James Besser has a good piece in Jewish Week about Christians United for Israel, the uber-Zionist evangelical group founded by John Hagee, darling of AIPAC’s last national policy conference. What struck me about CUFI is that it threatens to become Israel’s Golem. Rabbi Yehuda Loew created the creature to protect Prague’s Jews from attack by a Christian mob. After routing the anti-Semites and saving the Jews, the Golem eventually runs amok and threatens the safety of the very people he was created to protect. Rabbi Loew then has to destroy the creature by changing the letters on his forehead from emet to met (dead).
Here is what I found especially disturbing about CUFI’s current position regarding Israeli policy:
Pastor John Hagee, the fiery megachurch pastor and CUFI founder…said his group will support Israeli policy “as long as it does not violate biblical principles.”
Those who read this blog will know that I take strong issue with much of the work AIPAC does. But at least that group makes a claim (not always honored in the breach) that its activities adhere generally to Israeli government policy. That at least gives some form of accountability and if AIPAC goes over the top, as it often does, one can point out how its actions diverge from or exceed Israeli policy. The peculiar problem with CUFI is that it is not accountable to the Israeli government or AIPAC which created the monster. Christian Zionists are only accountable to divine guidance defined as they see fit.
This is why it’s one thing to engage in political give and take regarding resolving the Israel Palestine conflict. But once you introduce God into the debate, there is no longer any rational underpinning or pragmatic basis to which one can appeal. CUFI is a monster of AIPAC’s making. It will have to deal with the headache of its very own Golem running amok within the American political scene.
One only has to read today’s headlines in which Ehud Olmert warned his fellow Israelis that they would have to leave “many” settlements as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Do AIPAC and Olmert think CUFI is going to go peacefully as Israel forces these settlers to evacuate? No, of course the Christian Zionist wingnuts are going to make common cause with the radical settlers and try to run amok within the halls of Congress. I can also imagine Christian zealots making common cause with the settlers and joining them on rooftops to battle with Israeli police as settler youth did during the Gaza withdrawal. That could be some heady brew of Christian-Jewish extremism.
Those of you who prefer to view this through the prism of U.S. Mideast policy should think about the mujahadeen forces the CIA created, funded and armed in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet invaders. Remember that these same forces then turned on us and helped nurture the Taliban and the current resistance to our presence there. Not to mention those like Osama bin Laden who have become world-wide jihadists attempting to overthrow the international order. CUFI threatens to become Israel’s very own mujahadeen.
Hat tip to Middle East Bulletin, a great media resource for Israeli-Palestinian peace reporting.