Right-wing fundamentalists on all sides need to stop using the holy land and religion as a reason for war
The right-wing in Israel often justify the occupation of Palestinian land and the recent operation in Gaza by the virtue of the ancient biblical ideal that Israel is God’s Holy Land. Both the right-wing in Israel and the United States tend to view Israel and Palestine not as merely a geopolitical issue, but also a religious one. This just happens to be the aspect of the issue that the media tends to avoid.
Since as long as I can remember, I was told by my elders of the “Holy Land.” This place is said to be the modern day state of Israel, and that this entire region (and beyond) is said to be land granted by God to his “chosen people”, the Hebrews. I’ve often heard the phrase that Israel is the “apple of God’s eye”, and that this land was given specifically for the Jews, therefore all other political claims are void.
This is a belief that goes back many generations, of course. Honestly, the phenomenon of religious connection to the Palestine issue is strange. The original founders of the state of Israel were secular Jews, and were not deeply connected to the idea of a Jewish state in Israel being strictly tied to religious value. However, the connected always lingered subtly around in Israel, where today it is blossoming out.
While the government of Israel does not, overtly, use religion as a means to justify the occupation of the West Bank and brutality in Gaza, it does pander to these crowds who then are able to tie Israeli nationalist and patriotic sentiment into a religious issue as well. This issue is complex, and I in no way pretend to be an expert on the Jewish faith. However, the religious influence on Israeli Jews when it comes to the issue of Palestine cannot be ignored.
When it comes to Israel refusing to forgo its settlements (often expanding them instead) in the West Bank, many Israeli Jews tend to cling to the religious belief that God gave them the land. This is not an isolated belief among Israeli Jews, especially settlers. This is also not isolated among the right-wing in Israel, who are more than happy to use the biblical stories to justify continued oppression of a Palestinian state.
The continued war against Hamas in Gaza is subtly justified by Israel’s right to defend its “God given” land. The language used by many (real and possible) Israelis to describe Palestinians on the internet is getting more and more disturbing. Anti-Jewish sentiment is also rising, showing that the hatred cycle is getting too far gone to repair at this point. According to the Jewish and Christian right, this is all Gods Will.
Now, yes, it is true that the religious lunacy runs several ways on the issues in Israel/Palestine. The Islamic fundamentalists also believe that God gives them entitlement to the land, and Christians too have their own strange ideas. All of them together breed only further division and conflict. All agree that destruction will be the only outcome.
There is no Holy Land. I’m sorry if this offends religious sensibilities, but God did not give any one a “Holy Land” or a “chosen people.” This is all a concoction by ancient Hebrews writing under the auspices of a tribal religion. It’s pretty convenient that Hebrew scribes and priests just so happened to write a revealed religion in which their specifically molded idea of “God” created them as a holy chosen people. Just a pure coincidence.
I understand the sensibilities, but we cannot allow the right to get away with resorting to religion as a tool to justify war, otherwise it will never end. Religion is not exactly like politics. You cannot argue away a religious argument the way you can argue away a political dispute. If you sincerely believe that the divine is on your side, then no matter of rational debate will sway you.
Ronald Thomas West. Thanks for referencing God’s Chosen a Dumb Idea. Excellent informative analysis. I appreciate it.
“Suppression” of a Palestinian state.
The following is text taken from the website Masada2000.org. All persons seeking the historical facts concerning the illegitimate territorial claims of Arab Muslims of the Middle East against the Jews are urged to access this website.]
There is a preliminary historical fact that must be established; THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A CIVILIZATION OR NATION REFERRED TO AS “PALESTINE!”
The very notion of a “Palestinian Arab nation”, having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world! There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct “Palestinian” culture or language. Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed by Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement until 1964…three years BEFORE the Arabs of “Palestine” lost the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza as a result of the 1967 Six Day’s War (which the Arabs started). Even the so-called leader of the “Palestinian” people, Yasser Arafat, is Egyptian! In short, the so-called Arab “Palestinians” are a manufactured people…a people with no history and no authority…whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State!
Israel first became a nation in 1312 B.C. (snip)
Thank you oilwars7 for beating down that “enlightened” troll Marline. What a twisted reprehensible vile and poisonous swill she brews.
You should watch the documentary Waiting for Armageddon. It helps explain why Christians are so hungry for war. It’s very enlightening.
The christians and other religious zealots stir up the turmoil and when the do do hits the fan they claim; “the end of the world in nigh.” Pretty comical me thinks.
Ironic, religion has historically been the cause of many wars. People use religion to murder those who don’t believe in the same nonsense as they do. Religions are man made = really, an old man with white hair and a white beard up in a cloud somewhere directing the fate of the world? christians in America are calling for the deaths of the LGBT, some 11 million. Suididal muslims holler “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) just before they blow themselves to bits in an attempt to kill those who don’t believe in THEIR god.
PS I sure wish one of them would come back and tell us about those 72 virgins.
(I googled the 72 virgin myth – so don’t bother needling me with it)
Stating that “There is no Holy Land” in no way offends my Christian sensibilities, which are not easily offended, anyway. It does, however, remind me again of the dangers in using too wide a brush to paint portraits of large, diverse communities—be they religious, ethnic, racial, etc., etc.
Israel—or, Palestine, if you like—is the “Holy Land” to me and I offer no apologies for terming it suchly.
My understanding of it as the “Holy Land,” however, has absolutely nothing to do with any belief that the Almighty has divinely ordained that it be the preserve of either Jews, Christians or Muslims. As you rightly note, such a perspective is not only theologically/religiously questionable but rife with historical implications—none of them good.
Virtually all major, institutionalized religions have well-developed senses of “place” and “space” that play a major role in issues of religious definition, identity, belief and practice. Christianity is no different.
For many Christians like me, Israel—or, Palestine—constitutes the “Holy Land” only because it is the “place” we can historically identify as being the Labor & Delivery Room and then the Nursery of our particular religion. Those events—be they history or tradition or a bit of both—which form the narrative basis for and the nature of our “story as a people” are indelibly linked to that “place.” It is in that sense that I understand Israel/Palestine as the “Holy Land.”
All of that to say that, for many of us, referencing Israel/Palestine as the “Holy Land” is an entirely confessional act and, thus, an entirely apolitical statement. My perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is given shape and form by my religious convictions, to be sure. But those religious convictions have nothing to do with Israel being understood as a divinely ordained preserve for particular religions and their adherents.
I have no issue with using the term as a geographic or figurative statement. I do hold issue though with those who do take that term literally and are willing to spill blood for that effect. That goes for all sides.
As I said, I am not an expert on Abrahamic religion, and Israel was indeed founded as a secular state. I guess my basic point would be that there is a growing trend I see among the defenders of Israel (and enemies) to use the idea of the Holy Land as a literal statement, and that God has basically decreed the land theirs by divine right. If God is on your side, and Hamas are your enemies, therefore Hamas are enemies of God. If they are enemies of your God, then its easy to call them rats and bomb their children into submission.
In no way is religion the core problem here, and I never will make such a claim. This article was more a less meant to briefly address this aspect of the issue, which tends to be buried under many other pressing matters surrounding Palestine and Israel. I no way do I feel that religious adherents are the main issue, but they are an issue that is worthy of discussion.
I haven’t seen any indication that religion on the Israeli side has been indication for this war. When you have a terrorist group, Hamas, that has declared an end to Israel and Jews, then you have a mindset whose ideaiology of faith is set in killing vs. ‘life’. These same Hamas terrorists have been firing rockets over Israel for longer than the war began in their effort to provoke Israel…it is their attention-seeking strategy to gain sympathy from around the world as the plan to provoke Israel enough; keep their people in heightened fear enough that at some point it will feel compelled by virtue of survival to protect itself by firing back…firing back at those places where Hamas hides their weapons: in schools, mosques, and hospitals. The Hamas plan is to provoke enough to have Israel fire back; to hold Palestinians hostage to those hidden war rockets and missles so that its own people become vulnerable, while Hamas gains the attention it wants and the sympathy it seeks. Israel’s taking down of carefully, sophisticated tunnels built by these same Hamas terrorists is not a Jewsih religious act, but a moral act of common sense people respectful of life and of self preservation for its people
Religion is the reason many Christian fundamentalists cite for backing Israel. “Bless Israel and be blessed, curse Israel and be cursed” is the mantra I’ve seen these past few weeks. They don’t even see the humanity of the Palestinians. Nor do they think Israel can do any wrong.
The irony of such a perspective on the part of both the “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” communities is that their eschatology would hold that the Jews of Israel are condemned to “the eternal flames” because they have “rejected” Jesus as the “Lord of their lives.” Hence, on the one hand, their biblical/political position rigidly supports what amounts to a Jewish state while, at the same time, their biblical/eschatological position rigidly condemns the Jews of that Jewish state to some kind of eternal misery.
Evangelical Christians support Israel for the very reason that they believe that is will be the location for the ‘second coming of Christ’. For that reason there is an unconditional support to save the land of Israel
Perhaps Hamas and the Palestinians would like to come and go as the rest of the world does and have a working sea port. There are few options.
1. Israel murders all the Palestinians and takes their land.
2. Borders are dissolved and their is a one state solution.
3. Palestinians get their own state and can move freely by land and sea.
4. Continue the same bullshit that has been going on since 1948.
Purposely left out Hamas murdering all the Israeli’s – Don’t think that is going to happen.