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Friday, April 14, 2017

Challenging Zionism - the illogical foundation of Christian Zionism and the illegality and idolatry of Israel.


Challenging Zionism - the illogical foundation of Christian Zionism and the illegality and idolatry of Israel.


There are many things that have hijacked modern Christianity: money (prosperity doctrine), power (the Tea Party and their ilk for political power and control of government), capitalism (the expansionist colonialism of churches establishing their own franchises across the globe) ... and Zionism, the unfettered, unquestioning idolatry of modern Israel.

Yet, Zionism is a perversion of Christianity.

The very basis of Christianity is that God established a new covenant with mankind. Way back in the Old Testament, people were required to make a blood sacrifice to God in order to be forgiven for their sins. People kept sinning because funnily enough, people are fallible. As a result, God decreed that there was not one righteous person on the planet, that all had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3). To rectify this, God established a new covenant in which he would send his son, Jesus, to be the blood sacrifice on behalf of all mankind. The biblical verse that best explains this is John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him, will not perish but have everlasting life'.

Hebrews 8:7-12, covers the new covenant in detail, with verse 13 summing it up with, 'In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away'.

In other words, the old covenant is gone and the new one fulfilled. Yet, Zionism is very much rooted in the Old Testament, the old covenant.

What is the point of God sacrificing his only begotten son, Jesus Christ in order to establish a new church of born again Jews and Gentiles as fulfilment of prophecy if He then re-establishes the old religious order of Judaism which rejected Jesus, as a fulfilment of prophecy?

There's conflicting issues with biblical prophecies if Zionism is truly of God. On the one hand, we have Christ crucified to save the world, and on the other hand, Israel re-established to save the Jews. One of these is not like the other.

Zionism is a perversion of the Bible.

Zionism deliberately ignores the New Testament, ignores the teachings of Christ. It justifies genocide. It justifies hatred and fear of Muslims. And it completely eliminates the purpose of the entire New Testament.

Zionism is based on Old Testament teachings in which Abraham was given the 'promised land', which just so happens to roughly be where Israel is today. However, it also ignores the New Testament which states that those who believe in Jesus Christ are heirs to the promises of Abraham and that the promises applied to all of Abraham's heirs, which just so happens to include Muslims.

According to both Jewish and Islamic tradition, Muslims were descended from Abraham's son, Ishmael, while Jews and Christians were descended from his son, Isaac.

Zionists seem to forget that Ishmael was also blessed of God and inherited a promise, as stated in Genesis 17:20:

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation

In addition, although Genesis 17:21 states that God will establish the covenant with Isaac, this included a caveat, namely that if the Jews strayed, then they would be banished from the promised land. Deuteronomy 11:16-17:

Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.

Zionists will often argue against the legitimacy, and for that matter, the very existence of Palestine, while ignoring the clear promise and blessing given to Muslims through Ishmael.

Origins of Zionism

Firstly, what is Zionism? It is the belief that Jews have a God-given right to the Holy Land based on scriptures such as Genesis 16:18, 'In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates'.

Zionism is the idea that God promised to restore the ancient nation of Israel. For Christians this contradicts the very raison d'etre for God sending His only begotten Son. Jesus was sent to establish a new church and a new covenant. So why would God now forget about the purpose that Jesus was sent, in order to return to the old ways?

One would think that Zionism is an ancient movement, given the above scripture, however, Zionism was initially created as a political movement in response to the persecution and pogroms that had befallen Jews prior to the 20th century. Modern Zionism is a relatively new idea. It originated in the 19th century as an idea of establishing a Jewish homeland as an answer to the so-called 'Jewish Question'. This 'question' was an ongoing discussion about how to handle Jews in Europe. It debated issues such as their legal and social status.

In 1862, an associate of Karl Marx, named Moses Hess declared that Jews should establish a socialist state in Palestine. In 1870 the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion), began founding settlements in Palestine.

In 1897 Theodore Herzl established the World Zionist Organisation. Its premise was to identify a homeland for the Jewish diaspora. At first the WZO did not declare Palestine to be their homeland. Instead, they looked around the globe for a land that was suitable. Herzl was initially happy with either Argentina or Uganda, but Eastern European Jews refused to support any option other than Palestine(1).

As this shows, the WZO's location for the diaspora had little to do with scripture. Once Palestine was chosen, scripture became a means to an end; it was used to justify the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, rather than a Jewish state being necessary for the Zionist organisation's power base.

Criticism of Israel

There is the superstitious belief that criticising Israel will incur the wrath of God, after all, Genesis 12:3 states, 'I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse who curse you'. There are two things wrong with this:

1. criticism does not equate to cursing
2. the scripture was directed at Abraham, not the Jewish people.

It is not cursing someone to call out their crimes. What would have been the point of Leviticus, the book of law, if charging someone with a crime was considered a curse?

This superstition has also been used to counter criticism of Zionism. Again, this is another example of scripture being misappropriated in order to support the Zionist agenda.

Throughout the bible, the Jews were constantly in trouble for replacing God with idols. Zionism has created an idol of Israel while allowing no dissent. In addition to the misapplication of Genesis 12:8, criticism of Israel is labelled as anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitism is a catch-all that ignores so many other factors. Firstly, many of the inhabitants of Israel are Caucasian, not Middle Eastern. This will be addressed in more detail later. While Judaism is a Semitic religion, so is Islam and Christianity. It is not anti-Semitic to call out Israel for committing crimes. Is it racist to charge someone of colour with a crime? Is it anti-Semitic to accuse someone from a Semitic religion, such as a Muslim or a Christian, of a crime? Of course not.

It is not anti-Semitic to bring to light crimes committed by Jews, Muslims or Christians.

Additionally, anti-Zionism is not anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism. Opposing Zionism is not an attack on the Jewish faith. Criticism of Israel is not an attack on the Jewish faith and is not anti-Semitic.

In a more sinister development, this allegation of anti-Semitism has extended to any criticism of Israel's extra-judicial killings of Palestinian civilians(2), including children(3), Israel's war-crimes in which it uses illegal weaponry(4) such as flechette shells(5), white phosphorous(6) or DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosives)(7), its use of human shields(8), its illegal detention, interrogation and torture of civilians, including children(9), and on it goes(10). Yet, criticising these Israeli crimes is anti-Semitic according to Zionists.

Of course, if any other country committed these crimes against a largely defenceless population, then it would be called a crime against humanity. The United States has invaded countries and overthrown despots for less.

It would be anti-Semitic to attack Jewish people because of their religion. It is not Judaism that is in question when it comes to criticism of modern Israel and Zionism. What is in question are the crimes of Israel and Zionism which are often hidden behind a cloak of religion in order to make claims of anti-Semitism against critics.

Zionists have used, or perhaps, misused and abused, history in order to justify the modern state of Israel and its war-crimes in Palestine. While Zionists had long been eyeing Palestine as the site for Israel, when World War 2 ended, the terrible abuses of the holocaust and the guilt felt by all nations was used to hasten the establishment of Israel. While this is understandable, even today there are some who reference the holocaust to justify Israel's crimes against humanity. This in itself is an insult to the memory of the millions who suffered or died in the holocaust(11).

Christian Zionism is also usually accompanied with strong opposition to Palestine, and more broadly, Islam. Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism and is being used to justify genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, as well as bombings, invasions or occupations by the United States and its allies in many Muslim nations, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and so on. These are countries who have posed little threat to the USA, yet who the USA has seen fit to interfere with, subjugate and kill thousands of people. American leaders are predominantly Christian. Interesting, that they accuse Islam of being a religion of violence, when Christians have waged more wars and killed more people than Muslims have.

Modern Israel established on a Zionist lie

Modern Israel was founded on a lie. It is the lie that states 'a land without a people, for people without a land'.

The lie predates the holocaust. It was first used by a Christian Zionist named William Eugene Blackstone in the mid-19th century. It was picked up by Jewish Zionists in the 1890s and has since been used to justify the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. After all, how can a non-existent people be ethnically cleansed or displaced.

The 'land without a people', was Palestine. This lie tries to claim Palestine was terra nullius. It's a blatant lie. Palestine was a land that had been inhabited continuously by millions of people for thousands of years. The 'people without a land' referred to the Jewish diaspora which claims they were dispersed from the holy land thousands of years ago. However, these people had a land. It was their own European nations. Many were Austrian, Polish, Romanian and so on. Those nations were their lands.

The cofounder of the World Zionist Organisation, Max Nordau, was disgusted by the Zionist lie when he discovered that it was not a 'land without people', after he visited Palestine and found it had a population of 700,000(1). In response, he declared to his fellow WZO cofounder, Theodore Herzl, 'But we are committing a grave injustice'.

Many Zionists argue that Palestine has never existed as a nation, therefore this justifies Israel's ethnic cleansing of the area. Palestine certainly has been an occupied land for centuries, but this doesn't mean the people or the land didn't exist.

Palestine referenced throughout history

The origins of Palestine and Israel go back to similar points in antiquity.

Inscriptions during the reign of Rameses II, around mid-12th century BCE, referred to a sea-people, who included the Peleset, believed to be the ancestors of Palestine. The Peleset, better known as the Philistines occupied Canaan. The first reference to Israel in history is in a monument to Pharaoh Merneptah in 1207BCE, which shows a tribe known as Israel invading Canaan, decimating the tribes there.  A few years later, the Israelites took the remaining portion of Canaan. Ancient Israel got their first King in 1000 BCE with the appointment of King Saul. Sigmund Freud speculated in his work, Origins of Religion, that the two tribes warring against each other in the land of Canaan, namely Israel and Judah were in fact the Hebrews and the Philistines(12).

Contrary to Zionist propaganda, Palestine existed for thousands of years and has been referenced throughout history:
  • Prior to 1948, currency and passports were issued in the nationality of 'Palestine'. 
  • In World War II, war in the Middle East was known as the Palestine Campaign and the British military issued a General Service Palestine Campaign Medal . 
  • In World War I, war in the Middle East was known as the 'Palestine Campaign' and the British military issued a General Service Medal with Palestine clasp. 
  •  In 1798-1799, Napoleon undertook his 'Palestine campaign' and was defeated. 
  • The Crusaders fought in and at one stage ruled Palestine. 
  • The bible refers to Palestine. 
  • Jewish scripture, the Tanakh, refers to Philistines
  • The ancient Greeks referred to it as Palaistine.
  • Ancient Egyptians referred to the area as Peleset.
Zionists are not only ethnically cleansing the land, but trying to ethnically cleanse history of Palestine.

They'll argue that the population in Palestine has increased, therefore there is no genocide. Apparently it's ok to murder thousands of people as long as the birth rate keeps pace with it.

Modern Israel founded by Europeans not Middle Eastern Jews

Zionism's great claim is that the creation of Israel in 1948 has re-established a homeland for diaspora Jews. Modern leaders, such as Benjamin Netanyahu propagate this by inviting Jewish people from all over the world to settle in Israel, albeit much of those in the illegal settlements that continue Israel's colonisation of Palestine.

However, the idea of the diaspora is largely based on the idea of Jews being scattered across the globe following exile by the Romans. This is contrary to historical record. For a start, the Romans never exiled an entire people group(13), particularly considering that would have dramatically affected their taxation income, produce and economy in general. No, the Zionists who created modern Israel were European Jews whose ancestors originated in Central Asia and not the Middle East.

The Khazars were a semi-nomadic people who controlled a large pivotal area on the silk roads in Central Asia, spanning the area from Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire, Turkey, Crimea and northern Caucasus. For centuries, the Khazars profited significantly from trade between the Europe, the Kievan Rus (slavic tribes from whom Russians and Ukrainians are descended), the Middle East, Persia and Asia. Much of the trade along the silk roads had to pass through Khazaria.

The silk roads weren't just a route for produce. They were also a melting pot of multiculturalism, as ideas, religions, customs, language and education were adopted or infused into the various people groups who travelled along these routes.

Significantly, the Khazars had taken notice of a number of the major religions traversing through their territory, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism. After discussions with representatives of all three religions, the Khazars converted to Judaism. How this came about was explained by the Khazars leader (the khagan) in response to a letter from the noted Jewish scholar, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, who was based in Cordoba, Spain and had heard rumour of the Khazar conversion. The khagan explained that one of his predecessors had invited delegations from Christianity, Islam and Judaism to explain which religion the Khazars should convert to. To help his decision, the ruler 'had asked the Christians whether Islam or Judaism was the better faith; when they replied that the former was certainly worse than the latter, he asked the Muslims whether Christianity or Judaism was preferable. When they lambasted Christianity and also replied that Judaism was the less bad of the two, the Khazar ruler announced that he had reached a conclusion: both had admitted the 'religion of the Israelites is better', he declared, so 'trusting in the mercies of God and the power of the Almighty, I choose the religion of Israel, that is the religion of Abraham'.(14)

Zionists discount the conversion of the Khazars, claiming that Judaism is not a proselytising religion, however the bible itself talks of Jewish proselytes in Matthew 23:15: 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves'.

The Khazar ruler demanded that his people also adopt Judaism. From here, the religion spread into the Rus and northern Europe. It is from these people, that the European Jews were descended. It is not from a Middle Eastern diaspora.

Zionists however, used the myth of diaspora to justify the establishment of modern Israel. Within a couple of years of its creation, Israel passed the Law of Return, which gives Jews across the globe, the right to live in Israel and be granted Israeli citizenship. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, stated 'This is not a Jewish state only because most of its inhabitants are Jews. It is a state for the Jews wherever they may be, and for any Jew who wishes to be here'(15).

More recently, some scientists have used DNA testing to confirm European Jews (Ashkenazi Jews) as being descended from the Middle East. However, Dr Eran Elhaik, and Israeli-born geneticist, has refuted this and identified that the Ashkenazi Jews were descended from the Khazars(16).

Zionists had argued that the Ashkenazi Jews were the descendants of Middle Eastern Jews who had fled the Middle Eastern during the Islamic conquests of the 7th Century. However, this is contrary to the historical record as well. Muslim Armies generally didn't go out and massacre civilian populations. They fought any military which opposed them, but once they'd conquered an area the residents were allowed to live in peace and practice their religion and culture. Neither did the Islamic conquerors exile Jewish populations(17). The only catch for non-Muslims was that they were required to pay a tax called Jizya. Funnily enough, there were those who saw a tax break in converting to Islam so as to avoid paying Jizya. This was particularly the case for Christians and Jews who saw little difference between their religious practices and those of Islam. So many non-Muslims, converted to Islam that the tax system had to be overhauled to remain viable(18).

While Zionists argue about the Law of 'Return', and claim that Israel was their ancestral home 3,500 years ago, it should be kept in mind that many of the people in Palestine trace their lineage to Jewish or Christian ancestors. If anything, it gives greater credence to the Palestinian claim for the land than that of European Jews whose ancestry is traced to Central Asia.

Ancient Israel and the exiles

Back in the day, God made a covenant with Abraham and out of this we saw the ancient kingdom of Israel which united the two smaller kingdoms of Israel and Judah. According to the bible, this united Israel lasted from 1020 to 930 BCE and was ruled by Kings Saul, David and Solomon respectively. Under Solomon's son, Rehoboam, the kingdom was again split into two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. This 'new' kingdom of Israel rose to prominence by the 9th century BCE and was conquered in 722BCE by the neo-Assyrian Empire. Judah rose to prominence in the 8th century BCE, enjoying prosperity until its destruction in 586BCE by the Babylonian Empire.

Since then, the land was ruled by a variety of foreign invaders and for the most part was known as Palestine, an incarnation of its original name. Because of the lack of self-governance, Zionists argue that Palestine has never been its own nation and therefore there is no such thing as a Palestinian. Yet, there has not been a Jewish 'nation' since at least 586BCE and Israel has not existed since 722BCE. This argument also ignores the fact that prior to Jewish settlement, the land was known as Philistine and was, funnily enough, inhabited and ruled by Philistines.

Even with foreign empires ruling Palestine, there was of course, a large Jewish presence there. During these times, there were a number of exiles in which Jews were forced to leave their homeland. None of these exiles resulted in the complete removal of Jews from the holy land. In 597BCE, following the Babylonian invasion of the holy land, some Jews were exiled to Egypt and Babylon, meaning that many of the exiles remained within the empire and the levant. Most Jews remained in the land and by 538BCE, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar allowed the exiles to return.

The next exile occurred in 70AD following the Judaen Revolt against the Roman Empire, which culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple, the deaths of many and the enslavement of much of the population. Some of the rebels were captured and forced to participate in Rome's gladiatorial games, but for the most part the Jews remained in the land of Judea. Rome exiled a number of Jews associated with the uprising, but they did not exile the entire population(13).

From 132CE to 135CE, Shimon Bar Kokhba, led another revolt in Judea. This ended badly for the Jews, with about 580,000 being killed and more than 1,000 towns or villages destroyed. The fall-out included Emperor Hadrian renaming Judea as Syria Palaestina, banning Jews from entering Jerusalem except for specific events. The Jews suffered significant losses in Judea and were effectively exiled from the city of Jerusalem, some survivors were sold into slavery, while others relocated to Galilee. However, they remained in significant numbers within the general vicinity. While some argue this was the beginning of the diaspora, as with earlier exiles, the majority were still within the levant, in fact, most were still within Palestine, with only Jerusalem being out of bounds. Rome did not exile the entire population. After all, like any government, they needed tax payers so why would they exile their tax base?

The Promise to Abraham

Christ came to preach to the Jews, but they rejected him. From there, the message was given to the Gentiles and the promises of Abraham were also given to the Gentiles. Galatians 3:29: 'And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise'.

What promise?

There were a few promises, one of which was the land of Canaan in Genesis 17:8, 'Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God'. Zionists believe that this promise to Abraham has been fulfilled in modern state of Israel, which conveniently is roughly where ancient Canaan was. The problem with this is that the modern state of Israel is a Jewish state, yet Galatians 3:29 is clear that this promise was passed onto Christians.

Another problem with this promise being hijacked by Israel, is that the promise is ALL of Abraham's descendants. It is generally accepted that Abraham is the father of Jews, Muslims and Christians. Therefore, even if we were to apply this promise, the land of Canaan belongs as much to Muslims as it does to Jews as it does to Christians. So how can Zionists justify the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine in order to claim the land for Jews only?

One of the bible's key chapters that Zionists believe prophesies the fate of Palestine is Joel 3 which bangs on about Israel being surrounded by its foes who are summarily defeated. Awesome. Nothing like a little scripture to justify genocide.

Joel 3:4 specifically refers to Palestine:

Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head.

This is a scripture about revenge against Palestine, Tyre, Zidon doing wrong to Israel, BUT what about when Israel does wrong to Palestine?

Verse 21, the very last verse in Joel 3, declares:

For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; for the Lord dwells in Zion.

Verse 21 speaks of the shame of sin. Isaiah 1:15 explains the reference to the blood:

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Joel 3:21 is pointing to the coming of Christ the Messiah and the spilling of Christ's blood to cleanse the people of their sin and shame. Unfortunately, the Messiah was rejected by his own people and hence the promises of Abraham and being the 'chosen' people, was passed on to those who did accept the message of Christ. Awkward.

If Joel 3 is prophesying anything, it is ultimately the acceptance by Jews of Christ as the Messiah.

Other Old Testament scriptures talk of destroying nations that come against Israel, such as Zechariah 12:9:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Considering the number of nations that vote against Israel and who pass UN resolutions criticising Israel, then there is going to be some serious bloodshed if God is going to destroy them all.

And then there is Jeremiah 12:14:

Thus saith the Lord against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.

This one is a little awkward for Israel, because God himself gave their inheritance away to those who followed Jesus Christ, as stated above in Galatians 3:29. However, that was only after the Jews rejected Christ. Way back in the day, say around Jeremiah 31:31-34 there was promise of a new covenant:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Of course the covenant was that of the New Testament and the sending of God's only begotten son, 'that whosoever believeth in him, shall be saved'. As it turned out, the Jews of the day did not believe on him but instead had him crucified, which is a powerful rejection of the Covenant by the Jews.

Far from the Jews being solely the chosen people, Romans 11 clearly states that God's chosen people includes any person, Jew or Gentile, who accepts Christ. Romans 11 refers to the Jews as being the 'cultivated olive tree' and the Gentiles being the 'wild olive tree'. It goes on to state how branches of the 'cultivated olive trees' will be cut off in order to graft branches from the 'wild olive trees' in. This contradicts any reason for the establishment of a Jewish-only Israel being a fulfilment of prophecy. How can Christians possibly accept Israel being established in the name of Old Testament Zionism. It is in defiance of the New Testament. Romans 11 doesn't say that Israel will be rebuilt as a physical nation, but saved and expanded as a spiritual nation through the salvation of the Gentiles.

Throughout the bible, particularly the prophecies and the New Testament, the references to Israel are of a spiritual nature, not a physical one. The expansion of God's people to include the gentiles who accept Christ, clearly shows that the spiritual Israel is not a physical state, but a spiritual state. Romans 2:29 states:

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

In 2010, the Vatican stated that the Jews were no longer the 'chosen people' and that biblical scripture cannot be used to justify building settlements on Palestinian land. Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Salim Butros went on to state: 'The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians. The justification of Israel's occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on the scriptures'. (19)

The New Testament is very clear about the spiritual manifestation of the Kingdom, not the physical one. Any prophecy on the re-establishment of Israel is a figurative one about the reconciliation of the spiritual person with God.

Earlier we saw how Zionists often use Genesis 12:3 to scare people into thinking God will curse them for any criticism of Israel. The other part of this verse is conveniently ignored by Zionists. It goes on to say, 'And in you all the families of the Earth shall be blessed'. All the families of the Earth, not just the Jewish families.

This is verified in Galatians 3:8 which says 'and the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” '.

The promises to Abraham were never meant to be exclusively for the Jews. They foreshadowed the coming of Christ, who went on to issue the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, 'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit'.

The bible tells us that 'Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through Him'. So why are so many Christians putting their faith and swearing their allegiance to Israel, a nation that rejects Christ as its Lord and Saviour?

Even supposing that modern Israel is a fulfilment of scripture and that Palestinians are foreigners in the land, the bible is clear on how to deal with them. The Israelites were meant to share their land with the foreigners who lived in it and treat them as though they were Israelites. If modern Israel is a fulfilment of scripture then that means that Zionists need to apply scripture to Israel's occupation of Palestine. Ezekial 47:22-23 states, 'It shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the Lord God'.

A new religion

Jesus did not come to reaffirm Judaism, He came to preach a new way. He proclaimed His church, or ekklesia, as the 'called-out ones'. They were the chosen ones called out to preach His message throughout the world. His church was one of singular purpose, comprised of those formerly known as Jews and Gentiles.

In Galations 3:28, Paul stated that 'There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus'.

That is the new religion.

Christian Zionism is heresy. It is anathema to the teachings of Jesus. Jewish Zionism is understandable because Jewish scripture didn't accept the new way preached by Christ. But for Christians to support Zionism is a complete contradiction of and refusal to accept the New Testament.

Jesus is the Messiah, the King of the Jews, Israel's true King. Matthew 16:18 states that Peter is the rock on which Christ builds His new church. It doesn't say that he will re-establish a Jewish temple. In fact, the bible goes on to state that we are his temple. It is in us that God resides, not in the temples.

In Matthew 27:50-51, as Jesus dies, the temple curtain or veil is rent in two.

'And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split  and the tombs broke open'.

The curtain traditionally separated ordinary people from the holiest of holies, from the presence of God, in which only priests were allowed to enter. The tearing in two of the curtain signified the end of the old Jewish religion and ushered in an era in which anyone could enter the presence of the Lord and build a personal relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Why then do Christian Zionists vehemently adore a return to the old way? Why do they idolise modern Israel whose religion rejects the deity of Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-27 clearly states the importance of this new church established by Christ, so why do some Christians so passionately support the old 'temple':

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Christ sanctified the church. Without Christ the church is not sanctified. A nationalistic Jewish nation is not a sanctified church.

Romans 9:6 - 8But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

Romans 9 goes on further to discredit the notion of God restablising the Kingdom of Israel by declaring that Israel had rejected the message of Christ:

Romans 9:30-33What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Those who are living by the law do not have the promise of Abraham; they are living within a physical limitation of their interpretation of God, not within an infinite spiritual experience. Zionism is a physical or worldly expression of a misrepresentation of God's word, it isn't a spiritual manifestation of God's word or love.

Romans 4:13 states It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

There is nothing righteous in ethnically cleansing Palestine.

The bible refers to Israel as being both physical and spiritual. The coming of Christ was not for the reestablishment of the old, physical nation of Israel. It was to establish a new order, a new covenant with the world in which Jews and Gentiles had membership of a spiritual kingdom of God.

1 Peter 2:9-10 however, has its own take on a similar claim, but this refers to the people of God:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Romans 11:26-27 states that 'and so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'.

This verse is quite clear that Israel will be saved by Jesus, so why would God reinstate an unsaved Israel? Why would a Christ-less Israel be re-established. That is not the fulfilment of prophecy. Jesus and His salvation is the fulfilment of prophecy. To argue that Israel has been re-established in order to be saved ignores the many warnings in the bible of the blessings being removed from Israel if they disobey God. How much more disobedient can they get than crucifying the Son of God?

Christian Zionists not only believe that modern Israel is a fulfilment of scripture, but that it is blessed of God. So are they saying that Jesus was sent to establish a new covenant with the Jews, but God is going to establish the Old Covenant 2,000 years later through Israel, and bless Israel even though his 'chosen' people not only rejected Christ but crucified him. They rejected Christ's new covenant, so why are Christians idolising the old order as represented by modern Israel.

1 John 2:23 speaks of those who reject Christ as not being with God, so why would God bless modern Israel? 'Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also'.

Christ only ever preached to the Jews. He didn't go out into all the world - that privilege was reserved for his disciples after the crucifixion. This shows how significant the Jews were to God's plan and how much of a chance they were given to accept Christ. They rejected His message and crucified Him, yet today's Christians are refusing to evangelise the Jews of modern Israel, to the point of turning it into a sacred cow, an idol, one in which no criticism is allowed and which Israel is placed on a pedestal. Whatever happened to the message of the Messiah? While many Jews continue to reject that message and see Christianity as a heresy, Christians are ignoring the New Testament message in favour of restoring a pre-Christ kingdom which ignores Christ and would crucify him again.

End times prophecies

Psalm 102 is often used as a justification for the creation of modern Israel, but again, this ignores a number of key factors in it, specifically the verses 16-22.

For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord


Yes, the verse talks about the building up of Zion and Jerusalem, but this verse was written hundreds of years before Christ. Jerusalem was eventually restored and then the temple sacked in 70AD. Even if this verse points to an re-establishment of Israel, verse 18 talks about a 'generation to come. That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord'. This is speaking of Christians mentioned in 1 Peter 2:10 (who once were not a people but are now the people of God) , if it is an end-time prophecy, then for Christians it is not speaking of the re-establishment of a Jewish kingdom, but a Christian one, so why do Christians worship modern Israel?

And then there's Luke 21 which is full of all sorts of prophecies about Jerusalem. Now, there is a slight hiccup with Luke 21 as an end-times guide, namely verse 32 which states that 'this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled'. 2,000 years later, that generation passed away long ago so how can modern Israel be a fulfilment of that prophecy.

Another slight problem with this chapter is one that is used to explain the diaspora, namely Luke 21:20-24. In summary, verse 20 states 'But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near'. It goes on to tell everyone to head for the hills. Verse 24 then states 'And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled'.

The fulfilment of the Gentiles relates to their salvation. As mentioned previously, Christ was the fulfilment of biblical prophecy in which Jews and Gentiles would have salvation. This means that Christians are the fulfilment of biblical prophecy. It again goes against the idea of re-establishing Jerusalem or Israel as a Jewish state.

Elevating Israel above the Kingdom of God

Zionism is not scriptural either in the bible or the Torah. Additionally, the Torah requires Jews to live in peace with their neighbours and treat people well(20), yet Israel violently occupies Palestinian land and often vilifies Palestinians and Arabs.

Zionism has successfully duped most of Christianity not only into believing that the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948 is scriptural, but has also led many Christians to defend or deny Israeli war-crimes, demonise Palestinians and most disturbingly, justify or ignore the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

John 4:22 is used to justify supporting Israel. It states that 'salvation is of the Jews'. However, this is merely acknowledging the history of Christianity. The verse before clearly states that there is a time coming in which there will be no further worship in Jerusalem: ' ... the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father'. If we will no longer worship in Jerusalem, how can Zionists justify the 20th century establishment of Israel in order to return it to the centre of Jewish worship.

Zionism elevates Israel, the Kingdom of the Jews, above the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God dwells in us, it does not dwell in Jerusalem.

At the time when Jesus was preaching to the Jews about salvation only being available through him, they were hung up on their own liberation from Rome and having their own kingdom. Yet Christ was clear that the Kingdom was not going to be an earthly one but a spiritual one as stated in Luke 17:20-21:

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The New Testament resounds with scripture contradicting the re-establishment of a nationalistic Jewish homeland.

Believing that the creation of Israel is a fulfilment of scripture is akin to Abraham deciding that God needed a little helping hand in the fulfilment of his promise in Genesis 12. This was when God had promised Abraham that he would father a great nation even though his wife, Sarai, was barren. Sarai and Abraham decided that to fulfil the prophecy he would need to sleep with their slave girl, Hagar. As a result, she gave birth to Ishmael. God wasn't too thrilled about Abraham and Sarai trusting in their own logic rather than in God's ability, and rebuked Abraham for his impatience and lack of faith. Israel is the same. Zionists have taken what they consider to be God's promises and have decided He needs a hand. So they've created the state of Israel in their own strength rather than in the strength of God, which explains their willingness to use lies (land without people for people without land), demonisation and delegitimisation of Palestinians, and of course to use violence, to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestine, not to mention propaganda to ethnically cleanse history of the existence of the land of Palestine and its people. If Israel was truly created by God, it wouldn't have come with such violence and deceit.


The violent roots of modern Israel

It wasn't God that created Israel, it was terrorism(21).

Having said that, not all Jews were Zionist and many protested against the idea of Jews being a separate race or that they should be treated differently or exclusively. For them, this was no different to what anti-Semites had been saying in Europe for centuries. For instance, the President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, Claude Montefiore, considered it 'intensely obnoxious' and an 'invention' that Jews constituted a separate nationality. Further, one of Britain's Jewish MPs, Edwin Montagu was distressed by the Zionist belief that Jews be 'invested with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population'.(22)

In his book, State of Terror: How terrorism created Israel, Thomas Suarez provides the following two quotes, which underscore the very problem with Zionism and the pervading sense of superiority that Zionists have over others:

- [The democratic principle] does not take into account the fact that there is a fundamental qualitative difference between Jew and Arab - Chaim Weizmann.

- The fundamental difficulty over Palestine was that the Jews refused to admit that the Arabs were their equals. - Ernest Bevin.

In the years prior to Israel's establishment, Zionist terrorists, in particular Hagana (formed 1920), Irgun (formed 1931) and the Stern Gang (formed 1940), committed numerous violent acts, including shootings and bombings that killed dozens of people. In one instance, a teenage Jewish girl disguised as an Arab was arrested, just as she placed a basket with a time-bomb in a crowded market. These groups did not hesitate to kill anyone who opposed them, resulting in most of the victims of their assassinations being Jewish (Assassinations being targeted rather than indiscriminate attacks). In 1939, David Ben-Gurion, the man who would become the first Prime Minister of Israel, encouraged Jews in Palestine to go on a rampage that killed 38 Palestinians and injured 44(23).


Zionist collusion with Hitler and Mussolini

The Stern Gang, also known as Lehi, sought an alliance with Hitler in 1940. Lehi sent a delegate, Nathan Yellin-Mor, to Germany to encourage the Nazis to attack British forces in Palestine. On the creation of Israel, Yellin-Mor became a member of the first Knesset. Lehi also established an alliance with the Italian Fascists through the Jerusalem Agreement (1940) and passed intelligence to them during the war to help overthrow the British in Palestine. The ultimate purpose of the Stern Gang's collaboration with the Fascists was to use 'all the means in its power to liquidate the Jewish Diaspora'. In other words, Zionists were using anti-Semites destroy Jewish communities in Europe in order to forcibly transfer their populations to a Zionist state in Palestine. In addition, Chaim Weizmann of the Zionist Organisation, met with Benito Mussolini to gain leverage against the British.(23).

Interesting then, that Zionists try to make a big deal of the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husseini collaborating with the Nazis, when the Zionists were also collaborating with Hitler's Nazis and Mussolini's Fascists.


Zionist rejection of a Palestinian state

In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain presented the White Paper 1939 which called for the establishment of a Jewish state within an INDEPENDENT Palestinian state. It limited Jewish immigration and provided guidelines around the purchase of land from the Palestinian Arabs. The Arab Higher Committee (under the leadership of Husayn ibn Ali - a Palestinian Arab who can trace his lineage to a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad) accepted the White Paper. The Zionists did not. The White Paper, had it been the blueprint for the future of the Levant, would have seen an independent Palestinian state established. This of course was unacceptable to Zionists, as it still is to this day. The idea of a two-state solution is anathema to Zionists.

Zionists are happy to refer to United Nations Resolution 181 as legitimising the creation of Israel. However, Resolution 181 recommended that a Jewish state be created in Palestine ... as long as the Arab occupants were in agreement and an Arab state was also be created. It is a myth, that the United Nations created Israel(24). The state itself was created by the Jewish Agency which misused Resolution 181 and forcibly took over Palestine, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

The war that followed Israel's creation in 1948, resulted in significant loss of land for the Palestinians, deaths of thousands, depopulation of around 400 villages and the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians. It was genocide. It was ethnic cleansing. It was the Nakba. So how can Christians defend Israel's actions as being blessed by God? Some Christians mock Islam for claiming to be the religion of peace, yet Christianity has provided material and spiritual support for Israel's genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Zionists are killing in the name of God.

Israel's Right to Exist?

If Israel has a right to exist, then so does Palestine.

However, modern Israel was created through the illegal displacement of the existing inhabitants of Palestine. The following gif shows the creeping colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine:

From: Humanity for Palestine



Zionists will claim that Israel's right to exist is written in the holy scriptures. They are using the scripture to justify killing in the name of God; justifying genocide in the name of God; justifying ethnic cleansing in the name of God.

Ironically, these same people will accuse Palestinians of killing in the name of God, claiming that it is evidence of the inherent violence of Islam. This suits their Islamophobic narrative; their vilification of Islam while ignoring the inherent violence in Zionism that has killed and displaced so many people. Palestinians are not fighting in the name of Allah, they are fighting to defend their land from a violent and illegal invasion.




Israel claims that its enemies want to drive it into the sea, yet the evidence is pretty clear that Israel is trying to drive Palestinians into the figurative sea. Israel continues building illegal settlements which violate the Fourth Geneva Convention(25) and numerous UN resolutions in order to drive the Palestinians out of the land.

United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 22/29(26) states:


Considering that the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,


It goes on to state:


Affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute very serious violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein, and undermine international efforts aimed at invigorating the peace process and realizing the two-State solution

Israel claims that it isn't an occupation because the land was not under sovereign rule. However, even Israel's High Court ruled that 'Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation'(27).

Israel isn't serious about peace, even though it portrays itself as the victim, as the only serious contender for peace while claiming Palestine is opposed to any peace settlement.

If Israel was serious about peace it would end the occupation and remove the illegal settlements. It removed settlements from Gaza in 2005, but had built a wall around it so the 1.8 million residents became inmates in the world's largest open air prison. Israel then increased the settlements in the West Bank. It isn't Palestine that opposes peace, but Israel.

When the UN admitted Palestine as a non-voting member, the Zionists were up in arms. If they truly care about peace, why would they oppose the recognition of Palestine? Recognising Israel is one thing, but opposing the recognition of Palestine demonstrates the animosity that Zionists have towards it.

Israel claims it is a democracy, yet Palestinians do not have the same voting rights as Israelis. If Israel truly is a democracy, then maybe one day we will see a Palestinian leading the Knesset. Yeah sure ... like that will ever happen.

Israel is an ethnocracy, not a democracy. It is ruled by one ethnic group and there is no chance that another ethnic group will govern Israel(28). In fact, considering the walls and barriers that Israel has constructed to segregate Palestinians from Jews, as well as the separate roads for Israeli and Palestinian use, Israel is more of an apartheid state than a democratic one.

The establishment of Modern Israel was a European land-grab that had been in the planning for decades, and which opportunistically used the holocaust and scripture to justify it. The holocaust was terrible, but it was over by 1945 and other nations were assisting with refugee resettlement post-war, not to mention the ability to settle back into European countries which were at peace in the three years preceding 1948. Part of the justification for the establishment of Israel is the slogan, 'Never again', declaring that the Holocaust will never happen again because Israel is the safe haven for Jews the world over. However, even Holocaust survivors have condemned the invocation of Holocaust guilt to justify killing and displacing Palestinians(29).

Regardless of prophecy, there is no justification for ethnic cleansing and killing in the name of God.

If Zionists worshipped God in spirit and in truth, they would look at the scriptures holistically and take into account the spiritual nature of the New Testament, as well as the words of Christ in Matthew 22:35-39 which sums up the entire law in two commandments:

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. 
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”


Zionism was a land-grab deceitfully done in the name of God in order to manipulate Jews and Christians into unquestioning fealty to the state of Israel.

Legitimising an illegal occupation that kills in the name of God is not Christian.

Idolising a state that was created illegally in contravention of a UN Resolution is not Christian.

Genocide, ethnic cleansing, lying and idolising do not constitute love; the basic tenets of Christianity.


References

1. Information Clearing House, Hanna Braun, 'A basic history of Zionism and is relation to Judaism', September 2001, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4549.htm. Accessed 14 April 2017.

2. Al Jazeera, Megan O'Toole, 'Strong evidence' of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, 29 July 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/evidence-israeli-war-crimes-gaza-interactive-15072810-150728133534137.html. Accessed 14 April 2017.

3. ABC News, Israeli security forces 'killed 25 Palestinian children' in three months, UNICEF says, 15 May 2016, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-15/25-palestinian-children-killed-in-3-months-unicef/7415256. Accessed 14 April 2016.

4. Middle East Monitor, Military Expert: Israel is using 3 internationally banned weapons in Gaza, 4 August 2014, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20140804-military-expert-israel-is-using-3-internationally-banned-weapons-in-gaza/. Accessed 14 April 2017.

5. The Guardian, Harriet Sherwood, Israel using flechette shells in Gaza, 20 July 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israel-using-flechette-shells-in-gaza. Accessed 14 April 2017.

6. Human Rights Watch, Israel: White Phosphorous Use Evidence of War Crimes, 25 March 2009, https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/03/25/israel-white-phosphorus-use-evidence-war-crimes. Accessed 14 April 2017.

7. The Independent, Raymond Whitaker, 'Tungsten bombs' leave Israel's victims with mystery wounds, 18 January 2009, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tungsten-bombs-leave-israels-victims-with-mystery-wounds-1418910.html. Accessed 14 April 2017.

8. The Electronic Intifada, Rania Khalek, Israeli army uses Gaza children as human shields, 11 August 2014, https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-army-uses-gaza-children-human-shields. Accessed 14 April 2017.

9. Haaretz, UN: Palestinian Children Tortured, Used as Human Shields by Israel, 20 June 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.530993. Accessed 14 April 2017.

10. Amnesty International, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories 2016/17,  https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/. Accessed 14 April 2017.

11. Norman G. Finkelstein, 'Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History', Verso 2008, updated edition.

12. Ian Carroll, 2012. In the Beginning, 'Israel / Palestine - a 4000 Year History'. 1st Edition. Adenuf Publications.

13. Shlomo Sand, Pages 130-143, Chapter 3, The Invention of the Exile - Proselytism and Conversion, 'The Invention of the Jewish People', First Edition (English), Verso, 2009.

14. Peter Frankopan, 2016, Chapter 6 - The Road of Furs, The Silk Roads - A New History of the World. Bloomsbury

15. Shlomo Sand, Page 287, Chapter 5, The Distinction: Identity politics in Israel, 'The Invention of the Jewish People', First Edition (English), Verso, 2009.

16. Oxford Academic, Genome Biology and Evolution, Danielle Venton, Highlight: Out of Khazaria - Evidence for "Jewish Genome" lacking, 16 January 2013, http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/1/75.full. Accessed 14 April 2017.

17. Shlomo Sand, Page 180, Chapter 3, The Invention of the Exile - Proselytism and Conversion, 'The Invention of the Jewish People', First Edition (English), Verso, 2009.

18. ibid, Page 181.

19. Reuters, Vatican synod ends with criticism of Israel, 23 October 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vatican-mideast-idUSTRE69M18F20101023. Accessed 14 April 2017.

20. Neturei Karta International, Jews Against Zionism, Rabbi Dovid Weiss, The Torah Demands Justice for the Palestinians, 1 June 2001, http://www.nkusa.org/activities/speeches/nyc060101.cfm. Accessed 11 April 2017.

21. Thomas Suarez, 2016. State of Terror. 1st Edition. Skyscraper Publications.

22. Ibid, Chapter 2, Zionism and the British Mandate to 1938.

23. Ibid, Chapter 3, While the War Raged, 1939 - 1944.

24. Foreign Policy Journal, Jeremy R. Hammond, The Myth o the U.N. Creation of Israel, 26 October 2010, https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/10/26/the-myth-of-the-u-n-creation-of-israel/. Accessed 11 April 2017.

25. The Jerusalem Post, Daniel Steiman, The settlements are illegal under international law, 29 December 2013, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-settlements-are-illegal-under-international-law-336507. Accessed 10 April 2017.

26. United Nations Human Rights Council, 22nd session of the Human Rights Council: Resolutions, decisions and President’s statements, Resolution 22/29 adopted 22 March 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session22/Pages/ResDecStat.aspx. Accessed 10 April 2017.

27. BBC News, The Geneva Convention, 19 December 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1682640.stm. Accessed 10 April 2017.

28. Middle East Monitor, Asa Winstanley, Israel is not a democracy, 13 February 2015, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20150213-israel-is-not-a-democracy/. 11 April 2017.

29. Alternet, Katie Halper, 6 Holocaust Survivors Who Fight Against Israel's Treatment of Palestinians, 6 August 2014, http://www.alternet.org/world/6-holocaust-survivors-who-fight-against-israels-treatment-palestinians. Accessed 11 April 2017.



Recommended reading

Miko Peled, 2016, The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. 2nd Edition. Just World Books.

Norman G. Finkelstein, 2008. Beyond Chutzpah - On the misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. 1st ed. London: Verso.

Ilan Pappe, 2007. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Reprint Edition. Oneworld Publications.

Ilan Pappe, 2014. The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge. 1 Edition. Verso

Craig Nielsen, 2010. Israel Palestine - A Christian Response to the Conflict. Digital Print Australia.

Anna Baltzer, 2007. Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories [Updated & Revised]. Edition. Routledge.

Avigail Abarbanel, 2012. Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. 1st Unabridged Edition. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Shlomo Sand, 2010. The Invention of the Jewish People. 1st Edition. Verso.

Shlomo Sand, 2012. The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland. 1 Edition. Verso

Noam Chomsky, 2004. Middle East Illusions: Including Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood. 1st Edition. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Noam Chomsky, 2015. Gaza in Crisis. 1st edition. Penguin Books.

Noam Chomsky, 1999. The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians. Updated Edition. Pluto Press.

Naim Ateek, Cedar Duaybis, Maurine Tobin (editors), 2005. Challenging Christian Zionism: Theology, Politics and the Israel-Palestine Conflict. Melisende UK Ltd.

This subject is also covered in the following article:

Ranting Panda, Repenting of the Palestinian Pogrom, 18 December 2012, http://thepandarant.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/repenting-of-palestinian-pogrom.html.



Individual GIF frames

The below are the individual frames of the Humanity for Palestine GIF, for hard-copy prints.












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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Freedom of speech - a two-edged sword

Freedom of speech - a two-edged sword

Three interesting things happened this week in relation to freedom of speech:

- Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act - proposed changes rejected
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali - anti-Islam activist's proposed tour of Australia cancelled
- Bassem Tamimi - Palestinian activist's proposed tour of Australia cancelled

The first issue was the rejection by the Senate of proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act(1).

Section 18C reads(2):

(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

Note: Subsection (1) makes certain acts unlawful. Section 46P of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 allows people to make complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission about unlawful acts. However, an unlawful act is not necessarily a criminal offence. Section 26 says that this Act does not make it an offence to do an act that is unlawful because of this Part, unless Part IV expressly says that the act is an offence.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:
(a) causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or
(b) is done in a public place; or
(c) is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.
(3) In this section:
"public place " includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place
.


The government, under pressure from extreme right wing activists, had attempted to change the wording, 'offend, insult, humiliate', to simply 'harass'.

It should be noted, that 18C applies to speech in public, not in private. So what is said around the BBQ with your mates is not an offence under 18C. Similarly, even if it is said in public, there are exemptions to 18C which generally covers any public speech that is done 'reasonably and in good faith':

Exemptions 
 Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
(c) in making or publishing:
(i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
(ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.


The Senate rejected the proposed changes when Labor, the Greens and cross-benchers such as Nick Xenophon voted against it.

The extreme right were up in arms and vowed to fight on for 'freedom of speech'.

This roughly translates as the right to 'offend, insult and humiliate'. What is that these people want to say that they can't say already? It boils down to people wanting the right to disrespect others. In reality, they already have this right.

Most of the issues that the opponents of 18C have are not that people are stopping them from saying anything, but that people call them out on it. It seems that they want the right to insult, offend and humiliate, but don't want others to have the right to respond. This is an attack on free speech in itself.

The second issue was the proposed visit to Australia by former Muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the poster-child of the anti-Islam brigade.

HirsiAli was a Somalian refugee who has been vocal on issues such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages. Not too many people have an issue with this. However, Ali gives voice to Islamophobia by claiming that it is Islam itself that is responsible for terrorism and violence within the Muslim world. She has stated that Islam is a 'destructive, nihilistic cult of death'(3).

A number of people criticised her visit, but very few called for her to be banned. Muslim women made a video stating that Ali did not speak for them. However, they weren't requesting her tour be cancelled. They were calling her out for hate speech and bigotry that has been feeding the hate-mongering by Islamophobes. Ironically, this hate-mongering has manifested itself in violence against Muslims by people who claim that Islam is inherently violent.

Nonetheless, Ali cancelled the tour herself, citing organisational and security concerns, even though authorities stated that they had no knowledge of any security threat to her on the tour(4).

This further fed the paranoia of the anti-Islam groups who then claimed this was an attack on free speech by Muslims and Australia's left-wing activists.

The third issue was the less publicised visit to Australia by Palestinian activist, Bassem Tamimi, who was being brought to Australia by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association and other Palestine advocacy groups.



Hours after issuing Tamimi's visa, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton revoked it. The Immigration Department stated, 'The Department recently became aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to Mr Tamimi’s presence in Australia regarding his views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East'(5)

Interesting that it was the fear of violence from people opposed to Tamimi's message in support of Palestine that resulted in the visa being cancelled. It was only a few weeks ago that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Australia and was met by peaceful protests from pro-Palestine groups. Apparently, the government doesn't have as much trust in either the anti-Palestine or pro-Israel/Zionist groups.

So with the government shutting down Bassem Tamimi's freedom of speech in support of Palestine, where is the outrage from those who oppose 18C? Where is the outrage against the stifling of Tamimi's freedom of speech, from those who supported Hirsi Ali's visit to Australia in the name of freedom of speech?

It seems that freedom of speech in Australia is a rather ethereal concept, one that is somewhat tenuous in its application. Those who claim to oppose 18C in the name of freedom of speech are using this position to attack anyone who dares challenge their hate speech.

American civil rights campaigner, Alan Dershowitz stated, 'Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent'.

This week the government did pick and choose which expressions to authorise and which to prevent. They didn't stop Hirsi Ali but did stop Bassem Tamimi.

Most people want freedom of speech, however, they aren't so happy with freedom of retort. And it is this freedom of retort that has opponents of 18C believing that they are victims in some sort of conspiracy to shut down their freedom of speech.

The extreme right does raise some valid issues regarding terrorism for instance, however, banning Islam, as some of them want to do, will only cause greater fracturing of relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, and will destroy any trust that the Muslim community has in the government. It will make identifying radicals harder, given that it is often Muslims who report radicals within their own community.

Hirsi Ali raises valid points around FGM and forced marriage. The lies that she then goes on to spread cannot be addressed if her views are forced underground. Better for these distortions to be brought to the light where they can be exposed for the lies that they are, as we saw in the campaign by Muslim women that Ali doesn't speak for them.

Bassem Tamimi makes valid points around Israel's oppression of Palestine, exposing the decades of violations of human rights and UN resolutions. These issues need to be addressed, not shut down by those who refuse to acknowledge Israel's crimes against humanity.

Freedom of speech is important in order to flesh out valid issues. As George Washington said, 'If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter'.

If issues are not discussed and debated, then people will continue on in their own ignorance and in same cases, acting out their hate through violent actions as we see by both Islamist extremists and Western Right-wing extremists, many of whom are Christian.


References

1. ABC News, Ashlynne McGee, '18C: Proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act defeated in Senate', 31 March 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/18c-racial-discrimination-act-changes-defeated-in-senate/8402792. Accessed 9 April 2017.

2. Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/rda1975202/. Accessed 9 April 2017.

3. Southern Poverty Law Centre, 'A Journalist's Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists',    https://www.splcenter.org/20161025/journalists-manual-field-guide-anti-muslim-extremists#ali. Accessed 9 April 2017.

3. Sydney Morning Herald, Jacqueline Maley, 'Why did Ayaan Hirsi Ali really cancel her Australian speaking tour', 8 April 2017, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/why-did-ayaan-hirsi-ali-really-cancel-her-australian-speaking-tour-20170406-gvf31i.html. Accessed 9 April 2017.

4. The Guardian, Christopher Knaus, 'Palestinian activist's Australian visa cancelled on eve of speaking tour', 8 April 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/08/palestinian-activists-australian-visa-cancelled-on-eve-of-speaking-tour. Accessed 9 April 2017.

5. ABC News, Jade MacMillan, 'Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Australian visit slammed by 1,000 protesters', 23 February 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/palestinian-protesters-march-against-benjamin-netanyahu/8298538. Accessed 9 April 2017.