Since 1948 the State of Israel has existed as a homeland for the Jewish people. On the basis of Zionism, as an ethno-nationalist ideology, this stake in a geographical territory, according to the colonialist conventions of the time, is arguably legitimate.
According to the Pew Research Centre some 52.8 million US white Evangelical Christians identify themselves as Christian Zionists, the most politically influential voter bloc in the United States.
All of this may sound farfetched, but often – especially in US politics – fact is stranger than fiction, and to understand the present behaviour of Israel one ought to pay careful and close attention to the beliefs and influence of Christian Zionism.
True, modern political Zionism, rather than being a Jewish nationalist aspiration, was first the product of English and American Protestantism. English Puritans, from the earliest colonisation of North America, conceptualised their new home as a new Israel, a ‘City on a hill;’ a New Jerusalem.
Many Jewish people and Zionists, in Israel and around the world, have found in this Christian movement an uncomfortable political expedience – “Israel’s most hate friend.” Jews and Zionists who reject it call it a new form Christian antisemitism, and it is.
If questioning Zionism is a dangerous task then challenging Christian Zionism, the largest, best funded, and most religio-politically fundamentalist branch of Zionism, is infinitely more perilous. It is all the more dangerous because its influence – advocating the agency of God in Israel’s present history – reaches deep within the Church and to every level of US and British government.