ZIONISM: THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE
By: Spencer Pennington
Ever since 1914, the world as a whole has seen a dramatic change in the political, social, religious, and even economic landscapes. It began with a single gunshot from a member of the Serbian nationalist group “The Black Hand,” which resulted in the death of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and as we all know, this single assassination reshaped Human history with the initiation of World War I.
The story has been told a million times over: War broke out across Europe as the Triple Alliance of Russia, France, and Britain rushed in to aid Serbia and Austria-Hungary was backed by Germany and the Ottoman Empire, effectively becoming the coalition known as the Central Powers. While the Germans joined out of a sense of camaraderie for their Austro-Hungarian allies, the Ottomans had joined due to the money that was to be made by supplying Germany and Austria-Hungary with oil for the war, assured of their allies’ victory. After Russia withdrew from the war in 1917, due to experiencing their own revolution, the United States took their place when a German sea vessel attacked an American civilian ship. As fate would have it, the war came to a close in November of 1918 with the Central Powers on the losing side. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in France and the map of Europe, and much of the Middle East, was redrawn.
Austria-Hungary was made two separate nations; Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were formed, and Germany, though still a nation, was no longer an empire. Many of its territories were granted to the newly formed nations in Europe or to the victors of the war. Germany, already in the grip of poverty from its loss, was slapped with heavy war reparations and slipped into a debilitating decay that would last for over a decade, and the Ottoman Empire fared no better; Turkey, after much turmoil and warfare within itself and with the winners of the war, became its own nation. Its provinces in Europe either gained independence or were ceded to other European powers while France gained control of Syria and the English gained control of Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, and most important of all, Palestine.
Though order was restored in Europe, however tenuously, darker things were on the horizon for the people of the old continent. Out of the ashes of the First World War would rise the man whose name has become synonymous with tyranny, prejudice, and genocide: Adolf Hitler.
The disenfranchised youth, a native of Austria and soldier for Germany during the war, became a constant figure in Germany’s revolutionary political scene of the day, outraged at the abuse the country faced from the Allies of the war. A notorious anti-Semite, while in prison, Hitler wrote the infamous “Mein Kampf,” or “My Struggle,” one of the world’s most famous pieces of propaganda literature. After his release, he rose quickly through the ranks of a German political party of ragtag youths that would become known as the very military arm of hate – They were the Nazis.
Hitler soon became the leader of the Nazis as the group grew in the spotlight of the German public, not only in terms of notoriety, but in terms of acceptance. The German people, languishing in the grip of poverty, bitterness, and a great depression, both national and personal, were ready to hear the words of a man who promised them both the necessities of life and a destiny of greatness, and perhaps most importantly, a scapegoat in the Jewish people. Capitalizing on the historic anti-Semitism common among Westerners, especially Christians in the West, Hitler blamed the Jews for the ills of not only Germany, but Europe and even the world at large. It was the Jews, he said, that caused unemployment, the Jews that caused inflation, the Jews that caused discrimination, the Jews that caused poverty, the Jews that caused crime; if there was an evil in the world, Hitler blamed the Jews.
In 1933, Hitler became chancellor of Germany and effective ruler of the country. Nearly immediately, he began his plans of discrimination against Jews, over time banning them from schools, businesses, places of worship, and even the privacies of home life. It wasn’t long before the mad despot began sending Jews to Concentration Camps by the hundreds of thousands. This wave of death would spread out across much of the mainland of Europe with the arrival of World War II in 1939 and continue on for six years until Germany’s surrender in May 1945, resulting in the deaths of six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others including Gays, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, the disabled, or anyone who opposed Hitler’s regime. The horrors of this period, which would come to be called the Holocaust, provided the final push for the initiation of many of the conflicts we see to this very day.
In 1947, the United States and Britain, regardless of their long history of anti-Semitism, in conjunction with the United Nations, agreed that as compensation for the tragedies of the Holocaust, the hopes of Zionist Jews should be realized and thus concluded that the Jewish people should be given their own homeland in the birthplace of Judaism – the land of Palestine, even if it meant throwing the people of Palestine to the wolves and advocating what would become the greatest force for anti-Semitism in the late 20th and soon-to-be 21st centuries.
So it was that the land was divided between Palestinians and the new-coming Israelis as the British prepared to relinquish control of the land. The problem was that the Palestinian people, be they Muslims, Christians, or even Jews, were given no representation at the proceedings for the creation of the State of Israel.
In 1948, Israel was newly established when its Western allies armed them to push Palestinian citizens off of their land, who had lived there for 1,400 years, by any means necessary. Even the dividing of the land proved useless as Israelis broke the boundaries and took control of most of the land. Retaliating Palestinian Christians and even many Palestinian Jews received equally harsh treatment as that of their Muslim compatriots for their opposition to the invasion of the home that they and many of the ancestors had known all their lives. But we must ask ourselves several hard questions; what is Zionism? What does it truly advocate? Where did it come from? Why is it an insult to Judaism? Why is it more a cause of anti-Semitism than Jewish security in the world?
During the latter half of the 19th century, an idea was growing in resonance among many Jews, particularly those in Europe – this idea was Zionism, but what was it? While it is true that Zionism does indeed advocate the presence of a homeland for Jews, and this in and of itself is not necessarily a negative idea, the principles of Zionism go far beyond the realm of equality on the world stage. Zionism advocates the idea that only Jews may rule over the Holy Land regardless of the methods used to attain ruler-ship over the land and the land was given only to Jews and no one else regardless of the fact that Muslims and Christians consider the land equally sacred.
So what’s so offensive to Judaism about Zionism? Though often associated with Jewish theology, it was far from a growth in religious ideology and was in fact a movement advocated mainly by secular, more non-religious Jews, and while there were exceptions, the majority of religious Jews around the world, particularly those of the Orthodox form of the faith, were opposed to the idea of a Jewish State, largely due to the fact that this state would actually be based on secular, rather than truly Jewish ideals. More importantly is that in Jewish theology, the Israelites were exiled by God as spoken of in the Tanakh (Old Testament), and therefore only God has the authority to restore the Jewish people to any sort of singular homeland, wherever that may be. Religious Jews also believe that this cannot be attained by means of arms or force, political upheaval, or wicked action. Furthermore, many religious Jews believe that the establishment of any Jewish homeland cannot occur until the end time with the coming of the Messiah (as Jews do not see Jesus as such).
Politically, millions of religious Jews opposed the state of Israel because it was believed that this would result in the displacement, oppression, and war with the people of Palestine and the Arab world at large, even many of those following Judaism, which was traditionally a religion respected and protected in the Muslim world because Islam views Jews and Christians as “People of the Book,” believers in the One True God and His revelations prior to Islam’s Qur’an, the Torah and the Gospel. One element of proof for this fact is that throughout history, the greatest amount of anti-Semitism has come from Christians in the West, not Muslims.
These are concepts that still resonate today with millions of Jews around the world. In the United States, Britain, Canada, and even Israel, millions of religious Jews, especially Orthodox Jews, take part in protests calling for the end of Zionism, voicing support for the Palestinians, and even peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel. In the past 60 years, many Jewish anti-Zionist organizations have been formed such as Satmar, Naturei Karta, Jews Against Zionism, and Torah True Jews. Some members of these groups have even become steadfast allies of groups like the PLO. Likewise, the vast majority of Muslim countries around the world allow Jewish citizens to worship, do business, care for their families, and live their lives. These countries do indeed make sure that there is a clear distinction between Zionism and Judaism and many Jews are also opponents of Israel, as are millions of Arab Christians, all of who are welcome to join and support anti-Zionist organizations
Zionism has become rather commonplace among American Christians, perhaps more so than amount American religious Jews. But is Zionism really compatible with Scripture anyway? Many advocates of Zionism cite God’s promise to Abraham in the Book of Genesis, but the promise actually states that God will give the land over to Abraham’s seed – we see nothing about a single religion. And if Abraham’s seed is the one to whom the promise is given, then both the Israelites, fathered by Isaac, and the Arabs, fathered by Ishmael, have equal claim! Even when religion is brought into the mix later, there is nothing specifically saying that the Israelites will be the only ones to prosper in or even rule over the land for all eternity and even if that was the original intent, this clearly changes later in the Tanakh. After many times of violating God’s laws, according to Scripture, the Israelites are given over to the Babylonians and are told that they would never again be ruled over by one of their own kings until the end of time. One could even argue that this promise is being kept today, because the land is ruled over not by the Israelites of old, but by Israelis, the modern inhabitants of the land.
One must understand then, that Israelites and Israelis are two completely different groups of people; the Israelites were an ancient people that have ceased to exist for almost 2,000 years because the majority of the ones that remained after the return from Babylon were finally driven out by the Romans after they destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD and defeated the Sicarii Jews atop Masada in 73 AD. Very few remained behind, the vast majority leaving and melding into the other cultures in the known world, and even the few that did remain would eventually meld into the peoples of the other kingdoms that would come to rule over the land. In effect, the ancient Israelites no longer exist and were forced out not by Arabs, much less Muslims since Islam was established in the 7th century, but by Romans. The Israelis on the other hand are merely modern inhabitants of the state of Israel, the majority of who come from European, American, and Arab descent. This in and of itself also proves that Jews are not a race nor a nationality, but followers of a religion.
In theory, it was said that Israel was established to provide a safe home for the Jewish people in the homeland of their faith, but has this really been accomplished? Consider this: Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the world has seen the bloodiest span of time in the Middle East since the Crusades. And while most Muslims are not anti-Semitic, and are in fact tolerant and even respectful of Jews and Judaism, the animosity between Jews and Muslims has grown due to Israel’s extremist mentality in dealing with the Palestinians, thus causing the Palestinians to retaliate and the Israelis to continue their unfair oppression of the Palestinian people. It is a violent cycle on both sides. Certainly, this does not seem to be a safe haven for world Jewry. On the contrary, bloodshed in the Middle East has only grown, both among the guilty and the innocent on both sides, since the establishment of the State of Israel, many of whom are in fact Jews, both Zionists and anti-Zionists. So has this really caused a fall in anti-Semitism? It wouldn’t seem so; many countries aside from the U.S. and Britain are at the very least critical of Israel’s policies and its endorsement of Zionist ideology, thus giving the rest of the world, particularly the Middle East, a false impression of Judaism, thus, in many ways, furthering anti-Semitic propaganda and extremism across the globe.
Without a doubt, there are those reading this and coming to the conclusion that I’m anti-Semitic due to my stance against Zionism; understand, I am not anti-Semitic in any way, shape, or form. I have the utmost respect for Judaism and the Jewish people. That was the purpose of this essay: To expose the truth about Zionism and the harm that it does to the Jewish people; to show that religious Judaism denounces Zionism because Zionism is itself, in many ways, is an anti-Semitic idea.
The ideas of Zionism are often embraced and glorified in the West, both among the religious and the secular community, but anyone that truly understands Judaism and by extension Christianity knows that Zionism is incompatible with Scripture in its very foundations, yet we are told, taught, and often believe otherwise. To those giving favor Zionism, let me pose this point:
Many in the West simply see the Palestinians as a burden on the land; people who could simply live in peace if they went to one of the other Arab countries in the surrounding area despite the fact that the Palestinians have lived in the Holy Land for 1,400 years and the Israelis are new arrivals. However, I doubt that many Americans would be receptive to the idea of having our homes taken by a foreign invader in the name of God and being told that we could simply go back to Europe, despite the fact that we were born and raised in this country as were our forefathers. Ironically enough, this is almost exactly how we dealt with the Native Americans. Why should the home of one people be sacrificed without their consent to create a home for another?
I am not condoning things such as suicide bombing or even, inherently, the destruction of Israel as the only solution. The majority Palestinian people do not wish to see innocent Israeli citizens dead, but merely the Israeli military presence driven out of their home. If a compromise can indeed be reached with both Palestinians and Israelis in agreement, I am in full support of the idea, but I do condone fairness, equality, and truth: To create a home for one people, we should not uproot and oppress another. True enough, innocent Israeli citizens should not be dying in the streets of Jerusalem due to suicide bombers, but innocent Palestinian families should not be forced into the ghettos of Ramallah at gunpoint; Israeli tanks should not mow down unarmed Palestinian villages and call it a security measure.
We in the West must wake up and take heed of what Zionism truly is: It is a racist ideology that has become an offense to the Jewish religion and Jewish people and the main cause of anti-Semitic fervor around the world. We must differentiate between Judaism and Zionism. We must realize that Zionism has become and will continue to show itself as the greatest enemy of religious Judaism and the Jewish people.