Biblical Interpretation and Middle East Policy

Biblical Interpretation and Middle East Policy: The Promised Land, America, and Israel, 1917-2002

English | 2005 | 201 Pages | ISBN: 0813027985 | PDF | 1.0 MB

Irvine Anderson's provocative argument-that fundamentalist interpretations of the Christian Bible have helped create a cultural predisposition that favors returning the Jewish people to the "promised land"-offers an important perspective on British and American foreign policy toward Israel. He asserts that stories about promises of land to the Hebrew people and the "Second Coming of Christ" have made it easier for Zionist and pro-Israel lobbies to be effective in both countries. Starting with analysis of Armageddon theology and the Biblical passages on which these ideas have been based, Anderson shows how they have been disseminated throughout popular culture from the 19th century onward, through Sunday School teaching, novels, and TV evangelism. He then examines the origins of the Balfour Declaration, the travails of the British Mandate in the 1930s, and Truman's decision to hurriedly recognize the newly proclaimed State of Israel-emphasizing the president's Baptist background and intimate knowledge of the Bible. Anderson also discusses the assumption that developed after World War II that Israel was a strategic ally in a dangerous part of the world and he shows that at the time no real countervailing force existed. Among the electorate in both Great Britain and the United States, there was little general knowledge of Islam, Arabs, or the Middle East and limited understanding of the importance of healthy relations with friendly oil-producing states. Adding new information to our understanding of pro-Israel organizations, Anderson illustrates the linkages that developed in the last part of the 20th century between pro-Israel lobbies and the religious right. While acknowledging that this alliance is not the only reason that the American government supports the return of Jews to Palestine, he shows that the influence of conservative teachings and beliefs on policy is and has been profound. This controversial book presents a comprehensive and persuasive discussion of the impact of Christian Zionism in the 20th century. It will be important to historians, sociologists, political scientists, and others interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict.? ? ?


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