Friday 15 November 2013

Anti-Semites for Israel.

The younger Bushman has crawled out from under his rock to speak to speak at a fundraising dinner today with tickets going from $100 to $100,000. For the latter you can get a VIP pass for twenty guests to see the anointed one, have your picture taken with him and get a copy of Decision Points autographed. This would not be a noteworthy event if it weren't for the fact that the event is being held by the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute. If that sounds odd here's a little clarification, the Institute's stated mission is to convert world Jewry to Christianity in order to bring about the Rapture. No doubt this is in accordance with the view that the End Times will mean burning in an everlasting lake of fire for all Jews (except for 140,000 Jews who are converted to Christianity). This is just one strategy for those on the Christian Right in its Armageddonist fantasies.

We should not be surprised to find a confluence of this level of fantasy and anti-Semitism. Even if we accept their professions of love for Israel as genuine we should not buy into the assumption that the Jewish state and the Jewish people are synonymous. Faiths and cultures are far too complex generally to be confined to a body national. The history of Christian anti-Semitism is too often whitewashed in an era where Israel seems mired in perpetual conflict with its neighbours and the Palestinians. The Roman Catholic Church only rescinded its accusations of deicide against the Jews in 1965, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. European societies have long found the presence of the apparently unsettled and rootless rather troubling. No wonder then anti-Semitism often combines with anti-Roma sentiments. The solution for some European Christians was to resituate the Jews as rooted citizens, either by stripping them of their Jewishness or by relocating them entirely.
Even in the liberal Christian states of the 19th Century the problem was that the Jewish tradition was not easily confined to the realm of an individuals' rights and freedoms. Traditions are communitarian rather than individualist. In the past this meant effective conversions and later it led to the proposals of the Nazi Party to relocate European Jewry to Madagascar. By contrast the Muslim world had little beef with Jews as a people without a land, it was once the state of Israel was founded (and the way in which it was founded) that the problems really heated up. In this way we find that the Christian anti-Semites have a vested interest in a Jewish state as a solution to their problem. You find this with people like John Hagee, a televangelist who has even suggested that the Holocaust was a part of God's plan to turn the Jews back toward Israel. This is not an exceptional case.
That old mountebank Pat Robertson wrote a book of conspiratorial fantasy in which the Jews play a role in a new world order set up. Then there was Billy Graham who was caught on tape to President Nixon (another remarkable bigot) agreeing that the Jews have a 'stranglehold' on the American media and referred to a 'synagogue of Satan'. And of course, you can't forget Jerry Falwell, the spiritual godfather of the Moral Majority, who once stated that the anti-Christ is among us and that he is an adult male Jew. Yet all of these men professed support for Israel and pledged a great deal of political support for the Israeli government in wars from 1967 onwards. One of the prerequisites for the Rapture is that the Jews return to Israel. The compatibility of this restorationist agenda with anti-Semitism should not be ignored. Evidently, Judeophobia is not unique to the Old World. It's a country where hotels once bore the label 'restricted' to mean they wouldn't take in Jewish guests.
Given that George W Bush gave up Johnnie Walker Black for the Nazarene we may not be so shocked that he is at least sympathetic to the most fervent depths of nuttiness. This is one of the main sources of votes harvested by the GOP machine (not that Bush much needed votes). The former President is in good company as the last big speaker was Glenn Beck, the same man who tooted a horn for Elizabeth Dilling's crackpot tirades against Jews and Communists. Let alone the way he scapegoated Hungarian-Jewish banker George Soros as a 'puppet master' of the Left. In the end Beck lost his platform at Fox after he started to cost them advertising dollars and the dip in ratings. He had gone too far for Abe Foxman, but never too far for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute who gave Beck its Defender of Israel award and then chowed down on a mighty hog-roast. Seriously treif scenes.

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