“How many more of our children will we have to send to die in Israel?” the pastor was rallying the crowd, informing them once again about the threat of radical Islam. Here was a Christian American Evangelical preacher, telling me and the American crowd that the IDF soldiers belonged to them. A former me, my friends and students currently serving, had all been brought under the paternalistic umbrella of Christian Zionism. I was their son. I assumed that it was a price Israel must pay for the Christian money being poured on the so called support of Israel, they paid for the merchandise, and now they own it. Thanks dads.
“How many American soldiers have died in the last century on Israeli soil?” the next break out session had begun. The speaker was a Jewish politician speaking to our minds, not our faith. He claimed to give us tools to be able to participate in the intellectual debate about why to support Israel. ”The correct answer is none. And how many have died in Iraq and Afghanistan? We lost Four thousand four hundred soldiers.” He draws out the numbers, prolongs the anguish just enough to get a somewhat distraught but yet patriotic expression on the younger and elderly faces in the crowd. When it was intellectual speak, IDF soldiers weren’t their sons anymore. IDF soldiers who died weren’t counted in the battle against radical Islam, unless it was in monetary terms. An American soldier in Iraq would cost the US taxpayer not only for his equipment and deployment, but for his health care when he got home, for his social security payments, and for his PTSD treatments. But an IDF soldier was apparently exactly 11 times cheaper. How ironic, as Romney understood this week, to praise Israel’s governmentally subsidized health care as costing the American taxpayer less, in front of a crowd that would repeal “ObamaCare” in a heartbeat,
“You see supporting Israel is the cheapest and most effective form of foreign policy. Iraq and Afghanistan will total in 4.3 trillion dollars to the US taxpayer. Afghanistan has stated publically that it will fight with Pakistan in a theoretic war with the US. So what is 3.1 billion dollars in US aid for Israel in return for an ally we can always trust?” Israel was a settlement of America in the wild wild Middle East, according to CUFI. It was referred to just as Gush Katif had been referred to prior to its evacuation in 2005. It was an outpost of values that draws the attacks from the savages, so that in Israel proper people could be safe. The settlers in Gush Katif and Hebron were martyrs who knowingly placed their lives in the midst of the conflict, so that I would be safe. All of Israel, according to the Christian Zionist narrative was an extension of the settlements. We were God’s people placed there in order to draw out the wrath of the barbaric relics of the pre-modern world. Israel was the religious and political spearhead that worked in the favor of the true lords of the world – America the Great. Israel was a cheap bargain for American aspirations of maintaining its global hegemony, at the low price of 3.1 billion dollars a year and zero American lives.
I wasn’t sure who was a bigger cynic, who had manipulated the situation to work on its behalf better. Was it the politicians who adopted the faith in order to mobilize the masses who attended church every Sunday, or whether it was the church that commandeered the politicians to do "God’s" work. It was definitely a little bit of both, and it worked marvelously. CUFI had achieved 1.1 million members in its six years of existence; it donated over 50 million dollars a year to Israel, and was able to lobby with 95 of 100 US senators, and with over 300 congressmen at this conference. Israel was no longer, a Jewish issue, it was a Christian issue in a Christian Nation.
All they had to do now was figure out if IDF soldiers were actually their sons or not. But if they were able to figure out how Jesus was God, Son of God, and Holy Spirit all at the same time; If they were able to convince the whole Roman Empire that Jesus who died on the cross, did literally rise again, only to be waiting for them in the sky when they die, with his pop; If they were able to convince modern people, living in the “freest country in the world”, to enslave themselves to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then I’m sure they can iron out the duplicity of Israelis being both their sons and not their sons. A little Iran shaking here, a little American execptionalism twist there and it will make perfect sense to everyone.
As I had been told by a speaker at the conference, don’t assume that because you lived in Israel for most your life that Israel is more yours than mine. I guess my country had been taken out of my own hands, and been transformed into an American colony. According to Christian Zionists, Israel had been annexed as the 51st state in order to keep Judeo-Christian control over the tomb of the patriarchs. And just like all the other 50 states, Israel is entitled to its own laws, and to say suck it to the federal government. I'm sure most Israeli's would rejoice to this notion, especially because so many Israelis are fiercely looking for an international passport for when the Zionist project falls apart. I’m sure most of Tel Aviv would gladly trade places with these so called Zionists. The Christians should all come to Israel as soon as possible and play out their romantic idea of settling wild places in the name of god. Maybe when Israel will officially be a Christian state, it will get the idea of Jewish sovereignty out of the Jewish silly head, and send the Jews to do what historically Jews do best – exile and trade.
The duplicity and inner contradictions, where the Christian Zionist logic was leading to, and the mobilization of masses left me dumbfounded. On the last day of the conference, when we they all went to Capitol Hill to lobby our congressmen, I stayed in my hotel room and numbed my thoughts with massive doses of TV. I couldn't face the Congressmen and Senators with these people, even though I agreed with the broad talking points of Israel support. I was disenchanted by how easy people could be manipulated and lost hope that I could change anything.
In the past two weeks since my return from the conference I have slowly been able to leave behind the pessimism and distrust that had gripped my existence, and return slowly to sanity. By reading articles by people who shared my opinion, and talking to friends and family in real Israel instead of the envisioned version created by Christian Zionism, I gradually returned to good sense. But I had also learned that my so-called moderate stance on the conflict was being eroded. Cynicism and manipulation were the predominant tools in the world I thrived to be a part of, and I question my ability to partake in it now. I still want to believe that I can stand tall in the midst of this epic struggle, and portray a moderate message, but I also realize what I’m facing.