Chapter 2: The Historical Origins of Christian Zionism
Dr. Stephen R. Sizer
The Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surry. He is acting Chairman of Living Stones, Chairman of the International Bible Society (UK), and an area tutor at the School of Theology, Westminister College, Oxford. He has written three books: Panorama of the Bible Lands, In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles, and Christian Zionism, Road Map to Armageddon?.
An analysis of the history of Western Christian attitudes toward the Jews and the Holy Land lies beyond the scope of this study. Others however have done so comprehensively.1 Furthermore the development of non-Jewish Zionism, and especially its early origins in Puritanism and Millenarianism has also already been ably researched.2 This chapter will focus on those specific historical events and theological developments that appear to have been determinative in the rise of contemporary Western Christian Zionism.
Critics as well as proponents of Christian Zionism have traced the movement as far back to the Montanist controversy in the 2nd Century, to the Protestant Reformation, to the Jewish mystical Kabbalist movement and, in particular, the Revivalist, Millennialist and Apocalyptic writings which were popular between the 17th and 19th centuries in Europe and America. Proponents insist, however, that Christian Zionism is mandated in both Old and New Testaments which, they claim, is the source of their motivation.3
It must be acknowledged at the outset that the theological interpretation of historical events, especially those since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, is made exceedingly complex and controversial since two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, each claim the same land, endowing the same locations with different place names and religious significance, while at the same time promoting rival and contradictory histories of the same events. It is consequently hard to remain neutral and not take sides, especially when visiting the Holy Land as tourists or pilgrims. As Glen Bowman points out,
Most tourists, in accord with the Israel Ministry of Tourism, call the land 'Israel', but in United Nations terminology the land is 'Israel and the Occupied Territories'. This variance in nomenclature reflects a deeper issue of identity; Israel and the area it occupied in the 1967 'Six Day War' constitute a deeply, and violently, divided country.4
Zionists clearly see the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 as highly significant, signalling the end of 2000 years of exile. Christian Zionists and some Jewish religious groups also equate this as another 'Exodus', a return to the 'Promised Land' in fulfilment of biblical prophecy and Divine blessing. Hal Lindsey is regarded as the 'Father of the Modern-Day Bible Prophecy movement'5 and representative of Christian Zionists generally.
Obstacle or no obstacle, it is certain that the Temple will be rebuilt. Prophecy demands it... With the Jewish nation reborn in the land of Palestine, ancient Jerusalem once again under total Jewish control for the first time in 2600 years, and talk of rebuilding the great Temple, the most important sign of Jesus Christ's soon coming is before us... It is like the key piece of a jigsaw puzzle being found... For all those who trust in Jesus Christ, it is a time of electrifying excitement.6
Palestinians, however, regard this traumatic experience rather differently. They see it as the violation of their fundamental human rights to exist autonomously in the land of their birth and forefathers. Since 1948 therefore, each community has disputed the grounds under which the other may remain. Examples of these contested and contradictory histories include those of Palumbo,7 Antonius8 and Said9 who give a Palestinian view point, and Zionist's such as Tuchman10 and Peters11 who offer an alternative perspective. The tension is particularly focused on the mutually exclusive claims over Jerusalem. Little has changed since Kenneth Cragg wrote,
Jerusalem... is still bitterly the symbol of confronting defiance and dismay, its centrality to both parties ensuring that the obdurate loyalties it commands continue to forbid the peace to which its name is dedicated. All visions of a federal constitution, a mutual destiny, a bi-communal possession, have thus far been fruitless. The city remains the indivisible, inalienable Jewish symbol Zionism cannot allow itself to share, except in the free access of tourism and the tolerance of religious devotion. It is, therefore, a painful sign of irreconcilability - and steadily more so as the years pass.12
The post-Apostolic Church Fathers believed that the Jews ceased to be God's 'chosen people' when they rejected Jesus Christ. Instead they understood the church to be the new Israel.
Until the close of the New Testament period, the church claimed to be Israel and wrote to the synagogues of the Dispersion accordingly... After circa A. D. 100 there was less of a tendency for Christians to claim to be Israel and more of a tendency to contrast Christianity and Judaism as separate religions.13
...the Church is regarded as the new, authentic Israel which has inherited the promises which God made to the old.14
This commonplace in Christian literature, aimed at demonstrating that the church had now become the new and the true Israel, may well have antedated the Gospels themselves.15
This view finds is basis within the New Testament. Speaking to the Jews shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus pronounced,
"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21:43).
The Apostle Paul, writing what is probably the earliest extant epistle in the New Testament, applies this same promise to a predominantly Gentile church. Confronting the teaching of Jewish legalists Paul offers a radical reinterpretation of the story of Sarah and Hagar.
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother... Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (Galatians 4:21-31)
This typological hermeneutic of taking Old Tovenant promises previously made to Israel and applying them to the Church can be traced systematically through the writings of the post-Apostolic Fathers.16
Clement (c. 90)
Clement taught that the church was the New Israel.17 In his First Epistle, Clement quotes from Deuteronomy 32:8-9 which deals with Israel's election as God's chosen people. This he applies to the church, calling his hearers to draw near to God, 'who has made us partakers in the blessings of his elect.'18 Kelly makes this assessment,
Clement of Rome sees in its [the church's] election the fulfilment of the prophecies that Jacob should become the Lord's portion and Israel the lot of His inheritance.19
Epistle of Barnabas (c. 100)
Barnabas is more explicit. Speaking of the covenant, he insists it is not, 'both theirs [ethnic Israel's] and ours [the church's]," since, 'they [the Jews] finally lost it, after Moses had already received it.'20 DeMar notes how the author asks rhetorically whether,
'This people [the church] is the heir, or the former, and if the covenant belongs to us or to them.' In answer to this question, "Barnabas" mentioned several Old Testament episodes in which the younger son replaced the oldest son as heir, the obvious implication being that the church (the younger son) has become heir.21
Justin Martyr (c. 160)
In his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin makes the same point, stressing how the prophets warned that Israel would be removed and replaced by another.
For the true spiritual Israel, the descendants of Judah, Jacob, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ... Christ is the Israel and the Jacob, even so we, who have been quarried out from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israelitic race... Along with Abraham we shall inherit the holy land, when we shall receive the inheritance for an endless eternity, being children of Abraham through like faith.22
Irenaeus (c. 180)
Irenaeus also explored the biblical analogy of Sarah and Hagar, seeing the rivalry between Jacob and Esau as a type which explained the tensions between the church and the Jews.
...[Jacob] received the rights of the first-born, when his brother looked on them with contempt; even as also the younger nation received Him. Christ, the first-begotten, when the elder nation rejected Him, saying, "We have no king but Caesar." But in Christ every blessing [is summed up], and therefore the latter people has snatched away the blessings of the former from the Father, just as Jacob took away the blessings of this Esau. For which cause his brother suffered the ploys and persecutions of a brother, just as the Church suffers this self-same thing from the Jews.23
Gradually, over the first few centuries, the church which had initially been largely Jewish became predominantly Gentile. At the same time Judaism came to recognise that Christianity was not a Jewish sect. The immediacy therefore of answering the apologetic question as to the relationship of Christianity to Judaism and to the Old Testament became less and less significant.24 Jaroslav Pelikan puts it succinctly,
No title for the church in early Christianity is more comprehensive that the term 'the people of God,' which originally meant 'the new Israel' but gradually lost this connotation as the Christian claim to be the only true people of God no longer had to be substantiated.25
Augustine (c. 413)
In his magnum opus, The City of God, Augustine portrayed the church as embodying the millennial kingdom of God, a view which became universally accepted within the Catholic church until the time of the Reformation. 'As a result the medieval period tended to dissociate contemporary Jews from the ancient Hebrews.'26
Western Christian interest in the land of Israel is closely associated with the birth, demise and subsequent resurgence of the pilgrimage movement. The word 'pilgrimage' comes from the Latin peregrinus which means a foreigner or traveller, and describes a journey to some place regarded as holy, undertaken for a religious purpose and in the hope of receiving spiritual or material blessing.27
In both Islamic and Hebrew traditions, pilgrimage is regarded as a religious obligation imposed on the entire faith community and taught in their sacred scriptures, hence the importance of the land of Israel, and in particular the shrines associated with Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, to both Jews and Moslems. For Christians however there is no such emphasis or requirement. Jesus taught instead that the sacred is located not in a place but in the body of the believer, and worship is something to be offered to God anywhere and everywhere (John 4:21-23).
In the earliest days of the Christian Church therefore, there does not appear to have been any perceived benefit from undertaking a pilgrimage. But the desire to visit the scenes associated with the birth, life and death of Jesus grew partly from natural interest and partly through the influence of superstitious beliefs the Church inherited from the surrounding pagan religions. Initially the idea of pilgrimage was seen as something voluntary and optional.28
Jerome (345-413), in common with most Protestant pilgrims today, regarded pilgrimages to Palestine as an essential way of gaining a greater understanding of the Bible, '...so we also understand the Scriptures better when we have seen Judea with our own eyes...'29
However, Augustine (354-430), John Chrysostom (344-407) and especially Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) recognised the dangers of associating sacredness with particular shrines. Consequently they actively discouraged Christians from undertaking pilgrimages to Palestine. Augustine and Chrysostom insisted,
'God is indeed everywhere, and he who created all things is not contained or shut in by any one place.'30
'The task is not to cross the sea, nor to undertake a lengthy pilgrimage... both when we come to church and when we stay at home, let us earnestly call on God.'31
Nevertheless, Empress Helena's visit to Palestine toward the end of the fourth century ensured that a pilgrimage to the Holy Land became a fashionable as well as a religious duty.32 Despite the costs, hazards and arduous nature of such a journey, pilgrims increasingly travelled to the Holy Land to do penance, to obtain redemption from serious crimes, and to secure relics for their churches.33 In a desire to create greater unity within his empire, Constantine did much to encourage pilgrimages by building large churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem which became foci for devotion and worship. Eusebius for example, claimed divine inspiration was behind Constantine's desire to make the Church of the Resurrection 'a centre of attraction and venerable to all.'34 Under Byzantian rule, despite the periodic liberalisation of the ban on Jews visiting or residing in Palestine, the Holy Land was essentially perceived as the land made holy by Jesus and now the inheritance of the church.
Prior to the Reformation, traditional Catholic thought had no place for the possibility of a Jewish return to Palestine nor any such concept as the existence of a Jewish nation.35
Historians have examined in detail the lasting impact of the Crusades and have traced the devastating consequences of the sacralising of Mediaeval European military designs to retake the Holy Land from the 'infidels', whether Moslem or Jewish.36
The attempt to liberate the Holy Land from Moslem control was seen by many as a sacred endeavour and even as a form of pilgrimage. When Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade in 1095 he gave several reasons for this 'holy pilgrimage',
....each of high moral value, first to defend Constantinople and by doing so heal the schism between East and West; second, to be a repentant act of faith that would culminate in the moral reformation and total renewal of Christendom; third, it was to be a mass pilgrimage of believers united in the expectation of the imminent return of Christ.37
How far this aspiration was shared by the Crusaders themselves is debatable. Zander seriously questions whether the Crusades ever really had anything to do with 'defending' the Church.38 Robert the Monk, commenting on Pope Urban's mobilisation speech, gave much more provocative reasons.
Let the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord our Saviour which is possessed by unclean nations, especially incite you, and the Holy Places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with their filthiness... Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves... This royal city, therefore, situated at the centre of the world, is now held captive by his enemies, and is in subjection to those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathens.39
For over a century, Bishops, clerics and Kings repeated the call 'to avenge the injury which had been inflicted upon Christ.'40 This explains why Christians had come to regard the land as their exclusive inheritance as the 'true' Israel.
The theological justification for the Crusades went through significant and progressive stages. Initially the motivation was simply to liberate the Holy Land as a means of achieving personal salvation and of hastening the apocalypse. Having conquered and settled the land and created Christian kingdoms, when Jerusalem was once again threatened by infidels, it became an opportunity for martyrdom and sacrifice. After Jerusalem was lost, the Muslim presence was seen as an insult to God, and the later Crusades were justified to avenge the injury to God. Toward the end of the Crusading era the Crusaders saw themselves as the successors of Israel; their duty to claim Christ's patrimony and inheritance.41
Such religious arrogance and the consequent extermination of the Jewish and Moslem inhabitants of Palestine by the European Crusaders unleashed a spiral of barbaric savagery which has fermented for a thousand years, each side locked in what Armstrong calls 'a murderous triangle of hatred and intolerance.'42 Cragg draws some important conclusions about the effect of the Crusades and their religious imprimatur on the Arab psyche.
The Western, Latin Rome saw the Christian East in terms of judicial dominance and ecclesiastical power... The Crusades became an enduring symbol of malignancy as well as heroism, of open imperialism and private piety... They left noble piles of architecture on the eastern landscape but seared the eastern soul. They gave Arab Muslims through every succeeding century a warrant of memory to hold against Christian Arabs as, by association, liable to pseudo-Arabness or worse. What the crusaders did to the eastern psyche, long outlived their tenure.... The image of them is one no century since has been able to exorcise.43
The Reformation was in part precipitated by the rediscovery of the Bible as the inspired Word of God and the final authority in matters of faith and doctrine. The translation, publication and free access to the Bible among the laity created a major paradigm shift in popular thinking. Within the Church of England, for example, a large Bible written in English was placed in every parish church, the priest and people required to share the cost. Interpretation was no longer the exclusive prerogative of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. The study of the Biblical texts in their original languages, Hebrew and Greek, was also encouraged. From pulpits right across Europe the Bible was increasingly taught in its historical context and in its plain literal sense.
Every Sunday called to his mind the ancient history and lost property of the 'glory of all lands', while the existing ruin and desolation of the country gave testimony to the truth of the Bible and the certainty of the promised blessings... The biblical descriptions of the Holy Land contribute no less to the propagation of which which (sic) we may call the Zionist idea.44
A new postmillennial assessment of the place of the Jew within the future purposes of God emerged, especially through the writings of Theodore Beza, John Calvin's successor in Geneva, and Martin Bucer in Strasbourg.45 In his Institutes, Calvin stressed that divine blessing was associated with their covenant obedience.
(Salvation depends on God's mercy, which He extends to whom He pleases [Romans 9:15-16]; ...there is no reason for the Jews to preen themselves and boast in the name of the covenant unless they keep the law of the covenant, that is, obey the Word.
Nevertheless, when Paul cast them down from vain confidence in their kindred, he still saw, on the other hand, that the covenant which God had made once for all with the descendants of Abraham could in no way be made void. Consequently, in the eleventh chapter (of Romans) he argues that Abraham's physical progeny must not be deprived of their dignity. By virtue of this, he teaches, the Jews are the first and natural heirs of the gospel, except that by their ungratefulness they were forsaken as unworthy - yet forsaken in such a way that the heavenly blessing has not departed utterly from their nation. For this reason, despite their stubbornness and covenant-breaking, Paul still calls them holy [Rom. 11:16]. Despite the great obstinacy with which they continue to wage was against the gospel, we must not despise them, while we consider that, for the sake of the promise, God's blessing still rests among them.46
Peter Toon traces the development of these ideas from the Continent to Britain and America.
...the word 'Israel' in Romans 11:25ff., which had been understood by Calvin and Luther as referring to the Church of Jews and Gentiles, could be taken to mean 'Jews', that is non-Christian Jews whose religion was Judaism. Beza himself favoured this interpretation of Romans 11 and he was followed by the various editors of the influential Geneva Bible, which was translated in Geneva by the Marian exiles during the life time of Beza. In the 1557 and 1560 editions short notes explained that 'Israel' meant 'the nation of the Jews' but in later editions (e.g. 1599) the note on Romans 11 stated that the prophets of the Old Testament had predicted a conversion of the nation of the Jews to Christ. Through this Bible and the writings of the Puritans (e.g. William Perkins, Commentary on Galatians, and various books by Hugh Broughton) the doctrine of the conversion of the Jewish people was widely diffused in England, Scotland and New England.47
Ian Murray describes the place of the Jews within the emerging Puritan postmillennial eschatology.
The future of the Jews had decisive significance for them because they believed that, though little is clearly revealed of the future purposes of God in history, enough has been given us in Scripture to warrant the expectation that with the calling of the Jews there will come far-reaching blessing for the world. Puritan England and Covenanting Scotland knew much of spiritual blessing and it was the prayerful longing for wider blessing, not a mere interest in unfulfilled prophecy, which led them to give such place to Israel.48
Samuel Rutherford, the Scottish theologian, for example, longed for the conversion of the Jews. In a letter written in 1635 he eulogised,
O to see the sight, next to Christ's Coming in the clouds, the most joyful! Our elder brethren the Jews and Christ fall upon one another's necks and kiss each other! They have been long asunder: they will be kind to one another when they meet. O day! O longed-for and lovely day-dawn! O sweet Jesus, let me see that sight which will be life from the dead, thee and the ancient people in mutual embraces.49
In 1615 Thomas Brightman produced what Peter Toon has described as, 'the first important and influential revision of the Reformed, Augustinian concept of the Millennium' predicting the conversion of the Jews.50 Sharif describes Brightman as 'the father of the British doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews.'51
In His Apocalypsis Apocalypseos, meaning, 'A Revelation of the Revelation', Brightman taught that the Turkish empire would be brought to an end followed by 'the calling of the Jews to be a Christian nation,' leading to 'a most happy tranquility from thence to the end of the world'. In 1635 he completed a commentary on Daniel 11-12 which he sub-titled, 'The restoring of the Jewes and their callinge to the faith of Christ after the utter overthrow of their three enemies is set forth in livelie colours.' Brightman not only believed the Jewish people would come to faith in Jesus Christ, he was also convinced of 'the rebirth of a Christian Israelite nation' which would become 'the centre of a Christian world.'52
Brightman's preaching and writings attracted considerable attention and his views became influential even in British government circles. In 1621, Sir Henry Finch, an eminent lawyer and M.P. developed Brightman's views further and published a book entitled, The World's Great Restoration or the Calling of the Jews, and of all the Nations and Kingdoms of the Earth, to the Faith of Christ. In it he argued,
Where Israel, Judah, Zion and Jerusalem are named [in the Bible] the Holy Ghost meant not the spiritual Israel, or the Church of God collected of the Gentiles or of the Jews and Gentiles both... But Israel properly descended out of Jacob's loynes. The same judgement is to be made of their returning to their land and ancient seats, the conquest of their foes... The glorious church they shall erect in the land itself of Judah... These and such like are not allegories, set forth in terrene similitudes or deliverance through Christ (whereof those were types and figures), but meant really and literally the Jews.53
Other reformers such as William Perkins, Richard Sibbes and John Owen were equally convinced that one day the Jews would be brought to faith in Jesus Christ and for this they prayed earnestly.54 This conviction of the conversion of the Jews was so universally embraced that it was written into the Westminster Larger Confession and Congregationalist Savoy Declaration of 1658. The latter affirmed,
We expect that in the latter days, Antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, and the adversaries of the kingdom of his dear son broken, the churches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceful and glorious condition than they have enjoyed.55
Similarly, the Westminster Directory of Public Worship called upon clergy to pray,
for the Propagation of the Gospell and Kingdome of Christ to all nations, for the conversion of the Jewes, the filnesse of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening of the second coming of the Lord.56
In 1649 Ebenezer and Joanna Cartwright, English Puritans living in Amsterdam sent a petition to the British Government calling for the lifting of the ban on Jews settling in England and also assistance to enable them to move to Palestine.
That this Nation of England, with the inhabitants of the Netherlands, shall be the first and the readiest to transport Israel's sons and daughters on their ships to the land promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for an everlasting inheritance.57
Sharif observes that this was the first time human intervention was sought to realise a Jewish Restoration rather than the reliance on God to accomplish it.58
Jonathan Edwards was probably the most influential American writer of the 18th Century. In his history of the Church written in 1774, As a convinced postmillennialist, Edwards spoke of the overthrow of Satan's kingdom epitomised in the Pope, Islam and 'Jewish infidelity',
However obstinate [the Jews] have been now for above seventeen hundred years in their rejection of Christ, and however rare have been the instances on individual conversions, ever since the destruction of Jerusalem... Yet, when this day comes, the thick veil that blinds their eyes shall be removed. 2 Cor iii.16. And divine grace shall melt and renew their hard hearts... And then shall the house of Israel be saved: the Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall have their hearts wonderfully changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy... Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national conversion of the Jews in Romans 11.2.59
Sharif offers this summary of the importance of the Reformation and Puritanism for the emergence of more explicit Christian Zionist aspirations in subsequent generations.
To the Christian mind in Protestant Europe, Palestine became the Jewish land. The Jews became the Palestinian people who were foreign to Europe, absent from their Homeland, but in due time were to be returned to Palestine... Manifestations of early non-Jewish Zionism were thus neither isolated incidents nor espoused only by religious eccentrics and outsiders... A voluminous religious literature on the role and the destiny of the Jews spread rapidly during the 17th Century and, by its millenarian nature, never fell out of vogue. Many millenarians were rebuked, persecuted and sometimes even executed for their heretical beliefs. Nevertheless, their writings helped to entrench the notion of a Jewish Restoration to Palestine. It was not long until the more practical questions, as to when and how Restoration was to take place, began to gain importance.60
It is not coincidental that Christian Zionist and millennialist speculation have converged toward the end of each century, especially since the 1590's when the first printed literature dealing with millenarian speculations and the restoration of the Jews first appeared.61 The predominance of military and apocalyptic terminology in the titles of popular books written by Christian Zionists since the 1980's would suggest a similar connection in this century also.62 Andrew Walker has described this as 'PMT' or 'Premillennial Tension'. 'We're counting up to the year 2000 and there's a strong apocalyptical anxiety.'63
The revival during the 1790-1800 period was a direct result of the turmoil Europeans felt in the wake of the French and American revolutions coupled with the approach of a new century. The British, like Europeans on the continent, began to feel that their world was falling apart. People turned away from new secular philosophy and political answers and embraced a more fundamentalist form of Christian teachings that included a revived form of prophetic interpretations of the Bible. In this troubled and uncertain climate, Christian Zionism began to take root.64
Edward Irving (1792-1834)
The rise in popularity of premillennialism in the nineteenth century, and the revolution in prophetic and apocalyptic thought can be largely attributed to Edward Irving.65 In 1825 he preached at the annual gathering of the Continental Society. His address was entitled, 'Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed',
...in it Irving advanced the assertion that the Church, far from being on the threshold of a new era of blessing, was about to enter a 'series of thick-coming judgments and fearful perplexities' preparatory to Christ's advent and reign.66
A year later in 1826 Irving was introduced to the views of Manuel Lacunza a Spanish Jesuit who wrote a book under the pseudonym of Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, allegedly a converted Jew, entitled, 'The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty'. Lacunza interpreted all but the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation as describing apocalyptic events about to happen. Irving was so excited by Lacunza's speculations, he mastered Spanish in order to translate and publish the work in English.67 Irving added a 203 page preface to the translation in which he presented with great conviction his own prophetic speculations about the end of the world, predicting, the apostasy of Christendom, then subsequently the restoration of the Jews and finally the imminent return of Christ.
When the Lord shall have finished the taking of witness against the Gentiles... he will begin to prepare another ark of testimony... and to that end will turn his Holy Spirit unto his ancient people, the Jews, and bring them unto those days of refreshing... This outpouring of the Spirit is known in Scripture by 'the latter rain'.68
Irving came to have a profound influence over Henry Drummond, a politician, banker and writer who opened his home at Albury Park, Surrey, to Irving, M'Neile, Way, and those of like mind, keen to study prophecy.
The first decades of the nineteenth century saw an increasing dissatisfaction with the oversimplified Gospel of the earlier evangelical movement. The quest for a more experimental faith and a fuller biblical exegesis led to greater emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, ecclesiology , and prophecy. These subjects were of major interest to such orthodox churchmen as Haldane Stewart, Hugh MacNeil, and William Marsh, who together with Edward Irving and many others attended at Henry Drummond's invitation the Conferences for Biblical Study at Albury Park, Surrey, in 1826.69
With a growing interest in millennial speculations other writers published similar treaties. McNeile, looking back in 1866, in the preface to his new edition, acknowledged how, a generation earlier, such views were something of a novelty by what he terms 'anti-restorationists'.70
When these lectures were first published in 1830, the subject was comparatively new to the Church in this country. It had no place in the battle-field of the Reformation. It had not been discussed by any of the theological lights of the last century. It was just beginning to be ventilated in consequence of the labours of Mr. Louis Way and Mr. Hawtrey; and more especially in consequence of the writings of Mr. Faber, and the zealous advocacy of Mr. Simeon.71
Benjamin Willis Newton (1807-1899)
Another prolific writer was Benjamin Willis Newton, a Brethren colleague of John Nelson Darby, whose books were reprinted several times between the 1850's and 1900's.72 Newton appears to have been something of a nineteenth century ancestor of Hal Lindsey, interpreting the contemporary European political scene in the light of prophecy.73 He saw, for example, great significance in the fact that one of the Rothschild's was allegedly negotiating with the Sultan for the construction of a railway from Constantinople to Baghdad. He believed this to be one of many signs of the impending merger of the revived Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire, a 'Roman world, from England to the Euphrates' centred on Rome.74 Writing in 1859, Newton comments at length on the theological significance of geo-political developments in Europe,
The interests of France, Great Britain and Austria are more and more felt to be identical as respects the aggression of Russia; and this feeling Spain, Italy and Greece, will soon thoroughly share...75
His colourful predictive map of the ten kingdoms making up this revived Roman Empire, published in 1863, comprised the then most influential countries surrounding the Mediterranean, namely, France, Spain, Northern Italy, the Neopolitan States, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Syria and Egypt, together with the British Isles.76 Allowing himself a degree of latitude with regard to the timing of these events, Newton asserted in 1879,
Whether it may be long and deadly; or whether the way of the Western Roman nations may be smoothed so as for the resuscitation of the East under their guardianship to be quietly and speedily effected, it is impossible for us to say.77
In the forward to 'Babylon: Its Future History and Doom with remarks on the Future of Egypt and Other Eastern Countries', (3rd Edition) published in 1890, Newton could still insist, 'On Israel, and on Western Europe chiefly will rest the responsibility of causing the revived Eastern Branch of the Roman World to be what it is to be.'78 Just as contemporary apocalyptic writers see the rise of New Age inter-faith religious unity as a sign of the coming Antichrist79, so Newton was predicting the same at the end of the 19th Century.
The result of the late war with Russia has been to bring the Turkish dominions into recognised political connection with Western Europe... The ancient outline of the Roman Empire will again appear... At bottom, Mohommedanism, what is it but a sect of Christianity? When the Papists, and the Greek church and Judaism, and Mohommedanism, and Anglicanism, shall re-echo this sentiment, and when it shall become governmentally adopted by the nations of the Roman world, we shall soon see the 'Ephah' and 'wickedness', its inmate, established in the land of Shinar.80
In America, following the frequent visits of John Nelson Darby from 1862 onwards, his dispensational views about the Church and Israel had a profound influence upon leading evangelicals like James Brookes, D. L. Moody, William E. Blackstone and C. I. Scofield, to the point where these millennial speculations came to be accepted as normative by the great majority of American evangelicals within the 20th Century.81
James H. Brookes (1830 )
Rev. James H. Brookes, the minister of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, is known as 'The Father of American Dispensationalism'82. Brookes was instrumental in bringing D. L. Moody to St Louis for the 1879-1880 campaign, and introduced Scofield, and probably also Darby to Moody.
Brookes not only sympathised with J. N. Darby's dispensational views of a failing Church, corrupt and beyond hope, but it is known they met during five visits Darby made to St Louis between 1864-186583 and again between 1872-1877 when Darby preached from Brookes' pulpit.84
Brookes became the most influential exponent of Dispensationalism by three chief means. The first of these was his own Bible study and his habit of gathering young protégés around him for such study. By far the best known of these students was C. I. Scofield. The second means was his literary work. He published many books and pamphlets and he edited The Truth, a Christian magazine, from 1874 until his death. The third means was his leadership in the Niagara Bible Conference and the various prophetic conferences of his day.85
In the summer of 1872, Darby wrote a letter describing the fruitfulness of his initial visit to St. Louis which had included, '...good opportunities and I am in pretty full intercourse with those exercised, among whom are more than one official minister.'86 Mindful perhaps of the disapprobation held within traditional denominational circles for the Brethren and in particular for Darby's controversial views, with which he now identified, Brookes,
...gave no credit for them to Darby or any of the Brethren. This may be due to the fact that there were associations with the name Darby which Brookes wished to avoid. 87
This nevertheless explains how the premillennial dispensational views associated with the Albury and Powerscourt Conferences in England and Ireland had taken root in Middle America.
Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
John Nelson Darby's influence over D. L. Moody came about through one of Darby's disciples, a young evangelist Henry Moorehouse who impressed Moody with his 'extraordinary' preaching. According to his son, Moody's message and style were revolutionised, 'Mr Moorehouse taught Moody to draw his sword full length, to fling the scabbard away, and to enter the battle with the naked blade.'88
Albert Newman, a contemporary American historian confirmed the strong influence Darby and his colleagues had over Moody,
The large class of evangelists, of whom Dwight L. Moody was the most eminent, have drawn their inspiration and their Scripture interpretation largely from the writings and the personal influence of the Brethren.89
Arno Gaebelein, Scofield's biographer, notes how Scofield kept Moody conformed to a dispensational prophetic framework, 'Moody himself needed at times a better knowledge of prophecy, and Scofield was the man to lead him into it.'90
Moody's greatest service to Darby and dispensationalism has come through the Bible institute which still bears his name and which became a model for many others. By 1956 it is known that at least 41 Bible schools were identified as dispensational, training some 10,000 pastors and missionaries annually, six of the largest accounting for half the student numbers.91
Moody's Institute in Chicago, although not the first of such schools, became the prototype; and since Moody had imbibed a fair dose of dispensationalism in a rather typical unstructured form, and his colleague and successor R. A. Torrey in a more systematic way, it was natural that the burgeoning Bible school movement, with a few exceptions, should follow this line of thought. And as the Bible schools unintentionally became training centres for evangelical ministers as many of the theological seminaries opted for divergent views, Darby's prophetic teaching became more widely accepted than ever.92
Moody's name is also associated with the popular Northfield Conferences which he founded in 188093 Sandeen makes a further significant observation.
No historian of Moody's amazing career has noted, however, that his Northfield Conferences were virtually dominated by dispensationalists, particularly from 1880 through 1887 and again from 1894-1902.94
William E. Blackstone (1841-1935)
Another of John Nelson Darby's disciples was William E. Blackstone, an influential evangelist, financier and benefactor95. In 1887 he wrote a book, Jesus is Coming which by 1916 had already been translated into 25 languages,96 eventually selling over 1 million copies in 48 languages including Hebrew. In 1908 a presentation edition was sent to several hundred thousand ministers and Christian workers97 and apparently the book is still in print. According to W. M. Smith, this best-seller was,
Probably the most wide-read book in this century on our Lord's return... More Christian leaders had their interest in the second advent awakened by this book than any other volume that had been published for decades.98
Blackstone also helped to found the Chicago Hebrew Mission, which later became the American Messianic Fellowship. In 1890, he headed the first conference between Jews and Christians in Chicago. The following year in March 1891 he lobbied the US President Benjamin Harrison and his Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, with a petition signed by 413 Jewish and Christian leaders including John & William Rockefeller, calling for an international conference on the Jews and Palestine. The petition offered this solution,
Why not give Palestine back to them [the Jews] again? According to God's distribution of nations it is their home, an inalienable possession from which they were expelled by force. Under their cultivation it was a remarkably fruitful land, sustaining millions of Israelites, who industriously tilled its hillsides and valleys. They were agriculturalists and producers as well as a nation of great commercial importance - the centre of civilization and religion. Why shall not the powers which under the treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews?99
Although President Harrison did not act upon the petition, the event was commemorated in Israel in 1965 with a memorial and a forest dedicated in Blackstone's name.100
In the 19th Century there was a considerable thawing in Protestant attitudes toward the Jews,101 of enthusiasm for missionary outreach among them as well as a growing interest in the Holy Land and things Oriental.102 This was largely due to a succession of archaeological discoveries in the Near East, military adventurism, and the growing number of travelogues which fired the imagination.
One of the most popular was Dean Stanley's Sinai and Palestine which went through four editions within a year of its publication in 1856.103 Other authors included William M. Thackeray,104 Gertrude Bell,105 Robert Byron,106 Robert Graves,107 Alexander Kinglake,108 Rudyard Kipling,109 T.E. Lawrence,110 Freya Stark,111 and William M. Thomson.112 However, the most influential English writer among early Arabists was Charles Montague Doughty, an Oxford Don. Like many other European travellers,
Lawrence, throughout his sojourn in the Middle East, was under the spell of 'Travels in Arabia Deserta', a twelve-hundred page account of a two-year odyssey, between 1876 and 1878... This tome, which took Doughty a decade to write is so powerful and all-engrossing in its effect and so completely defines the Arabs and the Middle East desert that the book's influence on Arabists thought cannot be exaggerated. Travels in Arabia Deserta makes Doughty, truly, Britain's first and greatest Arabist... Doughty's book started a literary and psychological movement among Westerners drawn to the Arabs...113
Between 1800 and 1875, around 2,000 authors wrote about the Holy Land, and by the 1830's a visit to the Near East formed part of the grand tour taken by most young European gentlemen.114 Alexander Kinglake, who wrote his travelogue in 1835, noted the tensions Europeans faced when encountering the Eastern denominations.
Many Protestants are wont to treat these traditions contemptuously, and those who distinguish themselves from their brethren by the appellation of 'Bible Christians' are almost fierce in their denunciation of these supposed errors.115
Pliny Fisk & William Thomson, among the earliest 19th century American missionaries to the Middle East were shocked on their arrival in Jerusalem,
...to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the other Holy Places guarded by a dirty and superstitious rabble of Greeks and Byzantinized Arabs, all kissing icons and burning incense amid gold-leaf finery, scandalised these well-bred and puritanical New Englanders. In the eyes of the missionaries, it was the Oriental Christians-the Greek Orthodox, the Egyptian Copts, the Lebanese Maronites, and others-who had truly usurped the Holy Land, by emphasizing the hypnotic mechanics of liturgy over the Word of God. The Protestant missionary animus toward these strange eastern rite churches... was never to dissipate.116
Another Beirut missionary, Margaret McGilvary, made similar derogatory comments in the 1920's,
The Oriental Church is the canker at the heart of Christianity, and inasmuch as it is the chief point of contact with Islam, it behooves the Christian world to renovate the system which so unworthily represents its cause in the Near East.117
Harriet Martineau, another writer, referred to the services at the Holy Sepulchre as '...mummeries done in the name of Christianity... idolatrous nonsense...'118 It was this dissatisfaction with the Eastern Churches' monopoly on the traditional sites and a repugnance for their garish shrines which fuelled interest among Evangelicals in such ventures as the archaeological work of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the alleged discovery of the true Calvary in 1883 by General Gordon and the subsequent funding by public subscription of the Garden Tomb Association.119 Since then the Garden Tomb has became probably the most popular religious site for Christian Zionists, after the Temple area, who prefer to worship in this typical English country garden rather than at the historic sites with the unfamiliar yet indigenous Christians.
19th Century Protestant pilgrims, while not wishing to appear superstitious or overly emotional, were nevertheless often moved by their first sight of Jerusalem. Robert Curzon describes the magnetic hold which this place has over pilgrims through what happened in his party.
Everyone was silent for a while, absorbed in the deepest contemplation. It was curious to observe the different effect which our approach to Jerusalem had upon the various persons who composed our party. A Christian pilgrim, who had joined us on the road, fell down upon his knees and kissed the holy ground, two others embraced each other, and congratulated themselves that they had lived to see Jerusalem. As for us Franks, we sat bolt upright on our horses, and stared and said nothing, whilst around us the more natural children of the East wept for joy, and, as in the army of the Crusaders, the word Jerusalem! Jerusalem! was repeated from mouth to mouth; but we, who consider ourselves civilised and superior beings, repressed our emotions; we were above showing that we participated in the feelings of our barbarous companions.120
Curzon's account also reveals something of the condescending prejudice commonly felt by Europeans toward Orientals, a related issue which will be developed later. While the theological reservations of the Reformers were quietly forgotten in the growing fascination with things Oriental, the real breakthrough in the rise in personal contact with the Orient came as a result of innovations in transportation.
In 1869 the Suez Canal was opened, coincidentally the same year Thomas Cook led his first tour group to Jerusalem, made up of 16 ladies, 33 gentlemen, and two assistants. By the end of the 19th Century, his company had arranged for 12,000 pilgrims to visit the Holy Land. It is not an exaggeration to say that Thomas Cook probably did more than any other person to facilitate and shape evangelical contact with the Holy Land. His reputation as an organiser of pilgrimages grew after he was invited in 1882 to arrange the visit by Prince Edward, later Edward VII, and his son Prince George, later King George V. In 1872 Cook wrote the following analysis of his new enterprise.
The educational and social results of these four years of Eastern travel have been most encouraging. A new incentive to scriptural investigation has been created and fostered; 'The Land and the Book' have been brought into familiar juxtaposition, and their analogies have been better comprehended; and under the general influence of sacred scenes and repeated sites of biblical events, inquiring and believing spirits have held sweet counsel with each other.121
In 1891 his influence was further enhanced by the publication of Cook's Tourist Handbook for Palestine and Syria. This was designed to be read on horseback or by tent light and contained all the essential scriptural references associated with each location visited. By doing so, Cook reinforced the link in the minds of pilgrims between the Biblical history of the Jews and the contemporary locations visited. Avoiding the traditional pilgrimage itinerary which focussed on religious shrines regarded with distaste by Europeans, Cook also pioneered what he termed, 'Biblical Educational and General Tours' designed especially for clergy, Sunday school teachers and 'others engaged in promoting scriptural education.'122
Cook's tours proved popular for a number of other significant reasons which have a bearing not only on the development of Christian Zionism in the 20th Century but also, conversely, on the decline in contact between pilgrims and the indigenous Christians. Middle-class Protestant clientele from America and Europe were attracted to Cook's tours because they wanted the type of pilgrimage, and above all, the kind of services he alone offered. For example, payments were made in advance obviating the need for pilgrims to carry large sums of money, and thereby risk robbery. Cook also hand-picked and employed the 'dragomen' or local agents who in effect became his subcontractors. Those who were unwilling to co-operate soon went out of business. Tensions over the provision and competence of local guides, the quality of local hotels, unfamiliar food, the suitability of transportation and general fear of the indigenous population are not new. These frictions and prejudices so common today were clearly evident in the 19th Century. They epitomise the inability or unwillingness of Americans and Europeans generally, then as now, to identify with the indigenous Palestinian Christians.
Another important influence upon Christian attitudes toward Zionism in the 19th Century had to do with the growing literary fascination with the Jews and the Holy Land, what Sharif calls, 'the literalization of the Hebrew World'.123 She describes this genre of literature as 'Romantic racism', that is a Romanticism infatuated with Zion, and offers extensive quotations from the writings of Robert Byron, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Robert Browning and George Eliot to illustrate it.124 Eliot, for example, was a devout evangelical who at the same time was familiar with contemporary Judaism, apparently regularly attending synagogue services and dialoguing with Jewish Rabbis. In 1874 Eliot began working on Daniel Deronda, described by Sharif as, 'the first truly Zionist novel in the history of non-Jewish fiction.'
Eliot dispenses with the theories of amalgamation or affinity between Christianity and Judaism. The hero of Daniel Deronda is not a Christianized or 'gentilized' Jewish national hero who discovers his Jewish heritage under the influence of non-Jews. Nor are there appeals to Anglican England to follow the example of Cyrus and help to bring a Jewish return to Palestine. Eliot's debt to Shaftesbury and Evangelism (sic) though unacknowledged, must be considered. The gentile author created in Daniel Deronda a true Zionist hero who discovers for himself his Jewish nationality and heritage. The novel represents the apex of non-Jewish Zionism in the literary field, the culmination of a long tradition that began with the Protestant idea of Restoration, but had initially demanded the conversion of the Jews as a first step towards the Palestine goal. Then it was allowed that conversion might happen after Restoration and, by the 19th Century, conversion had been completely dropped as a necessary requirement. Restoration had instead become identified with a return to the Hebrew heritage.125
Through her fictional character Mordecai, a Jewish mystic, Eliot graphically expresses a concrete manifesto behind the 19th Century Christian Zionist vision.
Looking towards a land and a polity, our dispersed people in all the ends of the earth may share the dignity of a national life which has a voice among the peoples of the East and the West - which will plant the wisdom and skill of our race so that it may be, as of old, a medium of transmission and understanding... There is a store of wisdom among us to found a new Jewish polity, grand, simple, just, like the old - a republic where there is equality of protection, an equality which shone like a star on the forehead of our ancient community, and give it more than the brightness of Western freedom and despotisms of the East. Then our race shall have an organic centre, a heart and a brain to watch and guide and execute... And the world will gain as Israel gains.126
Sharif concludes, 'Daniel Deronda was the 'literary introduction' to the Balfour Declaration, which made the presence of a Jewish polity in Palestine a historic necessity.'127
Bonaparte, Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic in Africa and Asia, to the Rightful Heirs of Palestine. Israelites, unique nation, whom, in thousands of years, lust of conquest and tyranny were able to deprive of the ancestral lands only, but not of name and national existence... She [France] offers to you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel's patrimony... Rightful heirs of Palestine... Hasten! Now is the moment which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of your rights among the population of the universe which had shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations, and the unlimited natural right to worship Yehovah in accordance with your faith, publicly and in likelihood for ever (Joel 4:20).128
In the Spring of 1799, during the Syrian campaign of his Oriental expedition, Napoleon became the first statesman to propose a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine. Napoleon believed that with sympathetic Jews controlling the territory between Acre, Lower Egypt and the Red Sea, French imperial and commercial interests in India, Arabia and Africa could be secured.129 Neither Napoleon nor the Jews were able to deliver. Nevertheless his proclamation, '...is a barometer of the extent to which the European atmosphere was charged with these messianic expectations.'130 As Sharif observes,
The idea of a Jewish national Restoration to Palestine had resurfaced in Western European culture at a politically most opportune time. During the course of the 19th Century, a Jewish presence in Palestine, apart from its previous religious-prophetical, benevolent or philo-Semitic connotations, now came to be a political issue for the secular European powers that aspired to overseas expansion and empires. Religious and philanthropic ideas were now skilfully combined with the hard-headed Realpolitik of acquiring or strengthening spheres of influence in the Near East... Secular authorities, as well as religious ones, were now toying with Zionist ideas for their potential usefulness... Palestine suddenly found itself within the orbit of European power politics and under the contending influences of all the major powers: France, Britain and Russia... Britain's interest in the Near East, and of course Palestine, had been stirred by the Napoleonic expedition of 1799. The area's strategic importance to the British Empire had already been fully recognized. The vital necessity of preventing French control over the area had not only resulted in the battles of the Nile and Acre, but also spawned a British military expedition eastwards. Soon Britain's main concern was to hold back Russia by maintaining Turkish sovereignty at all costs.131
Just as Napoleon's motives behind his call to arms directed at Jews across Europe were complex, so it is difficult to separate 19th Century British foreign policy regarding Palestine from the religious beliefs of her own political leaders, notably Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Palmerston and later Lord Balfour.132 Other leading figures in British society who were known to sympathise with Jewish restorationism included the Duke of Kent, Bishop Manning and Gladstone.
Lord Shaftesbury was himself 'convinced of Darby's teachings',133 and actively campaigned for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.134 Stirred by the Napoleonic expedition, Shaftesbury argued for a greater British presence in Palestine on both religious as well as political grounds, advocating that assistance be given not only to assist Jews to return to Palestine but also for the founding of an Anglican bishopric and cathedral in Jerusalem. This he saw as the means by which God would continue to bless England as he had apparently promised through Abraham, and Lord Palmerston, providentially Shaftesbury's step-father-in-law was Britain's Foreign Secretary. In his diary for 1st August 1838, Shaftesbury wrote,
Dined with Palmerston. After dinner left alone with him. Propounded my schemes which seems to strike his fancy. He asked questions and readily promised to consider it. How singular is the order of Providence. Singular, if estimated by man's ways. Palmerston had already been chosen by God to be an instrument of good to His ancient people, to do homage to their inheritance, and to recognize their rights without believing their destiny. It seems he will yet do more. Though the motive be kind, it is not sound. I am forced to argue politically, financially, commercially. He weeps not, like his Master, over Jerusalem, nor prays that now, at last, she may put on her beautiful garments.135
As a first step Shaftesbury persuaded Palmerston to appoint the fellow restorationist William Young as the first British vice-consul in Jerusalem. He subsequently wrote in his diary,
What a wonderful event it is! The ancient City of the people of God is about to resume a place among the nations; and England is the first of the gentile kingdoms that ceases to 'tread her down'.136
A year later in 1839, Shaftesbury wrote a 30 page article for the Quarterly Review, entitled 'State and Restauration (sic) of the Jews.' In it Shaftesbury predicted a new era for God's chosen people. He insisted,
...the Jews must be encouraged to return in yet greater numbers and become once more the husbandman of Judea and Galilee... though admittedly a stiff-necked, dark hearted people, and sunk in moral degradation, obduracy, and ignorance of the Gospel were not only worthy of salvation but also vital to Christianity's hope of salvation137
Wagner assesses the significance of Shaftesbury's strategy.
Demonstrating keen political insight, Shaftesbury saw three distinct advantages for England in this plan, (1) England would outpace France in the colonial competition to control the Near East; (2) England would be insured a direct land passage to India, the 'jewel' of the British Empire; (3) vast commercial markets would be opened for British economic interests. It was not a mere coincidence that these political goals matched those of the British Foreign office concerning the Near East.138
Shaftesbury's gentle lobbying of Palmerston proved successful. Palmerston wrote an astonishing letter to Ponsonby, the British ambassador in Constantinople, dated 11 August 1840. It concerned the mutual benefit to both Turkey and Britain of allowing Jews to return to Palestine. Ironically the restoration of the Jews was seen, at that time, as an important means of maintaining the status quo, and of avoiding the disintegration of the Moslem Ottoman Empire. Palmerston wrote,
There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine... It would be of manifest importance to the Sultan to encourage the Jews to return and to settle in Palestine because the wealth which they would bring with them would increase the resources of the Sultan's dominions; and the Jewish people, if returning under the sanction and protection and at the invitation of the Sultan, would be a check upon any future evil designs of Mohamet Ali or his successor... I have to instruct Your Excellency strongly to recommend [the Turkish government] to hold out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine.139
Days after Lord Palmerston sent his letter, a lead article in the Times dated 17 August 1840, called for a plan 'to plant the Jewish people in the land of their fathers' claiming such a plan was under 'serious political consideration' and commending the efforts of Shaftesbury, as the author of the plan which it argued was 'practical and statesmanlike.' Tuchman claims the article 'created a sensation.'140 Lady Palmerston supported her husband's stance. A letter to written to Princess Lieven reveals something of her ambivalence toward the involvement of Christian Zionists in the plan to restore Palestine to the Jews,
We have on our side the fanatical and religious elements, and you know what a following they have in this country. They are absolutely determined that Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine shall be reserved for the Jews to return to; this is their only longing to restore the Jews.141
Fuelling speculation about an imminent restoration, on 4 November of 1840, Shaftesbury took out a paid advertisement in the Times to give greater visibility to his vision. The advertisement included the following,
RESTORATION OF THE JEWS, A memorandum has been addressed to the Protestant monarchs of Europe on the subject of the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine. The document in question, dictated by a peculiar conjunction of affairs in the East, and other striking 'signs of the times,' reverts to the original covenant which secures that land to the descendants of Abraham.142
Wagner summarises Shaftesbury's influence on the rise of Christian Zionism in these terms,
One cannot overstate the influence of Lord Shaftesbury on the British political elite, church leaders, and the average Christian lay person. His efforts and religious-political thought may have set the tone for England's colonial approach to the Near East and in particular the 'holy' land during the next one hundred years. He single-handedly translated the theological positions of Brightman, Henry Finch, and John nelson Darby into a political strategy. His high political connections, matched by his uncanny instincts, combined to advance the Christian Zionist vision.143
Like Moses, Shaftesbury did not live to see his promised land realised, however, through his lobbying, writings and public speaking he did more than any other British politician to inspire a generation of Caleb's and Joshua's to translate his religious vision into a political reality.
In addition to influencing British colonial perceptions of the Near East, Shaftesbury also predisposed the next generation of British Conservative politicians favourably toward the World Zionist movement, which led eventually to British support of the Jewish state.144
What is not generally known is that it was probably Shaftesbury who inspired Israel Zangwell and Theodore Herzl to coin the myth, 'A land of no people for a people with no land.' It is likely that they borrowed the idea from Shaftesbury, who a generation earlier, imagining Palestine an empty country, formulated the slogan, 'A country without a nation for a nation without a country.'145
In 1865, James Finn, the British Consul in Jerusalem and another leading restorationist, established the Palestine Exploration Fund for the purpose of encouraging scientific exploration, archaeological research and the cartographic mapping of the Holy Land. According to Sharif, this was merely one of many organisations and charities offering advice and financial support to encourage Jews to emigrate to Palestine and form agricultural colonies.146
One of those to take up the Zionist mantle of Shaftesbury was another influential M. P., Laurence Oliphant (1829-1888). Unlike many other Zionists, he actually visited Palestine to survey the land and explore prospects for its agricultural colonisation. In 1880 Oliphant published a book entitled The Land of Gilead, in which he reiterated the Zionist case, proposing a detailed settlement scheme east of the Jordan under British protection while acknowledging Turkish sovereignty. Conveniently, Oliphant too recognised the convergence of absolute religious dogmatism and pragmatic political expediency.
It remains for England to decide whether she will undertake the task of exploring its ruined cities, of developing its vast agricultural resources, by means of the repatriation of that race which first entered into its possession, 3000 years ago and of securing the great political advantages which must accrue from such a policy.147
Oliphant also urged the British Parliament to assist the emigration of Jews to Palestine from Russia and Eastern Europe. Controversially he recommended that the 'warlike' Bedouins be driven out, while the more passive Palestinians be moved onto reservations along the lines of the native Indians in North America.148
By 1897 when the First World Zionist Congress met in Basle, Switzerland, Jewish leaders in favour of a Zionist state had sympathetic support from many more senior British political figures. The founder of the Red Cross, the Swiss Christian philanthropist, Henri Dunant, for example, was the first Gentile to be called a 'Christian Zionist' by Theodor Herzl, and one of only a handful of Gentiles to be invited to the Congress.149
Another Christian Zionist to influence Herzl was William Hechler (1845-1931), an Anglican priest and chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna.
The very embodiment of British evangelism (sic) entering the realm of politics, he was, by background and by training, ideally suited to act as mediator between Jewish and non-Jewish Zionism, combining religious, humanitarian and political Zionism. Imbued with evangelical millenarianism, he even formulated his own exact date for the re-establishment of the Jewish state. Equally, he was moved by his concern over the vast stream of East European Jewish refugees now fleeing towards the West... His booklet, The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine (1894), predating Herzl's Der Judenstaat by two years, spoke of the need for 'restoring the Jews to Palestine according to Old Testament prophecies.'150
Having read Herzl's call for a Jewish state, Hechler arranged to see the author. Herzl records the meeting on 10 March 1896 in his diary.
The Reverend William Hechler, Chaplain of the English Embassy here, came to see me. A sympathetic, gentle fellow, with a long grey beard of a prophet. He is enthusiastic about my solution of the Jewish Question. He also considers my movement a 'prophetic turning-point' - which he had foretold two years before. From a prophecy in the time of Omar (637CE) he had reckoned that at the end of forty-two prophetic months (total 1260 years) the Jews would get Palestine back. This figure he arrived at was 1897-98.151
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, who eventually became Prime Minister in 1916, was another self-confessed Zionist, sharing similar views to those of Shaftesbury and Oliphant, although his were, according to Wagner, more 'ardent'. In his own words, he was Chaim Weizmann's 'proselyte... Acetone converted me to Zionism.' In the same speech before the Jewish Historical Society in 1925, he reminisced,
I was brought up in a school where I was taught far more about the history of the Jews than about the history of my own land. I could tell you all the kings of Israel. But I doubt whether I could have named half a dozen of the kings of England, and not more of the kings of Wales... We were thoroughly imbued with the history of your race in the days of its greatest glory, when it founded that great literature which will echo to the very last days of this old world, influencing, moulding, fashioning human character, inspiring and sustaining human motive, for not only Jews, but Gentiles as well. We absorbed it and made it part of the best in the Gentile character.152
Christopher Sykes, the son of Sir Mark Sykes who co-authored the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 which dismembered the Ottoman Empire between Britain, France and Russia, was also one of Lloyd-George's biographers. Sykes wrote that prior to the Paris Peace Accords, signed in 1919, various advisors had tried unsuccessfully to brief Lloyd-George on the issues relating to the Palestine settlement but that he was not able to grasp the issues,
...largely because he could not move beyond the Christian Zionist worldview of his youth. When briefed repeatedly on the contemporary geography of Palestine, Lloyd-George insisted on reciting from his memory of childhood Sunday school lessons the biblical cities and lands of bible times, some of which no longer existed.153
Lord Arthur Balfour
Finally, and probably most significantly of all, Lord Arthur Balfour who pioneered the Balfour Declaration in 1917, was himself also a premillennial Christian Zionist,154 who regarded history as, 'an instrument for carrying out a Divine purpose.'155 From 1905, for example, Chaim Weitzmann, then a professor of chemistry at Manchester University, began to have regular meetings with Balfour to discuss the implementation of that goal. Like Lloyd George, Balfour had been brought up in an evangelical home and was,
...predisposed to the Zionist positions solely on the basis of his limited understanding of the Bible. He subscribed to a simple, lay-person's version of the premillennial dispensational theology.156
Following a meeting with Weitzmann on 9 January 1906, Balfour wrote to his wife saying that he could see, 'no political difficulty about obtaining Palestine, only economic ones.'157 Weitzmann convinced Balfour that none of the other Jewish homeland 'solutions' such as Uganda or Argentina were tenable, and according to his niece, shortly before his death, Balfour remarked that,
...the Jewish form of patriotism was unique... Their love of their country refused to be satisfied by the Uganda scheme. It was Weizmann's absolute refusal even to look at it that impressed me.158
The British Colonialist presence in the Middle East, at the beginning of the 20th Century included both those sympathetic to Zionism like Balfour and others who for a variety of reasons had become 'Arabists.' The American, Kaplan terms them, 'sand-mad Britons' and identifying Sir Richard Francis Burton, Charles Doughty, T. E. Lawrence ('of Arabia'), Harry 'Abdullah' Philby, Wilfred Theisiger, and Gertrude Bell.159 Ultimately, both British Zionists and Arabists were committed to the same end - a strong British presence in the Middle East. Kaplan draws an important distinction between British and American Arabists in the late 19th Century and early 20th.
It was the advantages of power and privilege that imperialism offered that allowed these British men and women to work out their personalities and fantasies upon such an exotic stage. Their myriad eccentricities notwithstanding, men such as Lawrence and women such as Gertrude Bell were in Araby as British government agents, and thus it was the mechanics of imperial power that primarily concerned them... While British Arabists were imperialists, American Arabists were originally-and therefore, most significantly-missionaries. Mission work defines the American Arabist, much as imperialism defines the British Arabist... The British sought to dominate, to acquire a culture and a terrain as one acquires a rare and beautiful book. But Americans... sought something more tantalising. They sought to change this terrain, to improve upon it, using their own model. They manifested a psychology that grew out of the American Revolution.160
T. E. Lawrence
In 1916, Thomas Edward Lawrence, at 27 and an Arabic scholar, had been assigned to British military intelligence in Cairo, to sail to Jidda to seek an alliance with Sherif Hussein with the purpose of ending the unpopular pro-German Turkish occupation of the Middle East, while at the same time guarding the sea route to British India. Although Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom became one of the most popular 20th Century works on the Middle East in the English language, his official status was always that of a political intelligence officer, who in the end did deliver the Arabs to Great Britain.
Lawrence thought as an imperialist. He favoured the Balfour Declaration and the Zionist enterprise as a means to keep the French out of Palestine and perhaps out of the rest of Syria. He championed ill-fated negotiations between the Sherif of Mecca's son, the Emir Feisal, and Chaim Weizmann (whom Lawrence genuinely admired). Lawrence's prejudices were imperially motivated. He loathed Turks and Frenchmen, and he respected Jews, 'the sooner the Jews farm it [Palestine] the better,' wrote Lawrence in a letter home. In Severn Pillars of Wisdom, he notes that 'only in... the everlasting miracle of Jewry, had distant Semites kept some of their identity and force' in the greater world.161
'Clientitis' was a necessary fact of Middle Eastern politics in an era when autonomous Arab states did not officially exist and when there was no formal means by which local for tribal chiefs could express their views or aspirations other than through sympathetic British officers whose 'career fortunes rose and fell in direct proportion to those of the particular tribesmen they were attached to.' 162
Prior to 1918, it was the belief of the Colonial Office, and practically all the local expatriate Arabists that when the Turks had been defeated, the direct descendants of Mohammed, the Hashemite family of the Sherif of Mecca were the only tribe with sufficient religious and political prestige to rule with any stability in Arabia.
Lawrence, in particular, was a person overly influenced by setting. Among Arabs in the desert, he became pro-Arab; in Whitehall he was pro-Empire; with Chaim Weizmann he felt himself an avid Zionist. Thus to read the wartime missives of Lawrence, Miss Bell, and others-where, for instance, on one occasion Arab nationalism is proscribed, while on another Iraqi and Syrian self-rule is cheered on-is to find oneself in a muddle. And a muddle is what the British, with assistance from the French, made of the post-Ottoman Middle East.163
On 2nd November, 1917, Lord Balfour, then British Foreign Secretary made public the 'following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet.'
His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of that object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done, which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish Communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. 164
What the Balfour Declaration left unclear was the meaning of a 'national home'. Was this synonymous with sovereignty or statehood and if so what were to be the borders? In all of Palestine or just a portion? What was to be the status of Jerusalem? Furthermore, while it stated that 'the civil and religious rights of the existing population' were to be safeguarded and the territory was designated 'Palestine', there was no reference to Palestinians. 'They were an actual, but awkward non-identity'.165 It was Balfour's opinion that 'the present inhabitants' need not be consulted, either before or after.166 That 90% of the population of Palestine were Palestinian Arabs of whom around 20% were Christian seemed irrelevant to the politicians and Zionists who had another agenda.167 So the awkward questions were left unanswered and it is these ambiguities which have plagued Middle East peace negotiations and divided Christians ever since. According to Wagner,
This single declaration gave the Zionist movement its first political legitimacy in history and created a platform for its leaders to accelerate colonization of Palestine.168
In a speech made at the London Opera House celebration of the Balfour Declaration on 2nd December 1917, Lord Robert Cecil claimed that it marked not the birth of a nation but,
...the rebirth of a nation... I believe it will have far-flung influence on the history of the world and consequences than none can foresee on the future history of the human race.169
A week later, on the 9th December 1917, British troops occupied Jerusalem, 'and the Holy City passed into Christian hands for the first time since the rule of Frederick II as King of Jerusalem.' Her future, 'now lay with the Western powers and was to all intents and purposes bound up with the question of harmonising their interests in Palestine as a whole.'170
General Edmund Allenby
General Edmund Allenby however, broke with more than military custom when he walked into Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate in order to identify with Jesus Christ, two days later on December 11th 1917. In a speech given later that day Allenby indicated something of his own respect, and his administration's intentions regarding the toleration and protection of the religious rights of the indigenous population.
Since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind, and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore do I make known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, traditional shrine, endowment, pious request, or customary place of prayer, of whatsoever form of the three religions, will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.171
It was clearly Allenby's desire to maintain good relations with both Arabs and Jews. Ironically it was actually the Mandate officials who encouraged the early development of indigenous Arab churches, especially among the Anglicans, and fixed the rights and responsibilities of the various denominations with regard to the sacred shrines.172 However, Anglo-French diplomacy and strategic self interest concerning the possession of territory gained from the Turks led to duplicity over the Balfour Declaration, and partisan support for the Jews.
The League of Nations mandate was a double blow to the Arabs because it not only denied them their promised independence, despite their having assisted in the overthrow of Ottoman rule, but endorsed a Jewish national homeland on what had once been Arab soil. In 1917 when Allied forces overran Damascus, helped by Lawrence's Arab guerrillas, the British and French divided their spoils of what had formerly been the Ottoman territory of Syria into six different zones.
A sliver of northern Syria was amalgamated into a new Turkish state that Mustafa Lemal Ataturk was beginning to carve out of the rump of the old Ottoman Sultanate. Southern Syria was split into two new British territories, a mandate in Palestine (which the British promised twice over, to the Jews and to the Arabs) and a kingdom in Transjordan ruled by one of Lawrence's World War I allies, Abdullah, the brother of Feisal and the son of the Sherif of Mecca. Eastern Syria became part of British Iraq. The French got the hole in the map that was left, which they in turn subdivided by proclaiming an enlarged Lebanese state, known as Grand Liban, in order to strengthen their friends, the Maronite Christians, who would now have a large Sunni Moslem population under their thumb. Meanwhile, Lawrence's World War I comrade-in-arms Feisal the son of the Sherif of Mecca, required a reward for his services; so the British set him up as the king of Syria in 1920. His kingdom lasted a hundred days until the French forced him out. Lawrence and company then proceeded to dump Feisal on Iraq, where his Hashemites from western Arabia enjoyed no local support.173
Thus, Lord Balfour and David Lloyd-George, probably two of the most influential British political leaders of the First World War years, were basically committed to Christian Zionism. Their support for the World Zionist Movement was a direct result of their evangelical upbringing. These views,
...facilitated the British colonial predisposition toward Zionist interests and the disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people following World War I.174
It was inevitable that there would be an Arab backlash and consequently Britain placed severe restrictions on Jewish emigration right up to the declaration of independence in 1948 thereby inciting antipathy and terrorist attacks from both sides.175 The 1936 Peel Commission which had recommended the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs stated,
The partition of Palestine is subject to the overriding necessity of keeping the sanctity of Jerusalem and Bethlehem inviolate and of ensuring free and safe access to them for all the world. That is 'a sacred trust of civilisation', a trust on behalf not merely of the peoples of Palestine but of multitudes in other lands to whom these places, one or both, are Holy Places...176
The professed reason given then for the partition of Palestine was the maintenance of free access for Western pilgrims rather than with settling any territorial rights or providing safeguards for the indigenous communities. Sir Walter Shaw of the British Colonial Office made a more realistic and perceptive appraisal of the situation,
To the Arabs it must appear improbable that such competitors (Jews) will in years to come be content to share the country with them. These fears have been intensified by the more extreme statements of Zionist policy and the Arabs have come to see in the Jewish immigrant not only a menace to their livelihood but a possible overlord of the future.177
The indigenous Christians are now living with the consequences.
In the 19th Century, coinciding with world-wide Western missionary endeavours, improvements in transportation, and paralleling European Colonial expansion in this strategic staging post to Africa and Asia, there was a renewed interest in Palestine among the major Protestant denominations. At the beginning of the 19th Century the only representatives of Western Christianity to be found in Jerusalem had been the Franciscans and only the Orthodox and Armenian traditions were resident in significant numbers. From the mid 19th Century, Protestant denominations began to found their own churches, not so much from a separatist spirit but because of the animosity and ostracism of the Eastern traditions. Their reformed theology, emphasis on personal conversion and lay leadership were anathema to Eastern Orthodoxy.178
This ecclesiastical fragmentation coincided with increasing inroads from Western Europe into the politics, economy, and culture of the Ottoman caliphate and of those parts of it which enjoyed varying degrees of independence. After the arousal that accompanied Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, the Western scramble for influence, and competition to wield it, quickened in the apparent, or actual, deterioration of Ottoman imperial competence in the nineteenth century.179
The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was among the earliest to show an interest from 1821, but it was the London Jews Society (LJS) who established the first permanent mission station in 1831. Their aim was the conversion of Jews to Protestant Christianity.
The influence of Christian Zionism within Anglican Evangelical circles was boosted by the support of Charles Simeon (1759-1836), who in later life was consumed with a passion for the conversion of Jews and the work of the London Jews Society, looking for 'a full and imminent restoration of God's chosen people'180
Whilst Way and others evangelized on the Continent, Simeon at home acted as a kind of one-man general staff, preaching for the Society, recruiting workers, spreading propaganda, collecting funds, advising on overall strategy. He did so with even more than his usual sense of urgency. He lived to see the work prosper remarkably. An annual income of £7,000 in 1815 was doubled by 1836. Episcopal patronage was bestowed on the Society... In that progress Charles Simeon had no small part.181
The British Consul was also the first to be appointed in Jerusalem in 1838, and the Anglican church, Christ Church, was dedicated in 1845. A Protestant bishopric under joint British and Prussian auspices had been founded in 1841. Solomon Alexander, the first bishop and a former Jewish rabbi did not survive long in the post and was succeeded by Samuel Gobat, a Swiss Lutheran. The arrangement with Germany then lapsed and the bishopric became solely Anglican in 1881.182 Initially Alexander and Gobat co-operated with the Eastern Churches, concentrating on the circulation of the Scriptures and opening what were termed 'Bible schools'.
As Eastern Christians bought the Bibles and sought help in reading them, teachers were supplied and more schools opened. The first two CMS missionaries arrived for this purpose in 1851 and were based in Jerusalem and Nablus. The local leadership of the Eastern Churches felt threatened and excommunicated those who read the Scriptures offered by the Anglicans.
Consequently Bishop Gobat felt compelled to protect them and from the 1860's small Anglican congregations based on a loose parish structure and led by Palestinian clergy were formed in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jaffa, Haifa, and Salt. The transition from a colonialist Anglican church dominated by expatriates to a Palestinian Anglican church was a significant but slow process which is still continuing. According to Bishop Rennie MacInnes, writing in 1925,
The work of the CMS in all its missions is to train those who join her in the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, with the ultimate object of aiding in the establishment of a self-supporting, self-governing and self-extending system.183
The self-governing Palestine Church Council, also known as the Episcopal Evangelical Church in the Holy Land was officially established in Jaffa in 1905. By then it already included twenty Palestinian clergy serving in Jaffa, Kefr Yasif, Bir Zeit, Ramleh, Shefaamr, Nablus, Acco, Salt, Nazareth and Jerusalem. However, it was not until 1958 that the first Palestinian Bishop was appointed.
For all their will to autonomy, the local recruits to Protestant mission were beholden in various ways to its Western sources, beneficiaries of its educational investments and conditioned by the vicissitudes of external politics.184
However far this process of assimilation has come and still needs to go, is a matter of healthy debate. Unfortunately this commitment has sadly been misunderstood and maligned by many, especially by Christian and Jewish Zionists.
Crombie's partisan history of the Anglican Church in the Holy Land, in keeping with the provocative title 'For the Love of Zion', is an example of this.185 While its sub-title Christian Witness and the Restoration of Israel, makes an assumption as to what Christian witness should lead to or support, Crombie never clarifies his geographical definition of Zion and therefore where this 'restoration' is to take place. Throughout the book however, he is patently unsympathetic with the present indigenous Anglican leadership, and the claim of the Palestinians to the Occupied Territories. The final chapter of his book is entitled 'The antithesis of Alexander - a PLO Bishop'. The book, not surprisingly, has aroused a good deal of criticism among leading Palestinian Anglicans.
I found reading it that it was written by a person who really harbours resentment against the Arabs and against Palestinian Christians... it reflects his prejudice, his resentment, his deep dislike of the local Christians as if they really have nothing to say. Anything that Jews do somehow is always put in the right light and anything Arabs would do is somehow always judged as being wrong... why doesn't he see the presence of so many Zionist Bishops and clergy, those are OK but once you have any person who loves the land God has chosen to give him, an indigenous Palestinian, that's taboo.186
The same kind of Zionist prejudice from a Jewish perspective can be seen in the views of Teddy Kolleck the mayor of Jerusalem. In 1992 he criticised the leadership of the Church of England for allowing the Diocese in Jerusalem 'to fall into the hands of the Arabs.' 187
The termination of the British Mandate in 1948 further accelerated the transition from expatriate to Palestinian control of Anglican mission schools, hospitals and other church assets, although the Zionist agency, the Churches Ministry Among Jewish People (CMJ) has remained strongly independent of, and resistant to, the indigenous leadership of the Diocese of Jerusalem . The elevation of the Anglican episcopate in Jerusalem to the status of an archbishopric in 1957 and its renaming as the 'Episcopal Church in the Middle East' was another important step in this process of naturalisation.188
Robert Kaplan in The Arabists,189 traces how a small but powerful elite of families and friends came to dominate America's relations with the Middle East for over a century, and in particular their perceptions of Jews and Arabs. Known as 'Arabists,' they had gone 'ethnic' immersing themselves in Arab life and culture and enjoying privileged access to the ruling Arab families. They served as educators, military attaches and diplomats, perpetuating both the Western romance with Arabia while at the same time playing a seminal role in the growth of Arab nationalism.
They were descended from the first Americans to travel to what became Lebanon and Syria, the missionaries, scholars and explorers, an extension of the ruling WASP of 19th Century America, but without the imperialist and colonialist agenda which drove much of European interest in the area. These men and women dominated American policy and shaped American perception of the Arab world until World War II. From the late 1940's, coinciding with the birth of the State of Israel, a significant change occurred in the US diplomatic corps, which reflected the country's new ethic and social diversity.
Kaplan describes the impact of this change within the State Department, particularly marked since the 1970's, showing how the rise of Irish Catholics, Jews and Harvard experts within the diplomatic service loosened the grip of Arabists on Middle East diplomacy, and upon American attitudes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the early part of the 20th Century American perceptions were very different. For the grown children of those missionary families, returning to Lebanon as Foreign Service officers and educationalists,
Syria constituted much more than a home. It was almost a transplanted version of New England itself, a glorified tableau of Ivy League Brahmins, each with a foothold in the Lebanese mountains, a magical kingdom of Protestant families brimming with a spirit of adventure, rectitude, and religious idealism, where the twentieth century would not fully arrive until 1948. When it came, it came with a vengeance.190
In the Middle Ages the term 'Arabist' referred to a physician who studied Arab medicine. In the 19th Century it was also used of a student of Arab culture or language.191 From 1948 and the founding of the state of Israel the term Arabist quickly became a pejorative term for anti-Semitism. In the words of Richard Murphy, a former ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia, the term 'Arabist' came to describe,
'he who intellectually sleeps with Arabs,' someone, that is, assumed to be politically naive, elitist, and too deferential to exotic cultures. The word almost presumes guilt. The very syllables resonate with sympathy and possession-of and with the Arabs-in a way that a word like Sinologist does not.192
Early American missionaries to Lebanon and Syria included Bill Stoltzfus, Arthur & Ray Close, Talcott Seelye, David Zimmerman, and David & Grace Dodge.
In marked contrast to the conduct of European colonials... imperialism and commercial exploitation were entirely missing from the baggage carried by the missionaries in Lebanon. Nor did the Americans even present a threat to the local religious culture, as the missionary colonies in India, China, Burma and Siam would. For if truth be told, compared with the missionaries in the Far East, who won over significant numbers of Chinese to Protestant Christianity, the American missionaries in the Middle East were complete failures. The intractability of Islam quickly forced them to give up any hope of converting souls to Christ... It would be only as purveyors of Western education that the Americans in Lebanon were to succeed. And for that the local Arabs would learn to love them.193
The American Great Awakening fired enthusiasm for missionary work abroad and in the Middle East. A friendly agreement reached in the 1870's between three American denominations saw the Congregationalists take responsibility for Turkey, the Presbyterians for Egypt, Syria and Iran and the Dutch Reformed Church for the Arabian Gulf.
One could even date the beginning of the American Arabist tradition to 1827, when Eli Smith, the Connecticut Yankee from Yale, struck out from the relative safety of a nascent mission community in Beirut for the surrounding mountains, to live for several months with the Moslem and Druze villagers, studying their language.194
What made the contribution of American missionaries to the education of Arabs distinctive was their commitment to do so, at least initially, in Arabic. They wanted to convert from within in partnership rather than as Colonialists from the outside. Unlike the Jesuits who ran the French Catholic Schools, and who consequently attracted Arab families who wanted their children to receive a Western education, the American missionaries tried to avoid creating an elite who in the end would be divorced from their own culture. How far they succeeded is questionable. Hourani regards the ethos of such foreign academic institutions as causing 'social and psychological displacement' for Arab children learning a curriculum essentially 'alien' to their own.195
In The Arab Awakening, the standard treaties on Arab nationalism, George Antonius, himself an Arab Christian, offers a more positive assessment.
The educational activities of the American missionaries in that early period had, among many virtues, one outstanding merit, they gave the pride of place to Arabic... In that, they were the pioneers... the intellectual effervescence which marked the first stirrings of the Arab revival owes most to their labours.196
Daniel Bliss and David Dodge founded the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut in 1866, and while acknowledging the failure of previous American missionaries to convert Jews and Moslems or even the Eastern Orthodox, was nevertheless committed to teaching Arabs 'the Protestant values of democracy, hard work, and free intellectual enquiry.'197 The College actively encouraged discussion and free thinking on matters such as politics providing a fertile seed bed to Arab nationalism.
Despite the 'truncation' of Syria by British and French imperialism, Dodge, was still optimistic for the realisation of Arab nationalism, and under his leadership, the teaching staff, unlike the French Jesuit College, became internationalist, including many Arabs, Americans and Europeans.
AUB... became the heart of an Arab nationalist awakening... a world for whom the State of Israel was a provocative remnant of British colonialism, just as Maronite-dominated Lebanon was a remnant of French colonialism... AUB became, in a political-cultural sense, more influential that either the British or French governments in the Middle East; a startling achievement considering that the American government had recently retreated from the region and had no presence to speak of.198
But the dream of cultivating the inverse of colonialism was shattered by the outbreak of World War I when the traumatic effects of European geopolitical power struggles and colonial rivalries spilled over into the Holy Land. The vision of the American missionaries for a 'a borderless Arab nationalism' in which Syria followed the model of the United States becoming a liberal democracy was not shared beyond the majority Sunni Moslems, least of all by the Maronites, Druze, Greek Orthodox, Jews or Armenians living in uneasy coexistence.
During the First World War, besides the relief work of the Syrian Protestant College, the American missionaries in Syria, received the enormous sum of sixteen million dollars from churches in the United States for their work in feeding and clothing poor Arabs.
But while the British and French were drawing lines on the map and switching rulers around like chess pieces, the American Protestants were suffering alongside the victims of famine and massacre, which were the mundane consequences of World War I. While Britons like Lawrence, Philby and Miss Bell were falling in love with Arabs, the missionaries were learning-more than they ever had before-what it actually felt like to be like an Arab... in the hospices and soup kitchens of World War I Syria, far from the tents of kings and the power centers of London...199
In 1919, aware that the British and French were undermining his goal of self-determination in Syria, Woodrow Wilson sent Charles Crane, a wealthy American Arabist as head of the King-Crane Commission to investigate the wishes of the indigenous people. Reservations expressed by Arab leaders and expatriate Americans led Cranes Commission to recommend the abandonment of American support for a Jewish homeland, that further Jewish immigration be severely restricted and America or Britain govern Palestine.
While Crane went on to help finance the first explorations for oil in Saudi Arabia and the Yemen, his admiration for Hitler's Germany 'the real political bulwark of Christian culture', and of Stalin's anti-Jewish purges in Soviet Russia, led his biographer to describe his later life as dominated by,
...a most pronounced prejudice... his unbridled dislike of Jews.' Crane 'tried... to persuade ...President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to shun the counsels of Felix Frankfurter and to avoid appointing other Jews to government posts.' Crane 'envisioned a world-wide attempt on the part of the Jews to stamp out all religious life and felt that only a coalition of Moslems and Roman Catholics would be strong enough to defeat such designs.' In 1933 Crane actually proposed to Haj Amin Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, that the Mufti open talks with the Vatican to plan an anti-Jewish campaign.200
It is significant that The Arab Awakening by George Antonius was funded by and dedicated 'To Charles R. Crane, aptly nicknamed Harun al-Rashid affectionately.'201
The reasoning behind opposition by American missionaries to the founding of the state of Israel is a complex one. In 1948, weeks before the founding of the State of Israel, Bayard Dodge retired from AUB for Princeton in New Jersey. In April he wrote a watershed article in Readers Digest entitled, 'Must There Be War in the Middle East?'
This six-thousand-word article, while forgotten and obscure, is the definitive statement of American Arabists on the birth of Israel. Though he cautioned, 'Not all Jews are Zionist and not all Zionists are extremists,' for Dodge the Zionist movement was a tragedy of which little good could come. Dodge was not anti-Semitic... Dodge's argument against Zionism rests, not on the politics of the movement, but on the Arabs' opposition to it, which in Dodge's view made the Zionist program unrealistic and therefore dangerous. Years and decades of strife would, Dodge knew, follow the birth of the Jewish state. As a result, wrote Dodge, 'All the work done by our philanthropic non-profit American agencies in the Arab world-Our Near East Foundation, our missions, our YMCA and YWCA, our Boston Jesuit college in Baghdad, our colleges in Cairo, Beirut, Damascus-would be threatened with complete frustration and collapse... so would our oil concessions,' a scenario that Dodge said would help Communist Russia. Dodge then quoted a fellow 'American Middle East expert' as saying that 'they [the Russians] intend to get many thousands of Russian Communist Jews into the Palestinian Jewish State.' Though Dodge made passing reference to the Holocaust (barely three years old at the time he wrote the article), he appeared oblivious to its psychological and historical ramifications upon the European Jewish refugees in Palestine. While admitting that the Arabs would never countenance a Jewish state, Dodge nevertheless exhorted Jews to lay down their arms and talk to the Arabs. The article ends with a quote from the Bible, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.' Dodge did not seem aware that the death-camp-haunted Jews of Palestine read the Old Testament with different eyes from those of a Protestant missionary.202
Kaplan argues that Dodge's views were representative of the wider expatriate and missionary community of Beirut who believed the US, British and Russians morally and politically wrong to railroad the partition of Palestine through the United Nations. Richard Crossman, the MP who was a member of the Anglo-American team investigating the Palestine crisis in 1947, observed that the American Protestant missionaries, 'challenged the Zionist case with all the arguments of the most violently pro-Arab British Middle Eastern officials.'203 Based on the perceptions of Bill Stoltzfus, who during his diplomatic career had been US Ambassador to six Arab countries, Yemen, Bahrain, the Y.A.E., Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, Kaplan concludes,
..the American community on Lebanon was almost, to a man, psychologically opposed to the State of Israel. But very few went over the line into anti-Semitism.204
Furthermore, President Harry Truman's foreign policy advisers were opposed to the proposal to recognise the state of Israel which they saw as a threat to maintaining good relations with the strategic oil-rich Arab nations, at the very time America was engaged in a race to thwart Soviet hegemony. In his memoirs Truman claims his State Department specialists were opposed to the idea of a Jewish state because they either wanted to appease the Arabs or because they were anti-Semitic, a charge many disputed claiming Truman was playing domestic politics, more concerned for the growing influence of American Jews than the advice of his Foreign Service professionals.
Sympathy for the Arabs and Palestinians in particular, continued among American Foreign Service officials working in the Middle East. Wat Cleverius, an Arabist, was transferred from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv in 1969, as economic officer, was responsible for US charities working among Palestinians, including CARE, Catholic Relief and Lutheran World Service, following the annexation of the West Bank by Israel. Looking back over three years work he wrote,
By the time I left Israel in 1972, I had begun to witness enormous corruption on the part of the Israeli civil-military establishment on the West Bank, in the form of humiliations, physical intimidation, and petty bribes that Arabs had to pay Israeli officials. Old Arab men were made to kiss the asses of donkeys in front of their families. Once the Likud came to power in 1977, they really promoted the head crunchers. They put the toughest and poorest Iraqi Jews and other Sephardim [Oriental Jews] in the West Bank, in order to really beat up the Arabs.205
American Foreign policy under Presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson tended to favour maintaining the status quo in the Middle East combining,
...emotional sympathy toward Israel-albeit in varying degrees-friendship toward the Arabs, and, most important of all, a desire to avoid conflict.206
The Six-Day War was bad news for Arabists. 'Israel was strengthened, Arab states were humiliated, and US embassies in Arab countries were closed, forcing many an Arabist to switch careers.'207 The seismic effect of the Six-Day war changed more than the borders of Israel. Her perceived US strategic value in the Middle East coincided with Richard Nixon's election as President. Critical of the State Department and FSO's, Nixon believed,
...an astonishing number of them have no obvious dedication to America. ..and evinced 'an expatriate attitude.' Even worse in Nixon's eyes, FSO's were the kind of people likely to be Democrats. Nixon was also a cold warrior who saw the Middle East, not in its own terms, but in terms of the world-wide struggle against the Soviets...now irrevocably in bed with the Arabs, making Israel a valuable Cold War asset.208
Nixon chose Henry Kissinger, a Jewish refugee from Germany, to head the National Security Council. According to Kaplan,
While previous administrations sought to avoid conflict in the Middle East, Nixon and Kissinger saw the imminent threat of confrontation as a series of opportunities for rearranging the pieces of the Arab-Israeli puzzle more to America's liking... with American Jews proud and energised as a result of Israel's war victory, Nixon saw Middle East negotiations as a loser in domestic political terms... In other words and put crudely, the relationship between the American president and the American Jewish community now loomed larger than the relationship between Arabists and their personal connections in the Levant.209
Arabists like Andrew Killgore, for example, who gave 25 years to serving in the US Foreign Service in many Arab countries, found himself, in 1974, when he expected to be named ambassador to Bahrain, exiled to the embassy in New Zealand. 'I thought that... I'd never get a good job [in the Arab world], because the Zionists, in my view, had it in for me at that time.'210 Regarding Kissinger, Killgore, who in 1977 became US ambassador to Qatar, was even more outspoken,
Henry, of course, was just a fifth columnist, as far as I am concerned. He was working for the Israeli's... Henry's real objective was to get out of the Middle East the Arabists that the Zionists didn't like. Because Henry was not so crypto-he just was Zionist.211
Following his retirement in 1980, Killgore went on to publish The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, in which in 1987 and 1988 he made the following provocative statements,
It is wrong and perverse for fanatical elements within the two and a half percent of our population who are Jewish to hold Congress hostage... America must regard the Israeli progression from penetration to direction of U.S. foreign policy as the work of a master criminal.212
1970 saw a coup attempt against the pro-Western government in Jordan by the PLFP and Syria, which, in the eyes of the United States, would have only benefited the Soviets.
Nixon and Kissinger faced a stark realization, only Israel could save the king of Jordan and preserve the balance of power in the region. The threat of Israeli military intervention caused the Syrians to retreat, allowing King Hussein to crush the Palestinian guerrillas in what came to be known as the Black September War.
The U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship was born amid the ashes of the failed fedayeen revolt. In the three years leading up to the 1970 Jordan crisis, annual U.S. military aid to Israel averaged under $47 million. In the three years succeeding the crisis, the annual aid averaged over $384 million.213
The influence of AUB on the post-war Arab world can be measured by the fact that at the Charter meeting of the United Nations in 1945, AUB graduates outnumbered those of any other university on the world.214 By the late 1960s, the faculty were pro-Palestinian, anti-Nixon and antiwar, and drew parallels between American imperialism in Vietnam and Israel.
David Dodge, acting president of AUB and the great-grandson of its founder Daniel Bliss, was ironically the first American to be taken hostage in Lebanon following Israel's invasion in 1981. On being released a year later, Dodge gave the following explanation for his abduction,
We condoned Israel's invasion of Lebanon and my kidnapping was in part due to the actions of Israel and U.S. support of Israel. Yes, I feel more strongly than ever that American policies in the Middle East are not even-handed enough.215
Another American missionary taken hostage in 1984, Ben Weir and his wife Carol were highly critical of American policy in the Middle East. Weir was a lecturer at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, an ecumenical Seminary committed to training Protestants for ministry in the Arab world. Without the kind of government backing available to AUB, NESTB was even more dependent on and integrated within the indigenous Moslem Arab culture. Kaplan argues, 'The Weirs represented the extreme evolutionary offshoot of the American missionary adventure in Lebanon...' 216 David Long, an American State Department Arabist, was responsible for liaising with the Weir family in the negotiations to get Weir released. He wrote later,
The Weirs treated me and the State Department as the enemies, even though we were their government, trying to help get Ben Weir released... Carol Weir and her church group had this holier-than-thou attitude toward the U.S. government. They didn't even want the CIA to debrief him when he was released, even though the debriefing could have helped other hostages. To them, the CIA and the Israelis-not the kidnappers were the enemy.217
In any country, changes in foreign policy will invariably reflect, to some degree, changes in domestic perceptions of the world. Kaplan explains how in the 1970s and 1980s, in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, a gulf emerged between the experiences of the American expatriate missionary-diplomatic community living in the Middle East and American public opinion back home.
The historic relationship between a group of privileged Americans and the educated stratum of Arabs in Greater Syria was just not something that an increasingly ethnic and middle-class society in the United States was even aware of or to which it could easily relate. Regarding Israel, while those like Dodge, Seelye and Mrs. Weir were in a unique position to witness the very worst aspects of the Israeli national character, Americans at home could identify with positive aspects of Israeli life more easily than they could with anything going on in the Arab world, especially in blood-spattered Lebanon. For all its faults and crude tactics, even AIPAC was psychologically closer to mainstream America than the AUB crowd was.218
America's desire to be 'even-handed' is typified by the continued presence of an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate in East Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem consulate is the most controversial U.S. diplomatic mission in the Middle East, if not in the world. It represents the Arabist frontline against the pro-Israel section of the State Department, as represented by the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, forty-five minutes away with no crossing points in between.
The consulate building in Arab East Jerusalem was a rebuke to the State of Israel. It was, to all intents and purposes, an American embassy located on territory controlled by the Israeli government. But the consulate did not recognise the Israeli government in Jerusalem, nor did it primarily deal with Israelis, its main purpose was to deal with Arabs in Jerusalem and the West Bank under Israeli military rule. Because the United States did not recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the consulate tried to insist that when the U.S. ambassador to Israel visited Jerusalem from Tel Aviv he should not fly the American flag on the hood of his limousine. Jerusalem was the consulate's turf, not the embassy's. The consulate in East Jerusalem, a graceful old stone building near the mediaeval Arab souk, was Araby, while the embassy, situated on a noisy and garish street in the heart of Jewish Tel Aviv, clearly was not. A war raged between the two installations.219
Ironically, pro-Zionist Senator Bob Dole has recently introduced legislation to the American Senate which requires the US Embassy to be rebuilt in Jerusalem by 31 May 1999, and authorising $100 million for 'preliminary' spending in the next 3 years. On 24th October 1995 he stated,
Israel's capital is not on the table in the peace process, and moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem does nothing to prejudice the outcome of any future negotiations.220
Marshall Wiley, was a US diplomat in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel from the early 1950s. In 1981, then the US ambassador to Oman, he resigned from the US Foreign Service because he opposed the aggressive support for the State of Israel given by the incoming Reagan administration. This was his outspoken assessment of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.
Among the things I remember are the old Arab villages from the pre-1948 era that the Israeli's had bulldozed... The previous conquerors didn't displace the population the way the Israelis displaced the Palestinians. There was some resentment on my part toward Israel, because the viewpoint I had gotten in Israel was exposed as false when seen from the Arab side. The Palestinians lived in miserable conditions. Israeli colonialism is, in my view, worse than that of the [Ottoman] Turks.221
In what was becoming an increasingly pro-Israel administration, in 1989 Wiley went further arguing,
Israel is only about 2 percent of the [Middle East] population, and because of their support for that 2 percent, we're willing to alienate the goodwill of the other 98 percent, which have most of the land area and most of the resources, which, I think, in terms of our national interest, is a mistake.222
Ironically it was Moshe Dayan, the hero of Israel's Six-Day War, who recognised the value of American Arabists to Israeli security when he said, '..the more friends and influence America has in the Arab world [and elsewhere], the more secure Israel will be.'223
Western Christians have, for many generations, appeared to share with the Jews not only a cultural antipathy toward Palestinians in particular but also pejorative political assumptions about Arabs generally.224 Edward Said claims this prejudice, or 'Orientalism' is representative of a peculiarly European way of dealing with foreigners. In his book, Orientalism,225 he eloquently demystifies romantic European notions of the Orient, exposing the reality and intensity of European hostility and cultural imperialism toward the East in which the strengths of the West are magnified and contrasted with the supposed weaknesses of the Orient.
Such bias and contrived generalisations have had the effect of polarising West from East, limiting the 'human encounter between different cultures, traditions and societies.' 226 At its most mundane it surfaces in views and phrases that highlight the fact that Arabs are different from Europeans, whether in skin colour, dietary preferences or personal habits. At a more profound level Orientalism has also had a profound and lasting impact upon American and European foreign policy.
Kinglake, in his unorthodox and frank impressions of the Middle East, Eothen, first published in 1844, contains an early example of Orientalism.
A man coming freshly from Europe is at first proof against the nonsense with which he is assailed; but often it happens that after a little while the social atmosphere of Asia will begin to infect him, and, if he has been unaccustomed to the cunning of fence by which reason prepares the means of guarding herself against fallacy, he will yield himself at last to the faith of those around him; and this he will do by sympathy, it would seem, rather than from conviction.227
Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written nearly a century later, contains 'perhaps the most famous Arabist analysis of the Arab mind, considered brilliant by some and racist by others.' 228
In the very outset, at the first meeting with them, was found a universal clearness or hardness of belief, almost mathematical in its limitation, and repellent in its unsympathetic form... They were a people of primary colours, or rather of black and white, who saw the world always in contour. They were a dogmatic people, despising doubt, our modern crown of thorns. They did not understand our metaphysical difficulties, our introspective questionings... They were at ease only in extremes. They inhabited superlatives by choice... they never compromised, they pursued the logic of several incompatible opinions to absurd ends, without perceiving the incongruity... They steered their course between the idols of the tribe and the cave.229
The perceptions of the Revd John Holmes is another good example of this. Following a visit to Palestine in 1929 he wrote with admiration for the Jewish pioneer settlers,
As I met and talked with these toilers on the land, I could think of nothing but the early English settlers who came to the bleak shores of Massachusetts, and there amid winter's cold in an untilled soil, among an unfriendly native population, laid firm and sure the foundations of our American Republic. For this reason I was not surprised later, when I read Josiah Wedgewood's 'The Seventh Dominion' to find this distinguished Gentile Zionist of Britain speaking of these Jewish pioneers as 'the Pilgrim Fathers of Palestine'. Here is the same heroism dedicated to the same ends... It is obvious that the native Arabs while no less stubborn and savage than the American Indians, cannot be removed from the scene.230
Edward Said offers more recent evidence from an essay by Dr Henry Kissinger entitled 'Domestic Structure and Foreign Policy'. In it Kissinger relies on what linguists refer to as 'binary opposition', in which, like Orientalists, he divides the world into two halves, the developed post-Newtonian and the developing pre-Newtonian world.
And like Orientalism's distinction Kissinger's was not value-free, despite the apparent neutrality of his tone. Thus such words as 'prophetic,' 'accurate,' 'internal,' 'empirical reality,' and 'order' are scattered throughout his description, and they characterise either attractive, familiar, desirable virtues or menacing, peculiar, disorderly defects. Both the traditional Orientalist... and Kissinger conceive of the difference between cultures, first, as creating a battle front that separates them, and second, as inviting the West to control, contain, and otherwise govern (through superior knowledge and accommodating power) the Other. 231
Said gives further examples of 'respectable' Orientalism in the writings of Harold Glidden, an advisor on American foreign policy to the United States Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research, whose views were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in February 1972.
...it is a notable fact that while the Arab value system demands absolute solidarity within the group, it at the same time encourages among its members a kind of rivalry that is destructive of that very solidarity; in Arab society only 'success counts' and 'the end justifies the means'; Arabs live 'naturally' in a world 'characterised by anxiety expressed in generalised suspicion and distrust, which has been labelled free-floating hostility'; 'the art of subterfuge is highly developed in Arab life, as well as in Islam itself'; the Arab need for vengeance overrides everything, otherwise the Arab would feel 'ego-destroying' shame. Therefore, if 'Westerners consider peace to be high on the scale of values' and if 'we have a highly developed consciousness of the value of time,' this is not true of Arabs. 'In fact,' we are told, 'in Arab tribal society, strife, not peace, was the normal state of affairs because raiding was one of the two main supports of the economy.' 232
Probably the most disastrous recent example of how Orientalist attitudes have influencfed foreign policy decisions would be the failure of the United States and the Western Alliance to take seriously Saddam Hussein's expansionist intentions prior to his annexation of Kuwait. April Glaspie, the US ambassador to Iraq, and significantly the first woman ambassador in the Middle East, made two fundamental errors, prior to Iraq's invasion which are inherent flaws common to Arabists, and yet ironically at the same time are typical of Western Orientalists.
..first, what was required in this situation was not so much tough talk as straight talk. She was not straight with Saddam. Whatever may have been Washington's official position at the time, an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was going to result in some sort of strong U.S. response-common sense would tell you that-and she failed to point this out to him. Second, here was an area specialist who completely misjudged the overall situation, as Gertrude Bell had misjudged it with King Feisal and as the missionaries had repeatedly misjudged it with the Sunni Arab nationalists, all misjudgements that stemmed from the hubris that allowed Westerners to think that they could modify the behaviour of another culture and shape it in their own perfect image. Saddam could be moderated if only he had the right incentives, like nonlethal military equipment...233
In April 1991, April Glaspie appeared in public for the first time following the invasion of Kuwait, to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sydney Blumenthal of the New Republic notes that she appeared 'without makeup or jewellery; her long grey hair was pulled back and her dress absolutely plain. Her puritan austerity suggested virtue.' Indeed, she looked every inch the missionary.'234
For the Orientalist the West is seen as liberal, peaceful, rational and capable of embracing 'real' values whereas the Oriental is not. Kenneth Cragg who has lived in the Middle East for many years, and has closely identified with the Arab culture, both Moslem and Christian, concurs with Said's criticism of Orientalism, for its 'crude stereotype imaging of the East', and for being,
This indictment of the West falls as much upon the Church as it does upon politicians since it has contributed to the divisions among Protestant Christians in places like Jerusalem where Hebrew-Messianic believers and Zionist Christians gravitate toward Christ Church, Palestinians and their supporters to St George's, while pietistic Evangelicals invariably end up at the Garden Tomb. Each community tends to worship in isolation, attracting their own following in varying proportions from among pilgrims. Edward Said, although himself a nominal Anglican, crystallises the issue at a more profound level.
I consider Orientalism's failure to have been a human as much as an intellectual one; for in having to take up a position of irreducible opposition to a region of the world it considered alien to its own, Orientalism failed to identify with human experience, failed also to see it as human experience. 236
Eber concedes that it is perhaps inevitable that we find it hard to cope with the 'foreign' because of the weight of our emotional 'baggage' carried when travelling abroad, since we cannot avoid 'refining and redefining ourselves, confirming and reconfirming our individual and collective identities' in the light of this encounter. Nevertheless it is, she argues, '....only by examining and becoming aware of our own internal voice-overs and editing processes can we bring into sharper focus the images that we see.'237 Similarly Cragg calls unambiguously for 'imaginative, uninhibited and uninhibiting sympathy between Arab and Western Christians' 238
These are however lone voices and there remains a pervasive and arrogant racism implicit in much Christian Zionism in that presence of a Palestinian Church is ignored or denigrated, and their very existence threatened.239 This is the result not only of the historical processes already considered, but has been compounded by relatively recent theological controversies concerning biblical prophecy and eschatology. These coincided with the momentous events of 1967.
In the early 20th Century, following the devastating toll of the 'Great War', and then the 'Great Depression', American fundamentalism became preoccupied with refuting theological liberalism and consequently interest in Zionism appears to have waned.
In a detailed history of the rise of 20th Century American fundamentalism prior to 1970, Erling Jorstad traces the right wing, anti-modernist, anti-communist and xenophobic agenda of the movement. There is significantly, however, no reference to Israel.240 Similarly, in George Marsden's historical overview of the rise of fundamentalism and evangelicalism in America between 1870-1930, he argues that despite some evidence of anti-Semitism, in the early 20th Century there seems to have been little interest in contemporary Israel.241
During the 1940's both prior to and after the founding of the state of Israel, liberal Protestant Christians such as Paul Tillich, William Albright and Reinhold Niebuhr were the principle allies of Israel, founding the Christian Council on Palestine in 1942. Niebuhr, as Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary defended his Zionism on pragmatic grounds rather than religious ones in an article for The Nation in 1941. Persecution in Europe combined with restrictive immigration laws in America led Niebuhr to recognise the 'moral right' of the Jews to Palestine in order to survive as a nation.242 In 1946 he testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in Washington on behalf of the Christian Council on Palestine. While acknowledging the conflicting rights of Arabs and Jews in Palestine, he argued,
The fact however that the Arabs have a vast hinterland in the Middle East, and the fact that the Jews have nowhere to go, establishes the relative justice of their claims and of their cause... Arab sovereignty over a portion of the debated territory must undoubtedly be sacrificed for the sake of establishing a world Jewish homeland.243
Some notable dispensational leaders did, however, maintain a faithful and vocal commitment to an imminent realisation of the Zionist dream. Dr M. R. DeHaan, for example, founder of the Radio Bible Class World-wide Gospel Broadcast, who was regularly heard via over 600 radio stations world-wide, published his studies in the Book of Daniel in 1947. In a chapter entitled, 'The Jews and Palestine' he interprets the events before and after the Balfour Declaration in the light of Abrahamic Covenant and Belshazzar's "Handwriting on the Wall" from Daniel 5. His racist attitude toward the indigenous Christian and Moslem Palestinians is typical of Christian Zionists yet an inevitable consequence of his dispensational presuppositions.
Now the land of Palestine is the Holy Land because in His eternal purposes and program, God has set it aside for the one purpose of occupation by his peculiar people, the descendants of Jacob, and because it is God's Holy Land, anyone who tampers with it and seeks to separate its people from their possession comes under the judgment of God. This is the record of history...
Belshazzar, the king, stretched forth his hand and touched the holy things of God, the vessels that had been taken from the holy Temple in Jerusalem in the land of Judah. As a result, God brought swift and speedy judgment upon the nation and Babylon fell and came to a dismal end. Today the same thing is still true in principle, and the Holy Land, that little parcel of land... Is still the key to the world's problems. When the nation of that land to whom God has promised it by covenant is given full and free possession of the land, then only will the nations be at rest and the peace for which men strive shall finally be realised.
In recent years, there has been much indication of the fact that this is about to be consummated, and we believe we are sat the very threshold of that glorious time when Israel shall be fully restored top the land again and the millennial rest will be ushered in by the coming of the Messiah. Many Bible students were quite certain some twenty or twenty-five years ago that we had just about reached that period in history when Israel would be restored to the land and it would be a signal for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a well-known fact established in history that when the tide of war was turning against the Allies in World War 1, it was a humble modest Jewish chemist, Dr. Chaim Weitzman, now world famous and very much in the news again, who came forward in the zero hour of the apparent defeat of the Allies with the formula for the most powerful explosive ever discovered up to that time, T.N.T., and donated the discovery to his beloved country, Britain, and that turned the tide of victory for the Allies... Then it was that Lord Balfour announced that in the event of victory over the enemy, the land of Palestine would be set aside and given to Israel as her national homeland. Well, you remember the war ended, and the Balfour declaration gave Britain the mandate over the entire land of Palestine, the Holy Land. Here we believe was the golden opportunity. She had it in her power and her right to clear the land of its unlawful possessors and make it exclusively the homeland for God's scattered people. However, for reasons of expediency or otherwise, this dream, this promise was never fully realized... If only the nations had been able to see their way clear to keep their promise to set aside the Holy Land as a national refuge and return it again to their rightful possessors to whom God had promised it, God might have raised many, many more of the see of Jacob like Dr. Weitzman to bring blessing and help to the nations of the world... And so the awful crisis continues and the unrest in the land is gaining by leaps and bounds.244
The combination of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, the capture of Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, and the defeat on both occasions of the combined Arab armies, increasingly came to be seen as significant fulfilment's of biblical prophecy by a new generation of American and European dispensational fundamentalists.
Coincidentally, the New Scofield Reference Bible, a revision of the 1917 version, edited by Dr. E. Schuyler English and a team of dispensationalists including John F. Walvoord, was published in 1967 which, given its timing, inevitably fuelled greater interest in Christian Zionism.245 Ironically, Schuyler English had edited a young person's version of the Scofield Bible, entitled the Holy Bible, Pilgrim Edition, some twenty years earlier, in 1948.246 It is interesting to note that the popular edition of the Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1917 coinciding with the Balfour Declaration and in the words of Lord Cecil, 'the rebirth of a nation'247; the youth edition of Scofield with the War of Independence in 1948; and the 'new' edition of Scofield with the occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.
The 1967 'Six Day War' marked a significant watershed for evangelical Christian interest in Israel and Zionism. With the annexation of the West Bank Liberal Protestants and organisations such as the World Council of Churches increasingly distanced themselves from Zionism, whereas the same events fuelled enthusiasm among fundamentalists for Israel.248 For example, Jerry Falwell did not begin to speak about modern-day Israel until after Israel's 1967 military victory.
Falwell changed completely. He entered into politics and became an avid supporter of the Zionist State... the stunning Israeli victory made a big impact not only on Falwell, but on a lot of Americans... Remember that in 1967, the United States was mired in the Vietnam war. Many felt a sense of defeat, helplessness and discouragement. As Americans we were made acutely aware of our own diminished authority, of no longer being able to police the world or perhaps even our own neighbourhoods... Many Americans, including Falwell, turned worshipful glances toward Israel, which they viewed as militarily strong and invincible. They gave their unstinting approval to the Israeli take-over of Arab lands because they perceived this conquest as power and righteousness... Macho or muscular Christians such as Falwell credited Israeli General Moshe Dayan with this victory over Arab forces and termed him the Miracle Man of the Age, and the Pentagon invited him to Vietnam and tell us how to win the war.249
Billy Graham's father-in-law, Nelson Bell, the editor of the prestigious and authoritative mouthpiece of conservative Evangelicalism, Christianity Today, appeared to express the sentiments of many American Evangelicals when, in an editorial in 1967 he wrote,
That for the first time in more than 2,000 years Jerusalem is now completely in the hands of the Jews gives a student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible. 250
The most influential of all fundamentalist Christian Zionists of the 20th century is undoubtedly Hal Lindsey. He has been described by Time Magazine as 'The Jeremiah for this Generation', and by his own publisher as 'The Father of the Modern-Day Bible Prophecy Movement.'251 Lindsey is a prolific writer, with at least eighteen books dealing directly or indirectly with the End Times, his own radio and television programmes, seminars, Holy Land Tours, and by subscription, his monthly Countdown Magazine and International Intelligence Briefing.
Lindsey's most influential book, The Late Great Planet Earth has been described by the New York Times as the '#1 Non-fiction Bestseller of the Decade.' It has gone through more than 100 printings with sales, by 1993, in excess of 18 million in English, with a further 30 million copies in 31 foreign editions.252 Despite dramatic changes in the world since its publication in 1970, most significantly, it remains in print in its original un-revised form. Lindsey has subsequently become a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs to both the Pentagon and Israeli Government.253
This particular kind of reading of history, coloured by a literal exegesis of selected biblical scriptures, is dualistic, dogmatic, triumphalist, apocalyptic and confrontational. Lindsey's last but one book, The Final Battle, includes the statement on the cover "Never before, in one book, has there been such a complete and detailed look at the events leading up to 'The Battle of Armageddon.'"254
Lindsey confidently asserts that the world is degenerating and that the forces of evil manifest in godless Communism and militant Islam are the real enemies of Israel. He describes in detail the events leading to the great battle at Megiddo between the massive Russian, Chinese and African armies that will attempt but fail to destroy Israel. He and others like Louis Goldberg, a professor of Theology and Jewish Studies at the Moody Bible Institute, offer detailed illustrated plans ostensibly showing future military movements of armies and naval convoys leading up to the battle of Armageddon.255 These will merely hasten the return of Jesus Christ as King of the Jews who will rule over the other nations from the rebuilt Jewish temple on the site of the destroyed Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.256
Jerusalem will be the spiritual centre of the entire world... all people of the earth will come annually to worship Jesus who will rule there.257
One of the reasons fundamentalists appear so enthusiastic about such a terrible scenario may have to do with their hope of the secret rapture. Just before the final conflagration they believe Jesus will,
...'rapture' true Christians into the upper air, while the rest of humankind, was being slaughtered below. 144,000 Jews would bow down before Jesus and be saved, but the rest of Jewry would perish in the mother of all holocausts.258
The Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary have played no small part in promoting a Fundamentalist and Zionist eschatology among thousands of American ministers and missionaries.259 Charles Dyer, a professor of Bible exposition at Dallas even includes photographs allegedly showing Saddam Hussein's reconstruction of Babylon to the same specifications and splendour as Nebuchadnezzar.260 Dyer warns that this is evidence that Hussein plans to attempt to repeat Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Israel, the only Arab ever to have done so. 'The Middle East is the world's time bomb, and Babylon is the fuse that will ignite the events of the end times.'261
An indication of how seriously fundamentalists take the military aspect of their apocalyptic scenario can be seen from the content of the itinerary used by Jerry Falwell in his Friendship Tour to Israel in 1983. It included meetings with top Israeli government and military officials and an,
.....On-site tour of modern Israeli battlefields... Official visit to an Israeli defence installation... strategic military positions, plus experience first hand the battle Israel faces as a nation.262
The demise of the Soviet Union, the rise of militant Islam, the success of the Allies in the Gulf War, and the approaching third millennium have only fuelled more imaginative speculations among fundamentalists, while the same anti-Arab prejudices and Orientalist stereotypes persist.
Long ago the psalmist predicted the final mad attempt of the confederated Arab armies to destroy the nation of Israel... The Palestinians are determined to trouble the world until they repossess what they feel is their land. The Arab nations consider it a matter of racial honour to destroy the State of Israel. Islam considers it a sacred mission of religious honour to recapture Old Jerusalem.263
Following the Gulf War, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism hired the Fundamentalist musician Pat Boon to promote pilgrimages in North America through a series of costly advertisements in Evangelical journals and on television. According to Wagner there are a number of Evangelical Christian Zionist leaders even more right wing than Falwell and Robertson, who in the 1980's had direct access to Reagan and the White House.264 These include Terry Risenhoover and Doug Kreiger who were very influential in gathering American support for the Jewish extremist organisation, the Temple Mount Faithful.265 These particular Christian and Jewish Zionists believe that the Moslem Dome of the Rock must be destroyed and the Third Jewish Temple built in order to ensure the return of Jesus.266
To such Fundamentalists the existence of a Palestinian Christian church is either ignored completely, or maligned as theologically Liberal and spiritually dead, an irrelevancy in the inexorable movement of world history leading to the imminent return of the Jewish Messiah. Basilea Schlink, for example, berates the Palestinian Intifada as 'terrorism.... aimed solely at destroying Israel.'267 Her uncompromising views are typical of many other Zionists who elevate the State of Israel to a privileged status far above any human sanction or criticism.
Anyone who disputes Israel's right to the land of Canaan is actually opposing God and his holy covenant with the Patriarchs. He is striving against sacred, inviolable words and promises of God, which He has sworn to keep.268
The founding of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in 1980 represents in some senses the coming of age of Christian Zionism as a high profile concerted international movement. The ICEJ was opened with the express intention of bringing comfort and support to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It was built at a time when other governmental embassies were being moved out of Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in protest at Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem. Their promotional material includes the following explanation.
When the vision of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was first given it was expressed in the following concerns; to care for the Jewish people, especially for the newborn State of Israel which includes standing up for the Jews when they are attacked or discriminated against, and for Israel to live in peace and security.... to care that the world wide body of Christ will be rightly related to Israel in comfort, love and prayer for her well-being, to care for the nations whose destinies will be increasingly linked to the way in which they relate to Israel, the care and preparation for the coming of the Lord.269
Among other things the work of the ICEJ specifically includes promoting Zionist pilgrimages, and imposing a Zionist agenda on pilgrimage itineraries. ICEJ are not alone in offering explicit support for Israel. Doug Kreiger, an evangelical fundamentalist listed over 250 pro-Israel evangelical organisations operating in America and founded between 1980-1985.270
There are a number of similarities between 19th Century British and 20th Century American attitudes to Israel. In both, as the international power broker of their day, the blend of religion and politics became inextricably entwined. In the closing decades of the 19th and early 20th Century, there was a convergence of British strategic colonial interests and Christian Zionism within significant segments of the intellectual and political intelligentsia. Likewise current American foreign policy in the Middle East largely coincides with that of the powerful Christian Zionist lobby.271 Both parties, now as then, favour a strong and dominant pro-American presence in the Middle East whether for pragmatic reasons of military strategy, or because it conforms to their particular eschatology. Among a consensus of American Christian fundamentalist leaders, these twin motives, religious and political are unashamedly connected and intrinsic to a predicted apocalyptic scenario which one writer has gone so far as to describe as, 'Operation Desert Storm II.'272
In 1976-77 several events occurred simultaneously which had the effect of accelerating the influence of Christian Zionism as a political phenomenon in America.
A religious and political marriage was consummated between American Zionist organisations, Israeli leadership, and Fundamentalist Christian Zionists.273
In 1977 the Likud party under Menachem Begin came to power on an expansionist Zionist platform using biblical phraseology to justify the settlement of the West Bank. It was Begin for example who first renamed Israel and the Occupied Territories as Judaea and Samaria.274 In America the Jewish lobby realised the potential significance of wooing the political endorsement of the powerful 50-60 million Evangelical block vote through their fundamentalist leadership. With this in mind, in 1979, the Israeli government honoured Jerry Falwell with the Jabotinsky Award in appreciation of his support of Israel. They also provided him with a Lear jet to assist in his work on their behalf.275
U.S. President Jimmy Carter was well known for his evangelical beliefs and these he applied to his Middle Eastern policy.276 In a speech made in 1978 he explained how he saw the state of Israel as,
A return at last, to the Biblical land from which the Jews were driven so many hundreds of years ago... The establishment of the nation of Israel is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy and the very essence of its fulfilment.277
In another speech, this time given before the Israeli Knesset in March 1979 he dwelt on the special relationship between America and Israel, stressing how,
It has been and it is a unique relationship. And it is a relationship that is indestructible, because it is rooted in the consciousness and the morals and the religion and the beliefs of the American people themselves... Israel and the United States were shaped by pioneers - my nation is also a nation of immigrants and refugees - by peoples gathered in both nations from many lands... We share the heritage of the Bible.278
Carter made several trips to the Middle East where he met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. His recollection of those meetings demonstrates a sad naivety . When faced with repeated claims of the denial of basic human rights among the Palestinians, Carter innocently confessed,
On one occasion I argued with them about their refusal to take the strongest cases to the Israeli Supreme Court, and I tried to assure the group that they would get a fair hearing and perhaps set a precedent that would be beneficial in many similar cases... I was assured that Israeli lawyers were available to represent the Palestinians... The Israelis told me that in every instance there was a legal basis for the taking of land - or it was needed for security purposes... I asked an Israeli Supreme Court justice if he considered the treatment of the Palestinians fair; he said that he dealt fairly with every case brought before him in the high court... When I inquired about the purposes of the PLO, they seemed somewhat taken aback that I needed to ask such a question...279
Following the failure of the Camp David agreements Carter came to believe the Arab-Israeli conflict could not be solved by international intervention, or even pressure from America, but only by the Israeli electorate.
Unless there is a massive Arab-Israeli war, the key to the future of Israel will not be found outside the country but within. Neither the United States nor any combination of Arab powers can force its preferences on Israel concerning the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian rights, or the occupied territories of Syria and Lebanon. The judgments concerning what is best for israel will be made in Jerusalem, through democratic processes involving all Israelis who can express their views or elect their leaders... The outcome of this debate will shape the future of Israel; it may also determine the prospects for peace in the Middle East - and perhaps the world.280
Carter's pessimistic dispensational roots are perhaps evident in the last sentence. His eventual downfall, in part due to the loss of the fundamentalist block vote; the exploitation of the media by Evangelicals Concern for Israel including well known figures as Pat Boone and Vernon Grounds; the rise of Moral Majority as a political campaigning organisation under Jerry Falwell; and the election of Ronald Reagan as a President who publicly subscribed to a Fundamentalist premillennial dispensational theology, all combined to give a considerable boost to the Christian Zionist cause. In the 1980 presidential elections, Wagner claims that 80% of Evangelicals supported the conservative wing of the Republican party, and Ronald Reagan, in particular.
The election of Ronald Reagan ushered in not only the most pro-Israel administration in history but gave several Christian Zionists prominent political posts. In addition to the President, those who subscribed to a futurist premillennial theology and Christian Zionism included Attorney General Ed Meese, Secretary of Defence Casper Weinberger, and Secretary of the Interior James Watt.... Once the Reagan Administration opened the door, leading Evangelical Christian Zionist televangelists and writers were given direct access to the President and cabinet members. Rev. Jerry Falwell, Christian Zionist televangelist Mike Evans and author Hal Lindsey among them.281
'White House Seminars' became a regular feature of Reagan's administration bringing Christian Zionists into direct personal contact with national and Congressional leaders.
In Reagan's Address to the Nation on the West Bank and the Palestinians in 1982, marking the ejection of the PLO from Beirut, he gave the official position of the United States government,
Today has been a day that should make all of us proud... Our involvement in the search for Mideast peace is not a matter of preference, it is a moral imperative... We also have an irreversible commitment to the survival and territorial integrity of friendly states... So the United States will not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and we will not support annexation or permanent control by Israel... But it is the firm view of the United States that self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable, just and lasting peace.282
However, in a personal conversation reported in the Washington Post in April of 1984, Reagan told the chief Israeli lobbyist, Tom Dine,
You know, I turn back to the ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if-if we're the generation that is going to see that come about. I don't know if you've noted any of these prophecies lately, but believe me they certainly describe the times we're going through.283
For Fundamentalists such as Jerry Falwell and Mike Evans, America is seen as the great redeemer, her role in the world providentially and politically preordained.284 The two nations of America and Israel are like Siamese twins, linked not only by common self interest but more significantly by similar religious foundations. Together they are perceived to be pitted against an evil world dominated by Communist and Islamic totalitarian regimes antithetical to the values of America and Israel.285 So for example, Mike Evans, founder and president of Lovers of Israel Inc, in the following quotations from his book, Israel, America's Key to Survival, almost mimics and plays on the apocalyptic scenario of Benjamin Netanyahu, offering 'biblical' grounds for their countries mutual survival.
If America goes down, then the whole world goes down. Nothing will remain of the world. If America was not around, the Soviet Union would take over the world in three days. Their goals are to destroy America... to destroy it... to reduce it to nothing; and they feel they can effectively do it through terrorism.286
Only one nation, Israel, stands between Soviet-sponsored terrorist aggression and the complete decline of the United States as a democratic world power... Surely demonic pressure will endeavor to encourage her to betray Israel. This must not happen. Israel is the key to America's survival. For God has said of the nations who will oppose Israel, "Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted... I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee..."(Isa.60:12; Gen. 12:3)...As we stand with Israel, I believe we shall see God perform a mighty work in our day. God is going to bless America and Israel as well. It is not too late. I believe this is the greatest hour to be alive, and the key is unity, standing tall, proclaiming with a voice of love our commitment to the House of Israel, and to the God of Israel.287
Similarly, Ramon Bennett, author of 'Saga: Israel and the Demise of the Nations' and spokesman for Arm of Salvation, a Christian Zionist organisation based in Jerusalem, emotively dedicates his book, 'To the men of the Israeli Defence Force who display immense courage when facing impossible odds. To the grieving parents, wives, children, sweethearts, sisters and brothers and friends, whose tears have watered the parched earth of Eretz Yisreal.' 288
The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem has, since 1980, become the semi-official voice of this coalition of Christian religious and political Zionist organisations, frequently cultivated, exploited and quoted by the Israeli Government when ever a sympathetic Christian view point is needed to enhance their own policies, and rebut Western criticism. For example, in October 1996, Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli Prime Minister spoke at the Jerusalem 3000 rally organised by the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem, to support Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem. Following the provocative opening of an underground tunnel by the Israelis from the Western Wall through the Moslem Quarter, he was cheered when he insisted the tunnel, 'is open. It will stay open. It will always stay open.'289
Not surprisingly the 1993 Peace-Accord signed by the Israeli Government and the PLO has been sharply criticised by Christian Zionist groups who see it as a threat to the realisation of Eretz Israel. In particular they have opposed the handing back of the West Bank and the threat to the status of the Jewish settlements. For example, Theodore Temple Beckett, Chairman of the Christian Friends of Israel Community Development Foundation, as well as President of the Colorado-based Foundation for Israel, has initiated an 'adopt-a-settlement program among American Evangelical Churches. The Jewish town of Ariel has already been adopted by Faith Bible Chapel in Denver. By the end of 1995 it was Beckett's expectation that around 70 Jewish settlements would have been adopted by churches,
...with larger churches adopting larger settlements and smaller churches adopting smaller settlements and giving all a morale boost to show them they are not alone and are loved by many.290
On the 21st December 1995, just hours before the Israeli's handed over administrative responsibility for Bethlehem to the Palestinian National Authority, the Voice of America radio station carried a news report claiming some Evangelical Christian groups had called for a boycott of Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem in protest.
Nine Christian Organisations have called their faithful not to go to Bethlehem this Christmas, to protest the transfer of the City to Palestinian rule. One of those Groups is called Bridges for Peace. Its Director is Clarence Wagner.
'There are millions of Evangelical Christians and other Middle East Christians who are concerned about the fact that Bethlehem has been unilaterally turned over to the Palestinian Authority, which is under the aegis of the PLO, and therefore has placed Bethlehem under Muslim control. Historically, Islam has not respected Christian holy sites. And here, Manger Square, the birthplace of Jesus, one of the holiest shrines in Christianity, is sort of quietly being turned over to a Muslim authority and no one is saying anything like, 'What will this mean for the future?... We have no idea what the experience under the PA will be, particularly if more fanatical Islamic Fundamentalism does increase in the years to come.'
...But the Latin Patriarch of the Holy Land, Michel Sabbah, who is Palestinian, said he welcomes the transfer of authority in Bethlehem and Mr. Arafat's plan to attend Midnight Mass. He says, religion and politics have always been linked in the Middle East and this is an opportunity to make that linkage in a positive way. Patriarch Sabbah... sharply criticizes those who are calling for a boycott of Bethlehem this Christmas.
'They are our brothers, every human being is our brother, but they are coming from abroad and they are bringing in the country feelings from abroad which do not correspond to the views and to the needs, spiritual and human, of the Land. This Land needs reconciliation. So, this is what we need, and not people coming from outside to tell us to boycott this and boycott that.' 291
The International Christian Embassy, quoted in the Sunday Times, on Christmas Eve 1995 predicted that the celebrations that night would, '...look more like Arafat's birthday than that of Jesus.'292 Ray Borlaise, writing in the Prayer Bulletin of Intercessors for Britain in January 1996, made similar criticisms of the transfer of power in Bethlehem, but apparently on sound theological grounds,
It is plain from Zechariah 12 that Jerusalem will become a contentious issue leading to conflict. Many feel that Ezekiel 38 & 39 will take place in the last days and will be a conflict between Islamic countries and Israel. There may be previous skirmishes before that battle takes place on the 'mountains of Israel' - some areas of which have just been handed over to the Palestinians. We sense that the peace may falter causing Samaria and Judea to pass back into Jewish hands. Will God allow Bethlehem, the burial place of Rachel, the town of Ruth and the birth place of David (let alone that of Jesus) to remain in Arab hands when it was promised to Abraham, Issac (sic) and Jacob as an eternal inheritance? (Genesis 17)293
Borlaise, in one short paragraph, makes a number of typical Christian Zionist assumptions which will be explored in more detail in a later chapter. He assumes, for example, that selectively chosen ancient Hebrew writings relate directly to contemporary events, and will thereby some how determine future events, conveniently ignoring other prophetic passages in which God warns of the expulsion of the Jews from the land as and when they fail to act righteously and with justice. It is also interesting that Borlaise not only refers to the Occupied Territories, as 'Judea and Samaria,' but also assumes that because Bethlehem had an historical significance in Jewish history between 3,500 - 2000 years ago, contemporary Jewish people have some divine right to occupy and confiscate the land of those living there prior to 1967.
A notorious example of this relates to the confiscation of Palestinian owned land at Abu-Ghoneim mountain, located at the northern edge of Beit Sahour on the traditional site of the Shepherds Fields, which was ratified by the Israeli Supreme Court on December 4th 1994. Local Christians see this particular Jewish settlement project, called Har Homa, as one of the most serious and dangerous, not only because the building work involves the destruction of several ancient Christian shrines, but also because it demonstrates a flagrant State-initiated contradiction and judicially-ratified disregard for both the text and spirit of the Peace Accord signed a year earlier.294
At the Third International Christian Zionist Congress, held in February 1996 under the auspices of ICEJ, the following resolutions were passed unanimously indicating the explicit religio-political agenda of ICEJ.
Further, we are persuaded by the clear unction of our God to express the sense of this Congress on the following concerns before us this day,
1. Because of the sovereign purposes of God for the City, Jerusalem must remain undivided, under Israeli sovereignty, open to all peoples, the capitol of Israel only, and all nations should so concur and place their embassies here.
2. As a faith bound to love and forgiveness we are appreciative of the attempts by the Government of Israel to work tirelessly for peace. However, the truths of God are sovereign and it is written that the Land which He promised to His People is not to be partitioned... It would be further error for the nations to recognize a Palestinian state in any part of Eretz Israel.
3. To the extent the Palestinian Covenant or any successor instrument calls for the elimination of Israel or denies the right of Israel to exist within secure borders in Eretz Israel, it should be abolished.
4. The Golan is part of biblical Israel and is a vital strategic asset necessary for the security and defense of the entire country.
C. The Islamic claim to Jerusalem, including its exclusive claim to the Temple Mount, is in direct contradiction to the clear biblical and historical significance of the city and its holiest site, and this claim is of later religio-political origin rather than arising from any Qur'anic text or early Muslim tradition.
7. While Gentile believers have been grafted into that household of faith which is of Abraham (the commonwealth of Israel), replacement theology within the Christian faith, which does not recognize the ongoing biblical purposes for Israel and the Jewish People, is doctrinal error.
8. Regarding Aliyah, we remain concerned for the fate of imperiled Jewish People in diverse places, and seek to encourage and assist in the continuing process of Return of the Exiles to Eretz Israel. To this end we commit to work with Israel and to encourage the Diaspora to fulfill the vision and goal of gathering to Israel the greater majority of all Jewish People from throughout the world.295
Under Netanyahu's influence, the Israeli government remains enthusiastic to nurture the support of Christian Zionists. Exploiting the association of Megiddo with the apocalypse, Israeli planners and architects, with Netanyahu's blessing, have began creating a three dimensional 'virtual Megiddo'. While some critics have described it 'Apocalypso', Israeli officials are keen to capitalise on the millions of additional visitors, 'expected to flock to mark the end of the millennium in gloomy style.'296 Ze'ev Margalit, the official in charge of the development claimed, ...the beauty of this place is that it has a 6,000-year history that can take people back to the dawn of civilisation, a vibrant present and an apocalyptic future.297 Anxious to avoid creating a 'Disneyland of the apocalypse', Margalit added, 'There are a lot of different ideas on how to deal with this. It is easy to get kitsch and we must avoid that. So we will leave a lot to the imagination.'298 Keen to encourage greater numbers of Christians to visit Israel leading up to the Millennium, Netanyahu has recently taken part in programmes broadcast on Evangelical radio stations.
Boosting evangelical tourism dovetails with his plans to deepen Israel's ties with leaders of America's Christian far right, many of whom are sympathetic to Zionism... Netanyahu has a long history of nurturing these ties. He believes the conservative Christian influence in American public opinion, and particularly within the Republican party controlling congress, can be used to counter liberal Democrats such as President Bill Clinton, who want Israel to cede land to the Palestinians.299
Armstrong is not alone in tracing in Western Christian Zionism evidence of the legacy of the Crusades. Fundamentalists have, she claims, 'returned to a classical and extreme religious crusading.'300 The Ruether's also see the danger of this kind of Christian Zionism in its, 'dualistic, Manichaean view of global politics. America and Israel together against an evil world.'301
The following quote from Senator Bob Dole is a good example,
American-Israeli friendship is no accident. It is a product of our shared values. We are both democracies. We are both pioneer states. We have both opened our doors to the oppressed. We have both shown a passion for freedom and we have gone to war to protect it. 302
This 'simple dualism' and 'highly dogmatic thinking' is something a number of sociologists have observed as common to much American fundamentalism.303 Bishop Kenneth Cragg writes,
It is so; God chose the Jews; the land is theirs by divine gift. These dicta cannot be questioned or resisted. They are final. Such verdicts come infallibly from Christian biblicists for whom Israel can do no wrong-thus fortified. But can such positivism, this unquestioning finality, be compatible with the integrity of the Prophets themselves? It certainly cannot square with the open peoplehood under God which is the crux of New Testament faith. Nor can it well be reconciled with the ethical demands central to law and election alike. 304
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), representing the indigenous and ancient Oriental and Eastern Churches, has been highly critical of the activities of Christian Zionists, and the International Christian Embassy, in particular. They assert, for instance, that the International Christian Embassy has aggressively imposed an aberrant expression of the Christian faith and an erroneous interpretation of the Bible which is subservient to the political agenda of the modern State of Israel. Indeed they represent a tendency to,
...force the Zionist model of theocratic and ethnocentric nationalism on the Middle East... (rejecting)... the movement of Christian unity and inter-religious understanding which is promoted by the (indigenous) churches in the region. The Christian Zionist programme, with its elevation of modern political Zionism, provides the Christian with a world view where the gospel is identified with the ideology of success and militarism. It places its emphasis on events leading up to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.305
In 1988 the MECC went further insisting that Christian Zionism had no place in the Middle East and should be repudiated by the universal Church because it was 'a dangerous distortion' and significant shift away from orthodox Christocentric expressions of the Christian faith.
(This is) ...a fundamental disservice also to Jews who may be inspired to liberate themselves from discriminatory attitudes and thereby rediscover equality with the Palestinians with whom they are expected to live God's justice and peace in the Holy Land.306
Although ICEJ's support for Israel is primarily political, MECC has been concerned more with its theological basis, and ICEJ's attempt to sacralize a political ideology beyond human criticism or ethical standards and to treat the security of a Jewish State within the entire land presently occupied as a fundamental axiom of their supra-historical eschatology. The declarations following the first, second and third Christian Zionist Congresses, organised by ICEJ in 1985, 1988 and 1996, according to MECC, show a significant shift away from orthodox Christocentric expressions of the Christian faith. Based on the writings of ICEJ's spokesman, rev. Jan Willem van der Hoeven, MECC argue that the 'Christian Zionist',
......is placed in a reductionist eschatology by engaging in actions designed to bring 'comfort and support' to modern political Israel. Accordingly, Jesus is de-emphasised, as is His death and resurrection, while salvation and judgment are redefined.... Christians will be judged solely according to their actions on behalf of the state of Israel. True Christians are those who leave their Gentile background and become 'Israelites of God' 307
It is therefore perhaps not surprising that among the Middle East churches generally, Christian Zionism is regarded as a devious heresy and an unwelcome and alien intrusion into their culture, which advocates an ethnocentric and nationalist political agenda running counter to their work of reconciliation, and patient witness among both Jews and Muslims.308 In the course of interviews conducted in 1993, one leading Anglican cleric said, 'Making God into a real estate agent is heart breaking... They are not preaching Jesus any more.'309 They are, in the words of another Palestinian clergyman, 'instruments of destruction'310 Another senior churchman was equally forthright,
Their presence here is quite offensive... projecting themselves as really the Christians of the land... with total disregard for the indigenous Christian community.311
Similarly outspoken criticisms of the Israel Trust of the Anglican Church (ITAC) were made by another Palestinian Anglican clergyman.
CMJ are propagating Zionism rather than Christianity. It is working against the interests of the Anglican Church in Israel. 312
Essentially, Christian Zionism fails to recognise the deep seated problems that exist between Palestinians and Israelis; it distorts the Bible and marginalises the universal imperative of the Christian Gospel; has grave political ramifications and ultimately ignores the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of indigenous Christians.313 It is a situation that many believe Israel exploits to her advantage, cynically welcoming American Christian Zionists as long as they remain docile and compliant with Israeli government policy. Consequently,
Local Christians are caught in a degree of museumization. They are aware of tourists who come in great volume from the West to savour holy places but who are, for the most part, blithely disinterested in the people who indwell them. The pain of the indifference is not eased insofar as the same tourism is subtly manipulated to make the case for the entire legitimacy of the statehood that regulates it.314
Cragg offers this astute critique of Christian Zionism,
The overriding criteria of Christian perception have to be those of equal grace and common justice. From these there can be no proper exemption, however alleged or presumed. Chosenness cannot properly be either an ethnic exclusivism or a political facility.315
Christian Zionism appears, at least in the eyes of its critics, to offer an uncritical endorsement of the Israeli political right and at the same time shows an inexcusable lack of compassion for the Palestinian tragedy. In doing so it has apparently legitimised their oppression in the name of the Gospel.
Is such a condemnation of Western Christian Zionism legitimate? The task of this thesis will be to examine in detail the various forms of Western Fundamentalist Christian Zionism, to note their historical development, to appraise their theological interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and to assess their political impact on the Middle East and indigenous Palestinian Church, in particular.
Revised 31 August 1998
1 Kenneth Cragg, The Arab Christian, A History in the Middle East (London, Mowbray, 1992); Thomas A. Idinopulos, Jerusalem Blessed, Jerusalem Cursed, Jews, Christians and Moslems in the Holy City from David's Time to Our Own (Chicago, Ivan R. Dee, 1991); Michael Prior & William Taylor, Eds, Christians in the Holy Land (London, World of Islam Festival Trust, 1994); Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword, How the British came to Palestine (London, Macmillan, 1982); P.W.L. Walker, Ed, Jerusalem, Past and Present in the Purposes of God, 2nd edn. (Carlisle, Paternoster Press, 1994).
2 Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish Zionism, Its Roots in Western History (London, Zed, 1983); Douglas J. Culver, Albion and Ariel, British Puritanism and the Birth of Political Zionism (New York, Peter Lang, 1995); Ian Murray, The Puritan Hope (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1971); Peter Toon, ed. Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritan Eschatology 1600-1660 (Cambridge, James Clarke, 1970); Donald E. Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon. (Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Herald Press, 1995); David A. Rausch. Zionism within early American Fundamentalism, 1878-1918; a convergence of two traditions. (New York: Mellen Press, 1979); Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics, Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, Connecticut, Lawrence Hill, 1986)
3 International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. 'International Christian Zionist Congress Proclamation, Affirmation of Christian Zionism', 25-29 February 1996; 'Why should Christians be friends of Israel?' Christian Friends of Israel leaflet. n.d.
4 Glen Bowman, 'The politics of tour guiding, Israeli and Palestinian guides in Israel and the Occupied Territories'. In Tourism & the Less Developed Countries. ed. David Harrison (London, Belhaven, 1992), p. 121.
5 Hal Lindsey, The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995), back cover.
6 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), pp. 56-58.
7 Michael Palumbo, Imperial Israel, The History of the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. rev edn. (London, Bloomsbury, 1992)
8 George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, The Story of the Arab National Movement (New York, Putnam, 1938)
9 Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine rev edn. (London, Vintage, 1992)
10 Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword, How the British came to Palestine (London, Macmillan, 1982)
11 Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (London, Michael Joseph, 1984)
12 Cragg, Arab, p .47.
13 W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1984), pp. 121, 124.
14 J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, rev. edn. (San Francisco, Harper & Row,  1978) p. 190.
15 Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, 5 vols. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1971-1989), vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), p. 16. Cited in Gary DeMar & Peter Leithart, The Legacy of Hatred Continues (Tyler, Texas, Institute of Christian Economics, 1989), p. 38.
16 In this aspect I am indebted to the leads offered by Gary DeMar & Peter Leithart, in The Legacy of Hatred Continues: A Response to Hal Lindsey's The Road to Holocaust (Tyler, Texas, Institute of Christian Economics, 1989)
17 DeMar & Leithart, Legacy., p. 42.
18 Clement, 'First Epistle.' In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. pp. 12-13.
19 Kelly, Early., p. 190.
20 Epistle of Barnabas IV. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. p. 138.
21 Ibid., XIII. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. p. 145. Cited in DeMar & Leithart, Legacy., p. 39.
22 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, XI. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. pp. 200-267.
23 Irenaeus, Against Heresies. IV. XXI. 3. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. p. 493.
24 DeMar & Leithart, Legacy., p. 43.
25 Pelikan, Emergence., p. 26.
26 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 11.
27 J.C. Lambert, 'Pilgrimages' In The Protestant Dictionary, eds Charles Sydney Carter & G.E. Alison Weeks (London, The Harrison Trust, 1933), p. 507.
28 Walter Zander, Israel and the Holy Places of Christendom (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971), p. 5.
29 Zander, Ibid., p. 7.
30 Zander, Ibid., p. 8.
31 Zander, Ibid., p. 8.
32 Lambert, Pilgrimages, p. 507.
33 Zander, Israel, p. 9.
34 J. G. Davies, Pilgrimage, Yesterday and Today, Why, Where and How? (London, SCM, 1988), p. 10.
35 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 10.
36 Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades. vol. 1 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1954); Karen Armstrong, Holy War, The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World (London, Macmillan, 1988)
37 Davies, Pilgrimage, p. 18.
38 Zander, Israel, p. 10.
39 Zander, Israel,, p. 13.
40 Ibid., p. 15.
41 Ibid., pp. 18-19.
42 Karen Armstrong, Holy War, The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World (London, Mcmillan, 1988), p.xii.
43 Cragg, Arab, p. 23.
44 Nahum Sokolow, History of Zionism (London, Longmans, 1919), p. 60. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 13.
45 DeMar & Leithart, Legacy., pp. 45ff.
46 John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, IV, XVI, p. 14)
47 Peter Toon, 'The Latter-Day Glory," in Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritan Eschatology 1600-1660, ed. Peter Toon (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1970), p. 24.
48 Ian Murray, The Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (London, Banner of Truth, 1971), pp. 59-60.
49 Murray, Puritan., p. 98.
50 Toon, Latter-Day., p. 26. Cited in Demar & Leithart, Legacy., p. 48
51 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 18.
52 Toon, Latter-Day., pp. 30-31. Cited in Demar & Leithart, Legacy., p. 48.
53 Mayir Verete, 'The Restoration of the Jews in English Protestant Thought, 1790-1840', Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 14. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 18.
54 J. A. DeJong, As the Waters Cover the Sea: Millennial Expectations in the Rise of Anglo-America Missions, 1640-1810 (Kampen, J. H. Kok, 1970), pp. 27-28. Cited in DeMar & Leithart, Legacy, p. 49.
55 DeJong, Waters., p. 38. Cited in DeMar & Leithart, Legacy, p. 50.
56 DeJong, Waters., p. 37-38. Cited in DeMar & Leithart, Legacy, p. 49.
57 See Don Patinkin, 'Mercantilism and the Readmission of the Jews to England.' Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 8. July 1946, pp. 161-78; and Cecil Roth, England in Jewish History (London, Jewish Historical Society of England, 1949), p. 7, cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 24.
58 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 25.
59 Jonathan Edwards, 'History of Redemption.' in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth,  1974), vol. 1. p. 607.
60 Sharif, Non-Jewish., pp. 13, 29.
61 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 17.
62 Hal Lindsey, The 1980's, Countdown to Armageddon (New York, Bantam, 1981); The Road to Holocaust (New York, Bantam 1989); The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995); Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1983); Billy Graham, Approaching Hoofbeats, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Waco, Word, 1983); Storm Warning (Milton Keynes, Word, 1992); John F. Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1990); Moishe Rosen, Beyond the Gulf War, Overture to Armageddon (San Bernardino, Here's Life Publishers, 1991); Edgar C. James, who is on the faculty of the Moody Bible Institute, wrote two books recently, Arabs, Oil & Armageddon. rev. edn. (Chicago, Moody Press, 1991) and Armageddon and the New World Order. rev. edn. (Chicago, Moody Press, 1991). These authors are representative of apocalyptic dispensationalism or what Don Wagner calls 'Armageddon Theology'.
63 Andrew Walker, cited in an interview with Geoffrey Levy, Daily Mail, 2 September 1994, p. 18.
64 Wagner, Anxious., p. 88.
65 Iain H. Murray, The Puritan Hope: revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1971), p.188.
66 Murray, Puritan., p. 189.
67 Arnold Dallimore, The Life of Edward Irving, Fore-runner of the Charismatic Movement (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1983), p. 62.
68 Edward Irving, preliminary discourse, 'on Ben Ezra', The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, by Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra a converted Jew, Translated from the Spanish, with a Preliminary Discourse (London, L.B. Seeley & Sons, 1827), pp. 5-6.
69 Timothy C.F. Stunt 'Catholic Apostolic Church' The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. J. D. Douglas. rev. edn. (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1978), p. 203.
70 Hugh M'Neile, The Collected Works, Vol. II. The Prophecies Relative to the Jewish Nation (London, The Christian Book Society, 1878), p. 213.
71 M'Neile, Prophecies., preface to new edition 1866, first published 1830; see also George Stanley Faber, A Treatise on the Genius and Object of the Patriachal, the Levitical and the Christian Dispensations. (London, F.C & J. Rivington, 1823). 2 vols.
72 B. W. Newton and Dr S. P. Tregelles, Teachers of the Faith and the Future, ed. George Fromow (London, Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony n.d.)
73 Benjamin Wills Newton, Antichrist, Europe and the East: The Antichrist Future also the 1260 Days of Antichrist's Reign Future (London: Houlston & Sons, 1859); Babylon: Its Revival and Future Desolation being the Second Series of Aids to Prophetic Enquiry London: Houlston & Sons (1859); Map of Ten Kingdoms of Roman Empire (London: Lucus Collins, 1863); Babylon: Its Future History and Doom with remarks on the Future of Egypt and Other Eastern Countries, 3rd edition (London: Houlston & Sons., 1890).
74 B.W. Newton, Babylon: Its Revival., p. 17.
75 B.W. Newton, Antichrist., p. 143.
76 B.W. Newton, Map of Ten Kingdoms of Roman Empire (London: Lucus Collins, 1863)
77 B.W. Newton, Antichrist., p. 146.
78 B.W. Newton, Babylon: Its Future., preface to 3rd edition (1890).
79 Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust. (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1983); Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1990); A Woman Rides the Beast, The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days. (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1994);
80 B.W. Newton, Babylon: Its Future., pp. 145, 150. 'Shinar' being the earliest Hebrew name for Babylon. It is interesting that Charles Dyer a modern Dallas Seminary dispensationalist similarly regards the apocalyptic references to Babylon in the Book of Revelation to refer literally rather than figuratively to modern Iraq. See The Rise of Babylon, Signs of the End Times (Wheaton, Illinois, Tyndale House, 1991).
81 Don Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Waterloo, Ontario, Herald press, 1995), p. 89. See also separate chapters on Darby, Irving and Scofield.
82 John Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth (Brentwood, Tennessee, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991), p. 38.
83 Ernest Reisinger, 'A History of Dispensationalism in America' (http://www.founders.org/FJ09/article1.html)
84 Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 74-75.
85 Gerstner, Wrongly., pp. 39-40.
86 J. N. Darby, Letters of J. N. Darby (London, Morish Co., n.d.) Vol .2, p. 180.
87 Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1945), p. 133.
88 William R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody (Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Sword for the Lord, 1900), p. 140.
89 Albert Henry Newman, Manual of Church History Volume 2, Modern Church History 1517-1902 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Society, 1904), p. 713.
90 Arno C. Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (Spokane, WA, Living Words Foundation, 1991), p. 25.
91 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 51
92 Ian S. Rennie, 'Nineteenth-Century Roots,' in Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, eds. Carl E. Armerding and W. Ward Gasque (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1977) p. 57, cited in Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 45.
93 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 45.
94 Ernest R. Sandeen, "Towards a Historical Interpretation of the Origins of Fundamentalism," Church History 36 (1967) p. 76.
95 Berth Lindbert, A God-Filled Life: The Story of W. E. Blackstone (American Missionary Society, n.d.)
96 William E. Blackstone, Jesus is Coming (Chicago, Fleming Revell, 1916)
97 Ian S. Rennie, 'Nineteenth-Century Roots,' p. 48.
98 W. M. Smith, 'Signs of the Times', Moody Monthly, August 1966, p. 5.
99 Reuben Fink, America and Palestine (New York, American Zionist Emergency Council, 1945), pp. 20-21. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 92.
100 Harold R. Cook, 'William Eugene Blackstone' The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. J.D. Douglas (Exeter, Paternoster, 1974), p. 134.
101 David A. Rausch, Fundamentalist Evangelicals and Anti-Semitism (Valley Forge, Trinity Press International, 1993); Zionism within early American Fundamentalism, 1878-1918; a convergence of two traditions (New York: Mellen Press, 1979)
102 Naomi Shepherd, The Zealous Intruders: The Western Rediscovery of Palestine (London, Collins, 1987); Linda Osband, Famous Travellers to the Holy Land (London, Prion, 1989).
103 Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, In connection with their history (London, Murray, 1871)
104 William M. Thackeray, Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo, rev. edn. (Heathfield, Cockbird,  1990)
105 Gertrude Lowthian Bell, The Desert and the Sown (London, Heinemann, 1907)
106 Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana (London, Macmillan, 1937)
107 Robert Graves, Lawrence and the Arabs (London, Jonathan Cape, 1927)
108 Alexander Kinglake, Eothen, Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1906)
109 Rudyard Kipling, Kim (London, Penguin,  1987) with an introduction and notes by Edward W. Said.
110 T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph (New York, Fleming H. Revell, 1920)
111 Freya Stark, East is West (London, John Murray, 1945)
112 William M. Thomson, The Land and the Book (London, T. Nelson & Sons, 1887)
113 Robert Kaplan, The Arabists, The Romance of an American Elite (New York, The Free Press, 1993), p. 49.
114 Davies, Pilgrimage., p. 140.
115 Ibid., p. 141.
116 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 22.
117 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 22.
118 Davies, Pilgrimage., p. 141.
119 William Stuart McBirnie, The Search for the Authentic Tomb of Jesus (Montrose, Califoirnia, Acclaimed Books, 1975), p. 40.
120 Davies, Pilgrimage., p. 143.
121 Davies, Pilgrimage., p. 148.
122 Naomi Shepherd, The Zealous Intruders, The Western Rediscovery of Palestine (London, Collins, 1987), p. 180.
123 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 34.
124 Sharif, Non-Jewish., pp. 34-47. See also Margaret Brearley, 'Jerusalem in Judaism and for Christian Zionists' in Jerusalem, Past and Present in the Purposes of God, ed. P. W. L. Walker (Cambridge, Tyndale House, 1992), p. 110.
125 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 46.
126 George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (London, 1899) Works of George Eliot, vol. 8.
127 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 46.
128 Cited in Franz Kobler, Napoleon and the Jews (New York, Schocken Books, 1976) pp. 55-57. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., pp. 50-51
129 See Albert M. Hyamson, Palestine: The Rebirth of an Ancient People (London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1917), pp. 162-163; Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York, Columbia University Press, 1937) vol. 2. p. 327. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 52.
130 Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York, Columbia University Press, 1937) vol. 2. p. 327. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 52.
131 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 54.
132 Douglas J. Culver, Albion & Ariel, British Puritanism and the Birth of Political Zionism (New York, Peter Lang, 1995); and Barbara Tuchman, The Bible and the Sword, How the British came to Palestine (London, Macmillan, 1957).
133 Wagner, Anxious., p. 91.
134 Tuchman, Bible and the Sword (London, Macmillan, 1982) p. 115.
135 As quoted by Norman Bentwich and John M. Shaftesley, 'Forerunners of Zionism in the Victorian Era', p. 210; See also Edwin Hodder, The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury (London, 1886), vol. 1, pp. 310-311, both cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 56.
136 M.J. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, Christians and the Return to the Promised Land (London, Vallentine, Mitchell, 1985), p. 45.
137 Earl of Shaftesbury, 'State and Prospects of the Jews', Quarterly Review, London, January/March 1839. Cited in Wagner, Anxious, p.91, and Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 42.
138 Wagner, Anxious., p. 91.
139 Palmerston to Ponsonby, Public Record office MSS, F.O. 195/165, (no. 261) 25 November 1840. cited in Tuchman, Bible., p. 175; and Sharif, Non-Jewish., pp. 58-59.
140 Tuchman, Bible., p. 176
141 As cited in Sir Charles Webster, The Foreign Policy of Palmerston 1830-1841 (London, 1951), vol. 2. p. 761.
142 cited in Wagner., Anxious, p. 91.
143 Wagner, Anxious., p. 92.
144 Wagner, Anxious., p. 92.
145 cited in Wagner, Anxious., p. 92; also Albert H. Hyamson, Palestine under the Mandate (London, 1950), p. 10, cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish, p. 42.
146 Sharif, Non-Jewish, p. 67.
147 Cited in Tuchman, Bible., p. 173.
148 Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish Zionism (London, Zed Press, 1983), p. 68.
149 Brearley, Jerusalem., p. 112.
150 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 71.
151 Theodor Herzl, The Diaries of Theodor Herzl (New York, 1956), cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 71.
152 Cited in Philip Guedalla, Napoleon and Palestine (London, 1925), pp. 45-55, quoted in Sharif, Non-Jewish, p. 79.
153 Wagner, Anxious., p. 94-95.
154 MECC, What?, p. 7.
155 Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 78
156 Wagner, Anxious., p. 93.
157 Kenneth Young, Arthur James Balfour (London, G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., 1963), p. 256.
158 Young, Arthur, p. 256.
159 Kaplan, Arabists, pp. 8-9.
160 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 8.
161 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 54.
162 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 57.
163 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 62.
164 Ronaldshay, The Life of Lord Curzon, vol. 3, (London, Ernest Benn, 1928), p. 160.
165 Cragg, Arab., p. 234.
166 Said, Question., p. 19.
167 Wagner, Anxious., p. 94.
168 Wagner, Anxious., p. 94.
169 Tuchman, Bible., p. 340.
170 O'Mahony, Christianity., p. 471.
171 Idinopulos, Jerusalem., p. 283.
172 Idinopulos, Jerusalem., p. 283.
173 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 63.
174 Wagner, Anxious., p. 95.
175 Idinopulos, Jerusalem., p. 291.
176 Idinopulos, Jerusalem., p. 294.
177 cited in Wagner, Anxious., p. 142.
178 Cragg, Arab., p. 24.
179 Cragg, Arab., p. 24.
180 Arthur Pollard, 'The Influence and Significance of Simeon's Work' in Charles Simeon 1759-1836, ed. Arthur Pollard & Michael Hennell (London, SPCK, 1964), p. 180.
181 Pollard, Charles., p. 180.
182 Anthony O'Mahony, 'Christianity in the Holy Land, The historical background', The Month, December 1993, p. 470.
183 Rennie MacInnes, Palestine Church Council, Facts and Needs (Jerusalem, 1925), p. 4.
184 Cragg, Arab., p. 134.
185 Kelvin Crombie, For the Love of Zion, Christian witness and the restoration of Israel (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1991)
186 Based on an interview with a senior Palestinian Clergyman. These interviews are transcribed, but to retain confidentiality they are annotated by date and number (Interview 1993:3.12).
187 Margaret Duggan, 'Keeping faith with the Christians in the Holy Land'. Church Times, 21 February 1992, p. 8.
188 Kenneth Scott Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, Volume 5, The 20th Century Outside Europe (Exeter, Paternoster, 1962), p. 292.
189 Robert Kaplan, The Arabists, The Romance of an American Elite (New York, The Free Press, 1993)
190 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 5.
191 J.A. Simpson & E.S.C. Weiner, The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. edn. (Oxford, Oxford University press, 1989), p. 598.
192 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 7.
193 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 16.
194 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 22.
195 Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (London, Faber and Faber, 1991), p. 327. n.b. The Syrian Protestant College was renamed the American University of Beirut after the First World War.
196 in Kaplan. Arabists., p. 35.
197 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 36.
198 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 38, 73.
199 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 63.
200 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 71.
201 Antonius, Arab., foreword.
202 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 80.
203 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 81.
204 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 185.
205 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 139.
206 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 148.
207 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 148.
208 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 151.
209 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 152, 155.
210 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 158.
211 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 158.
212 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 158.
213 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 164.
214 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 182.
215 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 189.
216 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 189.
217 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 190.
218 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 191.
219 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 193.
220 Middle East Realities 'Lie of the Week' (Internet:MiddleEast@AOL.COM, 01/11/95)
221 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 255.
222 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 257.
223 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 312.
224 Shirley Eber, 'Getting stoned on holiday, Tourism on the Front Line' In Focus, Tourism Concern, 2, Autumn 1991, pp. 4-5.
225 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York, Vintage, 1978)
226 Said, Orientalism, p. 45.
227 Kaplan, Arabists., foreword.
228 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 52.
229 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 52.
230 John Haynes Holmes, Palestine Today and Tomorrow: A Gentile's Survey of Zionism (New York, Macmillan, 1929), pp. 89, 248. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 135.
231 Said, Orientalism., pp. 47-48.
232 Said, Orientalism, pp. 48-49.
233 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 296.
234 Kaplan, Arabists., p. 297.
235 Cragg, Arab., p. 297.
236 Said, Orientalism, p. 328.
237 Shirley Eber, 'Reflections on Images', Tourism in Focus, Tourism Concern, 6, Winter 1993, p. 3.
238 Cragg, Arab., p. 297.
239 Keith Roberts, Religion in Sociological Perspective (Belmont, California, Wadsworth, 1990), p. 262.
240 Erling Jorstad, The Politics of Doomsday, Fundamentalists of the Far Right (Nashville, Abingdom, 1970)
241 George Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1991)
242 Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nation, 21 February 1942, pp. 214-216 and 28 February 1942, pp. 253-255. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 113.
243 US Department of State, Hearings of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 14 January 1946, p. 147. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 113.
244 M. R. DeHaan, Daniel the Prophet, 35 Simple Studies in the Book of Daniel (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1947), pp. 169-172
245 Daniel P. Fuller, Gospel and Law, Contrast or Continuum. The Hermeneutic of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1980)
246 E. Schuyler English, ed., Holy Bible., Pilgrim edition (New York, Oxford University Press, 1948)
247 Barbara Tuchman, The Bible and the Sword (London, Macmillan, 1957), p. 340.
248 Rosemary Radford Ruether & Herman J. Ruether, The Wrath of Jonah, The Crisis of Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (San Francisco, Harper, 1989), p. 173.
249 James Price and William Goodman, Jerry Falwell, An Unauthorized Profile, cited in Grace Halsell, Prophecy., p. 72.
250 Wagner, Beyond., p. 4.
251 Hal Lindsey, The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995), back cover.
252 George Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1991) p. 77. See also Michael Lienesch, Redeeming America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, North Carolina Press, 1993), p. 311. Lindsey latest publisher, Western Front, is more conservative referring to 'a dozen books with combined world sales of more than 35 million.' Lindsey, The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995), back cover.
253 Wagner, Beyond., p. 4.
254 Lindsey, Final., front cover.
255 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), p. 155; Louis Goldberg, Turbulence Over the Middle East (Neptune, New Jersey, Loizeaux Brothers, 1982), p. 172.
256 Lindsey, Israel., pp. 31-48.
257 Lindsey, Israel., p. 165.
258 John F. Mahoney, 'About this Issue' The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding) Vol. 25, No. 4 October/November 1992, p. 2.
259 John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1962); Charles Dyer, The Rise of Babylon, Signs of the End Times (Wheaton, Illinois, Tyndale House, 1991)
260 Charles Dyer, World News and Biblical Prophecy (Wheaton, Illinois, Tyndale House, 1993), pp. 128-129.
261 Dyer, Rise., rear cover.
262 Wagner, Beyond., p. 3.
263 Lindsey, Israel., pp. 38-39.
264 Wagner, Beyond., p. 9.
265 Pevtzov, Apocalypse., p. 6.
266 Wagner, Beyond., p. 6.
267 Basliea M. Schlink, Israel at the Heart of World Events (Darmstadt-Eberstadt, Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, 1991), p. 29.
268 Schlink, Israel., p. 22.
269 MECC, What., p. 11.
270 Halsell, Prophecy., p.178.
271 Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle, The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (London, Pluto, 1993)
272 Dyer, World., p. 232.
273 MECC, What., p. 9.
274 Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreider, The Chosen and the Choice (London, Futura, 1988), p. 13. For how Christian Zionists justify occupation through such terminology, see Mike Evans, Israel, America's Key to Survival (Plainfield, New Jersey, Haven Books, 1980), 'Judea & Samaria', pp. 129-148.
275 Wagner, Beyond., p. 5.
276 Jimmy Carter, The Blood of Abraham (London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985)
277 Speech by President Jimmy Carter on 1 May 1978, Department of State Bulletin, vol. 78, No. 2015, p. 4, cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 136.
278 Jerusalem Post, March 1979, cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 135.
279 Carter, Blood., pp. 118-215.
280 Carter, Blood., p. 60
281 Wagner, Beyond., p. 5.
282 Cited in Carter, Blood., Appendix 5. pp. 228-234.
283 Ronnie Dugger, 'Does Reagan Expect a Nuclear Armageddon?' Washington Post, 18 April 1984.
284 Michael Lienesch, Redeeming America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina, 1993), p. 197.
285 Merrill Simon, Jerry Falwell and the Jews (Middle Village, New York, Jonathan David, 1984), pp. 63-64, 71-72.
286 Benjamin Netanyahu in Mike Evans, Israel, America's Key to Survival (Plainfield, New Jersey, Haven Books, 1980)
287 Evans, Israel., p. 221.
288 Ramon Bennett, Saga: Israel and the Demise of the Nations. (Jerusalem, Arm of Salvation, 1993)
289 Patrick Cockburn, Independent. 30 September 1996, p. 9.
290 Sarah Honig, 'Adopt-a-Settlement Program' The Jerusalem Post, 2nd October 1995.
291 Al Pessin, Voice of America Broadcast, transcribed by Tetsuya Fujimoto on Palestine-Net, (an Internet User Group) monitoring events in Israel/Palestine. 21st December 1995.
292 Andy Goldberg, 'Christmas dissent hits Bethlehem...' Sunday Times, 24th December 1995, p. 14.
293 Ray Borlaise, Intercessors for Britain Prayer Bulletin, No.140, January/February 1996.
294 William Dalrymple, 'They say they saw the angels here, now this flock must go' Daily Telegraph, 24 December 1994, p. 1; Marcia Hansen, 'Har Homa Settlement Project, An Obstacle to Peace and Coexistence' Christian Aid, Action for Partners Press Release, 6th September 1995.
295 International Christian Zionist Congress Proclamation, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. 25-29 February 1996.
296 Andy Goldberg, 'Israel plans a hell of a party at Armageddon.' Sunday Times, 17 November 1996, p. 18.
297 Goldberg, 'Israel'., p. 18.
298 Goldberg, 'Israel'., p. 18.
299 Goldberg, 'Israel' p. 18.
300 Armstrong, Holy., p. 377.
301 Ruether, Wrath., p. 176.
302 Near East Report, vol. 21, No. 20, 18 May 1977, p. 78. Cited in Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 136.
303 Keith Roberts, Religion in Sociological Perspective (Belmont, California, Wadsworth, 1990), p. 272.
304 Cragg, Arab., p. 238.
305 MECC, What., p. 13.
306 MECC, What., preface.
307 MECC, What., preface.
308 MECC, What., p. 1.
309 Based on interviews with Palestinian clergymen (Interview 1993:3.9)
310 (Interview 1994:3.23)
311 (Interview 1993:3.12)
312 (Interview 1994:3.23)
313 Chapman, Whose., p. 277.
314 Cragg, Arab., p. 28.
315 Cragg, Arab., p. 237.