Exploring the historical and philosophical roots behind the British push to relocate Jewish people to Palestine
In tracing the foundational thoughts for the modern state of Israel (which is not yet 70 years old) back to their first whisperings, we find a number of threads. One of them leads, not surprisingly, to religion. However the religion it leads to is not Judaism, surprisingly; but rather a school of thought within the Christian religion—Christian Zionism.
Christian Zionism is a term that is used to describe a specific range of beliefs based on the New Testament book of Revelations. While there are many interpretations and beliefs within the Christian religion regarding The Book of Revelations, Christian Zionists embrace a prophetic and literal interpretation. They believe that Revelations presages events that are yet to unfold, and that must unfold in order to reach their New Heaven and the New Earth. This belief forms the basis of not only their spiritual life, but it also underlies their politics (individually and collectively). Further and of utmost importance to Peace makers, it shapes their views on war and Peace. Their eyes are on Armageddon. Armageddon, in their minds, is an unbelievably horrific war—a war that centers on Jerusalem.
We must understand that Christian Zionists see this war as necessary and Biblically ordained. In their minds, the necessity of this war is part and parcel of their narratives and their religion. They are willing, by their political decisions and maneuvering, to inflict this Armageddon on all of us. They are striving to bring about this war, to bring about the end of the world as we know it; some of them consciously, some unconsciously. Their beliefs however, conscious or unconscious, underpin their political decisions. In the meantime, the people of Palestine—who had lived in Peace for centuries—have been utterly disrupted and severely punished, all for the purpose of sustaining Christian Zionists’ world views. If they are allowed to continue to push towards Armageddon, things will only get worse for all of us.
This push, in thought at least, began in 1585. Anglican clergyman Thomas Brightman “ . . . urged the British people to support the return of the Jews to Palestine in order to hasten a series of prophetic events . . .” (1) And then, “In 1621, a prominent member of the British Parliament, attorney Henry Finch, advanced a similar perspective when he wrote: ‘The (Jews) shall repair to their own country, shall inherit all of the land as before, shall live in safety, and shall continue in it forever.’ Finch argued that based on his interpretation of Genesis 12:3, God would bless those nations that supported the Jews’ return.” (1) One wonders, however, how the Jews were to live in safety, when their ‘return’ to Palestine was sought only to bring about Armageddon.
The seed, however, had been planted. Instead of waiting for the future, for prophesy, to take its course, the idea that human actions and politics could bring prophesy into reality had been planted. The results were that, “The first lobbying effort on behalf of a Jewish state in Palestine was not organized or initiated by Jews. It occurred in 1891, when a popular fundamentalist Christian writer and lay-preacher, William E. Blackstone, organized a national campaign to appeal to the then-president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.” (1)
It wasn’t until 1917, however, that the first official document alluding to the eventual establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine was signed. The Balfour Declaration, (2) drafted by Britain’s Foreign Secretary was the first official step towards the establishment of the modern state of Israel, and the first political victory of the Christian Zionists in their push towards Armageddon. Peace, of course, was never on their agenda. Arthur James Balfour, the signer of the above declaration, made the following statement in a speech in 1919: “For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…The four great powers are committed to Zionism, and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.” (1)
Armageddon was on their minds. The idea that 700,000 Arabs were opposed to the idea was probably the frosting on their cake and fueled their hopes for war. The fact that governments around the world are now funding militias and dropping bombs in nearby Syria while both the Islamic State and Hezbollah grow in power probably gives them hope that Armageddon is near. The fact that Israel has been threatening the integrity of one of the Muslim world’s most sacred sites in Jerusalem, probably also gives them much hope for the horrific prophesied End Times war.
We must resist. These Christian Zionist ideologies are not in the best interests of world Peace. They are in fact, diametrically opposed to Peace. These ideologies, these narratives, are not humanitarian. They are not forgiving. They do not embrace Freedom, Justice, and Equality for all people. We must resist.
Boycott for Peace embraces economic activism. Through economic activism we can change the world. Corporations profit from the ideologies of colonization, oppression, and war. The profits we extend profiteering corporations by purchasing their products allows them to align with any favorable ideologies they find in the world, and then to lobby and contribute their way into our governments’ decision making processes. By withdrawing our support from these corporations, and by supporting ethical small business instead, we can change the world. Please visit our Boycott List for ideas on starting or growing your own personal resistance.
We at Boycott for Peace also embrace the idea of political activism. At the moment we try to support letter writing and petition campaigns with ‘Quick Action’ posts on Thursdays, when we have them. You can help us by posting links to any appropriate Quick Action in comments on any of the posts here on our blog or on our facebook community page. If you are involved with other appropriate and Peaceful actions that you would like us to consider, please also send us links to information. We may not be able to feature every submitted item, but we may not find out about your efforts if you don’t let us know.
In the meantime, economic action is something we can all engage in. We must confront evil. Not as a force that opposes what we personally believe. But rather as a force that opposes Peace. If we do not fund the forces that are opposed to Peace, Freedom, Justice, and Equality for all people those forces will lose power. We all have the capability of engaging in economic Justice through Ethical spending. We can give Peace a chance.
Take Action! Check out our Boycott List:
(1) Christians and Zion: British Stirrings: http://www.christianzionism.org/Article/Wagner06.asp
(2) The Balfour Declaration: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration
Background reading also undertaken on Wikipedia ~
Book of Revelation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation
Christian Eschatology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_eschatology
End Time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_time
Boycott for Peace!
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