In the following article, the Director of ICAHD appraises the work of Revd Stephen Sizer, an Evangelical Anglican priest, who works to expose the theological flawedness, ultimate anti-Semitism and dangers to world peace of Christian Zionism. We are happy to announce that Stephen has become a Patron of ICAHD UK. To find out about his books on Christian Zionism, go to www.stephensizer.com/books.
Everyone loves peace, but not everyone loves peace-makers. The work of people like Stephen Sizer is crucial to peace-making. _Peace_ is not merely a goody-goody term that we use on Christmas or Passover. It has to do with hard realities like conflict, injustice and suffering, all of which require not only good will, but an analysis which identifies the causes of the conflict and offers a way out. Hardest of all, peace-making requires self-reflection, self-criticism and the ability to see the viewpoint of the Other, the _enemy,_ especially when _your side_ is involved. And one more thing is essential to peace-making: an ability to reach out, even to your detractors, so that a common ground of action can be established.
In all these things my fellow peace-maker Stephen excels. Over the years he has shown both courage and good-will, but most important, in my mind, he has provided us with tough analysis, primarily around issues dealing with Christian Zionism, a fundamental obstacle to a just peace in Israel and Palestine, that helps us get to the foundations of the conflict in order to resolve it. One would think Stephenas work would be appreciated by everyone _ Christian Zionists excepted, (although a sizeable number of critical Evangelicals do support his analysis). His seminal book, Christian Zionism, accompanied by films and presentations, provides an authoritative de-bunking of the spurious theology underlying that schoolas seemingly _pro-Israeli_ positions which make genuine peace-making so difficult.
Why Stephen is attacked and demonized by the organized Jewish community is an absolute mystery to me. After all, Christian Zionism is supremely anti-Semitic: at the End of Days those Jews who do not accept Jesus die. Indeed, the Jews are sacrificed in the battle of Armageddon; witness Pat Robertsonas outrage at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he ended the attack on Lebanon in 2006, an attack that, in the eyes of Robertson and other Christian Zionists, was supposed to trigger Armageddon _ no matter what befalls the Jews/Israelis. Jewish demonization of Stephen, rather than of the Christian Zionists, who Jewish and Israeli leaders cynically consider our allies,_ demonstrates nothing more than bad faith. It is perfectly acceptable, apparently, to be anti-Semitic if, like Robertson, you are _pro-Israel._ Simply professing a doctrine in which the Jewish people is exterminated and disappears is no crime, in their view, as long as it somehow serves short-term Israeli interests (and Stephen shows that Christian Zionism does not serve Israeli or Jewish interests in any way). Ironically, then, it is the peace-makers _ anti-anti-Semites like Stephen and even critical Israeli Jews like me _ who are the enemy. If that is the case, then all the protestations of the Jewish community against anti-Semitism are hollow. What they really mean is, be anti-Semitic by all means if you combine that with a pro-Israeli position, but woe be unto those who fight such an anti-Semitic creed as Christian Zionism because by opposing Christian Zionism you are somehow opposing Israel. In attacking Stephen in his criticism of Christian Zionism, Jewish leaders have gone so far as to define _pro-Israeliness_ in anti-Semitic terms.
But peace-makers are themselves tough people, willing and able to face down bigotry and bad faith. Indeed, this willingness and ability are what makes us peace-makers. To the organized Jewish community I would only say, as an Israeli Jew: remove your moral and intellectual blinders so as to be able to differentiate your true (if critical) friends from you true enemies.
April 8, 2009