How Israel Misuses the Bible

By fuming over a U.N. resolution against Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land, Israeli leaders reveal their final solution for the Palestinians – to deny them property rights and displace them, says moral theologian Daniel C. Maguire.

By Daniel C. Maguire

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, let the theological cat out of the bag.   When the Security Council rebuked Israel for their land thefts (euphemized as “settlements,”) Mr. Danon replied with pious indignation: “Would you ban the French from building in Paris?”

There, in all of it effrontery, is the imperial theology that birthed Zionism. David Ben Gurion said of Palestine “God promised it to us.” Yitzhak Baer wrote in 1947: “God gave to every nation its place, and to the Jews he gave Palestine.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

So in this hallucinatory theology, just as God gave Paris to France the Zionist deity gave Palestine to Jews including the right to build whatever they want wherever they want it. If the Zionist god posted a “Jews only” sign on Palestine, the presence of non-Jews is a sacrilege and their land claims are specious. If nothing is intelligible outside its history, as the Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin put it, Ambassador Danon’s French allusion can only be understood against this theological backdrop.

Yigal Allon, a commander of the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the paramilitary force that fought to drive the British from Palestine, did not eschew the language of “cleansing,” a term now used to describe a “crime against humanity.” He boasted that the Zionists were “cleansing” Palestine of Arabs.

The religious goal of Zionism Ben Gurion said is to “secure … that the whole of Palestine will be Jewish, and not only a part of it.” Joseph Weitz, the administrator responsible for the colonization of Palestine, stated the creed bluntly: “Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people together in this country. … The only solution is a Palestine … without Arabs.”

In 1919, a fact-finding mission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson reported that in meetings with Zionists it was clear that the Zionists looked forward to a “complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.”

Zionist ersatz theology imagines a capricious god who is into real estate distribution, a god who hands out eternal deeds to people of his choosing. It is the will of the Creator that all others be cleansed and their property rights be negated.

Misunderstanding the Bible

Zionist theology depends on a fallacious exegesis of the Hebrew Bible. The two key words for properly understanding the Bible are descriptive and prescriptive. Many of the texts of the Bible describe the horrors of a barbaric time. They are not normative or in any sense admirable. The Bible is revered for its prescriptive texts which imagined with classical excellence a whole new social order where “there shall be no poor among you,” (Deut 15::4) and where swords will gradually be melted down into plowshares as violent power is subdued. In the prescriptive texts we see the beauty of Judaism which Zionism violates.

A section of the barrier — erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians — with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

The Zionists don’t know the distinction between descriptive and prescriptive. They take ugly biblical descriptive texts and use them to make imperial policy. Texts such as this from Deuteronomy: “When Yahweh your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you – the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canannites, the Perizzites, the Hivites … and when Yahweh your God gives them over to you … you must utterly destroy them. … Show them no mercy.” (7:1-11, 91-5, 11:8-9)

Following the “logic” of such texts, the Palestinians are now the new Hittites, Girgashites and Canaanites to whom no mercy is to be shown or property rights to be honored. Zionist theology dishonors Judaism.

The worst of mad men, said the poet Alexander Pope, is a saint gone mad. Ironically Jews should know the horrors that religiously motivated people can wreak. Nothing so animates the will for good or for ill like the tincture of the sacred. Christian animus against Jews unleashed slaughters, pogroms, segregation and influenced the anti-Jewish venom that Nazism mechanized with genocidal force.

The survival of Israel living in accord with international law, alongside a Palestinian state, is the goal that has no need of obstructive faux theology. Mr. Netanyahu like the High Priest is rending his garments in outrage, threatening to smite all nations that would challenge Israel’s manifest destiny to build in Palestine like the French can build in Paris. A bit of curative theology is needed to correct this brutal and ignorant madness. The Security Council gave the cure a jump start.

Daniel C. Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of A Moral Creed for All Christians and The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy [Fortress Press]). He can be reached at [email protected]

58 comments for “How Israel Misuses the Bible

  1. Hillary
    January 2, 2017 at 13:50

    “Bibi goes to Gaza. Maybe this could happen in the Trumpian Lets Make a Deal future”

    There is so much misreporting of history in the world media that few know the truth.

    The Isreali military is one of the strongest in the world with their nuclear subramines & nuclear missiles etc.trained on various world capitols that Golda Meir even considered “using” during them during the Yom Kippur War.

    The” Trumpian Lets Make a Deal future” may save us all.

  2. jimbo
    January 1, 2017 at 23:56

    The fuzziness of the bible aside it is well documented that historically Jews as a group have suffered discrimination and very often violence. On that basis alone it makes sense for Israel to exist. There is safety in numbers. That politics and plain old stupidity have made a horrible mess in the region is clear. Some of the comments reflect what the Iranian president said (or didn’t say), that Israel must be wiped off the map but I have some wonderful Israeli friends and I would hate to see them harmed. They have as much power to change the politics and stupidity as I do. Please be cognizant that your average Israeli isn’t a wild-eyed Zionist fanatic. What I have been imagining is a Nixon goes to China deal where Bibi goes to Gaza. Maybe this could happen in the Trumpian Lets Make a Deal future.

    • HpO
      January 3, 2017 at 19:49

      About that, per jimbo: “fuzziness of the bible aside … your average Israeli isn’t a wild-eyed Zionist fanatic.”

      Not sure what you’re trying to say about the article; you mean your “wonderful Israeli friends” are telling you that, contra the title and per their own homeland experiences, it isn’t true that “Israel Misuses the Bible”?

  3. God's Messenger
    December 30, 2016 at 04:19

    Dear Israel:

    Stop killing people in Palestine and work toward a peaceful resolution. Stop acting like you know everything – you don’t.

    Dear Palestine:

    Stop killing people in Israel and work towards a peaceful resolution. Stop acting like you know everything – you don’t.

    Dear Israel and Palestine:

    I want you to live in peace and to treat each other as equals which means working to resolve your differences and not blowing each other up and causing pain for your fellow humans. If you can’t do that then you do not serve me. Its just that simple.

    Sincerely, God

    (typed by God’s Messenger)

    • Hillary
      December 30, 2016 at 07:31

      Israel may yet reach their 1919 goal as stated in 1919 when the World Zionist Organization officially presented a map of its future state of “Israel” at the Paris Peace Conference. This map included not only all of Palestine, but also southern Lebanon, southwestern Syria, including the Golan Heights, significant parts of western Jordan, and parts of Egypt’s Sinai.

      How frightening how today EDUCATED people can believe the Bible.
      Meanwhile it is estimated that there are about 6 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world, some still with the keys to their former homes that they were forced to leave in Israel

      • HpO
        December 30, 2016 at 12:28

        FYI: “Even though those with postgraduate educations are much less likely to believe in a literal Bible, the MAJORITY of that group do believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, rather than solely a human creation.” (“One-Third of Americans Believe the Bible Is Literally True”, by Frank Newport, GALLUP, May 25, 2007)

  4. Vera
    December 29, 2016 at 13:06

    Misuses the Bible??? When was the last time israel read it.

    • HpO
      December 29, 2016 at 17:43

      FYI 1: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cabinet: “carry out an education revolution … based on two things: excellence and Zionism … and Zionism, based on the study of the Bible and Jewish heritage, to understand why Jews are in Israel.  … First of all, the study of the Bible … this is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, and why we stay here …” (“With school year around corner, [Bibi] says ‘study Bible’,” Jerusalem Post, 30 August 2016)

      FYI 2: “Sara Netanyahu’s father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, … was a noted Bible educator.  … Netanyahu opened the (group study) event saying that the Bible is studied at least once a week in his home, and that his son Avner – who won the National Bible Quiz for Youth in 2010 – is his teacher.” (“PM’s Bible study group touches on God’s promise of Israel to the Jews”, Jerusalem Post, 05 October 2014)

  5. bobzz
    December 29, 2016 at 12:56

    Hillary, I’ve read Finkelstein. His claim that Israel exalted Yahweh while it was a in weakened state runs counter to reality in the history of the nations who made up their gods in the Ancient Near East. For example,Amenhotep outlawed the gods of Egypt except for his god, Aten, but when he died, so did Aten. Marduk was a junior god in the Babylonian pantheon Hammurabi rose to power and set him up as be the great god of the ANE. Finkelstein cannot cite a single instance when a weak nation was able to assert their god was all powerful. Other nations would have laughed them out of ‘town’. Yahweh could only have been exalted during a time when Israel was a power in the region at the time when the great powers, (Actually, Yahweh as the true and living God could only establish himself) Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon were attending to their own affairs. Finkelstein gives no credit to oral tradition. The scholars who have devoted a lot of study to oral tradition have shown that it can be passed down for generations with a fair degree of accuracy. I am not making a claim for inerrancy—that just ain’t so. Incidentally, even Finkelstein admits to ancient legends that were used in the shaping of the patriarchal stories.

    HpO,whether the effort to understand the OT better will succeed in exposing Zionism or not should not prevent the effort. If old Israel did not listen to the living prophets current Israel will not listen either. The point I want to make is that the OT itself cuts the props out of Israel’s claim to the land. That is a point for us gentile Christians to understand, but as i said, too many of us want to turn the OT into tea leaves or sheep’s liver trying to prognosticate the appearance of Jesus.

    • HpO
      December 29, 2016 at 19:08

      Israeli Zionists rely on Old Testament but reject New Testament.

      “Gentile” and Jewish Christian Zionists rely on Old Testament but not – necessarily – on New Testament.

      You are neither an Israeli Zionist nor a “Gentile” or Jewish Zionist, but you tell them that you also do rely on Old Testament.

      Neither Israeli Zionists nor “Gentile” or Jewish Zionists will listen to you, however, because all 3 of you are happily set on your respective Old Testament truth-claim views.  And so while your explanation is “If old Israel did not listen to the living prophets current Israel will not listen either”, they too already or shall have their own explanation against you.  Along the line that you espouse Replacement Theology; or you accuse Yahweh of reneging on His eternal land-based covenant with Israel – and they’ll give you irrefutable bible chapters and verses to boot.

      Ergo: you’re not going anywhere with them, so what’s the point?

      Me?  I give up on Israeli Zionists but not on “Gentile” and Jewish Christian Zionists for 2 reasons.  One, rescuing the latter from Zionism is going to make them forsake their political association with Israeli Zionists.  That’s the goal.  Without the backing of Christian Zionists, the power of Israeli Zionists collapses bit by bit.

      Two, I know that Christian Zionists don’t reject New Testament even though all the while Israeli Zionists are doing that.  What if, then, it can be shown to Christian Zionists that, according to the gospels and the epistles and the prophecies in New Testament, Jesus Christ and apostles Peter, John and Paul condemn Zionism?  What are they going to say – we don’t listen to the Lord and Savior and His apostles but we do the Zionists?  I don’t think so.  At this point, my hope is, they’ll have no choice or recourse but to abandon Zionism.

      • bobzz
        December 30, 2016 at 13:41

        “What if, then, it can be shown to Christian Zionists that, according to the gospels and the epistles and the prophecies in New Testament, Jesus Christ and apostles Peter, John and Paul condemn Zionism? What are they going to say – we don’t listen to the Lord and Savior and His apostles but we do the Zionists? I don’t think so. At this point, my hope is, they’ll have no choice or recourse but to abandon Zionism.”

        HpO, Christian Zionists see everything through the lens of Jesus return. Get every Jew to Israel and Jesus will return. It is this mistaken idea that fires their support for Israel. Christian Zionists read the NT through their own distorted rapture lens, and this is why they do not understand Jesus Christ and apostles Peter, John and Paul. As to your point that a proper understanding of the OT will not ‘work’, good grief one could say that about the work of Jesus. He knew very well that many more would choose the broad way to destruction than the narrow way to life. That did not stop him—thankfully. Good luck with your hope: they’ll have no choice or recourse but to abandon Zionism.” I have no illusions about whether a proper interpretation of the OT will ‘work’, but I see value in the effort.

        • HpO
          December 30, 2016 at 16:44

          Brother, I admire that although you “have no illusions about whether a proper interpretation of the OT will ‘work’, … (you do) see value in the effort.”. God bless you in the Messiah! I do see it too but only when it’s limited to Messianic verses in OT that have been “paradigm-shifted” by Jesus and His apostles in NT. I think you already know which passages those are. Christian Zionists won’t like that – but hey.

  6. Hillary
    December 28, 2016 at 22:00

    An insatiable belief in the “Bible” is the main reason Israel has been permitted to continue it’s blatant occupation of Palestine & forms the basis of giving a majority of Palestine to fanatical Zionists.

    Professor Israel Finkelstein the leading Israeli archaeologist explained in his book “The Bible Unearthed “ that Judaism is based upon mythology and that most of the evidence points to the bible being written in somewhere around the 7th century BC virtually as propaganda & states that there was no Exodus , no “walls of Jerico” & during King David’s time, as Finkelstein claims, Jerusalem was little more than a “hill-country village,” David himself a raggedy upstart akin to Pancho Villa, and his legion of followers more like “500 people with sticks in their hands shouting and cursing and spitting—not the stuff of great armies of chariots described in the Bible text loudly claimed by Bibi Netanyahu & his Evangelical supporters. .

    • HpO
      December 29, 2016 at 12:57

      FYI – “An Interview With Israel Finkelstein” by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

      … The minimalists’ approach, which Finkelstein’s resembles closely, is decried by many scholars, both theistic and atheistic.  … “[A] careful critical perusal of this work—which certainly has much to say about both archaeology and the biblical writings—reveals that we are dealing very largely with a work of imaginative fiction, not a serious or reliable account of the subject” … Finkelstein’s and Silberman’s discussion of the exodus … “… is among the most factually ignorant and misleading that this writer has ever read” …

      As for non-Christian scholars, there are several who would oppose Finkelstein’s treatment of the Bible. … (William) Dever’s battle with Finkelstein is well-known to those in archaeological circles, as well as to readers of Biblical Archaeology Review.  … not only does Finkelstein have a reputation for criticizing other archaeologists’ conclusions without examining their evidence, but other Israeli archaeologists have been critical and almost dismissive of him and his methods.

      Both believers and nonbelievers view Finkelstein’s approach as unwarranted. His point of view has won very few converts in archaeological circles. His skepticism borders on extremism not only because of the way he approaches the biblical text, but also because of the way he treats other scholars who disagree with him. In the end, Finkelstein may be a respected archaeologist in some circles, but he is spectacularly incorrect in his conclusions about the historical accuracy of the Bible.

  7. bobzz
    December 28, 2016 at 18:10

    In Gen. 15, God promised the land to Abraham and his posterity. Abraham wanted to know if he could trust the promise. God had him cut animals in half and lay them opposite each other; then, he passed between the halves symbolizing what would happen to him (God) if he did not keep the covenant, i.e., he would end up like the animals. That is about as ironclad as it gets. However, that is not the only thing said about the land. In Lev. 25:23 God states :…the land is MINE (emphasis added). It is Israel’s by gift, and it can be revoked. Lev. 26 describes what will happen if Israel is disobedient—they will be scattered. Deuteronomy states over and over that if Israel does not trust God, they will be scattered. They can only be restored to the land if they return in true repentance (that is not what is happening today). Israel was chronically unfaithful. God brought the Assyrians against the Northern kingdom of Israel and wiped it off the map except for exiles who assimilated in a foreign land, escapees to Judah, and stragglers left behind to become Samaria. Judah’s unfaithfulness led to Babylonian captivity, and they were dominated in turn by Persians, Greeks and finally, Rome. But what about that seemingly ironclad, unconditional promise in Gen. 15? Here is the nail in the cross, so to speak. The Jews played the major part in having Jesus, God in the flesh, crucified.That act abrogated the covenant with Abraham. In other words the Jews have no theological claim to the land today.

    Jewish Zionists have turned the Hebrew Bible into little more than a land deed. Christian Zionists have turned the OT into little more than sheep’s liver or a tarot card to determine when Christ is going to return. Sad to say.

    Now this I have to say in conclusion. The post-Constantinian church made a horrible error in persecuting Jews as ‘Christ-killers’. They and the majority of the church today have failed to recognize that if Jesus died for our sins, he also died BECAUSE of them. In other words, we are as guilty of crucifying Christ as the Jews were on that fateful day. We were in that crowd yelling ‘crucify him’. Seventeen centuries of persecuting Jews led to the Shoah and Zionism—not any Biblical doctrine. A terribly misguided church is responsible for the problems in the ME today. As long as I am at it I shall say that the oppressive, war-making church is the source of atheism. After Constantine we drifted into the union with the state and away from Christ.

    • bobzz
      December 28, 2016 at 18:24

      When it comes to anti-semitism, the prophets were highly critical of Israel, and that criticism was from God himself. Was God being anti-semitic? No, he was trying desperately to save Israel from itself, but they would not listen—then or now.

      • HpO
        December 29, 2016 at 03:00

        Using Old Testament to critique and debunk Zionism will never succeed. Why? Because, prophecy being what it is, it’ll always leave you in the dark or open to mutually exclusive truth-claims by false messiahs here, there and everywhere. Zionists know that and so they’ve gotten away with their life-harming ideology. Using the New Testament with the same aim, however, has a much better prospect, I think. It’s a brand new thought-experiment for me, inspired just this week by Maguire’s article (thanks, man!). So here goes:

        New Testament says there are 2 types of Jews, each defined allegorically by their respective Matriarchs. The mother of Israeli Zionists and Jewish Christian Zionists, her name is Hagar. “Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.” (Galatians 4:25). That leaves the rest of the “Gentile” and Jewish humanity who’re not only not-Zionists but also true believers. Now who’s their mother, then? Voila – it’s Sarah! “But the other woman (Sarah) corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26)

        This radical idea of 2 Jerusalems just boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Enough to put Zionism asunder, you think? I think so, too, brother!

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        January 4, 2017 at 15:55

        That doesn’t change the fact that blaming the Jews for Jesus’s death IS anti-Semitism, Christian anti-Semitism.

  8. junius
    December 28, 2016 at 17:36

    Our own patriot hero Thomas Paine summed up the Old Testament over two centuries ago, in his magnificent work, “The Age of Reason”. He wrote, “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

    Ironically, given its traditional hatred of Jews, as it grew Christianity became the vehicle by which the intolerance, misogyny, and homophobia of the parent faith came to be imposed on virtually every culture on earth, at an incalculable cost in human misery.

  9. Vera
    December 28, 2016 at 16:05

    I wonder if the Zionists ever heard of the Ten Commandments.

    • John
      December 29, 2016 at 01:41

      Of course they have, how else could they have sytematically violated all of them while erecting their Golden Calf that squats on Palestine?

  10. December 28, 2016 at 14:49

    “A bit of curative theology is needed to correct this brutal and ignorant madness.”

    A think quite a bit more than some theology is going to be required…

    • HpO
      December 29, 2016 at 01:58

      Maguire wasn’t trying to solve the entire Middle East crisis, if that’s what you’re hoping to see in his argument. Toward that end, however, he was helpful by raising a red flag for his readers on the “obstructive faux theology” of “Mr. Netanyahu” which, if left theologically uncorrected, is going to sustain that crisis. My only critique here is that Netanyahu doesn’t have any Genesis-based theology in actuality; he only gives lip service to it so as to get on the good side of all his politically influential Christian Zionist lobbyists in Washington DC. And it works every time!

  11. Bob Charron
    December 28, 2016 at 13:35

    One encouraging ray of hope comes from Miko Peled’s book, “The General’s Son.” It is the story of the journey of an Israeli in Palestine, and shows that there are reasonable Israeli’s and Palestinians which should not be overlooked. The world is so short of reasonable people everywhere. Our media seems to enjoy being an instigator, an arm of the devil, to provoke bitter quarrels. Daniel Maquire is the rare voice of reason.

  12. Donna Crowell
    December 28, 2016 at 10:29

    Thank you for keeping us on your mailing list. Your articles are insightful and eloquent. Good to have these to sharpen our thinking and give us a way to formulate our convictions, which reflect your own. A happy, and productive new year!

  13. Mr. Miles
    December 28, 2016 at 08:57

    The real story is,, they are faux Jews hence the word Jewish. They are Ashkenazi Jews from Europe, those Ethiopians they brutalize when entering Israel are the true Jews. Either way,, We are all brothers and should not kill one another. This is not G*d’s will,, it is the Tricksters plan. The Jewish individuals that are being fooled to hurt, harm, and kill their brothers and sisters are condemned and no longer human. You have to have respect for human life in order to be human. Letting evil deeds seep into your heart mind and action,, Their humanity is gone.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      January 4, 2017 at 15:49

      The Khazar myth is debunked – and you do know that the Ethiopian Jews WERE INVITED INTO ISRAEL by the ISRAELIS to MARGINALIZE THE PALESTINIANS. The Ethiopians aren’t being oppressed – the Palestinians are the only victims. The fact you are DEFENDING the marginalization of the Palestinians despite saying you defend them shows that you are an anti-Palestinian troll – and anti-Semitic.

  14. December 28, 2016 at 08:33

    Most people are not capable of extending morality beyond family, clan, tribe and maybe nation. Historically, we are in period of retrenchment and a return to tribalism and Israel has, since its beginning in the minds of Zionists been about creating a solid tribal culture in Israel. This is what Israel is today. Most Israelis believe non-Jews are diminished humans or at least don’t count. This was not always the case in the history of Israel since there was a strong component of “liberals” who believed in human dignity as a whole–but, in the main, they’ve been shouted down. They are not alone–the whole idea of one big human family has lost its appeal as a part of mass culture.

    We are devolving at this time as a culture. Islands of deeper spiritual understanding are increasing and it is only from that deeper understanding of the connection we have with not only humans but all creation that devolution can be countered.

  15. Helge
    December 28, 2016 at 06:10

    Very good article indeed, it is sad to see that the current government in Israel is driving on the believe that compassion, tolerance and forgiveness is a sign of weakness. Just like the article also consludes, they should have known better. “The worst of mad men, said the poet Alexander Pope, is a saint gone mad.” Very true and for anyone who is able to read German there is a very good article in the somewhat German equivalent to Consortium News “Telepolis” about the “German Saint” Martin Luther:

    • December 28, 2016 at 08:23

      I don’t think the Israelis believe compassion, tolerance and forgiveness is a sign of weakness but, like all tribal people, those virtues are valid only within the tribe–outsiders don’t count.

    • N Dalton
      December 29, 2016 at 05:48

      . . . there is a very good article in the somewhat German equivalent to Consortium News ?

      Quite ridiculous to bring German sf (Science Fiction) writer Marcus Hammerschmitt in to the play here,if not `absolute idiotic ` !

      There is absolutely nothing one may find good about this particular article – let alone ` very good ` due to its debatable content which are based on fabrications and outright lies – with an overbearing,unpleasant and arrogant desire to succeed,quite obviously.

  16. John
    December 27, 2016 at 21:03

    The bible is the nemesis…….It is the BS where the lies become a mental virus….1/3 of the grand illusion that rules the

  17. December 27, 2016 at 20:28

    how abouts the 90% of us who aren’t insane don’t give a flying flip what a bunch of patriarchal control freaks made up thousands of years ago…
    zionists are stealing land that has other people on it, i don’t care who your fictitious sky-daddy is…

  18. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    December 27, 2016 at 20:16

    “Israel Misuses the Bible”…..that is really funny since THEY have FABRICATED the Bible in the first place…….AND if that is not enough, what percentage of Jews believe in God these days to start with?! I challenge anyone to find a Jew who would be willing to DEFINE what a Jew is publicly……..YES this is a challenge…………..

  19. HpO
    December 27, 2016 at 19:32

    Constructive suggestion: Debunk New – not Old – Testament basis for Christians’ support for geopolitical Zionism and you’re already halfway there toward getting them all to abandon it. That’s the idea, at least, though I’m not sure yet that’s doable (sorry, I for one haven’t done that homework at this time of scribbling) as below are just a couple of such justification worth critiquing:

    Can that be done? Let’s, I say.

  20. Josh Stern
    December 27, 2016 at 19:29

    There are 3 different major playing fields in DCM’s editorial: 1) criticism of Israeli policy/actions, 2) an idea about the explicit justification some Israeli’s give for those actions, and 3) a claim about whether that justification follows or abuses a tradition of sound/correct Old Testament interpretation.

    My thoughts:

    I agree with criticisms on field 1,

    I think field 2) is a good observation, but I’m skeptical about how important it is for the majority of the Israeli population – I suggest that Jewish/tribal identity and winning a longstanding war are more prominent motivations.

    I’m genuinely curious about 3) and would like to learn more. What is the basis for saying one interpretation is prescriptive and another is only descriptive? It must be something more than simply “the former is the one that agrees with my moral sensibility.” What is the other part?

    • Zachary Smith
      December 27, 2016 at 21:01

      What is the other part? It is surely related somehow to reality. As you very probably know, the Exodus didn’t happen. It’s a fairy tale like Noah’s Ark and Adam & Eve. Surely that has to play some kind of part in Israel waving the Bible around as if they had some kind of actual claim to Palestine superior to all others.

      After looking at a wiki with a list of US cities, I found Milwaukee, Wisconsin is supposed to have a population of almost exactly 600,000. Continuing with my search caused me to have a big “oops”, for I’d forgotten that 600,00 was the number of men! Add the women and children, and the number surely jumps to 2-3 million humans. But that ain’t all – they had herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. All of a sudden we’re looking at the city of Chicago being plopped down in a bare and arid desert along with several million sheep and cattle.

      The numbers were made up along with the rest of the story. The people writing that fantasy where they were the center of God’s full attention never anticipated another group looking at their composition with “real world” eyeglasses.

      • Josh Stern
        December 28, 2016 at 03:48

        I’m not a fan of fundamentalist religion or holy books, but IMO it is weak pollitical & coalition strategy to attack every vestige of religious fundamentalism and/or flogging of sacred texts. Many historical opinion polls place a majority of Americans in that category – if that isn’t true today, it’s still a large percentage. And there is no doubt that most citizens in the Middle East fall into that category, and that views drawn from those sources do play major roles in MidEast politics. The majority of the religious are peaceful, well-meaning, good people. The majority of secular humanists could benefit from finding other ways to build cross-generational communities that don’t require churches or deity based metaphysics. More open-mindedness and friendship here are good things.

  21. alexander
    December 27, 2016 at 18:41

    Dear Mr. Maguire,

    Correct me if I am wrong ,But if one is to rightly condemn the ethnic cleansing, property confiscations, and expulsion of the Jews in Nazi Germany as one of the signature evils that define the Holocaust era, How is one supposed to view the ethnic cleansing, property confiscations, and expulsion of Palestinians from Greater Israel today ?

    I cannot see how its possible that two wrongs can ever make a right.

    Can you ?

    If it was wrong to have happened to the Jews in Germany (and it was) how can it be “right” to be happening to the Palestinians in “Eretz” Israel ?

    Is there anyone who can explain this to me in a way that makes sense ?

    • Zachary Smith
      December 27, 2016 at 20:34

      There were two different sets of Jews involved. I’d heard something of this before, so my keywords search was for the terms Zionist Contempt European Jews. At the top of my search results was this:


      From its’ inception, many rabbis warned of the potential dangers of Zionism and openly declared that all Jews loyal to G-d should stay away from it like one would from fire. They made their opinions clear to their congregants and to the general public. Their message was that Zionism is a chauvinistic racist phenomenon which has absolutely naught to do with Judaism. They publicly expressed that Zionism would definitely be detrimental to the well being of Jews and Gentiles and that its effects on the Jewish religion would be nothing other than destructive. Further, it would taint the reputation of Jewry as a whole and would cause utter confusion in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Judaism is a religion. Judaism is not a race or a nationality. That was and still remains the consensus amongst the rabbis.

      We were given the Holy Land by G-d in order to be able to study and practice the Torah without disturbance and to attain levels of holiness difficult to attain outside of the Holy Land. We abused the privilege and we were expelled. That is exactly what all Jews say in their prayers on every Jewish festival, “Umipnay chatoenu golinu mayartsaynu” – “Because of our sins we were expelled from our land”.


      I can neither vouch for this essay nor condemn it, but it does make a lot of interesting claims. The Zionists were radicals, and didn’t care who got hurt in their quest. That included the European Jews – the ones who simply wanted to belong to whichever society in which they lived.

      It is a documented fact that the modern Israeli Zionists don’t give a pewter **** about the Holocaust survivors who are dying of old age. They’re mere pawns in the big scheme to put a guilt trip on the West to milk us for ever more money and other favors.


      So in summation, the dead Jews of the Holocaust and the dying Palestinians of today each represent bad guys. The former are unworthy because they weren’t Zionists, and the latter because they’re animals on two legs.

      • John P
        December 28, 2016 at 19:32

        The Jews were not to return to the promised land until the son of God returned (Jesus was not their vision of that).This is one reason Zionism upset a lot of Jews, and Jews in the Ottoman area of Palestine didn’t want these called trouble makers upsetting their lives there.
        It is a religion and not a race, you can tell where a Jew came from by the DNA which contains markers of any region from which they came.
        More importantly, where was the supposed promised land? A paper by Tarik Ahmed and Ammar Rajab of the Al-Tajdeed Cultural Society of Bahrain wrote a paper presented at the Second World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies held in Jordan. The research is presented in a 550 page book but you can get a translated synopsis by googling:

        Al-Hajaz, Homeland of Abraham and the Israeli Prophets

        It is 48 PDF pages long, very interesting but one has to overlook a few simple translation errors now and then. The geography, and place names fit the Biblical tale and a river bed easily observable from the region was in fact called Phorat River which became the Euphrates (not the one in Iraq). It’s a most interesting story. I think its revision of what we are told about the Old Testament puts it onto a more steady foundation but still one may or may not believe the religious aspects of the story.

    • Zachary Smith
      December 27, 2016 at 20:36

      Wow! Now I’m getting “moderated” even with no functional links at all. WTH is the forum software looking for now?

    • Brian Hadberg
      December 28, 2016 at 01:28

      The Jews were conquered by Darius centuries ago so therefore are entitled to reclaim their lands today. Read your history not just recent history.The Jews were the first tribe to have a perminent settlement on this land.All others before them were nomads wandering from place to place.

      • junius
        December 28, 2016 at 17:34

        Archaeological evidence of a permanent settlement in Jerusalem dates to the early Bronze Age, 3000–2800 BCE. This is at least 1800 years before the date the legendary bandit chieftain David is reckoned to have conquered the ancient city.

      • John
        December 29, 2016 at 01:50

        Then how come the holy books of the Jews talks about all the other people living there first? Stories of walled cities, etc. Philistines, which was Romanized into Palestinians (both are the same word) are regularly talked about…

        So, even if you ignore the actual histories and archaeology, and make the mistake of treating the Torah as historical fact, you are wrong.

    • Brad Owen
      December 28, 2016 at 07:18

      The Zion Project was never a “Stand Alone” project, but a project of the, now, Western Empire (an amalgamation of the post-WWII British, French, and Dutch Empires, along with the Truman/Churchill/Wall Street Plan to bring US into imperial duty via Red Scare: an Empire to control and manipulate the World via debt). Being an Imperial operation, it has no concern about right and wrong; might-makes-right and what are you going to do about it. The whole point of this operation is to deny development to the World of former colonies (Africa, Asia, South America; the last one via Spanish,Portugese fascist elites aided by German NAZI immigrants post WWII); and preventing yet another rise of a powerful Muslim Empire upon its’ southern flank via Irael and concern for its survival against Muslim onslaught. Empires are truly atheistic in their perceptions, seeing no higher power than their own will-to-power. They are blind beasts,”Giants moving across the land”. But there are apparently Higher Powers in operation, and NO cut-and-dried theistic doctrine will ever grasp its’ operation upon the planet (some Mystics and shamans here-n-there might have an inkling of it, but it’s like a mouse comprehending the activities of humans;mice typically just go about their own business trying to coexist with humanity as best they can). Sky Spirals first appeared over Cina 1988 (Chinese folk wisdom thinks of them as dragons), Sky Spirals made a grand appearance over Norway 2009 ( Google video Little Grandmother Spirals). Crop Circles went from simple circles over the centuries (seemingly like a time-keeping metronome) to intensely complex and dense symbols starting in the 1970’s, communicating what? (maybe not even a communication to humans, but other, more advanced “denizens” of this planet, Angels?Gods and Goddesses?Elves?Faeries?resident advanced extraterrestrials?Who the hell knows?). I think, (since my local preacher doesn’t know what to make of it), a “change of ZeitGeists” is occurring, and China’s Silk Road win-win policies received the “Breath of Life” from the new ZeitGeist and is now displacing the previous Imperial, Geopolitical operations that have been going on for many centuries. Empire is about to breathe its last, and World development and cooperation will now take the World Stage. That’s how I make sense of it all, anyway. I’m fairly sure something more than a “mousey” conventional explanation is called for.

    • Brandon Simmons
      December 30, 2016 at 09:40

      What is the nazi equivalent of Israel giving Gaza to the Palestinians unilaterally?

  22. Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D.
    December 27, 2016 at 18:12

    The distinction you make between “descriptive” and “prescriptive” is an important one. I would add that I perceive Israeli interpretation of the Bible as both blasphemous and ignorant. The latter in that the Zionists (a) have failed to perceive the Bible as a HUMAN CREATION, to (b) recognize that “God” itself is a human creation (indicated by the fact that in part of the Bible “God” is conceived as a king-like Being, at other times a creator, etc.), and (c) mistake statements in the Bible that LOOK like statements of historical truths as ACTUAL such statements (something noted in detail by, e.g., Thomas L. Thompson).

    • HpO
      December 28, 2016 at 12:35

      Hypotheses: (1) Israeli Zionists, being secular Jews, don’t believe all that territorial stuffs in the Old Testament but find it geopolitically useful; it’s only the Christian Zionists who do, both. (2) However, before the Evangelical Right took over the primary ideologizing role on the Israeli Zionists’ behalf starting in the 1960s, it was both the early 20th century British Imperialists and Roman Catholic magisterium (to which Professor Daniel C. Maguire and Marquette University ironically belong, by the way) who came up with the original doctrines and practices of Christian Zionism, then indoctrinated the forebears of Israeli Zionism, then pontificated the Balfour Declaration.

      Conclusion: De-converting both “Gentile” and Jewish Christian Zionists is the way to go, without whom Israeli Zionists will be left on their own to their devices. At least, they’ll stop invoking all those Old Testament verses, with which to preach to the choir that has been their main support but – oh no! – is now gradually forsaking Christian Zionism. All they’ll be left to contend with is pure (= dark & ugly) geo-politics with the rest of the world. I think something good is going to happen to Israeli Zionists once they witness their ex-Christian Zionist accomplices abandoning their heresies. Who knows? Maybe they’ll find it in them finally to truly walk by faith in God as their father Abraham did – instead of by realpolitik – and help make a better world for everybody and every nation?

  23. Earl H. Williams
    December 27, 2016 at 17:28

    Don, are you in possession of any/all information relative to a Russian Division capturing 250 US MIlitary Advisers, 75-80 British, French and Dutch soldiers with IS in Syria ?


    • Zachary Smith
      December 27, 2016 at 20:10

      I don’t know who did the capturing, but this tidbit from a Syrian Blogger probably covers what happened to them.

      It horrifies me to tell you that the foreign spies who were holed up in Aleppo were allowed to leave with the other terrorist evacuees. This was a deal struck by the Russians and Iranians in in spite of the SAA’s objections. As you know, 100+ Syrian soldiers were murdered by the terrorists even though they were hostages over whom the SAA conditioned any evacution. I am deeply ashamed to have to tell you this. It’s not a happy day for us.


  24. December 27, 2016 at 17:15

    Yes, and there is that real doozey about Russia being Gog and Magog. Assyrian court records show that these are places in what is now Turkey. But that won’t stop the Russia-done-it crowd from predicting Russia will destroy Israel.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 28, 2016 at 02:58

      Israel’s biblical claim to Palestine has always run counterintuitive to European and American hegemony over the world’s indigenous peoples. What chance would a Native American have at reclaiming their ancient land by right of culture or religion? So why the exception for Israel? Money, and a continual supply of it is what’s required, to keep the American legistors in the pocket of this Balfour Act decreed bandit by the name of Israel.

      I see Obama’s abstaining with the U.S. vote at the UN, as two things. One Obama maybe handing this fairness for Palestintian rights stance over to the progressive left to claim before the right steals it for their own, and with that you could excuse me for wishful thinking. The other option is that this abstaining vote could put Trump in between a rock and hard place. Since Russia voted against Israel a Trump reversal of Obama’s UN abstaining on the vote, would put Trump at odds with Russia, not to mention England, France, and China. With all of these recent Russian deaths, coupled with sanctions, and possibly a UN flip of Obama’s vote, could this be enough to hurt any plans Trump may have planned for détente with Putin?

      Tonight the cable networks couldn’t go on enough about McCain and Graham’s hatred of Russia. Seeing this while remembering the treats made by Morell, Kirby, and Obama concerning retaliation at the place and time of our choosing while dead Russians are piled up on Putin’s doorstep to send a warning to the Russian leader, is all of what’s needed to scuttle any future relationship a well meaning U.S. President could want to have with Russia.

      There are to many strange occurrences going on at this present time to be just fluffed off as coincidence. Israel who didn’t sign on to America’s sanctions against Russia, will certainly have to decide what’s more important…business with Russia, or a two state solution and giving back land to the Palestintian’s. It’s coming down for Israel to choose sides, and I’m sure that Israel will lean the heaviest towards the Neocon frame of mine. We can only wonder what that frame of mine is thinking.

      • Peter Loeb
        December 28, 2016 at 08:06


        “…The exile…has two roles to play. It at one and the same time
        disconnects and unites the present and the past…The generation
        that returns to the land of their fathers will at the same time
        understand that it is their land…nobody except the generation
        that returned should be allowed to stay in the land…”

        Niels Peter Lemche, Danish theologian, p. 87

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • UseTheGuillotine
          December 28, 2016 at 20:04

          Lemche also said: Every history is an invented history, or a society’s cultural memory. When there are more groups than one present within a given community, we may reckon with more than one cultural memory. In a time of conflict the victors will decide which memory is the “correct” one and it will be written in textbooks and taught in schools. The historian might want to protest, as he insists that he knows the correct version, but memories cannot be controlled by professional historians who don’t pay much attention to historical “facts.”

    • Anthony Shaker
      December 28, 2016 at 14:43

      Precisely. The fact is that the vast bulk of the Old Testament (Torah) has no historical or archaeological basis, not even the genealogy supposedly of the “Israelites.” First of all, no one has ever identified who the Israelites were or where they came from. Second, they were not Jews. Judaism was born after a supposed Exile in Babylon, which event itself has been largely debunked by historians. And even that Judaism was very different from the Judaism of today.

      My other point is that the author of this good article has unfortunately failed to mention that nobody gives two hoots about the Zionists’ religious beliefs. Their beliefs have no bearing on the fact that no one is obligated to believe in them. Jewish or Christian, Zionists are entitled to their “biblical” exegesis, and they can declare the “divinely” given rights of the Jews and the concept of chosen people to their hearts’ delight. But neither the Palestinians (the original inhabitants) nor anyone else is required by law to believe in the Zionist racial fantasy.

      Judging by the way it is treated in Western (and not terribly religious) countries, especially the US, you’d think that anyone disputing such drivel has got to be antisemitic and that he or she should be outlawed or publicly lynched.

      The idea of a chosen or master race today falls squarely in the class of Nazi ideology, in relation to which incidentally Zionism was not only a precursor but the main inspiration. The leader of the Third Reich, his ideologues and ministers made no bones about where their main inspiration came from. The people who bore the brunt of this official British and Nazi racism were indeed the Palestinians, and now we are all paying for it.

      The heart of the Middle East has been cut out with the blunt knife of imperialism, and all this religious hogwash is just window dressing to cover up the enormity of this crime.

      • HpO
        December 28, 2016 at 19:12

        Then surely you’ve underestimated the geopolitical influence of the Dispensationalistic hermeneutics-and-faith-based Christian Zionist lobbyists in the American foreign policy arena. For whose attention do you think Israeli Zionists have been invoking all that Old Testament stuff when noone else cares less about it? So imagine if & when every Christian Zionist finally realizes they’ve all been had by this heresy. They’ll all stop supporting Israeli Zionists – guaranteed! How, though? For starters, let’s, I say, educate these Christian lobbyists that there’s really no New Testament justification for, nor gospel message in, Christian Zionism whatsoever. Then have them convinced that their Lord & SaviorJesus the Jew wasn’t born flesh and blood long ago in order in the end to preserve the ever-dividing wall between Jews and non-Jews, between Israel and all the other nations, but so as to replace it by unifying them all in one radically holy spirit and in one new, wholy-other world order.

      December 29, 2016 at 09:23

      “…But that won’t stop the Russia-done-it crowd from predicting Russia will destroy Israel.”
      If only….

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