" . . . intellectually dishonest. And spiritually desolate too."
As is so often the case, you give us a courageous and eloquent statement. You are correct that we see this argument all too often. It's a silly, transparent shell game: a way of evading responsibility, of comforting the afflictors.
It's true, of course, that Christian Zionists exist, and in some places (like Texas) play a role. They are not the motivating force behind Zionism, but they can sometimes add heft at the ballot box. I was reared in a mainline Protestant tradition: from that perspective they seem very strange, misled, misinformed, but they aren't evil. Not the rank and file, anyway.
The ones I know, and most others I'm sure, are good and decent people, or strive to be. Israel isn't really high on their agenda, but they can be roused by a leader who (mis)uses scripture as a tool to do so. I hesitate to use the phrase "useful idiots" because those unfamiliar with the historical reference might mistake it for a simple pejorative, but it comes to mind. Folks here are sophisticated enough to understand why I mention it.