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How "christian" Is Zionism?

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Challenging Christian Zionism


For Christians committed to justice and peace, the challenge of Zionism can be daunting. Many Christians support Israeli actions and policies, believing that Jews' status as the "chosen people" of the Hebrew scriptures entitles them to use any means necessary - no matter how violent or oppressive - to occupy the holy lands. Those who question this position may fear being labeled anti-Semitic, but cannot square Zionist theology with God's concern for the poor and oppressed of all nations, the teachings of Jesus, the inclusive nature of the early church, or the present-day oppression of Palestinian Christians.


A new Web site called "Challenging Christian Zionism: Christians Committed to Biblical Justice" is intended as a clearinghouse of information about Christian Zionism and to foster education on this very divisive issue. Articles include: "Christian Zionism: An Historical Analysis and Critique," "The Evangelical-Jewish Alliance," and "Whose Promised Land: Israel and Biblical Prophecy."


Visit: [bwww.christianzionism.org


Read Sojourners magazine articles on this topic:


Short Fuse to Apocalypse? A look at the political and theological roots of Christian Zionism.



Not a Monolithic Bloc: Many U.S. evangelicals seek an 'even-handed' Middle East policy.



How Christian is Zionism? What the Bible says about Israel and the things that make for peace.


Edited by BrotherRog
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This email alert is also posted on website: http://www.cmep.org/Alerts/2004May19.htm


As the President spoke yesterday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Israeli government decided to send more troops to Gaza to bolster their largest military operation there in years. Israeli troops sealed the Rafah refugee camp and sent in armored bulldozers reinforced by helicopter gunships for what the army called a large-scale operation to root our militants and smuggled weapons. It was just a month ago that Prime Minister Sharon promised President Bush that Israel would withdraw all of its troops and settlements from Gaza – a promise that elicited significant diplomatic concessions from President Bush.

(for text of the speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...0040518-1.html)


In the past few days, Secretary of State Powell has been meeting with Palestinian and Arabs officials to try to convince them that the President’s “road map” is alive and that his commitment to Sharon has not prejudged Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on settlements, refugees and borders. And on Saturday, peace groups organized tens of thousands of people in Israel for the first major public demonstration in two years to press for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.


But the photos, broadcast worldwide, of Israel’s bulldozers destroying Palestinian homes could demolish whatever credibility Powell might have hoped to muster. Ziad Asali, President of the American Task Force on Palestine, lamented, “Pictures of innocent Palestinian families standing helplessly beside demolished homes and in turn broadcast into the living rooms of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslim will only fan the flames of extremism. The United States has a vested moral and political interest in working to put an immediate halt to the suffering of innocent civilians. Once more, the credibility of policies articulated by the administration is at stake in the Middle East.”


ACTION: This action is simple, will cost you about a nickel and take less than a minute. Call the White House. The White House will be tabulating calls to the “comments line” (202-456-1111) about the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the President’s speech to AIPAC. Your call should be short and to the point:


Sample: I’m calling to protest Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza and appeal to the President to demand that the Israeli government stop this destruction immediately. The President needs to call Prime Minister Sharon and tell him to live up to his promise to withdraw troops and settlements from Gaza.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Want to really help win the War on Terror?

Put an end to the Arab-Israeli War!


WANTED: A Global Movement to End the Arab-Israeli Conflict


How much more death, suffering and humiliation must Palestinians and Israelis endure before the world's human conscience wakes up and says enough is enough? The Israeli attacks and the slaughter of Palestinian men, women and children who took part in a peaceful demonstration to protest the destruction of their homes in Rafah (a city in the Gaza Strip) illustrates that the current Israeli leadership is becoming ever unabashed and brazen in committing crimes against a weakened and a crushed population.


It is futile to assume that the United States will act decisively to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in a fair way unless a massive world-wide protest movement makes it morally, politically and economically too expensive for the US to stay on the same course. It is therefore time for those who wish to see justice in Israel and in Palestine to set aside their fear of being labeled "anti-Semitic" and to openly speak out against the atrocious Israeli measures carried out against Palestinians.

All through history, men and women of conscience courageously stood against tyranny, slavery, colonialism, segregation, and apartheid, and they succeeded in bringing emancipation, freedom, equality and dignity to hundreds of millions around the world. Must Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer endlessly? Should we allow radical Zionist policies, controversial Christian theologies and domestic US political and economic interests to justify the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people?


Take a look at the following list of repressive measures that Palestinians face on a daily basis and join millions of people all over the globe who are committing themselves to speak out and take a stand against these grave Human Rights violations.


1. According to UN reports, in the last three years Israel has destroyed over 3000 Palestinian houses. Each of these houses comprises a multi-level complex (between two and six flours), which serves as homes for many families. Most of those families first became refugees in 1948 when Israel grabbed their land and now they are refugees for the second or third time. While Israeli settlers are encouraged by their government to build and expand within Palestinian territories, Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank have unrealistic restrictions on building homes on their land.


2. High cement walls, razor-sharp fences and heavily fortified checkpoints are besieging all Palestinian towns and cities and imprisoning a population of over three and half million people. Israel claims that it is taking these measures to stop suicide attacks. Why doesn't Israel construct these barriers around Israeli cities, towns and settlements? Or at least on the internationally acknowledged borders?


3. These fences cut off Palestinians from 50% of their total land territories causing untold economic and social woes to Palestinians. Thus a situation is created whereby over 60% of the Palestinian population exists on less that $2 a day.


4. Palestinians control no borders that connect them to the outside world. Israel closed off their seaport, destroyed the only Palestinian Airport in Rafah and placed a permanent ban against Palestinians flying via Ben Gurion Airport.


5. No Palestinian man, woman or child is allowed to travel from one Palestinian city in the West Bank to another without a permit from Israeli officials. Most Palestinian villages have also been cut off from neighboring city centers by trenches, rocks, and other barriers so that access to and from the villages is only by foot.


6. No Palestinian, man woman or child is permitted to travel to Arab East Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel without a permit from the Israeli officials. This measure is having as much negative impact on Palestinians living in the West Bank as it is having on Palestinians living in Jerusalem.


7. The process of acquiring these permits is humiliating, time consuming and often fruitless. More often than not when Palestinians apply for permits they are turned down. Moreover, Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints do not always respect the permits issued to Palestinians by Israeli military officials, which are frequently suspended at Israeli discretion.


8. Palestinian Christians and Muslims living in the West Bank are not allowed to travel for worship in their respective holy places in Jerusalem. This means Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem are not allowed to worship in their churches in Jerusalem, which is only 6 miles away. Palestinian Muslims under 45 are not allowed to worship at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.


9. The permanent closures of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the restrictions of transportations between Palestinian cities have complicated the Palestinian healthcare system. To get a Palestinian patient to a good hospital is a dreadful ordeal for the patient and his or her family. Scores of Palestinians have died waiting at checkpoints and hundreds of women have given birth in vehicles waiting for permission to cross at checkpoints.


10. There are between 6,000-7000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention camps and jails. Many of them have no idea why they are there. They have not been tried in any Israel court. The list of oppressive measures can go on and unless a global non-violent movement rises to address them, terrorism and military confrontations will continue to shatter innocent lives in the Middle East and will spill over to the rest of the world. All of us, who yearn and pray for peace, must act to stop Israel's brutal war against the Palestinian masses. We can start by demanding an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.



1. Keep calling on your elected officials to act justly. Keep quizzing them as to why the US continues to uncritically support Israel in spite of Israel's clearly dismal human rights record.


2. Keep writing to your local newspaper and confront the prevailing ignorance on these issues.


3. Connect with folks in your community who are fed up with America's unreasonable support for radical Israeli measures against Palestinians. Work cooperatively to expose Israeli policies of destruction and humiliation by planning educational and advocacy activities.


4. Be alert to and participate in national or internationally organized non-violent activities such as mega demonstrations.


5. Work through your church, mosque or synagogue [or coven] to educate your congregation and community to seek justice, peace and security for all the people in Israel and in Palestine.



by Rev. Alex Awad (A United Methodist pastor/missionary, Dr. Alex Awad was born and raised in Bethlehem. He teaches at Bethlehem Bible College.)


For more Christian insights about how to end this conflict, see:

and www.cmep.org

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