The President’s relocation of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been condemned by leaders and foreign ministers across the world. It occasioned a huge outpouring of Palestinian protesters along the Israeli border fence with Gaza, adding 58 deaths, with more than 2,700 injured, to the growing toll of unarmed victims of Israeli apartheid.
Meanwhile, the 70th anniversary of Palestinian genocide was celebrated by embassy guests in “an almost surreal contrast to the violence raging barely 40 miles away,” reported The NY Times; contrasting images of the day here. Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke during the ceremony, echoing his father-in-law’s platitude for “lasting peace.”
The Evangelical Christian invasion of East Jerusalem Monday presages an unending loss of Palestinian life and limb. If we let it. Whether you share the biblical apocalypse theology (“dispensational pre-millennialism” or “end-times”) embraced by Donald Trump’s cabinet — the “prophecy” of the conversion of the Jews, the second coming of Jesus, the final judgment, and the end of the world — or not, you can’t avoid it when discussing global politics of the White House, says self-described liberal Episcopalian Diana Butler Bass. “End times,” or “end of days” sponsors include the newly confirmed secretary of state Mike Pompeo. “Jesus Christ … is the only solution for our world,” proclaimed the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “To worship our Lord and celebrate our nation at the same place is not only our right, it is our duty.”
“I doubt that President Trump could explain dispensational pre-millennialism,” Bass writes, “I doubt he knows the term. But his evangelical supporters know it. Some of his advisers are probably whispering these prophecies in his ears. Trump might not really care how they interpret the Bible, but he cares that white evangelicals continue to stand with him. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem is one way to affirm his commitment to these evangelicals — reminding them that he, Donald J. Trump, is pressing biblical history forward to its conclusion and that he is God’s man in the unfolding of these last days.”
One of President Trump’s closest evangelical advisers delivered the blessing. First Baptist Church in Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress christened the recycled American consulate building (a new compound is planned) with a message to the favored: “I believe … I speak for every one of us when we say we thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history but more importantly stands on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel.” The preacher condemns non-Christians, including followers of the “theological cult” of Mormonism, to hell, raising the ire of Mitt Romney; the former Massachusetts governor called Jeffress “a religious bigot” who demonizes Islam, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, and atheists alike. Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee delivered the closing benediction to some 800 Trump supporters.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejoiced: “What a glorious day. Remember this moment! This is history! President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history… We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” despite the embassy’s location in illegally occupied territory envisioned for the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Evangelical Christianity has become an increasingly powerful force within the United States military. A 2004 Yale report warned “There’s one religious voice, the conservative evangelical Christian voice, that has decided that it has the right to lay claim to the environment … and it is able to do that by working with the [Air Force] Academy power structure.” Complaints to a watchdog group have doubled since November 2016 over the increasingly central role of religious bigotry in the military.
The deliberate provocation of Israeli aggression on civilians living in the world’s largest open air prison by the Trump/Pence administration returns the decades-long struggle for Palestinian independence to the front pages of American newspapers. It’s a story too big to ignore. “The one constant of American political life is that the U.S. loves war,” notes columnist Glenn Greenwald. “Martin Luther King’s 1967 denunciation of the U.S. as ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ is more accurate than ever.”
So where is the outrage? No good can come from U.S. intervention in the Middle East. To the chagrin of Trump’s isolationist constituency, the number of civilians being killed by the U.S. has increased “precipitously” during his rule. The drums beating for more war are very loud. And there is a crying need for there to be a strong counter to this, representing people in the United States who refuse the cruel and horrible actions of their government.
The carnage in Palestine makes the mission of RefuseFascism.org more urgent and necessary than ever before. Join us in determining that the continuity of the past does not negate the urgency of the present.