By A Faizur Rahman
February 23, 2012
With India refusing to tow the Israeli line in blaming Iran for the February 13 New Delhi attack, pro-Israel lobbies in the US have stepped up their offensive against it. In a recent op-ed piece in The Diplomat, former US diplomat Nicholas Burns blasted India for its ‘ill-advised statement that it will continue to purchase oil from Iran’ and termed it ‘extremely out of step and out of touch with the new global determination to isolate and pressure Iran to negotiate in order to avoid a catastrophic war.’ ‘Global determination’ to avoid a ‘catastrophic war’? Burns must be joking.
In the context of Burns’ outburst, many may wonder why the Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in opposing Iran’s nuclear program when it does not affect the US in any way. West Asia watchers would say that the US response is dictated by the US-Israeli relationship, which is not a mere political alliance but a symbiotic bond firmly secured by Judeo-Christian theology. According to Irvine Anderson, the author of Biblical Interpretation and Middle East Policy, ‘an American cultural predisposition’ to support Israel is ‘based in part on the influence of the Christian Bible.’
An analysis of the US political scene would reveal that it is the Evangelical Right, also known as the Christian Zionists, led by extremist televangelists like John Hagee, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who, along with the powerful Jewish lobby, call the shots, in so far as the US’s Middle East policy is concerned. It must be said that mainstream Christianity (including the Catholic Church) does not identify itself with the Evangelical Right’s fanatical beliefs.
Article continues below the advertisement...
I n a May 2010 article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz titled ‘Why Christian Zionists really support Israel’, Hagee wrote: ‘Our support for Israel starts with God’s promises in the Hebrew Bible, but it does not end there. Christian Zionists recognise that we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. As I have stressed to my Christian audiences for years: If you take away the Jewish contribution to Christianity, there would be no Christianity.’
By ‘God’s promises’ Hagee is actually referring to the deliberate misrepresentations of certain Biblical verses. One such verse promises Prophet Abraham and his descendants (through Isaac, the second son of Abraham) the land ‘from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the Euphrates’ (Genesis 15:18). In another verse God offers to give Abraham and his ‘seed’ after him the entire land of Canaan (Palestine) ‘for an everlasting possession’ (Genesis 17:8).
It is the belief of the Christians Zionists that the occupation of all Arab lands by the Jews is a prelude to the Second Coming of Christ and Armageddon, the Biblical concept of the last battle between the Good and the Evil before the Day of Judgment (Ezekiel 38-39).
It is in this context that the US-Israeli attitude towards Iran must be seen. In his provocative 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown, John Hagee warns that ‘the end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty... We are going to discover we are facing a countdown in the Middle East — the Jerusalem Countdown, a battle such as the world has never seen or will ever see again.’
The book warns that god will judge the nations of the world ‘based on their treatment of the State of Israel’ and any nation, ‘that presumes to interfere with God’s plan for Israel, including the US, stands not only against Israel but also ultimately against God.’ Echoes of this fear can be seen in the run up to the US elections where right-leaning candidates are vying with each other to voice their blind support for a war on Iran.
But the Christian Zionists are not exactly honest in their support for the Jews. They have their own hidden religious agenda according to which, Jesus in his second mission will convert all the Jews to Christianity, and therefore, to hasten this process all must be done to help the Zionists establish ‘Greater Israel’ through the takeover of Arab lands between Nile and Euphrates.
It is a strange paradox that on one side we have the Christian Zionists who, along with the Jewish lobby, continue to successfully delude the US into supporting Israel in the dogmatic hope of one day converting all the Jews to Christianity. And on the other side, we see the Israeli Zionists - who never accepted Jesus as their Messiah - cleverly manipulate the Christian Right to further their regional agenda.
A Faizur Rahman is the Secretary General of Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought