Over the last 4 or 5 years of talking with Christian Zionists I have discovered that they have not the remotest objection to racism, barring anti-Semitism, that is. Of course the very anti-Semitic nature of much of the theology behind Christian Zionism seems to go unscrutinised by the vast majority of those who hold to this novel and unbiblical idea.

In general Christian Zionists are not interested in large scale conversions of Jews in Israel to the Christian faith. This is because by becoming Christian, Jewish people are no-longer Jewish and if this occurred at a magnitude anything close to a national level; it would mean the end of the Jewish State. Christian Zionists abhor this concept. Without a Jewish state their end-times prophecy schedule lies in tatters!

Christian Zionists require that Israel be a non-Christian, Jewish state. This is somewhat ironic since the theologians of history who did predict a literal revival of the nation of Israel held to a belief that Jews must first convert to Christianity before reclaiming the Holy Land. They did this because they recognised (unlike todays Christian Zionists) that Jewish reclamation of Israel was not unconditional and that a rebellious Jewish people could never retake Israel on account of the covenant they made with God as described clearly in the Old Testament. They understood that the Jewish people were in exile because of their sins and I guess, in the minds of those Christian teachers who believed in a revival of literal Israel back then, they thought that mass conversion to Christianity was the necessary act of repentance required for it to be ok for the Jews to retake Israel as a nation.

All of these arguments are ignored by Christian Zionists today. Christian Zionist also believe that when Christ does return, the Jews in Israel will have to decide whether or not they will accept Him as the Messiah. If they do not, they will be cast into the lake of fire, if they do accept Him they will be saved. It is generally assumed that the vast majority of Jews will not accept Christ and hence will be cast into Hell. Somehow the Jews alive at the coming of Christ will at least get a chance to choose, those who have persihed before the final return will not get this privilege. Seems it pays to be born in the right part of history!

Getting back to the racism issue, I believe the position I hold to is ethically far sounder than the Christian Zionist belief system. I consider ALL racism to be equally abhorrent regardless of the circumstances pertaining to who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. A state where Arabs discriminate against Jews is equally repugnant to a state where Jews discriminate against Arabs. The ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine will not be justly dealt with by the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel. Such a situation will only inflame conflict in the world.

Martin Luther King’s vision of a world of equality where a man is judged on his character, and not on his ethnic background, is not a vision shared by Christian Zionists. In their way of thinking, if Arabs are displaced and dispossessed in order to make a Jewish state a reality, then bring it on! This twisted ethic is not shared by God and is explicitly condemned in the Old Testament Scriptures in dozens of places.

The ethical bankruptcy of Christian Zionism with regard to its attitude to racism is a major stumbling block for me. The Zionist dream of an Israeli state that is both owned by Jews and democratic for all its inhabitants, is a contradiction in terms. If the fact of Jewish ownership of Israel were not a source of discrimination against non-Jews living in Israel, then why do the Zionists so passionately demand that Israel be a Jewish state? What purpose does it serve for Israel to be a Jewish state if it conveys no advantage to Jews over non-Jews living in Israel? If Israel did not discriminate against non-Jews in Israel in any way at all, then why the determination for Israel to be a Jewish state?

When I visited Israel last year, I spoke to a representative from the Israeli trade union Histadrut. She told me the reason that Israel must be a Zionist state was that Israel was the only way to protect Jewish culture and way of life. How Jews had managed to keep their culture and way of life intact for the last two thousand years (even surviving the Holocaust) and how the 50% of Jews outside of Israel today have managed without a Zionist state, was not explained to me. I doubt that it can be explained.

CRAIG NIELSEN