The Return of Crusader Theology

Thursday, June 13, 2013 |  Tsvi Sadan

Last month, the World Council of Churches (WCC) convened in Lebanon and issued the following statement:

“Palestine continues to be the central issue in the region … The persistence, after sixty five years, of continuing dispossession of Palestinian people—Christian and Muslim alike—from their land by Israeli occupation, continuing settlement of land inside the 1967 borders … is central to the turmoil in the region …. Jerusalem today is an occupied city with a government which has adopted discriminatory policies against Christians and Muslims alike …”

The WCC also took aim at Christians who dare to support Israel, the reviled “Christian Zionists”:

"Christians who promote ‘Christian Zionism’ distort the interpretation of the Word of God and the historic connection of Palestinians—Christians and Muslims—to the Holy Land, enable the manipulation of public opinion by Zionist lobbies, and damage intra-Christian relations.”

The WCC is not a marginal organization that can be dismissed off hand. It represents some 500 million Christians living in 110 countries and territories around the world. It include Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Independent churches, all of which have signed on to a political-religious document that contains blatant lies that bring to mind historical anti-Jewish Christian biases.

For instance, the WCC asserts that Israel, continually, for 65 years, has been dispossessing Muslims and Christians of their land. The truth is that the last time Palestinians crossed the Jordan River eastward and never returned was during the Six Day War in 1967. Wars, as can be witnessed today in Syria and elsewhere, produce refugees. Israel’s only fault in this regard is that it won the war. And even during that conflict, when the entire Arab population of Hebron fled, they were asked by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to return to their homes.

In contrast, due to intolerable conditions, there is massive Christian emigration from Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem and from Lebanon. Christians suffer discrimination not in Israel, but rather in Turkey, Egypt, Syria and any other Muslim country.

The WCC also wants people to believe that “Jerusalem today is an occupied city.” The WCC is not specifying “east” or “west” Jerusalem, meaning that for these Christians Jerusalem as a whole should be under the control of anyone but Israel, or, more precisely, the Jews. The fact that only “east” Jerusalem is disputed as “occupied” territory is irrelevant to the pious-minded Christians who signed this document.

The WCC anti-Israel political stand stems from its theological position that asserts, only tacitly for fear of being labeled anti-Semites, that (Christian) “Zionism distort[s] the interpretation of the Word of God.”

Zionism is a late 19th century national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. The Bible is so steeped with such a vision that it is pointless to bother with quotations. The WCC must assert therefore, like the Crusaders before, that today, the chosen “people of Israel” are not the Jews, but rather all true Christians, which is why Jerusalem should not be under Jewish sovereignty. For them, even Muslim control of Jerusalem would be better.

Any honest and unbiased reader of the Bible knows otherwise, and should reject this anti-Jewish theology. Anybody, the WCC included, who singles Israel out as the sole villain that threatens world peace, who points fingers at Israel, the least troublesome element in the Middle East, is, by definition, anti-Semitic. Masquerading such sentiment as Christian love only adds insult to injury.

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