Christian Zionists are wrong; this is not a religious conflict

Israel/Palestine
on 105 Comments

I would like to thank all the people who took the time to reply to the article I posted yesterday, “A concoction of distortions, half-truths and emotionally-potent oversimplifications of scripture is Christian Zionism.” I would like to clear up some points that I probably did not make clear in the initial article.

My statement that Orthodox Jews do not believe that the exile is over refers to Orthodox Jews that are believers in the Torah. It seems that term “Orthodox Jew” can also be used for Jewish people who observe the lifestyle of Orthodoxy while not being believers, i.e. agnostics or even atheists. My usage of the term did not include these and so my comments were not very clear on this point. For this I apologise. As far as all my own research has gone, plus conversations with every Orthodox religious Jew that I could find, religious Orthodox Jews do not believe that the exile is over. As for the religious Jews in the settlements in the West Bank, I guess I did not really consider them as Orthodox. I think that they represent a minority of religious Jews and so my statement would be better put as “the vast majority of religious Orthodox, believing Jews do not believe the exile is over.” I think this statement is far more accurate.

It is not my intent to delegitimize the conversion experience of anyone. My comment about the coming and going of spiritual fads in the church in no way devalues anyone’s conversion experience. I have been involved in some of these fads myself and my involvement in them in no way affects the validity of my conversion experience and anyone else’s involvement in these fads does not invalidate their experience either. A valid conversion experience in no way guarantees that a believer will not take on views that stray or even contradict the ideas and values that the believer started with. What even constitutes a valid conversion experience is not obvious either. I do not agree that my statements about fads in the church imply that I invalidate the religious experiences of anyone in the Christian church or anyone of any faith regardless of the existence of these fads or who has been involved in them.

As far as the Oaths of the Talmud are concerned, I think that while they hold very little significance for many Jews today, they did have far greater importance for Jewish people in the past. The habit of dismissing anti-Zionist religious Jews as nuts and fanatics is unfair. I think that the rejection of Zionism by the vast majority of believing religious Orthodox Jews in the latter part of the 19th century went far deeper than the simple fact that the Zionists were secular. I think Professor Rabkin’s book clears this point up quite well.

Regarding the point I made about the Old Testament’s teaching about the conditionality of the Jewish people’s occupation of Canaan, I stand by what I said. I think this teaching is abundantly clear. If a person considers the Old Testament to be a flawed book of human origin, well that is his/her right, but that does not change what I feel is a fairly plain teaching of the Bible. If the Jewish people do not accept that particular interpretation of the Bible or choose to ignore the Torah completely then their decision to do so must be respected. The point of my article was to show that the Christian Zionist teaching that Christians must unconditionally support the State of Israel does not hold water Biblically even given the sort of presuppositions that they themselves hold to about the scriptures. I do not believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a religious one at all. The Christian Zionist doctrine that attempts to legitimise the Zionist state of Israel on religious grounds is completely unjustified and in the end is extremely unhelpful.

The Christian Zionist movement has, in my opinion, only fanned the flames of this conflict. My understanding of Christian Zionist teaching comes from not only reading mountains of their literature, but by being lectured by them for hour upon hour as to why I should be supporting the state of Israel unconditionally rather than being concerned with Palestinian calls for justice and human rights in the land of their birth.

I do not believe that the survival of the Jewish people is dependent upon the existence of the Zionist state of Israel. If it did, then I would be compelled to support the Israeli state like the many Jewish people who do indeed think that the Jewish people will perish if Israel does not exist in the form it does today. The Jewish people (thankfully) survived the Holocaust, without the Zionist state. I believe that they will endure as a people come what may, as they have done for thousands of years. Many times it has occurred to me that the Zionist state of Israel has not created a better world for the Jewish people, despite its lofty aims. 

In the end I believe that the ethical traditions of Judaism are an inspiration to all who seek justice and equality in our world. That reality is a far greater reason to celebrate than the existence of the Zionist state of Israel.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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105 Responses

  1. RoHa
    April 26, 2011, 10:52 pm

    “If it did, then I would be compelled to support the Israeli state like the many Jewish people who do indeed think that the Jewish people will perish if Israel does not exist in the form it does today.”

    This is confusing. If you are a Christian, surely you would want all Jews (and everyone else) to become Christians. If they did, then the Jewish people would cease to “endure as a people”.

    But even if you do not want all Jews to become Christians, why is it important to you that Jews continue to “endure as a people”?

    • maggielorraine
      April 27, 2011, 2:03 am

      I’m interested in the answer to RoHa’s question as well. Do you mean the survival of individual Jews qua people? Or the “Jewish people” as a “people” not “persons”?

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 10:48 am

        The concept of Jews as individuals rather than a cog in a tribe. You mean the difference between, say, Phil Weiss and Richard Witty? Or better yet, Mooser and Richard Witty, the purer form of the conflict. How about as between Avi and Weiss? Avi and Shmuel? Gee, is this related some how to where those orthodox jews got their funny uniforms?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 1:03 pm

        “The concept of Jews as individuals rather than a cog in a tribe.”

        Why, Citizen, you just helped me think of a humorous ceramic plaque that was my Aunt Edith’s kitchen: “Kissin’ wears out, cookin’ don’t” with the appropriate Pennsylvania Dutch burgher figures. Maybe I’ll update it: “Conversion wears out, circumcision don’t”

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2011, 10:00 am

        Gee, Mooser, that’s downright bald of you, or bold? Anyway, while I do heart my natural foreskin to death do us part, that doesn’t mean if it magically disappeared I’d rush right out and get a new one stitched on. The tons of erotic nerve cells is nice though. I use to have lots of hair, but now…. But I wouldn’t ever do a comb-over or get a toupee. Anyway God works in wonderous ways, lose hair there, suddenly its growing over there. Yikes!

    • RoHa
      April 27, 2011, 8:51 pm

      Still waiting for an answer, Craig.

      Taking up maggielorraine’s clarification, I don’t need you to tell me why you are not happy about individual Jews dying (though they all will, eventually) but rather why you are concerned that the survival of the Jewish people as “a people” is important?

    • craign
      April 29, 2011, 10:38 pm

      Thanks Roha. Your comment made me realize that I have probably, and understandably, upset some people by making generalizations about Judaism when in fact I am not Jewish. I thought I had checked my facts but I will have to recheck them. I too get a bit flustered when non-Christians make generalizations about Christianity that I don not agree with. Its important to me that Jewish people survive either individually or a s a people because it is important to them for a start. I do not believe the Jewish people are an accident of history or biology. My theology doesn’t drive me to want everyone to be a Christian. A world full of Christians would be a nightmare! Instead of 50 million Christian Zionists we might have 500 million! I’m not an advocate of turn or burn theology. Being a Christian for me is not about making sure you are in the right club so as to avoid God setting you on fire and feeding you to spiders for all eternity. How would you answer the question, “Why is it important to you that Jews endure as a people?” I

      • annie
        April 30, 2011, 12:02 am

        Its important to me that Jewish people survive either individually or a s a people because it is important to them for a start……“Why is it important to you that Jews endure as a people?”

        i like a lot of them, most all of the ones i know actually. i’d even venture to step out on a limb here and say it is important to me they survive.

        ;)

        are we really having this discussion????

      • RoHa
        April 30, 2011, 12:08 am

        “Its important to me that Jewish people survive either individually or as a people because it is important to them for a start.”

        Don’t you consider the possibility that they are being silly in regarding it as important?

        ‘How would you answer the question, “Why is it important to you that Jews endure as a people?” ‘

        I do not care about the survival of “peoples”. I think that the tribalism, group identification, separatism, etc., that this notion of “people” contains is bad for the individual members of the “people” and bad for everyone else as well. It stunts and warps the individual, and obstucts co-operation based on common humanity.

      • annie
        April 30, 2011, 12:30 am

        you’ve got a point wrt the ‘as a people’ part. the whole peoplehood=nationhood i find disconcerting also. i don’t consider christians ‘a people’ in that sense.

  2. eee
    April 26, 2011, 11:09 pm

    When you refer to “Orthodox Jews that are believers in the Torah” you show that your understanding of Judaism is close to zero. Jews do not believe in the Torah but in the combination of the written texts and oral traditions that interpret them. One of the written texts is the Torah but understanding it on its own or literally is a big no no in Rabbinic Judaism (99.9% of Jews) and makes you part of the Karaim. link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 11:11 am

      eee, is there an analogy between the evangelical/fundi Christians who just study and refer to the bible, and the various more historically establishment Christians sects, e.g., the Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, etc who rely on their church’s formal/official explanations of the bible text? Studying the Catholic catechism as a youngster is quite different than, e.g., young Truman reading the bible on his own, over and over. Perhaps my question is, is Rabbinic Judaism (most Jews you say) similar to the mode of perspective obtained by following, e.g., the interpretation of Christianity as authorized by the papacy and its minions? I mean, anyone can read either the old testament and the new testament on their own, hopefully (very hopefully) aware what they read is, a particular translation of those documents. And some bibles come with accompanying explanations by some “authority.” I imagine it’s the same with the Koran? What is your point? There’s an analogy within Judiasm to the difference between the King James version of the bible and the Scoville version?

      • eee
        April 27, 2011, 11:59 am

        Citizen,

        My point is that you understand very little about Judaism as your comment shows. Go read one page of the Talmud and then read how halacha is agreed upon and then let’s discuss. Until you get this rudimentary understanding this whole discussion is useless.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 1:06 pm

        Citizen, I can translate “eee”:

        ‘I won’t be happy until you blame all Jews for what Israel does, and are convinced it is necessitated by Jewish law and tradition, which will hopefully lead to you despising Jews’.

        I’m not sure of the exact words, but I think I’ve got the gist of it pretty accurately.

      • craign
        April 29, 2011, 10:43 pm

        eee,
        I’m sorry that my comments were way too general. I am a bit confused on this point as well at the moment. I went back and spoke to all my very religious Orthodox Jewish friends (Rabbis included) and they said that I had pretty much got it right about beliefs about the exile not being over. Can you tell me how it is then that the exile is declared over? Is it simply inferred by the existence of the state of Israel. how does it work? How do you define the term “Orthodox Judaism”?

      • Keith
        April 27, 2011, 7:36 pm

        CITIZEN- Reluctant as I am to get into a theological discussion, I think the following quotes from “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” by Israel Shahak may provide some clarification.

        “There is yet another misconception about Judaism which is particularly common among Christians, or people heavily influenced by Christian tradition and culture. This is the misleading idea that Judaism is a ‘biblical religion’; that the Old Testament has in Judaism the same central place and legal authority which the bible has for Protestant or even Catholic Christianity.”

        “It should therefore be clearly understood that the source of authority for all of the practices of classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism, the determining base of its legal structure, is the Talmud, or, to be precise, the so-called Babylonian Talmud; while the rest of the Talmudic literature (including the so-called Jerusalem or Palestinian Talmud) acts as supplementary authority.”

        In other words, for Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God’s holy word which requires Rabbinical interpretation. This Rabbinical interpretation is contained in the Talmud, and represents the accepted meaning of the Torah, which, by itself, is beyond the comprehension of the lay person. As for Reformed Jews, I don’t know. I am under the impression that Reform Judaism does not exist in Israel, where Shahak lived as a secular Jew.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2011, 10:10 am

        So is there an analogy between the Talmud and Sharia Law, which I understand is a vast collection of Muslim scribes’ interpretation of the Koran? And, like the Talmud, aspects of Sharia Law are often taken out of context by those who discredit it?

  3. Avi
    April 27, 2011, 12:14 am

    As for the religious Jews in the settlements in the West Bank, I guess I did not really consider them as Orthodox. I think that they represent a minority of religious Jews.

    I think know you are wrong in that regard.

    • clenchner
      April 27, 2011, 7:38 am

      Craig, dude, Avi is correct. You should stick to interpreting Christian stuff.
      and
      While it would be wrong to make the conflict entirely about faith, it also feels wrong to exclude faith as one of the key dimensions, alongside ethnicity and land.

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 11:17 am

        Mmmm, we all know the saying effectively that when there’s two Jews there’s a debate. Is this also true of Christians? Certainly the first is a popular saying, while the latter is not. What does this suggest? Now, how to apply this insight to American Jews and the Israel First policy of the US government? And, what does this mean when Jews comprise at most 2% of the USA population in a key democractic country?

      • eee
        April 27, 2011, 12:05 pm

        Citizen,

        It is a known fact that Christians always agree with each other while Jews are prone to debate. That is why most wars in Europe were fought by Jews while the Christians stood peacefully by since they were in agreement with each other.

      • eee
        April 27, 2011, 12:23 pm

        Annie,

        I am surprised you didn’t ask for the source of my other assertion that most wars in Europe were fought by Jews.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 12:36 pm

        “Is this also true of Christians?”

        Okay, I’m gonna stick my neck out here, but I believe most Christian denominations have “doctrine” which is ratified and codified, and the Jewish religion does not, in the same sense. (Which is, of course, not to say that there are not lots of good, ethical Jews, judged from any reasonable standard)
        I don’t think there is anything (beyond the S’hma, a declaration of monotheism, of course), which serves as a Jewish catechism or creed, a common set of beliefs and values, usually codified and inculcated in the young by religious training.
        I’m not much on doctrine myself, but it at least gives non-believers the advantage of knowing precisely what they don’t believe in.

        Now “eee” is going to tell us that Israeli policy with a Torah excuse is Jewish doctrine, but I don’t think that is so.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 2:00 pm

        My point about this is, as it has always been, that the consequence of Judaism not having a codified doctrine or creed, or a central religious authourity is this, and never, ever forget it:

        Anyone who has the money or the megaphone can make themselves the King of The Jews (so to speak) and the only way the world (and many, many Jews,)would question it is if there was an outpouring of Jews saying “no”, which is precisely the thing that Judaism isn’t organised to do.
        Of course, the antidote to that can be even more distasteful than the present situation.

        Of course Judaism is centered around Zionism! The Zionists are always telling us that, and who says they are wrong? And so money and political power become religious authourity.

      • eee
        April 27, 2011, 3:46 pm

        Mooser,

        A couple of questions to you: Is lighting a fire on the Sabbath allowed according to Judaism?

        What do you think of the Shulchan Aruch?

      • annie
        April 27, 2011, 7:04 pm

        Annie, I am surprised you didn’t ask for the source of my other assertion that most wars in Europe were fought by Jews.

        i’m too fast for my own good eee, i had responded to that sentence without reading the rest of your comment. only after it published did i read the rest and realize you were snarking, in enough time to erase my text.
        ;)

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 7:59 pm

        “Is lighting a fire on the Sabbath allowed according to Judaism?”

        If the fire was built to get your frozen brain working, I’m sure no Rabbi would object.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2011, 10:22 am

        RE: “… if there was an outpouring of Jews saying “no”, which is precisely the thing that Judaism isn’t organised to do.”

        Doesn’t this depend on what Judaism is organized to say “yes” to?
        What might that be?

    • craign
      April 29, 2011, 10:50 pm

      Avi,

      It’s pretty hard to not end up generalizing in an article only 1,000 words long that really was about Christian Zionism (not Judaism) after all. My book is a lot more specific. I can send you a free copy if you like. Do you believe that the religious Jews in the settlements represent the majority of religious Jews? That is interesting. It is generally thought in my country (Australia) that the settlers are way too extreme for most Jewish people, religious or not. Is that a misconception? It seems that my Jewish sources over here must be out of touch.

  4. American
    April 27, 2011, 1:40 am

    Well I learned one thing today reading Herzl’s two writings on zionism and creation of a Jewish state.
    Herzl’s ideas about zionism were actually much more mild than todays zionism ……today’s zionist compared to Herzl’s zionism is like zionism x 10 and on steriods and meth.

    So who put religion into zionism? Herzl didn’t, his vision was totally secular. I’d say the 20th century zionist added the religious to draw in as many Jews as they could and with the holocaust happening it was a good drawing card…and the christian zionist added it because it makes a lot of doomsday money from the simple minded for Hagee and Roberson and other false prophet TV God merchants.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 11:28 am

      American, I don’t see the state of Israel ever getting the OK from the most powerful world nations at the time without the Shoah. The legal test in Anglo-American civil tort law is “but for” as to causation. The merging of criminal and civil western gentile law could not have happened without the notion of guilt, and without the merging by the goyim also of law and equity, a traditional Anglo-American no-no. I find this funny because Jewish comedians always claim the Jews hold a monopoly on guilt. All of these inconsistencies were deposited in Harry Truman when he made his decision to be Cyrus2, and also coincidentally cement the key swing press narrative and donor cash to obtain his election. In the end, Truman was still selling hats with his business partner. And now Uncle Sam is stuck with Truman’s favorite hat, no matter the never -ending price on the installment plan.

      • American
        April 28, 2011, 11:49 am

        I think the guilt thing, if we are talking about Western guilt over the Jewish holocaust, was manufactured by the zionist, not the result of any religious influence on Christians. I’d say people in the west or US felt sympathy for the Jews and wanted to help them but didn’t see themselves or the US or Britain as ‘responsible” for what the nazis did.
        But the pro Israel forces, in the US in particular, always talk about how we ‘let it happen” and usually get away with that statement because the average person isn’t a WWII strategy buff and has no idea of what the US and allies limitations were at the time Germany had it’s camps. If most Americans studied Eisenhower’s writings and other commanders they would be shocked to know how often the US thought it might actually lose the war. If it hadn’t been for the Russians we might have.
        When the subject of the Jewish holocaust comes up people seem to forget that a World War was going on…other civilians were also being bombed and killed and the fate of billions of people not just the Jews was at stake and that resources and strategy had to be directed to where they would be most effective for the most people and in ultimately defeating Hitler.
        I heard Debbie Wasserman say the other day that the ” US had moral obligation to the Jews and Israel”…the fact is we don’t. But a ‘combination’ of American sympathy for the Jews and Jewish politics in the US set the stage for the idea of US ‘guilt” over the Jews.
        In reality there was nothing the US or any ally could have done about the concentration camps before Russia broke into Germany for the allies.
        Sometimes you see the Jewish groups saying the US should have bombed the railroad tracks so trains couldn’t transport the Jews to camps and other such nonsense….which is totally ridiculous. Even if the US could have gotten planes over Germany then and bombed the tracks, which they couldn’t, all the Nazis would have done is execute Jews where ever they found them. They would have lost some camp slave labor by killing all Jews on sight but then there wouldn’t have been any Jews to survive the camps. Maybe some Jews would say they would have rather been shot down in the street than to have been a survivor but I doubt many survivors would feel that way.

      • American
        April 28, 2011, 1:51 pm

        BTW…..I don’t think the creation of a Jewish state would have caught on or come about either without the holocuast. But coming on the heels of Herzl’s work you could say it created a perfect storm for a Jewish state.
        Herzl didn’t even insist on a jewish homeland being in Palestine..he said they would ‘take whatever (where ever) they were given”. So any religious or people connection to Palestine wasn’t his main thrust.
        He was plain convinced that Jews and others could not live together because there would always be conflict and resentment between Jews and others regardless.
        His thought on that I see as valid..as in his saying Jews behavior was a reaction to others dislike of them. That is true for any group or any people….you piss on someone, they piss on you, and on and on it goes…. they don’t like us, we don’t like them…human nature…chicken and egg again
        What Jews and zionist need today is a Herzl who will add that gentile behavior toward Jews is “also” a reaction to the Jews treatment and dislike of others.
        I haven’t seen any hard core zionist or many Jews (in these type discussions) willing to admit that Jews or zionist bear any responsibility for the mutual dislike or what they call anti semitism over the years.

        Now I await Lightbringer accusing me of saying the Jews brought the holocuast on themselves. That is the usual irrational response I get for talking about mutual responsibility of jews and gentiles in anti semitism.

    • clenchner
      April 27, 2011, 11:31 am

      @American
      Yes. Herzl puts into context how/why so many view Zionism sympathetically.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 8:11 pm

        Herzl did indeed try harder, but don’t we need to mention Jabotinsky?

      • clenchner
        April 27, 2011, 8:53 pm

        Jabotinsky is a later and more minor figure. Not really the same class. If you add him, then we need Ahad Ha’am too….

      • American
        April 28, 2011, 12:13 pm

        I don’t know that I felt sympathic…unless I could say I felt some sympathy for his feelings of being aleinated , but also being misguided.
        But then when I think about it all…it may have been he wasn’t misguided about “some Jews”….he didn’t actually call on “all” Jews to “join in” creating a homeland. He wanted only dedicated Jews who felt alienated, not Jews who were or thought they were fully assimilated in their current countries.
        He made some interesting statements like….”anti-Semitism is an understandable reaction to Jewish defects”.
        And that…”every nation in whose midst Jews live is, either covertly or
        openly, anti-Semitic and its immediate cause is our excessive production of mediocre intellects, who cannot find an outlet downwards or upwards. When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat. When we rise, there also rises our terrible power of the purse.”
        And also added that ….. “The Jews are carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.”

        BUT….then he says these ‘defects of the Jews’ (their behavior) that causes them to be hated, were caused by being discriminated against……that what they are dislike for was caused by their reaction to those who dislike them.

        Everything I have ever seen, read, observed, studied or researched about the Jewish vr others thing from the beginning to today probably belongs in the chicken and egg debate…which came first…the Jew hating chicken or the Gentile hating egg?….and probably has as much chance of being proven one way or another as the chicken and egg debate.

  5. GuiltyFeat
    April 27, 2011, 3:39 am

    Isn’t Christian Zionism all about some End Times prophecy? According to them the Jews have to be in control of Israel so that Armageddon can happen (without Bruce Willis, this time), the Jews can be wiped out, something something abut Handel’s Messiah and all true believers can get caught up in the Rapture with Anita Baker.

    I will admit at this point that I am not entirely au fait with Christian theology, but I believe I have about as much of a grasp of things as this post does about Orthodox Judaism and its relationship to Israel.

    • RoHa
      April 27, 2011, 6:08 am

      GR, this might help a bit.

      link to electricsheepcomix.com

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 8:16 am

        RoHa – The slaughtered sheep was particularly well done. Where do people get the energy?

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 27, 2011, 11:03 am

      “Isn’t Christian Zionism all about some End Times prophecy? ”

      Not completely, no.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 11:53 am

      You might be right, GF, when you say Christian Zionism is all about some End Times prophecy. So, what is Judiasm all about besides present and future earth times prophecy? A key schism seems to be the Christians believe in a future in “heaven,” while Judiasm at most refers to “the life to come,” without any details about whether they are talking about a life on earth or in some unearthly place. I’d say this schism is one of those that separate professed Christians generally, and Jews generally, don’t you? To be ironic, and at the same time lineal in logic, what do Jews who live in the area mean mean when they pray in Jerusalem to be “next year in Jerusalem?” That Jews will always control Jerusalem, despite its value to Christians and Muslims, for example, without even considering the Palestinian natives or the value of non-Christian faiths? And that, hence, “Jerusalem” is the Zionist symbol of the dream that Jews will always control the font and reality of earthly power? Just asking.

      • DBG
        April 27, 2011, 12:19 pm

        Again Citizen, please don’t talk like you know anything about Judaism.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 3:07 pm

        “Again Citizen, please don’t talk like you know anything about Judaism.”

        Yeah, Citizen, keep it up and Pope DBG will issue a Papal Bull excommunicating you.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 3:12 pm

        (Sorry Citizen, but I gotta, so please excuse me, and it is by no means intended as an insult, rather the oppisite.)

        “Again Citizen, please don’t talk like you know anything about Judaism.”

        Citizen, I’ll wager, knows a hell of a lot about Judaism! After all, he married a Jewish girl. I couldn’t even get one to look at me.

      • annie
        April 27, 2011, 7:23 pm

        dbg, generally when people end sentences w/ (?) it means they are making inquires. you might try answering some of the questions if you know something about the topic. some of us might be interested in learning.

        guiltyF, Isn’t Christian Zionism all about some End Times prophecy?

        i think the end of times prophecy is in the domain of evangelicals who for the most part make up the christian zionists but possibly not exclusively so. iow there may be other christians who are zionists and not evangelicals.

        tho i am certainly not an expert (in the least!) it is my understanding the jews are afforded to opportunity of accepting christ at or before the rapture (or does the rapture come before he arrives?) i’m not sure but i think they have an opportunity to not go up in crispy flames w/the rest of us non believers.

        i think there are a limited amount of slots up there tho. i don’t think all the people who believe in christ will make it. does anyone know the answer wrt how many get into permanent afterlife? or whatever it is. eternity w/christ or something.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 8:02 pm

        144,000 if memory serves. There was a lottery, and I got 144,532. If enough people cancel, I’m in!

      • annie
        April 27, 2011, 8:27 pm

        thank you. i recalled it was in the 6 digits.

        ;)

      • RoHa
        April 27, 2011, 8:34 pm

        That’s it, Mooser. Only 144,000 get in.

        Doesn’t seem a lot of point in all those missions trying to convert everyone else.

      • RoHa
        April 27, 2011, 11:41 pm

        “There was a lottery, and I got 144,532. If enough people cancel, I’m in!”

        Did you read the small print? You have to be
        (a) male,
        and
        (b) a virgin. (Rev 14:4)

        Let’s hope that lady in Baltimore doesn’t remember.

      • annie
        April 28, 2011, 1:37 am

        male virgins? who’s gonna make the new babies? who are those male virgins gonna pluck? i’m considering the one male w/ 72 virgin scenario might offer better prospects for the species..except they are already in heaven.

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2011, 1:47 am

        What babies?
        This is eternity in the company of God we are talking about, not suburbia. And if you are going to spend eternity in the company of God, you better not have defiled yourself by contact with women. Can’t run the risk of the Almighty getting girl germs*.

        (*Also known as “cooties” in the less enlightened parts of the world.)

      • annie
        April 28, 2011, 2:21 am

        cooties? we’re obviously of the same generation RoHa.

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2011, 2:29 am

        Generations?

        Girl germs are continuous problem in Australian schools. Every generation has to face them.

        (And it was Bart Simpson who taught me the alternate name “cooties”, so they must still be around in Springfield as well.)

      • annie
        April 28, 2011, 2:39 am

        bart? perhaps bart and i are the same generation. this is all very pre aids days. you can get cooties just sitting to near a creep. some guys w/pimples have cooties, some don’t.
        edit: never mind this is all very pre beatles. certainly pre norwegian wood. iow i’ve evolved.

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2011, 2:44 am

        Males have cooties? Never heard of that.

        You get girl germs from girls (sitting next to one will do it) but you can wipe them off onto a friend. Unless your friend says “no trade-backs” first, of course.

  6. MRW
    April 27, 2011, 3:55 am

    RoHa,

    This absolutely does not follow: “If you are a Christian, surely you would want all Jews (and everyone else) to become Christians.”

    You’re saying Christians = Proselytizing 101 Mit 100% Degree of Success.

    I’m not a Christian, but when I’m around the real deal (Christian, that is) they’re not trying to convert me. We might me united in values, but certainly not ‘party affiliation’ if you know what I mean.

    • RoHa
      April 27, 2011, 6:03 am

      No. I’m not saying that he wants to go out and be a pain in the neck converting everyone, but as far as I understand Christian theology, the Christian ideal would be for everyone to be Christians, since that way everyone’s soul gets saved.

      • edwin
        April 27, 2011, 8:07 am

        as far as I understand Christian theology, the Christian ideal would be for everyone to be Christians, since that way everyone’s soul gets saved.

        Christianity has been called a thousand different religions all based on the same book. Over time, right though modern times, Christianity has continued its diversification.

        Even going back as far as 17th Century England this monolithic view of Christianity is wrong. Look up the Universalists for example.

        Within modern times there are Christian groups that explicitly oppose proselytization. There are trends within Christianity that are non-creadal and/or universal. The Unitarians would be the best example of this trend, though by no means the only one.

        In the modern world it is difficult to come up with anything – including belief in god that is common to all Christians. eg: link to en.wikipedia.org

        You don’t hear about it because you only hear about those Christians who are in your face and in your doorway.

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 12:14 pm

        Anyway you look at it, most Christians believe if you don’t have your principle faith in Jesus as the son of God who died for our sins so humans could attain a good life in “heaven,” you are doomed in the afterlife. Roha has the scoop. Just ask any Christians that you know.
        And name me one who says there is no “heaven.” That’s why they are so easily manipulated. The Nazis didn’t believe in an afterlife. Nor did the Communists. Neither do lots of Jews; they will gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today. Wimpy. He’s the Hebrew Man.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 12:42 pm

        “the Christian ideal would be for everyone to be Christians, since that way everyone’s soul gets saved.”

        Yes, but what does that do for the poor Christian with enough historical awareness or intuitiont know that 100% conversion as a goal equals conversion by the sword and religious repression with no lessening of religious strife? Leaves him a sticky spot, no?

      • RoHa
        April 27, 2011, 8:38 pm

        “100% conversion as a goal equals conversion by the sword and religious repression”

        Gotta do it to save souls. Which is worse? Eternity in Hell, or an unexpected visit from the Spanish Inquisition?

    • craign
      April 29, 2011, 10:56 pm

      Thanks MRW,

      Not all Christians see their number 1 mandate is to convert or even want it to be. Celebrating difference rather than demonizing or being frightened of it seems very “Christan” to me even though huge numbers of Christians disagree on this point.

  7. Lightbringer
    April 27, 2011, 4:17 am

    “It seems that term “Orthodox Jew” can also be used for Jewish people who observe the lifestyle of Orthodoxy while not being believers, i.e. agnostics or even atheists.”

    *facepalm*

    Craig. Please.

    • Elliot
      April 27, 2011, 8:26 am

      Lightbringer – I believe Craig got that from my comment. My Ortho non-believer acquaintances call themselves “Orthoprax”. They are all American – perhaps that’s why you are not familiar with the type.

      But consider, Orthodoxy is very much about community. It doesn’t matter how much you do or believe. As long as you identify with the community and don’t do anything too egregious, you’re in. Naturally, there’s going to be a wide range of observance and belief.
      It’s brilliant. This gets you a far more stable community than insisting that Ortho Jew be a true believer.

      • Lightbringer
        April 27, 2011, 10:13 am

        “As long as you identify with the community and don’t do anything too egregious, you’re in.”
        Yep, that how it works.

        These are perfect example of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, btw.

      • Chaos4700
        April 27, 2011, 11:53 am

        Yeah, that doesn’t sound creepy and cultlike at all.

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 12:41 pm

        No different from any other non-creepy non-cultish community. You don’t have to be a fervent believer to be a member. Of course there are hidden assumptions (that may be damaging to self or others) but if you don’t care to think those through and you agree not to rock the boat, you’re welcome.
        How and in what way is that a cult?

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

        See my comment on Wimpy, the ultimate guy in this discussion.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

        Oh like I said, what an attractive picture you paint. For God’s sake, Elliot, I had lots of Orthodox relatives growing up. You would have to be one hell of a hypocrite, or one hell of a troubled, or coerced person, to engage in all the restrictions and repressions of Orthodoxy without a belief. So what’s the pay-off for that kind of hypocrisy, Elliot?

        “As long as you identify with the community” Do they give you a “stop snitching” T-shirt?

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 2:20 pm

        I have very Orthodox family too. They have varying degrees of commitment and belief. Among the younger generation, 20 somethings, Orthodoxy is far more a lifestyle than a system of beliefs.
        As with any closed community, those who stay in the fold despite personal disagreements with the belief system do so for any number of reasons. Such as:
        1) maintaining relationships with parents
        2) keeping marriage intact
        3) general inertia. Why deal with the pain of change.
        4) it’s what they know
        And more positive reasons:
        1) they like the community
        2) they like the rituals
        These people don’t come across to me as any more hypocritical, troubled or coerced than your average Joe.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 8:05 pm

        “These people don’t come across to me as any more hypocritical, troubled or coerced than your average Joe.”

        You have my sincere sympathy. Which way do you like it, quiet desperation, or nasty brutish and short?

  8. Donald
    April 27, 2011, 7:06 am

    Craig, it sounds like you should stick to commenting on the Christian side of the issue (where I think you’re right) and avoid saying much about the beliefs of religious Jews, where it appears you are apt to go wrong (not that I’m an expert either).

    • craign
      April 29, 2011, 11:05 pm

      Thanks Donald,

      You might be right. Especially on this site! In my defense, its hard to not generalize in a short article that was not really about Judaism, and a few people here made some pretty general and inaccurate comments about Christianity as well. It seems there is quite a divergence amongst Jewish people about the term “Orthodox Judaism” that I was not aware of. My comment about Orthodox Jews not believing that the exile is over comes straight out of the mouths of some very Orthodox Rabbi friends of mine so I will have to go and recheck that. Still, the whole point is not terribly relevant to Christian Zionism. I don’t know any Christian Zionists that would care what religious Jews think about Israel or exile, they have very much their own theology.

  9. pabelmont
    April 27, 2011, 8:46 am

    The useful phrase “follow the money” which helps people decode politics in other situations, should help here as well. Also the notion of “scam”.

    The original Zionism was rejected by the orthodox and thus by most of those Jews who had lived in the Holy Land for thousand of years and who remained, supported by money from abroad, to study, etc. after Israel became rich and powerful and was in a position to grant monetary assistance to orthodox to support schools, etc., they began to reject Zionism less stridently — and to accept the money. Right now, the orthodox are a major power, perhaps because their numbers have grown and the numbers of seculars have diminished. I don’t know the “why” of it. But the Talmud has not changed, and I assume that the injunction (to Jews) to do nothing to bring about the ingathering of Jews still holds. But money is money and we all love to have an iron rice bowl (permanent sinecure).

    As to “scams”, the entire USA’s support for Israel and Christian Zionism’s error (in mistaking a human-made ingathering of SOME of the world’s Jews for a Messiah-made ingathering of ALL the world’s Jews) is the result of carefully cultivated error, for fundraising and political-power-generating purposes — a scam.

    Does Israel make Jews safer than, say, NYC? Not in my opinion. Does it make some of them a good deal richer, with USA’s money and UJA’s money etc. flowing in? Sure. “Follow the money”.

    And, of course, power is an intoxicant and the power-lust of Israelis, particularly the settlers, is unmistakable, like bullies anywhere who know they will not be punished, they have no morality to hold them in check, surely no religion to hold them in check. And most important, they have lost the “check” of the Talmudic obligation to live properly in an exilic host country, for they ahve themselves become the host country and have re-written the rules so that there are no longer any rules of propriety to hold them in check. They have made themselves monsters. They are not the first to have done so.

    • Elliot
      April 27, 2011, 10:16 am

      Pabelmont –
      I agree with most of your points, except this:
      Does Israel make Jews safer than, say, NYC? Not in my opinion. Does it make some of them a good deal richer, with USA’s money and UJA’s money etc. flowing in? Sure. “Follow the money”.
      How does Israel make NYC Jews, to take your example, any more affluent.
      It gives the lots of things: a connection to a “homeland”, a sunny place on the Mediterranean to call home, a worthwhile cause, Israel makes them feel strong where they feel weak, but not money.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 12:08 pm

        By investing in real estate in Israel, or in the settlements, would be one guess, and there must be multiple opportunities in all the military contracting, and I bet wages are lower in Israel, and there’s always Palestinian labor. In short, any Zionist who can’t make a good thing out of Zion should go looking for another conversion experience.

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 12:35 pm

        Mooser – how does that translate for your average NYC Jew? There is no money scam. This is silliness.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 1:49 pm

        And gosh Elliot, how are you defining the “average NYC Jew”?

        When you give us some basis for that, we can decide how they make a good thing out of Israel.

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 12:21 pm

        Elliot, could those Israeli settlers from America get such a material deal from the American government’s policy in tangent with the Israeli policy as to non-Jews? Madonna.

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Citizen and Mooser –
        Pabelmont’s original comment which I quoted in first comment was:
        “Does Israel make Jews safer than, say, NYC? Not in my opinion. Does it make some of them a good deal richer, with USA’s money and UJA’s money etc. flowing in? Sure.”
        This was in the context of explaining support for Israel as a scam that can be unraveled by “following the money.”
        Do you believe Jewish American support for Israel can be reduced to material self-interest?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 2:20 pm

        “Do you believe Jewish American support for Israel can be reduced to material self-interest?”

        I am so tempted to answer “Jeez, Elliot, everybody in my family made oodles of money off Israel, let me know if you need any investment tips”

      • Elliot
        April 27, 2011, 2:47 pm

        Funny thing, my family too. I just can’t figure out why none of that Zionist money made its way to me. If you can figure that one out, let me know. :)

  10. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 11:52 am

    “It seems that term “Orthodox Jew” can also be used for Jewish people who observe the lifestyle of Orthodoxy while not being believers, i.e. agnostics or even atheists.”

    Oh my God, who told you that? Do you have any idea how insulting that sentence is? Yup, that’s right, the Orthodox contains significant numbers of the most awful kinds of hypocrites, secret unbelievers who can’t help but take advantage (or at least conceal the truth) from their fellows?

    Maybe they just fancy themselves in strict black-and-white and floppy fedoras?

    I must admit, there is much room for comedy in the concept, someone who lives under the strictures and the restrictions of Jewish Orthodoxy, all the time muttering “Jeez, what a bunch of crap” while he davans but he just can’t seem to change.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 12:28 pm

      Yep, Mooser, the davaning is everything unAmerican–imagine it on the country music cable channel. Let’s distinguish between a hoe-down, country style, and a danvaning. If there’s no distinction, than the Amish represent the USA. Except the Amish have horse and buggies, not US F-16s. Should we begrudgingly and under the radar allow the Amish to get the nuke bomb? They could fire it off from their horse buggie, while having sex through holes in the sheets, the sheets never washed in public, let alone strung out in a line on a rope for all the world to see.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 2:32 pm

        “Yep, Mooser, the davaning is everything unAmerican”

        Hey, it’s the closest we come to “lining-out”. I’ll take it. What do you get when you cross davaning with Gospel music? Damned if I know, but I’d sure love to find out.

    • pabelmont
      April 27, 2011, 12:56 pm

      Mooser, opls comment: Some have said that Judaism requires practice, not belief. Also knowledge, and probably the idea that knowledge is a good thing, but not belief in the truth of Biblical History, or that “G-d said”. And, surely, practice (that is, behavior) makes one a member of a community. It might be a coercive community, sure.

      Consider the “practice” in the USA’s media (some of it populated by Jews, but not all) of ignoring Israel’s crimes, refusing to tell current events as news, etc. Is this not the result of coercive practices within a social group (newsies)?

  11. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 11:57 am

    “It is not my intent to delegitimize the conversion experience of anyone.”

    Oh, good! I’m glad you agree that Jesus Christ is only one among a host of Saviors, and the Christian God is just slugging it out up there in the heavenly Madison Square Garden with all the other contending Deities, and does not represent a Divine Truth nor is Jesus the only path to salvation.
    Damned democratic of you, for a Christian! Gosh, Eternity will be crowded!

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 12:31 pm

      Oh yeah, Mooser. Let’s not make it hard for anyone to convert. Let them all stand on both feet while reciting all they know about how great the ultimate tribe is.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 2:27 pm

        Citizen, if you want to say “how great the ungulate tribe is” you won’t get any arguments from me. Like I always say, with antlers, you never get stuck on the horns of a dilemma! Of course, I would rather have had a love-life than just a rutting season, but I take what I can get (until she looked at me with those big brown eyes, and said…)

    • MHughes976
      April 27, 2011, 1:07 pm

      If we have infinite time and space it might be all too easy to escape the crowd. Not only the end of history but the end of geography.

  12. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 12:00 pm

    This is just sad. I hate to be rude, but I am not about to take advice from somebody whose religion doesn’t even have an Army. Tell it to the IDF, sucker!

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 12:35 pm

      Oh yeah, Mooser, weren’t those Knights of Malta great? And ain’t it great we now have the Hebrew knights with their mogen david shields, and their US F-16 swords? No wonder the Brooklyn and Long Island Jews run to the cause. They could use even more help. Please donate to your local Jewish Amerian NGO–you can take your donation of your US taxes.

    • LeaNder
      April 27, 2011, 1:02 pm

      associative meanderings on your last two contributions.

      Because the term “Messiah” could be defined in different ways in ancient Judaism, he set in motion a controversy that has never ceased. Messiah could refer, for example, to one “anointed” to make war, or “anointed” to offer sacrifice, or “anointed” to prophesy, or “anointed” to rule as king. p. 101

      M: I’m glad you agree that Jesus Christ is only one among a host of Saviors,

      Actually this book was quite interesting.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 2:24 pm

        “to one “anointed” to make war,”

        Man, he just piles it on, don’t he? I don’t think Craig likes Jews very much.

      • LeaNder
        April 28, 2011, 7:59 am

        Mooser, I have to admit that I didn’t read Craig’s articles. I know that’s even worse than RW’s superficial reading. Only your activities here attracted my attention.

        I don’t have enough knowledge about the Christian fundamentalist apocalyptic money machine, but I also don’t seem to trust some of the critical dot connectors. I haven’t read the linked book, and probably never will, but I surely have problems with it’s author’s comments over at Pat Lang’s site. In nuce: it feels like a fast dot-connecting exercise. I can’t really grasp it by now, but it’s different from either Pat’s or Phil’s approach to the power games we witness. I may do Clifford Kiracofe wrong, but it feels as if he, no matter what context, immediately starts collecting the data on the “Jewish angle” from a Kevin MacDonald perspective.

        By now that makes me hesitant about a fast look at the scenario. Religion obviously was always connected with power, control and money over the ages. I did want to take a closer look at Mark Gerson’s chapter about religion and it’s place in their mental universe, but then I do not have enough time. But these activities may well be the reason why the US theologian Gary Dorrien took a closer look?

  13. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 12:04 pm

    “In the end I believe that the ethical traditions of Judaism are an inspiration to all who seek justice and equality in our world.”

    Now you’re talking! Jews are smarter (and better) than other religions, and Jesus Christ is just another among a group of conversion possibilities. Now that’s the sort of Christianity I can applaud, Claude!

    But let’s get to the important stuff: what’re your views on sex? You are for it, I hope?

    • annie
      April 27, 2011, 12:19 pm

      i’m for it!

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 12:54 pm

        I’m for it, too. Especially if my wife catches my mentioning “sex” on the internet. Probably lead to a whole nine yards of porno spam coming down on us like a load of bricks.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 12:40 pm

      Yeah, that’s what was wrong with Jesus, Mooser; he didn’t have a clue–just too ethnocentric and yet envious of the moneychangers. Uncle Sam knows the score. He likes it up the Jersey Shore Chocolate way.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 3:04 pm

        Citizen, I tell you now and forever Jesus is just alright with me!

  14. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 12:49 pm

    “In the end I believe that the ethical traditions of Judaism…”

    Gosh, I seem to be having a bout of senility, would you mind listing them? Oh, just five, even without citations (I’m sure we’ll all know them when we see them, and acknowledge their truth) would be a start.
    You wouldn’t want me to try and get though the brief remainder of my life without my Jewish ethical traditions, would you? I just forgot them, and need to be reminded.
    Oh that’s all right, Craig, I understand. When you are under anesthesia, that surgeon can do any goddammed thing he wants to with you! Why take chances? I’m sure those ethical traditions are the finest.

  15. MHughes976
    April 27, 2011, 4:33 pm

    The Palestine conflict is undeniably influenced the by religious beliefs of many of the participants and by the fact that many people who are not religious take the same beliefs very seriously. So to a great extent it is a religious conflict even if we wish it were not.
    I agree with Craig that it’s rather grotesque to think that the Bible, a book that insists and insists and insists again on religious commitment as a condition of political prosperity – even political existence – supports a secular state of any kind, or that the Christian scriptures have any interest in maintaining or restoring a Jewish kingdom or any kingdom other than that of Our Lord. These rather grotesque ideas could develop originally only in a hothouse religious atmosphere, where people within small, intense groups keep telling each other the same thing over and again. I say that subject to correction by CZs, not that they take part in discussions like these.
    These esoteric, ‘hothouse’ beliefs have grown very strongly recently because the heat in the house has been turned up and the crop fertilised and cynically exploited by certain political forces in the United States.
    The process whereby some people with no religious belief analyse the Bible as a historical record and apply non-religious political generalisations to prove their particular political point is another, though related matter.

  16. American
    April 28, 2011, 1:03 pm

    When it comes to religion overall I think there are some people are who are reallllllly, realllllly into it, making them crazy …..and others, the majority probably, for whom religon is a ‘ belief’ they have been raised with and a social and community thing.

    But the christian zionist do belive in DOOMSDAY….I sometimes run into a christian zionist type when I am out looking at property in the country and they are convinced that DOOMSDAY will come exactly as the God Merchants preach and they want to tell everyone about it. Actually they aren’t all ‘bad’ people just nutty and under educated.

  17. johnshoemaker
    April 28, 2011, 6:18 pm

    Torah is not the same thing as the stories wrapped around it by the Septuagint—that came with the Greek idea of “god.” I’d like to communicate with the author of this article. He knows that the great majority of Jews don’t support a nation placing their faith in numbering everyone into the military as did “Saul.”

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