Friday, June 6, 2008

Zionism is a Christian theology

Jersey Girl has left a new comment on your post "Impact of blogs - "Sometimes the good guys win"":

RaP:It is well known that Zionism is a Christian theology.

A definition of Zionism is "The movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland." There is nothing atheistic about Zionism. Atheists do not believe in the Bible and therefore would have no reason to exploit the Biblical promise of the Holyland to Jews.
It is only Christianity which reads the Written Law without the benefit of the Oral Law that could come up with the theology that would birth the concept of Modern Zionism.
For Christians who interpret the bible in a literal fashion, Zionism has a crucial role to play in bringing on the Second Coming of Christ.

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries British and American Puritans began writing about G-d's plan to restore the Jews to their homeland. These were the early Zionists. Their writings were based on the Abrahamic Covenant from Genesis of the Old Testament written more than 3,800 years ago:
(Genesis 12:2) (Genesis 12:7)(Genesis 35:12)

The Christian Zionist project became political reality when Arthur Balfour proclaimed in his famous "Declaration" of 1917 that Palestine become the homeland for the Jewish people. He believed a modern state of Israel was part of the divine plan announced in Old Testament prophetic literature. (Canadian Dimensions, March/April, 2003).

The Balfour Declaration asserted the British Government's support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and was endorsed by a number of other countries, including the United States. The Balfour Declaration became more important following World War I, when the League of Nations passed the Palestine Mandate, assigning the United Kingdom power to administrate Palestine.

In 1985, the Christian Zionist Congress urged Israel to annex the West Bank, with its near one million Palestinian inhabitants. An Israeli Jew, seated in the audience, rose and pointed out that an Israeli poll showed that one-third of the Israelis would be willing to trade territory seized in 1967 for peace with the Palestinians.

"We don't care what the Israelis vote!" declared van der Hoeven [spokesman for the International Christian Embassy]. We care what God says! And God gave that land to the Jews!" After his impassioned outburst, the Christians by a nearly unanimous show of hands passed the resolution. (Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics, p.133)

A recent survey reported in Beliefnet found:

.. over one-third of those Americans who support Israel report that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return.

It is also well known that Herzl's family converted to Christianity:

"Herzl's Number One Advisor

The modern Jewish founder of Zionism is recognized to have been Theodor Herzl. His earliest and closest adviser just happened to have been the Christian minister William Hechler who was a zealous Christian Zionist. In 1882 he had published his book entitled The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine according to Prophecy.24 In 1896 Hechler introduced himself to Herzl and thus became his most important aid, advisor and advocate. It was said, "William Hechler would prove to be 'not only the first, but the most constant and the most indefatigable of Herzl's followers'".25

A Baptist from Missouri, President Harry S. Truman was influenced by his Christian background regarding his decision to recognize Israel in 1948, when he rejected the advice of the State Department not to recognize the newly formed state. After his presidency, his longtime Jewish friend Eddie Jacobson introduced Truman to a group of professors by saying, "'This is the man who helped create the state of Israel,' but Truman corrected him: 'What do you mean "helped to create"? I am Cyrus. I am Cyrus.'"26 Truman was comparing himself to Persian King Cyrus in the Old Testament who enabled the Jews to return to their land in the sixth century B. C. after their 70-year captivity.

24 Paul C. Merkley, The Politics of Christian Zionism: 1891-1948(London, Frank Cass, 1998), p. 3.

25 Merkley, Politics of Christian Zionism, p. 25.

26 Merkley, Politics of Christian Zionism, p. 191.

Here is more:

http://www.zionism-israel.com/christian_zionism/Christian_Zionism_History_Ice.html

Here is another important reference:
Douglas J. Culver, Albion and Ariel: British Puritanism and the Birth of Political Zionism (New York: Peter Lang, 1995

Michael J. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment: Christians and the Return to the Promised Land (London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1985

11 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityJune 6, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    Umm Jersey Girl: You seem to lack historical perspective about Christianity vs Judaism.

    They have been rival religions for the last 2,000 years. On a historical and cultural level they BOTH converge and split off from each other.

    Have you ever heard the expression in Yiddish: "Azoy vi es Kristelt zich, azoy Yidelt zich" meaning that what happens among Christians inevitably happens among Jews.

    If they are "pious" Christinas as they were during the Middle Ages in Europe, then the Jews are likewise more pious in Europe. As they abandon religion, likewise Jews abandon religion.

    On a deeper Torah philosophy level it is the continuum of the relationship between Esav and Yakov and it will be a struggle till the coming of Mashiach.

    Your problem is that you only focus on the Christian side of things which is only ONE way of looking at it.

    You seem to miss that there was a Reformation, Renaissance, an Industrial Revolution, an American Revolution, a French Revolution and a Russian Revolution. These were SECULAR events that shook the world to the core and took place in the Western World that contributed the factors of HUMANISM, SECULARISM, NATIONALISM, and SOCIALISM to the creation and present existence of Zionism that has very little to do with your weak conception of Jewish history always rooted in Christian thinking.

    Perhaps it is because, as you admit, you come from a Sefardic background, that you are so terrified and obsessed with the Christian writings that talk of Zionism. Get over it. They are not true and not worth a penny. But, as any serious scholar and thinker of modern political history knows, Christianity, indeed any religion, has NOT had much to do with the rise and success of secular socialist political Zionism.

    But hey, you are free to preach to the empty gallery if that makes you happy.

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  2. Garnel IronheartJune 6, 2008 at 10:28 PM

    So we've moved on.

    Zionism is a Chrisian philosophy? How then does one explain the Netziv, the Derishat Tzion and Rav Alkalay's creation of the Chovevei Tzion, several decades before Theo Herzl became the "first" Zionist?
    How does one explain the involved of Rav Reines and the Mizrachi, all of them devout and knowledgable Jews with the Zionist enterprise?

    In truth, Zionism can be divided into the secular and religious definitions. The secular definition is: A movement to return the Jewish people to Israel where they can create a secular, European-style state so that the world can learn that we're no different from anybody else.

    The religious definition hinges on the understanding of the prophecies and their interpretations as given by Chazal and seeing that, in fact, historical events over the last century clearly point us in the direction that the time has come to go home.

    One can disagree with this but to dismiss it as a non-Jewish philosophy is disrespectful and closed-minded.

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  3. It is only Christianity which reads the Written Law without the benefit of the Oral Law that could come up with the theology that would birth the concept of Modern Zionism.

    that's sorta weird.... did someone forget about Karaism?

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  4. Rabbinic Judaism's scholars, such as Maimonides, write that people who deny the G-dly source of the Oral Torah are to be considered among the heretics.

    One of the ways that missionaries try to convert Jews is to try to deny the Divine origin of the Oral Law.

    "Have you ever heard the expression in Yiddish: "Azoy vi es Kristelt zich, azoy Yidelt zich" meaning that what happens among Christians inevitably happens among Jews."

    No. My mother spoke French, my father spoke Spanish. One of my grandfathers taught himself Yiddish so that he could help refugees from Europe to get settled, but that was the extent of it in my family.

    "a Reformation, Renaissance, an Industrial Revolution, an American Revolution, a French Revolution and a Russian Revolution. These were SECULAR events"

    The history of Europe is the history of Christianity.

    The Reformation is also known as the "Protestant Reformation against Catholicism". This is not a secular event.

    The Renaissance -They did not reject Christianity; quite the contrary, many of the Renaissance's greatest works were devoted to Christianity, and the Church patronized many works of Renaissance art. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion that was reflected in many other areas of cultural life.[14]

    It should be emphasized that the new ideals of humanism, although more secular in some aspects, developed against an unquestioned Christian backdrop, especially in the Northern Renaissance. Indeed, much (if not most) of the new art was commissioned by or in dedication to the Church. However, the Renaissance had a profound effect on contemporary theology, particularly in the way people perceived the relationship between man and God.[14] Many of the period's foremost theologians were followers of the humanist method, including Erasmus, Zwingli, Thomas More, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.Open University, Looking at the Renaissance: Religious Context in the Renaissance (Retrieved on May 10, 2007)

    Industrial Revolution- Protestant work ethic

    The British advance was due to the presence of an entrepreneurial class which believed in progress, technology and hard work. The existence of this class is often linked to the Protestant work ethic (see Max Weber) and the particular status of the Baptists and the dissenting Protestant sects, such as the Quakers and Presbyterians that had flourished with the English Civil War. Reinforcement of confidence in the rule of law, which followed establishment of the prototype of constitutional monarchy in Britain in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the emergence of a stable financial market there based on the management of the national debt by the Bank of England, contributed to the capacity for, and interest in, private financial investment in industrial ventures.

    Historians sometimes consider this social factor to be extremely important, along with the nature of the national economies involved. While members of these sects were excluded from certain circles of the government, they were considered fellow Protestants, to a limited extent, by many in the middle class, such as traditional financiers or other businessmen. Given this relative tolerance and the supply of capital, the natural outlet for the more enterprising members of these sects would be to seek new opportunities in the technologies created in the wake of the scientific revolution of the 17th century.

    Russian Revolution-

    During the Russian Revolution, much like the French Revolution, the churches and clergy sided with the Czars of Russia. This is because there was an established relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Czars, much like there was a relationship between the Catholic Church and the French Crown prior to the French Revolution. Because of this, the church was opposing the revolution and working against the peasants and oppressed masses in their struggle to better their own condition.

    Out of this grew a backlash against religious leaders during the revolution. However, once Stalin came to power, he began to promote the growth of the Russian Orthodox Church, but he opposed all other forms of religion and only allowed existence of the Russian Orthodox Church to support Russian nationalism.

    TO Garnel Ironheart-
    The religious definition hinges on the understanding of the prophecies and their interpretations as given by Chazal and seeing that, in fact, historical events over the last century clearly point us in the direction that the time has come to go home.

    Which prophecies?

    Who among Chazal?? Please elaborate.

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  5. Recipients and PublicityJune 8, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Jersey Girl: I like your opening sentence. The rest of your elongated tendentious sermon is not worth anything because you refuse to take off your OWN Christian lenses as you stubbornly refuse to see that the Modern History of the Western World (modern history starts from around the 1750s) reults in the mass secularization of society and culture, which in Europe was based on Christianity AND various varieties of pure PAGANISM which you also don't mention and conveniently overlook.

    Anyhow, let me draw your attention to your words:

    "Rabbinic Judaism's scholars, such as Maimonides, write that people who deny the G-dly source of the Oral Torah are to be considered among the heretics."

    This is so true and the last word is the most important one: "heretics" -- it was heretics NOT Christian lovers!!! -- of all sorts who helped to formulate and put into action modern secular atheistic Zionism, that has basically zero to do with any organized or formal religion.

    One more point. The Roman Empire turned into the Roman Catholic Church and for better or worse, just as Jews had to contend with the Roman Empire, and they with the Jews, the Roman Catholic Empire had to contend with the Jews (as it took on much of Judaism's form without it's truth and content) so that Romans/Roman Catholics/Christians and Jews and Romans/Roman Catholics/Christians have lived cheek-by-jowl with each other for 2,000 years. It is not a mistake or a crime of history. It is part of G-d's Divine Plan to have Esav and Yakov live, struggle and fight with each other till the end of time.

    But things are never static in history. Just as the Roman Empire evolved into the Roman Catholic Church during the first millenium of Christianity, in the second millenium there has been an opposite trend as the Christian component has been weakening and melting away and there has been a return to the raw power of pagan Rome and even to earlier Humanistic democratic philospohical Greece and Hellenizition, so that all the examples of the evolutions in modern history that I cited were the modern historical trend AWAY from Christianity.

    Protestantism is a LESSENING of the power of the universal Roman Catholic Church. The Humanistic and Liberal philosophers moved away and abandoned religion, and your citation of Stalin as being some sort of "pro Christian" force is a joke because he only did that to "dress up" his totalitarian disctatorship that had no interest in any religion whatsoever.

    But you are free to hold on to your immature misconceptions.

    Remember, when Jews convert to Judaism today IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE SECULAR and not because there is anything great or original in Christianity. So please stop giving Christianity such a central place in your worldview and please try to stop this effort by yourself and Dr. Eidensohn to preach a silly doctrine of "christian power" that ignores 95% of the problem.

    When you see "Christian evil" in every historical event in the modern West, when it is patently and historicaly not so, you just come across as the nut-job conspiracy theorists who cooked up and believe and promote the "Elders of Zion" forgery that then claimed to see the hand of Jews and Zionists in everything that plagued/plagues the world, and such an outlook does not befit you.

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  6. "When you see "Christian evil" in every historical event in the modern West, when it is patently and historicaly not so, you just come across as the nut-job conspiracy theorists"

    That is your opinion and I am sure that many others would share it.

    But I do not think that we can discount the overall effect of Christianization on Jews who live in Christian lands.

    In the 16th century a single Jewish man and his family were granted permission by King Joao to live openly as Jews in Spanish Morocco (Levy was the King's treasurer, a good Jewish accountant).

    This single Jewish family grew into a population of nearly 300,000 by 1948. (It IS true that all Spanish Moroccan Jews are one family).

    Morocco was an socially open and relatively free society, while being a predominately Muslim country. Jews enjoyed full social and political rights in Morocco. Many served in government (and still do today) and many families were blessed with wealth. Jewish children in Morocco studied the sciences. literature and arts along with their Chodesh and were multi lingual. In Spanish Morocco, the sciences were usually taught in Jewish schools by Rabbis who themselves were highly educated in these fields.

    Contrast this history with the plight of American Jewry vis a vis intermarriage and assimilation statistics.

    I think that we cannot discount the fact that Christianity is an evangelical religion that affects HOW we practice Judaism while Islam is NOT generally a missionizing faith.

    There was never any Reform movement in Arab countries, there was never any need for Jews to feel as though they must assimilate Muslim culture, practice and values because these are not generally in conflict with Jewish values and statutes.

    In countries where the prevailing culture is Christianity and that culture, practice and belief system is SO very different from Judaism, there is a greater tendency toward assimilation and this is bound to have a haskafa shaping effect upon even the most fervently observant and separatist among us.

    "But you are free to hold on to your immature misconceptions."

    My perceptions are from studying (with my parents) the works of one of the Gaonim of previous generations, Rabbi Elizer Papo ztl whose works (Pele Yoetz) are also studied in nearly every yeshiva in the world.

    Both of my parents are related to Rabbi Papo ztl whose teachings were primary in our upbringing.

    http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/papo.htm

    "Rabbi Papo advocated a tradition-bound, static Judaism. He called for a life of piety and acceptance of G-d. He demanded total allegiance to rabbinic tradition, stressed the need to live according to traditional patterns and preferred the traditionalism of Moslem lands to the modernity of Europe. His ultimate focus was not on life in this world, but on the world to come."

    Hopefully, I am 1% true to my upbringing. As each generation gets farther and farther from Matan Torah, it becomes more difficult to maintain the level of yirat Shamayim of our ancestors.

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  7. With all due respect to RAP and others, Western secularism is still Christianity because the philosophies that are promoted are 100% Christian.

    Only a true Atheist would be 100% secular. Basic polls taken during U.S. election times show how that the U.S. is full of so called secular people who are very strongly religiously identified.

    I recommend that you read Pope Benedict's speech from last year that upset the Muslims so much. In it, he explains quite clearly what the basis is of all Western "rational" secular thought....it is the 'Bible' as viewed and translated through the lens of Greek philosophy and language, minus the Oral tradition. The very notion of secular humanism and rational thought it steeped in Christianity.

    The Protestant Reformation on the surface appears to have been a struggle against the religious authoritarianism of the Catholic Church, which would seem therefore to be an anti-religious movement. But to the contrary, part of the essence of this movement was to permit each Christian to define their personal religion as they saw fit. It was a very religious movement.

    Jersey Girl is right to harp on the Christianity theme, because it is the root cause for so called religious support of Zionism, and is also the root cause all of the bogus conversions for intermarriage that have occurred in recent years (with both Rabbeim and convertee alike being affected by these Christian ways of thinking). It is also the basis of U.S. foreign policy and aid giving practices.

    I do not think it is possible to overstate the influence of Christianity on current events.

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  8. A very intetesting historical perspective re: early British/American Puritans' support for Zionism, that primarily lacks direct linkage of that thought to Balfour's Declaration three centuries later in the much different international geopolitical context of WWI. (Even though he might have affirmed the "divine plan announced in Old Testament prophetic literature," one can't help but wonder—especially since the blogger demonstrates zero evidence otherwise—that his employ of it wasn't purely rhetorical for political purposes.)

    Still, my fundamental quibble with Jersy Girl's analtsus us her basuc premuse: "Atheists do not believe in the Bible and therefore would have no reason to exploit the Biblical promise of the Holyland to Jews."
    In fact, Jews worldwide, no less the Diasporic atheists & pro-assimiliationists than others, knew all too well the hazards to life & limb that being a "Jew" has entailed throughout the long, ugly, international history of anti-Semitism.
    And moreover, they recignized the clear, practical, political advantages that a Jewish State would offer Jews—including atheist Jews—for short- & long-term survival.

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  9. https://zaidpub.com/2011/09/26/british-freemasonry-covets-israel-by-barry-chamish/

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  10. Kalonymus AnonymusMarch 12, 2019 at 1:52 AM

    So you accept begin, Sharon, jabotinsky, stern gang etc? Next you will be accepting Rav Kook 馃榿

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  11. Kalonymus AnonymusMarch 12, 2019 at 1:54 AM

    Idiotic article. Everything in the Torah is part of Christian theology. Sukkot, omer, Shavuot, shabbat etc. Even the beit hamikdash. What part of Christianity didn't he get ? The Pope wears a kippa, so should orthodox Jews remove theirs?

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