In recent years, the actions, words and theology of Christian Zionists have been scrutinised and criticised by academics, theologians and conspiracy theorists alike. Such people are also likely to appreciate Ben White’s article ‘The Other Evangelicals’ from April 2008.
Ben White has written for various Christian newspapers. White is typically critical of Israel, sympathetic towards Islamist terrorism, and openly claims to understand Jew-hatred. It is no coincidence that he is so keen to write about other evangelicals like himself.
White commends Christian evangelicals who dispute Christian Zionism such as Stephen Sizer, Don Wagner, Tony Campolo, Gary Burge, Colin Chapman, and Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. To this list we may wish to add Sabeel, Amos Trust, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), Anthony McRoy and David Rushworth-Smith.
By criticising Israel and her supporters without taking into account Israel’s security concerns, all of the above contribute to a distorted view of the Middle East conflict which is just as one-sided as that of the Christian Zionists. The backlash from many Christian denominations and evangelical leaders against Christian Zionism must be seen in the wider context of the propaganda war being fought over Israel.
What is also disturbing is how these Christian leaders, directly or otherwise, contribute to ‘non-violent resistance’ against Israel.
Some of the Other Evangelicals have also supported terrorists, with Dr Anthony McRoy praising Hizbollah suicide bombings, Norman Kember of CPT funding the bail of an Al Qaida leader, Sabeel endorsing Hamas, and Stephen Sizer defending intifada against Israel on Iranian TV.
Whilst many of the Other Evangelicals may give lip service to the idea that they condemn violence from both Palestinians as well as Israelis, the reality is that they rarely if ever speak out directly against terrorist groups or terrorist incidents. The Other Evangelicals have been silent about rocket attacks on southern Israel over the last 8 years, and tend to be vitriolic in their criticisms of the Jewish state.
Recent statements regarding Gaza have confirmed the suspicion of many that, for all their talk of “peace”, the Other Evangelicals willingly contribute ideological ammunition to the jihadists.
Interestingly, Ben White sees violent resistance and non-violent resistance as ‘two sides of the same coin’. For White, both forms of ‘resistance’ are necessary and useful, being part of the campaign to bring down the Jewish state. White writes:
“Popular struggle, like violent resistance, is not an end in and of itself; it is a method, a strategy. It is the end goal, decolonization and liberation from occupation and Zionist apartheid, that is ferociously opposed by the self-declared international guardians of the “peace process” and their friends in the Palestinian elite. The rest is just smoke and mirrors.”
Ben White and the Other Evangelicals are also guilty of playing down legitimate concerns of the Israeli public. Just last week, Stephen Sizer compared the Hamas rockets fired into southern Israel with ‘slingshots’. Similarly, Ben White is a proponent of the ‘Fluffy Hezbollah’ theory (quite similar to the ‘Fluffy Hamas’ theory), describing Hezbollah as a ‘nationalist resistance movement’ (which nation?), and claiming that the view of Hezbollah as ‘a nasty fundamentalist body’ is a myth. Furthermore, White advocates a ‘one-state solution’, refusing to take seriously the concerns that this will lead to a bloodbath.
Whilst Ben White’s writings are reproduced by Hezbollah TV, Stephen Sizer’s writings are propagated by VHO, Israel Shamir, Aaargh!, Stormfront, the National Front, and various other neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denying groups. It is clear that Ben White and the Other Evangelicals are key contributors to the current global wave of antisemitism, and the creeping Gallowayisation of some parts of Christendom.
Having repeatedly ridiculed the Christian Zionists for their theology, perhaps it’s time for the Other Evangelicals to analyse their own contributions to peace in the Middle East.