With people of Jewish faith making up just 2% of the potential vote, why are American politicians pandering to the whims of Israel?
The answer partly lies in the fact that there are an estimated 40 million American Christian Zionists or Christian conservatives that constitutes a sizeable portion of the US vote.
So what is Christian Zionism and how is it fundamentally different from other Christian teachings?
The philosophical foundations of Christian Zionism go back to ancient times. They are associated with the age-old belief in an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil and a premonition that the world would soon end. This thread is traceable from early Hebrew prophets; from Jesus Christ, who apparently expected that the Kingdom of God would emerge in the lifetime of his disciples; and from the inhabitants of Qumran, whose writings prophesied a horrendous battle between good and evil. The seers considered the world of their day to be sinful, but after the great struggle an age of goodness ruled by God would emerge. No gray area permitting compromise exists between good and evil, they held. The staying power of those beliefs is so great that they are still with us after 2000 years and form the root system of the beliefs of today's Christian Zionists.”
“This apocalyptic filament, hugely assisted by the Biblical books of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New, wound its way through the Roman period and the Middle Ages toward our own time. A beast with the number 666, it was held, will control the earth until Christ overwhelms him at the battle of Armageddon. The forces of good throw the beast (the Antichrist) into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, permitting the millennium to arrive, a period of bliss and justice in which God rules. Then would come the last judgment and a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem. — William N Dale, retired senior US Foreign Service officer
With this antiquated view that the “Rapture” is only possible through the creation of the land of Israel and the restoration of Jews to Palestine, the essence of US support for Israel comes into focus. It is also for this reason that an unholy alliance between Zionist Jews and Christians has been forged in the United States.
The Cornerstone Church based in Texas has a congregation of approximately 5000 worshippers. The worshippers have been addressed by high-profile Zionists and even the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. With funding from Jewish lobby groups like AIPAC, congregation leaders see lucrative value in growing and entrenching Christian Conservative support for Israel.
Christian Zionist influence on US politics and foreign policy began in the 1980’s with the election of Ronald Reagan. He brought with him to the White House, prominent Christian Zionists such as Falwell, Robertson, and Hal Lindsey.
With the current US president Obama’s declaration at a keynote address at the Union for Reform Judaism conference in Maryland on Friday, “My Administration has done more than any other to support Israel”, it is evident that both Jewish and Christian Zionists have a significant influence on Congress and indeed on US Foreign policy. Policy that favours Israel above any other middle-east country and more importantly over American citizens.
From 1976 onward, Israel has been the leading country for US economic assistance. In his 2012 budget speech President Obama requested a record $3.075 billion worth of weapons for Israel, a $75 million increase from 2011. This in stark contrast to the $700 million that was earmarked for Palestine but was withdrawn after pressure from Jewish lobby groups when Palestine attempted to achieve recognition as an UN member state. Israel has one of the highest economic growth rates and mean living standards in the world whilst Palestine has one of the lowest.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, having since been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.
Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. In the past, Israel also had received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel’s receiving benefits not available to other countries. For example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, all U.S. foreign assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year. Most other recipients normally receive aid in installments. Congress also appropriates funds for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs - Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, September 16, 2010
Refreshingly, Ron Paul, US Presidential hopeful has called for the halting of all US aid. In a debate in October of this year, Ron Paul stated, "It’s not authorized in the constitution that we can take money from you (the American people) and give it to particular countries around the world. To me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries."
He went on to say, "That foreign aid makes Israel dependent on us... It softens them for their own economy. And they should have their sovereignty back, they should be able to deal with their neighbors at their own will."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com