Zionism? Christian and Jewish Zionism Examined

Written By Thomas Perez. September 11, 2013 at 8:24pm. Copyright 2013.

History Outline:

“At Zionism’s inception, a debate ensued between Theodor Herzl and Ahad Ha’am – commonly summarized as Herzl wishing to save the Jews, while Ahad Ha’am wished to save Judaism and create a spiritual center in Palestine which would serve as a point of orientation for all Jews.”

“Ahad Ha’am is also strongly associated with advocating the need to condition Jewish hearts to a new state to freedom. Some 19 centuries of oppression and persecution had taken their toll. One cannot just lift the Jews out of slavery into the Promised Land without such conditioning. “This is not the way,” he proclaimed in 1892.”


In this article, I will be concentrating on Theodore Herzl.

Zionism is a Jewish nationalist movement. And while this remains to be the case, it is no different than that of the Zealots in Jesus’ day. Many claim it to be a part of a global conspiracy of some sort. Whether that is so, is no concern (at least for some); but I will say this “In Western culture, conspiracist scapegoating is rooted in apocalyptic fears and millennial expectations. Sometimes conspiracism is secularized and adopted by portions of the political left. It is interesting to note that on both the left and the right (as well as the center) there are critics of the apocalyptic style and flawed methodology of conspiracism.”

In highlighting conspiracist allegation as a form of scapegoating, it is important to remember the following:

  • All conspiracist theories start with a grain of truth, which is then transmogrified with hyperbole and filtered through pre-existing myth and prejudice.
  • People who believe conspiracist allegations sometimes act on those irrational beliefs, which has concrete consequences in the real world.
  • Conspiracist thinking and scapegoating are symptoms, not causes, of underlying societal frictions, and as such are perilous to ignore.
  • Scapegoating and conspiracist allegations are tools that can be used by cynical leaders to mobilize a mass following.
  • Supremacist and fascist organizers use conspiracist theories as a relatively less-threatening entry point in making contact with potential recruits.
  • Even when conspiracist theories do not center on Jews, people of color, or other scapegoated groups, they create an environment where racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice and oppression can flourish.

Back to the Topic: Zionism

1. Its goal was/is the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine.
2. Palestine is seen as the ancient homeland of the Jews “the Land of Israel.”
3. Originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century.
4. Is in many ways a continuation of the ancient nationalist attachment of the Jews (especially those of the Maccabaeus period and after – between the events of our Old & New Testaments) – and of the Jewish religion to the historical region of Palestine, where one of the hills of ancient Jerusalem was called Zion. Here Diaspora Jewry is no more.

Prequel outline:

1. A number of “messiah’s came forth advocating a return to Palestine In the 16th and 17th centuries.
2. Others such as the Haskala (“Enlightenment”) movement of the late 18th century, urged Jews to assimilate into western secular culture.
3. Many Jews opted not to assimilate into western culture, particularly the eastern European Jews
4. Many Christian millenarians (as in Christian Millennialism – ergo the Futurists) kept the interest alive, in favor of Jews returning to Palestine.

Post Prequel Outline:

1. As a result of the prequels above “assimilation” did not solve the issue.
2. The Dreyfus affair in France demonstrated this in 1894.
3. Though supportive by some, many Christian cultures/societies felt that the Jews were the sole blame concerning the death of their Messiah (Jesus)
4. As a result “anti-Semitism” in Europe was everywhere.
5. The Dreyfus Case became one of the determinants in the genesis of Political Zionism.
6. Zionism is born as a result of Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl who published the Der Judenstaat. (The Jewish State 1896)
7. Declared that the Jews could gain acceptance in the world only if they ceased being a national anomaly.
8. The first Zionist Congress was called by Theodor Herzl as a symbolic Parliament for those in sympathy with the implementation of Zionist goals. The Congress took place in the concert hall of the Basel Municipal Casino on August 29, 1897.
9. Arabs were in full support before the likes of Jabotinsky’s ideology. Emir Faisal (a leading member of the Arab nationalist movement) saw the Zionist movement as a companion to their own movement, fighting against imperialism (Britain). In a letter to Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on March 3, 1919, Faisal wrote:We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement….We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home….We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other.” 

Types of Zionism: 12 in All

1. General Zionism: A general support for a Jewish Israeli state.
2. American Zionism: Strongly opposed before 1914. One man – Louis D. Brandeis – did more than anyone else to change that attitude. Brandeis believed that Zionism and Americanism were compatible. “The highest Jewish ideals are essentially American in a very important particular,” he proclaimed. “It is Democracy that Zionism represents. It is Social Justice which Zionism represents, and every bit of that is the American ideal of the twentieth century.” Brandeis often repeated, “Zionism is the Pilgrim inspiration and impulse all over again.” He told his audiences, “To be good Americans, we must be better Jews, and to be better Jews, we must become Zionists.”
3. Christian Zionism: Christian Zionism can be defined as Christian support for the Zionist cause – the return of the Jewish people to its Biblical homeland in Israel. It is a belief among some Christians that the return of Jews to Israel is in line with a biblical prophecy, and is necessary for Jesus to return to Earth as its king. Christian Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Biblical Literalists hold this view. A view challenged below at the conclusion by yours truly.
4. Political Zionism: Stresses the importance of political action and deemed the attainment of political rights in Palestine a prerequisite for the fulfillment of the Zionist enterprise. Political Zionism is linked to the name of Theodor Herzl, who considered the Jewish problem a political one that should be solved by overt action in the international arena.
5. Practical Zionism: Practical Zionism emphasized practical means of attaining Zionist goals, such as aliyah (immigration), rural settlement and educational institutions, despite inadequate political conditions.
6. Radical Messianic Zionism: A religious claim provided strong justification for those who wished to hold on to the occupied territories: If the State of Israel was viewed as the unfolding of a Messianic scenario, then the miraculous victory of the Six-Day War was an essential stage in that process. The territories belong to the Jewish people (i.e., the State of Israel) by Divine decree and they may not be handed over to foreign hands.
7. Religious Zionism: Religious Zionism can be traced to the “augurers of Zion” (Mevasrei Zion, precursors of Hibbat Zion). Based on a fusion of Jewish religion and nationhood, it aims to restore not only Jewish political freedom but also Jewish religion in the light of the Torah and its commandments. For Religious Zionism, Judaism based on the commandments is a sine qua non for Jewish national life in the homeland. But here is where the trouble begins…It begins with the 8th ideology.

8. Revisionist Zionism: Revisionist Zionism is an outgrowth of Herzl’s Political Zionism, augmented by the ideas of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky’s ideology included relentless pressure on Great Britain, including petitions and mass demonstrations, for Jewish statehood on both banks of the Jordan River; a Jewish majority in Palestine; a reestablishment of the Jewish regiments; and military training for youth. In his book “The Iron Wall” he wrote “Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority.”

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.“There is no other morality.”

http://www.jabotinsky.org/Jaboworld/docs/Iron%20Wall.doc (with some corrections of typography and grammar – emphasis is in the original). A similar text is at http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm

I can argue circles around the last statement.

Sources: Yehoshofat Harkabi, Palestinians And Israel, (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974), p. 6; Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), p. 485; Samuel Katz, Battleground-Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, (NY: Bantam Books, 1977), p. 55.

Anyway, moving right along.

The Opposition to Zionism

A. Many opposed a Jewish Homeland – including German-Jews (of which is my nationality, besides that of my Hispanic origin). Many within the Reform Movement and the American Jewish Committee opposed it. These individuals believed that if American Jews called openly for a homeland in Palestine, they would be accused of divided loyalty or, even worse, disloyalty to the United States. American Jewry, they argued, had found its promised land in the United States. They rallied to the cry, America is our Zion.” One outstanding secular Jewish leader, Jacob Schiff, thought Zionism would foster “a separateness that would be fatal.” Isaac Mayer Wise, patriarch of American Reform, observed,We think it about as well to let the old Jerusalem rest under the accretion of ages as it is described in the Bible and Josephus. The consequences to mankind cannot be found under the rubbish of 2,000 years.

B. Traditional Orthodox leaders (Jews) also spoke out against secular efforts at recreating a Jewish nation in what had been ancient Israel. According to historian Melvin Urofsky, these Jews believed that it was God, not man, who would have to restore the Jewish people to Jerusalem. When Zionist advocate Julius Haber tried to fundraise at a Lower East Side synagogue, an elderly man told him, “Young man, you are going against God’s will. If he wanted us to have Zion again, He would restore it again without the help of the so-called Zionists. God doesn’t need apprentices. Please go schnorr somewhere else and let us lament in peace, like good Jews.”

C. Wealthy Jews such as Baron Hirsch Rothschild (who made his fortune in building railroads, especially in Russia for the Czars tyrannical government), Baron Edmond De Rothschild (a scion of the famous and fabulously wealthy Rothschild banking family), and Baron Horace Ginsburg (a resident of St. Petersburg in Russia and a person of significant influence in Jewish Russia in the latter part of the nineteenth century) opposed the national Zionist movement at first glance. In particular Edmond clashed with Theodore Herzl on the interpretation of political Zionism in the 1890‘s. In the early 1900s he had a similar disagreement with Ahad Ha’am and members of the Hovevei Zion. The result was a group of 12 settlements under the auspices of Rothschild’s Jewish Colonization Association (ICA). Nevertheless, he was named honorary president of the Jewish Agency in 1929. This was done in recognition of his massive land purchases and underwriting Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael.

NOTE OF IMPORTANCE: Taken from the (ICA) Its purpose:

The society founded by Baron de Hirsch Sept., 1891, and incorporated at London under the Companies’ Acts of 1862-90, with a capital of £2,000,000, divided into 20,000 non-dividend-drawing shares of £100 each; Baron de Hirsch subscribed for 19,993 shares; and Lord Rothschild, Sir Julian Goldsmid, E. Cassel, F. D. Mocatta, and Benjamin S. Cohen of London, and S. H. Goldschmidt and Solomon Reinach of Paris for one share each. Before his death Baron de Hirsch divided his shares among the following corporations: the synagogue of Brussels and the Jewish communities of Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Main, 3,600 shares each; the Anglo-Jewish Association of London and the Alliance Israélite Universelle of Paris, 4,595 shares each. The purpose of the association is stated in article 3 of its charter as follows: To assist and promote the emigration of Jews from any parts of Europe or Asia, and principally from countries in which they may for the time being be subjected to any special taxes or political or other disabilities, to any other parts of the world, and to form and establish colonies in various parts of North and South America and other countries for agricultural, commercial, and other purposes.” “To establish and maintain or contribute to the establishment and maintenance in any part of the world of educational and training institutions, model farms, loan-banks, industries, factories, and any other institutions or associations which in the judgment of the council may be calculated to fit Jews for emigration and assist their settlement in various parts of the world, except in Europe, with power to contribute to the funds of any association or society already existing or hereafter formed and having objects which in the opinion of the council may assist or promote the carrying out of the objects of the association.”


They have vested interests in the U.S., Russia, Rumania, Galicia, Asia Minor and Palestine (since the late 1800’s)

D. By 1914, Rothschild was able to visit expanded settlements as well as a number of his major and minor investments. He was also growing closer to the Zionist Organization.

E. He became known as the “Father of the Yishuv” because of his full and partial involvement in so many young settlements.

Others include

9. Socialist Zionism: A fusion of Zionism and Socialism. Dov Ber Borochov, a prominent advocate of Socialist Zionism, argued that the development of capitalism would inevitably prompt Jews to immigrate to Palestine.
10. Spiritual Zionism: A spiritual ideology spear headed by Ahad Ha’am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg. He did not believe that Palestine could accommodate all of Jews, a Jewish state there, in his estimation, would not solve the problem of the Jews’ social and economic status. Efforts should concentrate on establishing a national spiritual center, that can transcend though out the Diaspora Jews.
11. Synthetic Zionism: Chaim Weizmann (who later became the first President of Israel) was its principal champion. A merger of Political and practical Zionism even in the Diaspora.
12. Territorialist Zionism: Opposite to Synthetic  Zionism is the collective Territorialism in Palestine.

www. The Jewish Virtual Library


With this in mind, you may ask; Do I support the Zionist Nationalistic State of Israel? My answer to that question is “no.” I do not support an ideology that adheres to its own majority – in opposition to what has been set down by the Scriptures and Josephus. “You shall not see me here again, not until you’ve learned to cry blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” As the 2nd temple became a den of thieves – Matt 21:13, the 3rd temple (if rebuilt) will usher in the 2nd coming of Christ, but will usher in a den of murders – built upon the false flag of peace and security. But I do support their independence toward religious freedom, and Ahad Ha’am’s ideology of a national heart of inclusiveness – a spiritual Zion, whether in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or any other city for that matter.

Many Christian Zionists fail to recognize the message of Jeremiah and Ezekiel who proclaimed a temple construction and destruction. Moreover, they often associate the destruction of the 1st temple (Jere 7) with that of a 3rd temple construction (Ezek 40). The question I ask to them is…“What happened to the 2nd temple – why do they make no ref to it in regards to Jeremiah or Ezekiel’s message?” I have searched every commentary in my possession and every notable website of respectability, but I can find no reference to the phrase “2nd temple.” What I do find are commentaries with ref to a 3rd temple (using Ezek 40) as it foundation.

Biblical chronology demands a 2nd temple interpretation (the very same temple that Jesus walked into and threw out the thieves and money changers) – we see this (howbeit, not in order), in the Old Testament – succeeding up to the world of Palestine in Herod’s time. So allow me to put things in its historical order. Isaiah, II Kgs 24, II Chron 36, Jeremiah 7, Ezekiel 40, Daniel 9, Ezra, Nehemiah – 400 hundred years of silence – until Messiah. Therefore to insert a 3rd temple as part of a Messianic anticipation is to declare the old rhetoric and political ideologies of the Zealots and the Kar Bar Revolts – with that of modern day Zionism and Christian Dispensationalism. 

The millennium provides an opportunity for society to engage in a process of renewal and reconciliation, as well as an opportunity for demagogues, bigots, paranoids, and charlatans to spread messages of division and destruction. If a totalitarian group turns outward its members can engage in scapegoating with the most extreme outcome being homicide. If a totalitarian group turns inward its members can engage in scapegoating with the most extreme outcome being suicide. In a society where inequality and injustice is creating deep divisions and tensions, we need constructive ways to channel anger and alienation toward demands for social change rather than apocalyptic withdrawal or aggression. In societies suffering from economic and social stress, backlash movements take several form: racial or ethnic nationalism; religious fundamentalism or spiritual alternative; and right-wing populism and conspiracist scapegoating. These forms can blend and interact.

The temple in chapter 7 of Jeremiah is in reference to the 1st temple and Ezekiel’s message in chapter 40 is in reference to the building of the 2nd temple, fulfilled under Nehemiah, and Ezra. Predicted and foresaw by Daniel – excluding a “gap theory” as proposed by Christian Millennialism. Daniel 9 can easily be interpreted in light of He (Messiah) being cut of, putting an end to transgression and sin, breaking the covenant with Israel, and restoring/establishing His Kingdom. However, Daniels prophecy in chapter 9, (known as the 70 Weeks of Daniel) is fit for another article due to its lengthy and various interpretations. Again, the vision of a 3rd temple is faulty to say the least. Why envision a 3rd temple when the texts itself was written in reference to its contemporary issues of its day? It is also interesting, that when the second temple was erected, as much as possible, the builders used the book of Ezekiel as a blueprint.

Please do not misunderstand me. I’m all for religious freedom and thought, but not at the expense of human causalities. Now this is not to say that I don’t believe in individualism. We all have a basic right to obtain nationalistic individuality – but I do declare that the one or the many is not defined by nationalistic flags, but by the content of their heart, and their culture. The Jewish culture and their religious observances have passed the test of time with or without a nation time and time again – with what is known as the “tradition” – ever so prevalent in and often found within the annuls of that “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s