Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Classroom lecture on Palestine, plus a high-voltage refutation of Christian Zionism

The Middle East conflict “is being perpetuated by misguided Christians,” Stephen Sizer, an Anglican priest and author of Zion’s Christian Soldiers, says in this talk given recently to a group of U.S. college students who make up a class on Religion and Culture, at Indiana-Purdue University. “What I want to do briefly,” he says, “is give you an insight, as it were—from the outside looking in—on this movement (Christian Zionism) and why its influence is so destructive.” One might describe the talk as a bit more than “brief”, however. Sizer’s presentation to the students lasts over an hour and includes a question/answer session at the end. Initially he launches into a history of Christian Zionism as well as the Balfour Declaration, including Balfour’s backchannel communications with the Zionists, transitioning, in the second half of the talk, into an in-depth discussion on Israel’s present day policies—its illegal settlements in the West Bank, demolition of homes, and construction of the Apartheid wall.

Says the Indiana professor who introduces Sizer to his class: “He’s going to be presenting you with material that most of you have not heard”—and indeed, given the biased, one-sided picture of the occupation of Palestine presented by Zionist-owned media in the U.S., this just about inevitably would have to be the case…in almost any classroom, on any college campus in America.

A particularly interesting point in the video comes when Sizer presents the students with a graphic showing three circles—representing “Democracy”, “Jewish State”, and “Occupied Territories”—as he points out that any combination of two of them, automatically, by necessity, eliminates the third. For example, if Israel wants to be a “democracy” and a “Jewish state,” then it must give up the occupied territories. Should it desire to keep the occupied territories and remain a Jewish state, then it must give up democracy, etc.

We also run into some highly revealing words “straight from the horse’s mouth,” as it were—to wit, a quote from Theodore Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, concerning a prominent Christian-Zionist supporter of his day. In the quote, Herzl refers to the man as “naïve.”

You can visit Sizer’s website here.

The Middle East Conflict: A Christian Perspective on the Origins and Solutions from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

I like Sizer. His views on the Middle East are to a considerable degree similar to my own. But like a lot of liberal Christian theologians he has a tendency to be perhaps a bit too mild mannered. Here are some things he doesn’t cover…

The following are passages from the New Testament that Christian Zionists must completely mentally block out, ignore, or, in toto, disregard in order to maintain their myopic philo-Semitism as well as their belief that modern-day Israel is somehow a “fulfillment of biblical prophecy.”

·       Jesus speaking to a group of Jews in the temple in Jerusalem:

Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. (Gospel of John, 8:43-45)

·       Jewish mob calls for Christ’s execution:

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus, who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” answered Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Gospel of Matthew, 27:22-26)

(The Gospel of Matthew is believed to have been written in about 80 AD. There is no way the writer at that time could have known that the blood spilled that day would “be on us and on our children” for the next two millennia, but that is precisely what ended up happening.)

·       Excerpt from remarks before the Jerusalem Sanhedrin made by Stephen, the Jewish Christian whose stoning execution is told of in the Book of Acts:

You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it. (Acts 7:51-53)

·       The apostle Paul harassed by Jews in Thessalonica:

Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. But the Jews were jealous, so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. (Acts 17:4-5)

(Sounds a bit like some of the mob behavior we see today from supporters of Israel)

·       The Jews of Thessalonica follow Paul to Berea, some 40 miles away, where they continue the harassment:

When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. (Acts 17:13)

·       Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica (probably written from Corinth):

For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same thing those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16)

·       Paul flogged by Jews:

What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. (2 Corinthians 11:21-25)

·       The arrest of Paul in Jerusalem (brackets included):

When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowed and seized him, shouting, “Men of Israel help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.” [They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and had assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.]
The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city was in an uproar. He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great that he had to be carried by the soldiers. The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:27-36)

·       Jewish racism and Peter’s discovery that it’s not cool:

Talking with him (Cornelius, a Roman centurion and also a Gentile), Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I must not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” (Acts 10:27-29)

·       More Jewish racism (brackets included):

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” [His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.]
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” [For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.] (John 4:7-9)

·       Jewish public relations concerns:

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. (John 19:31)

·       Jewish hypocrisy:

Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:27-28)

(Did Jesus perhaps foresee the eventual writing of the Talmud ? )

·       More Jewish public relations concerns:

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests on everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble. So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15)

(Sounds a bit like Israel’s own investigation into its attack on the Mavi Marmara—a pattern which most likely will be followed in any investigation the Zionist state may do with regard to the Nakba Day protests.)

·       The synagogue of Satan references in the Book of Revelation (two citations):

i.                 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9)

ii.               I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. (Revelation 3:9)

(The comments regarding “those who say they are Jews but are not” would seem especially interesting in light of the research of Shlomo Sand and other writers who have traced the origins of Ashkenazi Jews to the eighth century and the kingdom of Khazaria, in what is today southern Russia. For more information on the Khazars click here. Also interesting, of course, is that the Book of Revelation was written in about 95 AD and that its author very much intended the work to be read as a prophecy of the future.)

How is it feasible to read the above passages and come away with the conviction that Jews are the “chosen people”? Realistically speaking, it is impossible for any rational person to draw such a conclusion, but then Christian Zionists are not rational. They are a product of mass indoctrination and wishful thinking, and their movement indeed is “destructive,” as Sizer accurately notes, in some respects perhaps every bit as destructive and toxic as the nation of Israel itself. They are Christianity’s gullible adolescents, and not only did they play a significant role in bringing about the Nakba which befell the Palestinian people 63 years ago, now, at present, in their millions—in what is surely a classic case of the blind leading the blind—they are bringing the Nakba home to their own nations.

And what of the Jews, the Zionist leaders, who have so skillfully and adeptly exploited their gullibility? The passages I have quoted provide us with a 2,000-year-old portrayal of Jewish behavior that has a clear ring of familiarity today. And these aren’t, by any means, the only New Testament passages I could have pulled up and posted. There are a dozen or so others of similar tone, texture, and content. In the Gospel of Matthew, for instance, we have an entire chapter devoted to Jesus denouncing the Pharisees. Of the four main Jewish sects extant in the first century, it was the Pharisees who alone survived the Jewish revolts and went on to produce the Talmud. The apostle Paul’s comment in Thessalonians about Jews being “hostile to all men” could easily, and perhaps should be, pondered side-by-side with the fact that the modern-day state of Israel has been the subject of more U.N. resolutions than any other nation. (A partial list of resolutions can be found here.)

Whether historically accurate in every single detail, the above passages clearly were written by firsthand observers of Jewish identity and tribal behavior. And now the tribe has nuclear weapons—enough, probably, to turn much of the earth into a wasteland. What these passages would suggest to us at the very least is that Jews, described in both the Old and New Testaments as “stiff-necked,”  were no better at governing themselves 2,000 years ago than they are today.

Comments by Richard Edmondson

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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