A New Book Exposes How Some Christian Denominations Have Embraced Anti-Zionist Anti-Semitism

Sept. 22 2022

Reviewing Peace and Faith, a collection of essays by writers from various religious backgrounds examining the attitudes of different churches to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, John C. Campbell finds much that is informative. The book above all makes clear where anti-Jewish attitudes can be found in Christianity, and where they can’t:

[It is the] introduction’s description of the work of the Christian biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann that may be most useful, especially for readers new to the anti-Israel sentiment increasingly dominant in mainline (i.e. broadly non-fundamentalist) Protestant churches. Brueggemann, in his 2015 book Chosen?: Reading the Bible amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and elsewhere, offers a noxious mix of politics and theology that caricatures Israel as an uncompromisingly brutal state vis-à-vis the Palestinians so that he must then “bring down the wrath of the [biblical] prophets” upon the country in condemnation. Despite the obvious echo of old ideas about Jewish power and malice in his writings, it is hard to overestimate how influential Brueggemann’s work has become in the mainline churches of the English-speaking world.

Jonathan Rynhold, [in his chapter] “Evangelicals and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” shows how evangelical Christian organizations in the USA more often than not fail to live up to their reputation as unthinking and extreme in their support for Israel. More particularly, it is clear that the majority of evangelicals are not in fact opposed to a genuine peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, even one requiring Israel to give up territory. Neither do most evangelicals hold views about the end times that might be construed as anti-Jewish.

More problematic, to Campbell, is the concluding section, written by Cary Nelson, one of the volume’s editors. Although Nelson is a dogged opponent of BDS and of the excesses of academic hatred of Israel, his prescriptions seem out of touch with the harsh realities of the Middle East:

[This chapter] makes approximately 40 urgent recommendations on how to prepare for a two-state solution and then implement it—most requiring action only by Israel. Nelson justifies this imbalance by appeal to Israel’s superior power and the fact that “the key requirements for Palestinians, like adopting transparent finances and eliminating incitement, are difficult, transformational requirements.” However, since Palestinian leaders certainly rejected generous peace deals in 2000 and 2008, and almost certainly rejected a more modest one in 2014, it is arguable that these and other “difficult, transformational” issues on the Palestinian side also need prioritization.

The very assumption that [the independent Palestinian state Nelson hopes for] must be Jew-free will be viewed by some as a warning sign that the political entity envisaged will almost certainly not be democratic or peaceful.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Evangelical Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank