by Barry Sheppard and Jeff Mackler, published on Socialist Action, November 23, 2023
White Christian Zionist Anti-Semites Join the Rally
The November 14, Washington, D.C. “March for Israel” in support of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza had all the earmarks of a US- government-backed affair. In comparison to the largely ignored or barely mentioned unprecedented in size and breath pro-Palestinian antiwar mass actions over the past five weeks, the Zionist-backed event was widely covered by the corporate media.
Organizers claimed that 200,000 attended from across the country; others put the numbers at closer to 50,000, perhaps 100,000.
*Editor’s Note: Mazin Qumsiyeh says the following about this:
The Zionists gathered their (white/european) forces for a rally in Washington DC gathering as many as 40-50,000 but they had to pay people to attend ($250 per head) and it was a hate rally calling for continuing the genocide. Meanwhile millions are still rallying around the world. Those latter rallies calling to end the genocide and for ceasefire now are always mixed (Jews, Cristians, Muslims, Hindu and people of all religions and ethnic and national backgrounds). (Unfortunately, he doesn’t give a source for the payment claim. )
The rally had the informal imprimatur of the U.S. government. Senate Democratic Party Leader Chuck Schumer was a featured rally speaker representing President Joseph Biden. Schumer reiterated to cheers that the whole U.S. government was completely backing Israel’s war.
Also speaking was the new House Republican speaker and Donald Trump supporter, Mike Johnson.
A big contingent from Christian white nationalist evangelicals was also present and notably the Zionist rightest anti-Semite, anti-LGBTQI Christian Pastor, John Hagee, who was a prominently featured speaker.
Like other white nationalists, Hagee and his ilk play on the fears of many whites that they are being “replaced” by Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and others in movements financed behind the scenes by Jews.
The white Christian nationalists add their special viewpoint that Zionism is right, and Jews should leave America and “return” to Israel in order to fulfill the biblical prophecy of the return of Jesus.
Two days after the pro-Israeli war rally, Democracy Now! discussed Mike Johnson’s history and politics as well as Hagee’s, who once said “God sent Hitler to help Jews reach the Promised Land.”
Of course, Hagee didn’t repeat that or similar arguments at the rally, but he did blurt out things like “As Prime Minister Netanyahu says so well, this is a fight between light and darkness, between civilization and barbarism.”
Sarah Posner, author of How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind, was on the Democracy Now! program.
She explained that Hagee only talks about his total support for Israel to gatherings like the November 14 rally, but before churches he says “according to biblical prophecy, that one day Jesus will return and fight a very bloody battle [in Israel], which will result in Jews, and Muslim’s too, either converting to Christianity or dying” and Jesus will rule the world.”
Democracy Now!’s co-host, Juan Gonzalez asked her, “What does Israel and its staunchest defenders get from this alliance?”
Posner responded: “What Israelis and American Jews who embrace Hagee’s support get is a huge movement, much larger than the number of Jewish Americans, that has the ear of the Republican Party, that is enmeshed in the Republican Party.”
“Hagee’s organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI),” Posner continued, “has juice on Capitol Hill. It is more than that. It is common among [white] evangelicals, even if they are not members of CUFI, to share these ideas about Israel and Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus. What they do is they bring this huge constituency to Republicans, many of whom, like Speaker Johnson, believe all this themselves.
“They have morphed together this idea of supporting Israel with being a good American Christian. They believe that God has commanded America as a country, not just them as Americans, to support Israel.”
And Posner concluded: “In their minds supporting Israel involves supporting the occupation, supporting the Israeli military no matter what it does. It doesn’t mean supporting Israel from the standpoint that some day, Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace. That is not part of the equation.”
Democracy Now!’s host, Amy Goodman, then said “I want to play another clip. In 2008 John McCain [Republican candidate for President] rejected John Hagee’s endorsement, after the pastor said God sent Hitler to help Jews get to Israel.
“This is a clip from Hagee’s sermon: ‘Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.’’’
Posner said in more recent statements [Hagee] “is saying that God has punished Jews throughout history as part of his plan to get them to return to Israel, which is a pre-condition of Jesus’ return.”
Speaker Mike Johnson’s reactionary background
The new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, worked for an organization now called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “It’s a major Christian right legal organization that sees itself as a Christian counterweight to the ACLU,” Posner told Democracy Now! “It is behind many Supreme Court cases, including Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade; and Masterpiece Cakeshop, involving the anti-gay baker [who refused to serve same sex couples].”
Posner had interviewed Johnson in 2007, when “he laid out for me the organization’s ambition to eviscerate the separation of church and state at the Supreme Court and to create a legal framework in which conservative Christians could object to things like LGBTQ rights in the name of religious freedom.”
“Everything he said to me back in 2007, ADF has pretty much done and accomplished or is well on its way to accomplishing — undermining church-state separation, elevating religious freedom to conservative Christians who oppose LGBTQ and reproductive rights….”
“He also believes that God created civil government and that government should be run from what Christian nationalists would call a biblical worldview. So his entire ideology and framework and way of looking at the world, in particular, are very classic, to the T, of the right, of Christian nationalists … believing that their biblical worldview is what should dictate law and policy in the United States.”
Christian Zionists are both anti-Semitic and pro-Israel. They want Jews to get out of the United States, their anti-Semitism — and by going to Israel, their Zionism.
Zionism’s reactionary origins
To better understand this connection, a brief overview of the history of the connection between Zionism and anti-Semitism helps. An article by Joseph Massad, Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History that appeared on Al Jazeera provides a sketch.
While there were some Zionists in Europe in the 19th century, Theodore Herzl is recognized as the founder and of what became modern Zionism, in reaction to anti-Semitism in the European Christian nations.
He led the creation of the Zionist Organization (now World Zionist Organization) at a conference of European Zionist groups in Basel, Switzerland in 1897.
He and his followers insisted that it is the presence of Jews in these countries that caused anti-Semitism, and that the solution was for the Jews to leave Europe and form their own nation.
He said in his foundational pamphlet, written in 1896, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), “The governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain the sovereignty we want.”
Herzl said in his Diaries that “The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”
In its early years, Zionism would invoke, along with the Protestant millenarian Christians, that European Jews were linked historically to Palestine to which they should “return” to re-establish Biblical Israel.
The Zionists understood this could only be realized through a settler-colonial project, which could be achieved through an alliance with European colonial powers. The Arab people who already lived there would have to be driven out. One of these colonial powers was Great Britain.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration
In 1905, there was a revolution in Russia. When it was defeated, there were mass pogroms against Jews organized by the Tsarist regime. At the time, Arthur Balfour, a well-known anti-Semite, was Prime Minister of Great Britain. He sponsored the Aliens Act that prevented Jews fleeing the pogroms from entering the country.
Balfour was the Foreign Secretary of the British government during the First World War. In 1917, as the war came to an end, Britain was set to take over Palestine from the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Balfour Declaration was issued by the British government. It advocated the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and the Zionists embraced him.
When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, the Zionists, sharing Herzl’s understanding that an anti-Semitic state could become an ally of Zionism, were the only Jewish group that would collaborate with them — all other German Jews recognized the Nazis as the Jews’ bitterest enemy.
Zionists saw an opportunity to strengthen colonization of Palestine. In 1933, Zionists signed the Transfer Agreement with the Nazis. Under it, Germany would compensate German Jews who emigrated to Palestine for their lost property by exporting German goods to the Zionists there.
Between 1933 and 1939, 60 percent of all capital invested for Jews in Palestine came from German Jewish money brought in under the Transfer Agreement.
German Zionists supported Nazi anti-Semitic laws
In 1935, the German branch of Zionism supported the Nazi anti-Semitic and racist Nuremberg Laws, and was the only non-Nazi party still allowed to publish its own newspaper, the Rundschau.
Nazi officials visited Palestine as guests of the Zionists in 1934 and in 1937. In the later year, it was none other than Adolf Eichmann, who became a major architect of the Holocaust, who was among those who arrived in the country, and visited a Jewish colonial settlement. Eichmann was found and brought to Israel in 1961, where he was hung for his crimes.
In 1938, the Nazis organized a pogrom of Jews across Germany, known as Kristalnacht, Crystal Night — the “night of broken glass” for the destruction of Jewish property. All Jews, including the Zionists, were targeted, and the German Zionists were crushed.
The defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, and the horrors of the Holocaust, put an end to anti-Semitic regimes in Europe. But not an end to collaboration between Zionism and anti-Semites, as was seen on the stage of the pro-Israeli war mobilization in Washington November 14.
Formation of the Zionist state in 1948
With the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, Britain ruled Palestine from 1918 until 1947. Britain was one of the Western victors of the Second World War, and was instrumental in forming a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948, backed by the other Western imperialist powers, including the United States. Stalin’s Russia also voted for the UN’s 1948 partition of historic Palestine that granted 52 percent to the Zionist colonizers, of course, against the wishes of the dispossessed Palestinians and virtually all of the region’s Arab nations. British arms were turned over to the Zionist’s already formidable military apparatus.
The main countries which backed Israel’s formation were colonial Britain and France. Later the United States took on that role. Western imperialism, led by the U.S., backed Israel economically and militarily in all its wars with the Arab countries and the Palestinians from 1948 onward up to today, as a bulwark against the Arab anti-colonial struggle, and against the Soviet Union which supported that struggle (how effectively is another question).
Zionism, from its inception, could and can only achieve its goals by relying on imperialism, as Herzl understood. Until World War II Zionism was a minor and reactionary current among persecuted Jews worldwide. Vast numbers stood in solidarity with revolutionary socialist currents everywhere, including in the 1917 Russian Revolution that overthrew Czarism and capitalism and formally abolished all their anti-Semitic laws and practices. Indeed, Russian Jews were among the central leaders of the Great Russian Revolution of 1917.
That today’s twin parties of US imperialism effectively back a screaming reactionary pro-war Zionist rally in Washington stands in sharp contrast to the inspiring antiwar mobilizations that have been organized around the world. Tens of millions, if not billions of humanity’s best, today rally in unprecedented numbers against the US-backed Zionist genocide in Gaza. The U.S. and its imperialist government allies stand isolated and exposed everywhere.
The world demands an immediate CEASEFIRE and an end to the GENOCIDE while the U.S. Congress votes additional billions to replenish Israel’s undeniable weapons of mass destruction, including its U.S.-supplied bunker buster bombs, the largest non-nuclear weapons on earth. And now Zionism’s “leaders” openly talk of using nuclear weapons!
To the Streets!
For the Right to Resist!
End All Aid to US-backed Apartheid Israel!
Free Palestine From The River to the Sea!
For a Democratic, Secular Palestine with the Right of Return of All Dispossessed Palestinians!
For a Socialist Palestine Where All Can Live Together As Equals!
Barry Sheppard, lifelong social and political activist/leader/author. Sheppard, a former national leader of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, co-authored in 1971 the SWP’s historic resolution calling for a democratic, secular Palestine with the right of return. He visited Israel during that period to meet with and support Israeli and Palestinian revolutionary socialists who were members of the Fourth International’s section, including Michael Warshawski and Lea Tsemel, courageous attorneys who defended persecuted Palestinians. [Editor’s note: Tragically, the SWP today has abandoned its previous positions and now supports Israel’s monstrous war against the Palestinian masses.]
Jeff Mackler, National Secretary of Socialist Action; Member, Administrative Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC); Steering Committee Member, Assangedefense.org and Director, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California. He can be reached at socialistaction.org