News Release

Christian Zionists Lobby Congress

The BBC reported on July 19: “More than 3,400 evangelical Christians have arrived in Washington to lobby lawmakers as part of the first annual summit of Christians United for Israel. Delegates have come from all 50 states and have 280 meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, [main organizer] Pastor John Hagee said.”

Rev. Dr. DONALD WAGNER
Rev. Wagner is professor at North Park University in Chicago and a founding member of the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism. He said today: “Briefly stated, Christian Zionism is a movement within Protestant fundamentalism that understands the modern state of the country-region Israel as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and thus deserving of political, financial, and religious support. Christian Zionists work closely with the Israeli government, religious and secular Jewish Zionist organizations, and are particularly empowered during periods when the more conservative Likud Party is in control of the Knesset.

“The current conflict in Lebanon will accelerate Christian Zionists’ interest in and support for Israel’s objectives and will push the U.S. towards unconditional support for Israel. Many of the Christian Zionists may interpret this as a prelude to the battle of Armageddon and the final end-times scenario. We and our organization find that to be a misinterpretation of the Bible, and it is rather politically myopic. Further, it has no particular compassion for the suffering of innocent civilians, among them Arab Christians, Muslims and Jews.”

Wagner is the author of Anxious for Armageddon: A Call to Partnership for Middle Eastern and Western Christians.
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RABBI HAIM BELIAK
Co-founder of the Jews on First website and member of the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism, Rabbi Beliak said today:”‘Christian Zionism’ is an extreme modern apocalyptic movement that shares with Nazi philosophy the paranoid idea that Jews and Judaism are the central actors in the world. Both movements seek the eventual dismantling of the Jewish people and Jewish faith — one by death (Nazism) and the other by conversion to Christianity of a remnant of Jews, who will finally learn their ‘lesson’ from the death of most of the Jewish people at Armageddon.

“‘Christian Zionism’ entirely ignores Jewish/Zionist aspirations for ‘normalcy.’ Zionism was to be a new start for Judaism and the Jewish people living enlightened lives in peace. Instead, Christian Zionism encourages the Israeli government and the so-called American Jewish leadership on a path toward enmity with the Palestinians and disrespect for Islam.”
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SARAH POSNER
Sarah Posner, a contributor to The Gadflyer, has covered the Christian Right from Washington for The American Prospect and other publications. Her latest article, “Holy War,” is at American Prospect Online.

Posner said today: “While American evangelical Christians have long allied themselves with what they claim to be Israel’s interests, the rising political power of the Christian Right, along with Republican dominance in Washington, has enabled them to extend their reach from their churches into the making of American foreign policy. Earlier this year, San Antonio televangelist John Hagee published an incendiary new book, Jerusalem Countdown, in which he claims that Iran, which he says is just months away from producing a viable nuclear weapon, must be confronted militarily, because the Bible predicts that such a confrontation will set off a chain of events leading to Armageddon and the Second Coming. Hagee’s new lobbying arm, Christians United for Israel, had long planned its visit to Washington this week to lobby Congress, and it drew more attention because it coincided with the current bloodshed in Lebanon and Israel. As a drumbeat of politicians and pundits clamoring for war with Iran becomes louder, Hagee’s role in mobilizing the shock troops in support of a military strike is becoming more clear. Prominent Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman, attended the group’s events. While many Republicans may not adhere to Hagee’s ideas about Biblical prophecy, this dangerous marriage of convenience nonetheless produces public support for Bush’s war agenda — as well as evangelical votes come November.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy:
(202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167