitler. In a 2005 sermon, Hagee asserted that God sent Hitler as a “hunter,” in order to “hunt them [Jews] from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks … to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”
Once again, these are the views of the leader of, in CUFI’s own words, “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world.”
The Washington Post indicates that CUFI “can boast that it has members from every congressional district in America.” Foreign Policy included John Hagee in its list of the 50 Republicans with the most influence on foreign policy. The evangelical Christian Zionist was a much sought-after figure by the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential election. He ended up endorsing John McCain.
While the Israeli government aligns itself with extreme right-wing Christian anti-Semites, progressive organization Jewish Voice for Peace publicly asks “Who will stand up against Hagee’s anti-Semitism?”