Anti-Zionism or Anti-Semitism—By Any Name, The Game’s the Same
The Muslim world, in league with some intellectual, European bedfellows, is floating a new message these days. It is not, say Muslims, that they are anti-Semitic, but merely opposed to Zionism—implying that if the political State of Israel were dismantled, Palestinians and Jewish people could live in peace and harmony in Palestine. There should not be a country that is distinctively Jewish, they say.
Some Muslims in Great Britain have even gone so far as to demand the British apologize for the Balfour Declaration and repudiate the very notion of the document as soon as possible.
Arthur James Balfour conveyed the Balfour Declaration to Baron Lord Rothschild and the Zionist Federation in a letter on November 2, 1917. It affirmed, “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”
The Zionist Movement
Such recognition by Western governments represented the consummation of nearly two thousand years of pent-up Jewish desire to return to the land of their forefathers—Eretz Israel. This undying hope is memorialized today in the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah”:
So long as still within our breasts
The Jewish heart beats true,
So long as still towards the east
To Zion looks the Jew.
So long our hopes are not yet lost—
Two thousand years we cherished them—
To live in freedom in the land
of Zion and Jerusalem.
A Jewish writer expressed it this way: “Upheld and fortified in the dispersion by the Messianic vision of an ultimate return, the Jews never forgot or forsook their ties with the Homeland. This imperishable hope of redemption gave them fortitude to endure discrimination and persecution.”1
In 1897 in Basle, Switzerland, the First Zionist Congress met under the auspices of Theodor Herzl and several other groups, such as Hovevei Zion (lovers of Zion). There was no central direction or political program driving the Congress. It was simply the formal outgrowth of a mass movement toward Zionism within the Jewish and Christian communities. The definition of Zionism resulted from the deliberations of a committee headed by Max Nordau, a Hungarian-born doctor who had drifted from Judaism but returned due to antiSemitism. He wrote,
The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Eretz-Israel [the land of Israel]. secured by international law.
That aim was realized following the decimation of the Jewish people during the Holocaust of the Hitler era. As men like Herzl had discerned half a century earlier, Europe was no longer a place Jewish people could comfortably call home; and they pursued emigration to Palestine in earnest. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (Partition Plan). The vote was 33 in favor, 13 against, and 10 abstentions. With that historic vote, Israel became a sovereign state under international law. As Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary after the 1897 Basle Congress, “At Basle, I founded the Jewish state. . . . If not in five years, then certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it.” His dream had come true.
Arab and Muslim reaction to the reality of modern Israel was swift and violent. It rejected the Partition Plan and began a war of annihilation immediately after the official launching of the state on May 14, 1948. Five Arab armies unsuccessfully fought to make the State of Israel a stillbirth. Over the next fifty years they continued their battle through military adventurism, only to come up empty time after time.
Realizing they could not wipe out the state by military means, they turned to terrorism and international campaigning to discredit what they chose to attack as “political Zionism.” Political Zionism was deemed odious, illegitimate, and the basis upon which the nation existed.
As with the revisionist crusade that denies all of Jewry’s historic associations with the Temple Mount, the strategy is to convince the world that the Jewish people have no right to an exclusive, national entity in the Middle East. It treats Israel as though it did not exist as a legitimate, legal, national reality in the international community, but as a mutation dubbed “Zionism”—a plague to be snuffed out.
One Arab source claims that anti-Zionism does not mean Jewish people have no right to immigrate to the region . . . only that there should not be a racially exclusive state built upon “ethnic cleansing” and maintained through an “apartheid” system.
Such accusations ignore the fact that, besides the Jewish people from more than a hundred countries, 20 percent of Israel’s citizens are Palestinian Arabs (Muslim and Christian), Druze, and other ethnicities.
And though the Muslim public relations campaign declares “political Zionism,” not anti-Semitism, the issue at hand, the facts speak quite differently.
Itamar Marcus, director of the Palestinian Media Watch, reports,
PA [Palestinian Authority] academic and religious leaders teach that Islam is at war against Jews. They cite Islamic sources to demand Jews be hated and killed. Tens of times in recent years they have taught the Hadith (Islamic tradition attributed to Mohammed) demanding Muslims kill Jews, is a current obligation, in order to bring “the Hour”—the Resurrection. Two examples are: Dr. Hassan Khader, founder of Al Quds Encyclopedia, PA TV July 13, 2003, and Dr. Ibrahim Maadi, PA TV Apr. 12, 2002.2
Throughout the Middle East, Europe, and, unfortunately, on many campuses in the United States, Jewish people are the victims of verbal and physical assaults. By any standard, these attacks are anti-Semitic and cannot be written off as venting on “political Zionism.”
Therefore, by any name, the game is the same: anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism. Ironically, the Palestinian rush toward statehood is a declaration of intent and purpose to establish a Palestinian state. Legislators will be Palestinian, Islamic Sharia law will rule, the military will be led by Palestinians, and Palestinian citizens will be subject to the mores of a purely Palestinian state . . . all of which begs the obvious. How can a Palestinian state be more legal and legitimate than one that happens to be legitimately Jewish? It cannot, of course. But the drive
to devalue and exterminate Zionism is a glaring exhibition of the “final solution” envisioned by Hitler and now articulated by Palestinians, Muslims, and the majority of Arab leaders. The ruse of “political Zionism” is nothing more than a device to expel the Jewish people from the Middle East in a modern dispersion and plant the Palestinian flag on the whole of the God-given homeland of the Jewish people.
For all of the talk about “political Zionism,” the concept of Zionism reaches far beyond the confines of secular legislatures or UN corridors.
First and foremost, Zionism is an integral element in the biblical mandate and record handed down by God himself. Therefore, it is not surprising that evangelical Christians were vitally involved in the establishment of the modern Jewish state. And what was their reasoning? It was as simple as this: Because the Bible says so.
An outstanding illustration of this stance is seen in the involvement of the venerable Englishman William H. Hechler, who shared Herzl’s dream of a return of the Jewish people to Zion.
Hechler had an enormous circle of contacts among religious leaders and in the royal courts of Europe. Thus he was able to introduce the father of modern Zionism to individuals who would become invaluable resources the cause.
Herzl, a Jewish journalist, said Hechler, a Christian clergyman,
He counsels me superbly, and with unmistakably genuine good will. He is at once shrewd and mystical, cunning and naïve. So far, with respect to myself, he has backed me up in quite a wonderful way. . . . I would wish the Jews to show him a full measure of gratitude.3
For those of us who identify with the aspirations of men like William Hechler and other early Christian Zionists, our mandate is grounded in the Scriptures. And we are unabashedly committed to the fact that the promises God made to Abraham and his posterity are irrevocable.
God’s Irrevocable Promises to Abraham
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee; And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:1–3).
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a sojourner, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Gen. 17:7–8).
God’s Promise to Preserve the Jewish People
And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD (Lev. 26:44–45).
Know, therefore, that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and mercy with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations (Dt. 7:9).
God’s Promise of a Return to the Land
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off on our part. Therefore, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel (Ezek. 37:11–12).
Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you [the land], even my people, Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereavethemofmen…ForIwill take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land (Ezek. 36:12, 24).
New Testament Assumptions and Assertions
The New Testament everywhere assumes that the Jewish people will be in Eretz Israel during the final phase of this dispensation. Speaking of the Jewish people during the Tribulation, Jesus said:
When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place . . . Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains; . . . For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. . . . Behold, I have told you before (Mt. 24:15–16, 21, 25).
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits: that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:25–26).
God’s Promise of a Millennial Kingdom Under the Messiah
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. . . . And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one (Zech 14:4, 9).
To these great and irrefutable promises we can only say, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.”
- Anti-Semitism, Israel Pocket Library (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, 1972), 13
- Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch, “Demonizing Jews: Racism and Anti-Semitism,” [www.pmw.org.il/new/tb%20part6.html].
- Claude Duvernoy, The Prince and the Prophet (Jerusalem: Christian Action for Israel, 1966), 43.