As the presidential election heats up, the Trump administration comes out in full force to address the Christian fundamentalists.
Editor’s Note: This article by Whitney Webb is a fascinating and enlightening analysis of Christian fundamentalism linked with Zionism. Webb covers the history of Christian support for Israel and Zionism in the United States that has its origins as far back as John Adams and the Puritans. The article documents a yoking together of Christian and Israeli interests for self-interest into to the present day with information about Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a right-wing so-called Christian group whose titular head is John Hagee. CUFI held a “Washington Summit” July 8-9, 2019 with featured speakers that included Netanyanhu as well as Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and others in the Trump administration.
Christian support in America for Zion — for a Jewish homeland — runs back to the early Puritan settlers, and it has endured for centuries. Indeed, our second president [John Adams], a couple years back, said… ‘I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.’
The largest pro-Israel organization in the United States is not composed of Jews, but of Christian evangelicals, with a total membership of 7 million, more than 2 million more members than the entirety of the American Jewish community.
Members of this organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), met in Washington [July 8-9], 2019], attracting thousands of attendees and featuring speeches from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. CUFI’s leader, controversial evangelical preacher John Hagee, has met with President Donald Trump several times and was recently part of an exclusive White House meeting in March on the administration’s upcoming “peace plan” for Israel and Palestine.
While organizations like CUFI and its predecessors have long seen the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and the later Israeli victory and conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, there is one prophecy that this sect of evangelical Christians believes is the only thing standing between them and the Second Coming. There are estimated to be more than 20 million of these Christians, often referred to as Christian Zionists, in the United States, and they are a key voting bloc and source of political donations for the Republican Party.
These two groups of different faiths, since the 19th century, have repeatedly formed an opportunistic alliance in order to ensure the fulfillment of their respective prophecies, despite the fact that members of the other faith are rarely if ever on the same page in their interpretations of what occurs after the temple’s construction.
This alliance, based on a mutual obsession with hastening the coming of the Apocalypse, continues to this day and now, more than at any other time in history, these groups have reached the heights of power in both Israel and the United States. Parts I and II of this exclusive series explored how this branch of religious Zionism has come to dominate the current right-wing government of Israel and has led Israel’s current government to take definitive steps towards the destruction of the Al Aqsa mosque and the imminent construction of a Third Temple.
Now this installment (Part III) will show how this movement’s Christian counterpart in the United States, Christian Zionism, has likewise become a dominant force in American politics, particularly following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, where this apocalyptic vision is a major driver behind his administration’s Middle East policy.
Yet, this fire-and-brimstone vision of the end times has long been a guide for prominent figures in American history and the American elite, even predating Zionism’s founding as a political movement. Thus, Christian Zionism’s influence on Trump administration policy is merely the latest of a long list of examples where prophecy and politics have mixed in American history, often with world-altering results.
Richard Silverstein — an academic and journalist whose work has been published in Haaretz and MintPress,among other outlets — has argued that Israeli politicians, particularly Netanyahu, have sought out support from evangelical groups despite their anti-Semitic undertones and the fact they the act out of self-interest in pursuing their political objectives.
In a 2017 article, Silverstein stated that for Israel’s nationalist right-wing:
Judaism is not a spiritual value, it is a physical manifestation of power in the world. These Israelis understand that not all Jews are their “brothers.” Some Jews are too effete, too liberal, too humane, too universalist. These Jews are the detritus which will be washed away by the tide of history. Israeli nationalists need to replace these traditional Jewish allies and have done so by finding new ones: Christian evangelicals, African dictators, European neo-Nazis. Zionism as they define it is less a movement dedicated to ethics and more one dedicated to self-interest.”
Vice President Pence, left, greets Hagee at CUFI’s annual summit, July 8, 2019, in Washington. Patrick Semansky | AP
CUFI is exempt from paying U.S. taxes and from publicly disclosing its finances because it is officially registered as a church, though it is often likened to an arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States and actively promotes and funds illegal West Bank settlements. CUFI also advocates for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the construction of a Third Temple.
Much has been written about CUFI’s influence in the Republican Party, which began under the George W. Bush administration soon after its founding. As journalist Max Blumenthal noted in a 2006 article for The Nation:“Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).”
At a CUFI summit last year, Netanyahu described CUFI as a “vital part of Israel’s national security.”
CUFI has…won powerful allies and counts neoconservative Elliott Abrams; former CIA director James Woosley; neoconservative archon Bill Kristol; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence among its staunchest supporters. At a CUFI summit last year, Netanyahu described CUFI as a “vital part of Israel’s national security.”
In addition, CUFI has close ties to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to President Trump and the entire Republican Party. Adelson even received a special award from Hagee at a 2014 CUFI event. “I’ve never had a greater warm feeling than being honored by Pastor Hagee,” said a beaming Sheldon Adelson at the time.
At the most recent CUFI summit, held on [July 8-9, 2019], the Trump administration sent Pence, Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, all of whom spoke at the summit.
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
The contents of Rise Up Times do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor. Articles are chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Rise Up Times republishes articles from a number of other independent news sources as well as original articles and stories.