Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Banging the drums of war: Christians United for Israel

It's like a Chuck Barris game show that grows in popularity. I never have understood what pod they come out of. Are they aliens?

16 April 2013
Like everyone else, my email inbox is constantly plagued by waves of junk mail. Lately I seem to have a new addition — I’ve somehow ended up on the mailing list of Christians United for Israel, the most militant of Christian Zionist groups. CUFI’s regular newsletters are the latest debris to be washed up in my inbox. The few I’ve read are full of deliberate doublethink and startling mistruths, all the more worrying for their posing as Biblical facts.

I tend not to read these newsletters before I delete them because they make my blood boil, but last week I decided to give one a cursory glance. That day’s cutesy Zionist project: “Show that your house stands with Israel! Place a beautiful CUFI mezuzah on your doorpost!”
For the bargain price of $36, you could not only further the work of CUFI, but stamp Israel’s sovereignty on your home as well.

While this would be easy to dismiss as the usual eye-roll-inducing nonsense, I can’t help but feel that this is more damaging than it first appears.
Firstly, the mezuzah is a Jewish tradition, not a Christian one. Christian Zionists in general, and CUFI in particular, often misappropriate Jewish culture to further their political aims.
In Judaism, the mezuzah is a symbol of the sovereignty of God, a declaration of his scripture being “inscribed on the doorposts.” For CUFI, however, the mezuzah has morphed into a political symbol of affiliation with the Zionist state, a way to “show that your house stands with Israel,” rather than under the authority of God.

“Every symbol on this unique mezuzah has special meaning,” the newsletter declares. “Since CUFI members are watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, the top of the mezuzah displays the Eastern Gate of the old city of Jerusalem. The American and Israeli flags symbolize the importance of the US-Israel alliance.”

Political, not spiritual

Again, while mezuzahs would traditionally be decorated with religious or artistic symbolism, CUFI has draped its one in nationalist imagery, mutating the meaning to send a distinctly political, rather than spiritual message.

Mezuzah aside, there are further problems with the thinking behind this message. Like most Christian Zionist literature, this particular letter is full of the usual Orientalist rhetoric of Israel as a bastion of goodness in a sea of hostility, painting the Arab people as a homogenous, dangerous and inherently evil entity, and Israel as a helpless victim. “From Cairo to Beirut, from Gaza to Damascus, and from Ramallah to Tehran, the Jewish people are surrounded by enemies who seek to destroy them,” CUFI declares. “These are truly dark and dangerous days for our ally Israel.”

This sort of language is not unusual amongst Christian Zionists. They would paint the occupying, US-backed Zionist state as endangered and helpless, and the occupied, stateless, disenfranchised Palestinians as an aggressive and terminal threat.

Threatened by boycott

The final blow, however, came in the form a cheery postscript denouncing the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and offering an alternative to Israel’s staunch supporters:
“P.S.: Israel’s enemies are mounting an aggressive campaign to harm Israel’s economy by organizing boycotts of Israeli-made goods. We are proud that our CUFI mezuzahs are made in Israel! So when you give your gift and receive your mezuzah, you not only help us defend Israel here at home you are directly contributing to Israel’s economy. What a wonderful way to stand with Israel against those seeking to boycott her!”

While it is potentially encouraging that the vastly powerful Christian Zionist base feels at least a little threatened by the BDS movement, I find this sort of rhetoric incredibly disturbing. Here, anyone who struggles for justice for Palestinians is an “aggressive” enemy of Israel and, by proxy, God himself. The very people aiming to demonstrate godly justice and bring an end to the suffering of Palestinians are demonized as aggressors.

The influence of CUFI is not to be sniffed at — it is the self-declared “largest pro-Israel organization in the United States,” serving 1.3 million members and conducting hundreds of pro-Israel events each year. CUFI has a vast empire of support and a significant platform with which to infiltrate public opinion with hatred towards the peoples of the Middle East. Its web of influence contributes hugely to the entrenched pro-Israel discourse in the US; newsletters like these are dropping into hundreds of thousands of mailboxes, both real and virtual, on a regular basis.

Whether slighting those seeking justice or transforming a religious symbol like a mezuzah into little more than a politically-charged bumper sticker, CUFI has a worrying knack for morphing meanings and turning truths on their head. Once again it proves a deftness at turning the oppressed into oppressors and victimizers into victims, invoking the name of a God of peace while banging the drums of war.
Emily Lawrence is a freelance writer currently based in the UK. She can be contacted via Twitter @EmilyWarda.

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There are not "two sides." There is one occupier, one ethnic cleanser, one apartheid state, one home demolisher, one land confiscater. Before there was Hamas, Fatah, the PLO or any other group, there was land theft, ethnic cleansing & massacre of indigenous Palestinians.

Supporters of Palestine must always relate today’s massacres to the original sin of colonization of the land which Israel has claimed for its own and the dispossession of its indigenous people.

Israel makes lots of money each time it creates a massacre of Gaza where it tests its many weapons on civilians. According to the new Israeli documentary, The Lab, and interviews with past generals who are now major arms dealers, Israeli arm exports increase by $2 billion per year every time there is an attack on Gaza where weapons are "tested".

2003:The Plan for Genocide in Gaza and Judaization in Galilee-- Israel has made it clear it has no intention of turning Gaza and remnants of the West Bank into any kind of Palestinian state. A senior Israeli analyst stated bluntly in 2002 that Gaza would serve as “the penal colony” of Israel, its “Devil’s Island, Alcatraz.”

This Palestinian prison is already completely surrounded by electric fences on land and sea access is blocked by the Israeli navy. A 100-meter strip on the Egyptian border, where Palestinian houses were systematically destroyed, will be maintained and controlled by Israel, and Egypt will be bullied into assisting in the policing of the prison. To activate this plan in full, the settlers had to be moved out of harm’s way.

Ran HaCohen wrote in early 2004: “There is thus no reason for Israel to sit inside of Alcatraz, with its endless poverty and water shortage, unemployment and hopelessness; let the prisoners run their own lives while we sit safely all around it and watch the prisoners perish”.

“Every time they have a cease-fire, but then everything comes back: the siege, the closures,” said Wedad al-Jarba, who was at the hospital, where her two-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Maher, was being admitted with a skull fracture. Israel “never agreed on anything real,” she said.

They are destroying Pax Americana for Pax Judaica

Those who planned to replace Pax Americana with Pax Judaica began plotting America’s fall even before the demise of Pax Britannica. The seeds of America’s collapse were sown at a meeting of Rothschild associated bankers on November 22, 1910 when they drafted legislation to create the Federal Reserve bank.

Never Forget

history animated GIF

Watch out, Israel...your existence depends on the apathy of the American public

Zionist Holocaust

The fact that some two thirds of the hated Jewish Councils (Judenrat) were Zionists, tells us something about Zionism, remembering that Zionists were only a small minority of European Jewry.

In Amsterdam as in Warsaw, in Berlin as in Budapest, Jewish officials could be trusted to compile the lists of anti-Zionist persons and of their property, to secure money from the deportees to defray the expenses of their deportation and extermination, to keep track of vacated apartments, to supply police forces to help seize Jews and get them on trains, until, as a last gesture, they handed over the assets of the Jewish community in good order for final confiscation.

They distributed the Yellow Star badges, and sometimes, as in Warsaw, ‘the sale of the armbands became a regular business; there were ordinary armbands of cloth and fancy plastic armbands which were washable.

The Real Jews Said It over a Hundred Years Ago!

" We have already shown that there has never been such a misfortune as Zionism and there never will be again. (Introduction to Daas Harabbanim, 1902, p. 22) Imagine how it will be if, G-d forbid, the idea of Zionism becomes a reality. Then the sinners will be kings, the troublemakers will be high officials, and the young snakes will be leaders. Then your enemies will rule over you!" (Introduction to Daas Harabbanim, 102)Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Rothenberg,rabbi of Piltz, Russiaf4f4c5 (c. 1902)