Blessings are conditional. However we think of them, and wherever we think they originate, blessings are gifts – special graces – which we can accept and discard. That is in our gift. We have the right of refusal. Blessed with love, we cannot take our lovers and loved ones for granted. We cannot take without giving in return. The gift of love is not a certificate of ownership. Likewise, the blessing and gift of life is conditional. Its continuation and renewal always and everywhere depend on our generous acceptance of the gift and our loving care for the blessing.
At the heart of this Israeli and Zionist definition is the deliberate conflation of Zionism – an ethno-nationalist state-political ideology – and Judaism, and, by extension, the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. How useful to the State of Israel – Katz’s “Jewish State” – would it be had this definition been adopted officially by the European Union as it was by the US State Department last year? Doubtless, this is what the AJC’s Andrew Baker had in mind when he negotiated with the EU to have it adopted. Yet, more rational heads prevailed.
When it comes to the grey eminence behind Trump we have to pay closer attention to the vision of Trumpism. By its nature real hegemonic power looks to the future; it never stops strategising its own preservation, and it does this primarily in the construction of a narrative of threat in which only the powerholder can offer salvation.
Theirs is the faith, when it is set out in plain words, of the zealot and the fanatic. By no means do I intend to suggest that they are zealots, fanatics, or indeed bad people. All that I will say is that their ideas – or some of their ideas – are fanatical and dangerous in the extreme, and in this assessment there is no exaggeration.
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.