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author biography
Daoud Kuttab is presently a Ferris Professor of Journalism and Princeton University where he teaches a seminar on new media in the Arab world. He is an award winning journalist, TV producer and media activist.
A Palestinian Christian, he was born in Jerusalem, studied in the United States and has worked in the Arabic print press (Al Fajr, Al Quds and Assinara) before moving to the audio visual field. He established and presided over the Jerusalem Film Institute in the 90s. In 1995 he helped establish the Aabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) a censorship free Arab web site. He established and has headed since 1996 the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University.
In Jordan in 2000 he established the Arab world’s first internet radio station AmmanNet. Daoud Kuttab is active in media freedom efforts in the Middle East.

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Christian Zionist influence retracting
Filed under Middle East, Christian Zionism, Opinion Editorials, Settlements, USA foreign policy, Christian Fundamentalism – on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 – By: Kuttab, Daoud

Why is Evangelical Support for Israel shrinking?
An unexpected result has emerged in the US following the one-day Annapolis meeting aimed at kick starting Palestinian Israeli negotiations. Christian Zionists admitted that their power has started to weaken. “The evangelical support for Israel is shrinking,” stated the Jerusalem Connection International in its latest newsletter entitled ”Post Annapolis where do we go from here?”
Wikipedia says that Christian Zionism “is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy and, furthermore, that bringing the Jews home will hasten the Second Coming..
This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism, mainly in English-speaking countries outside Europe. British theologian and preacher John Nelson Darby who lived in England in the 19th century is regarded as the father of dispensationalism and its prodigy, Christian Zionism.

The Jerusalem Connection, which highlights the letters USA in the middle of the word Jerusalem, is run by a retired brigadier general in the US army, the Reverend James Hutchens. Hutchens, who says he demonstrated in protest, along with other Christian Zionists, outside the Naval base in Annapolis blames the reduction in evangelical support for Israel to a handful of evangelical leaders who signed a statement” supporting the two-state solution.”

Hutchenson admits that “more and more evangelical pulpits are silent about Israel.” But in case his followers are worried he interjects by stating: “Oh the Christian Zionists are still alive and well and “for Zion’s sake they will not keep silent.”

The 80 leading Christian evangelical leaders who signed the statement that was published in Christianity Today’s November 28th edition are perhaps the brightest and best among evangelicals. But unlike what Hutchenson says they are not “naïve, misguided and dead wrong about Israel.”
Although they have become more vocal about their position of late, evangelicals support for a two state solution should not be a surprise to those following the position of America’s largest Christian group.

Evangelical leaders like Professor Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, who have been publicly supporting issues of justice and peace in the Middle East is joined by presidents of Christian universities (like Wheaton University) and theological seminaries (like Fuller), heads of major charities (like World Vision) and editors of publications like Christian today and Sojourners.
They have been consistently calling for a balanced solution to the conflict.

Christian Zionism has also been suffering of late from a strong theological attack of their hawkish ideas from fellow evangelicals. Critiques from learned evangelicals such as Rev Don Wagner of North Park University and from the UK Rev. Steven Sizer have exposed the theological corruptness and emptiness of the Christian Zionist advocates. Earlier efforts by Reverend Colin Champ in his book “Whose Promised Land?” now in its fourth edition, has for years laid the ground for debunking these theological myths that support aggression against Palestinians using religious terminology.

Palestinian Christian efforts led by Canon Naim Ateek of the Jerusalem-based Sabeel Center for Palestinian Liberation theology has also been a major contributor in the weakening of both theology and its application. They have powerfully rejected the warped attempts by Christians in the west to use the Bible in defense of the unjust practices of right wing Israelis (including officials in the army and government) and fundamentalists Jewish settlers.

Today’s Christian Zionists have also been weakened by the failures of the policy of their political leader, President George W. Bush. The failure in Iraq, which President Bush he said, was decided, based on divine calling, followed by the recent intelligence report on Iran has had yet more cooling effects. Pushing for war in Iraq and more recently Iran has been publicly espoused by Christian fundamentalist leaders. Christian Zionists and other fundamentalist Christians who try to use the Bible to interpret today’s political news have regularly found in news from the Middle East a gold mine to pick and choose as they please.

The rise and fall of religious fundamentalism has often paralleled political success or failures. Messianic Jews were excited about the 1967 victory that they began an expansionist settlement activity in the West Bank (what they called Judea and Samaria) that has not been reversed since. The Khomeini revolution in Iran encouraged Islamic export.
And for Christian Zionists the ascension of Bush and Sharon were signs from God that their radical theology was finding an executive arm. As these once God sent politicians lose power, so does the theological underpinnings that rose with them.
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