Future conflicts in Palestine
The politics of Palestine can be seen from many different angles – religious, political, historical, etc. As a rather typical product of the Pakistani school system, my knowledge of the beliefs of followers of religions other than Islam has been very limited, but I want to try to offer an eschatological lens through which to understand the events taking place in Palestine.
Technically this also makes it a religious perspective, but unlike many religious explanations that look to the past, I will try to explain today’s actions in terms of the end times prophecies of the three Abrahamic religions. . The religious explanations offered by the ordinary clerics of the neighborhood mosques seldom venture beyond “because they hate us” or “it’s-a-conspiracy” – neither is. useful.
Let me start closest to home. Islamic eschatology predicts the appearance of the Dajjal, the antichrist or false messiah, who will be blind in one eye. He will attempt to deceive the faithful but will be challenged and defeated by the returning Hazrat Isa (pbuh). The end of time will also see the release of Gog and Magog (Yajooj and Majooj). Hazrat Isa and Imam Mahdi will pray for their defeat and Gog and Magog will be defeated by God. Hazrat Isa (pbuh) will live the rest of his life on Earth, which will be followed by civilizational decline, followed by a number of signs, followed by the end of the world. Some details vary from sect to sect, but in general, this is not a vision of the future that Muslims actively seek to achieve.
In Judaism, however, the literary interpretation of the events leading up to the end of time is one that many Jews actively seek. It begins with the return of the Jewish people to Palestine. The Jews see the founding of modern Israel as a fulfillment of this prophecy. This is to be followed by the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple on the Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently located, all of this is part of a belief called Zionism. This is where we are and this is where it gets interesting.
I find some background noise useful during my studies. During my early years of graduate school in the United States, I lived without a cable TV subscription, and the only TV channels I received were local. At night, that meant having to choose from a number of channels in the network showing paid content and infomercials. One exception was TCT, one of the many evangelical Christian television stations. The programming of this and other similar channels offers an educational and unvarnished look at the contemporary beliefs of the American evangelical right, an important and influential electorate in American politics.
Christian eschatology harbors a diversity of views and interpretations, and it is not possible for a layman like me to try to cover them all here. For this reason, I will limit myself to the literal interpretation subscribed to by a large segment of evangelical Christians. Like many Zionist Jews, they too believe that the next events that will take place are the return of the Jewish people to Israel and the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple, a belief called Christian Zionism.
In this way, there is a temporary confluence of eschatological views from large, politically engaged segments of the Jewish and Christian communities. It also explains much of the pro-Israel content on American Christian TV channels. Christian Zionism’s support for Israel runs so deep that there are fundraising programs to pay the cost of “returning” Jews from around the world to Israel. This segment of Christians believes in actively working towards the fulfillment of the prophesied events that will bring humanity closer to the end of time.
One way to understand the dehumanizing treatment of Palestinians by the apartheid state of Israel is the certainty of believing in literal interpretations of scriptural prophecies. These actions are supported by the United States, where evangelical Christians have been a powerful voting bloc from the 1970s until today, led by well known names like the late Billy Graham, the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and many others. . No American politician, Democrat or Republican, can afford to alienate or offend this group of voters.
However, the agreement on the prophesied events in Christianity and Judaism is temporary and diverges after the rebuilding of the Temple. Jews believe this will be followed by the rise of a Jewish messiah from the house of David, ushering in the Messianic era, an era of peace and justice. All nations will recognize the God of Israel as the one true God. Eventually God will raise the dead and create a new paradise.
Christians, meanwhile, believe that the rebuilding of the Temple will be followed by the second coming of Jesus (Hazrat Isa). At that point, they believe, the Jews will recognize their mistaken beliefs and a large majority of them will convert to Christianity. Other events that will occur around the same time are the Rapture, the raising of all true believers to heaven, a thousand year reign of peace on Earth, followed by final judgment and life in the dawn. -of the.
It is important to remember that the above does not and cannot describe the beliefs of all Jews or all Christians. The Christian and Jewish communities are no more monolithic than the Muslim community. Where there are people who take end-time prophecies literally, there are many who subscribe to more metaphorical interpretations. Even as the IDF bombed Gaza, there were Jews around the world, even in Jerusalem, who put humanistic values and common sense above blind belief in vague predictions.
While US government support for Israeli apartheid does not appear to be waning anytime soon, there is a gradual shift in the political terrain that gives some reason for hope. According to survey data from 2003 to 2017, the segment of the American population that identifies as Protestant (which includes evangelicals) is steadily declining from 50% to 36%. During the same period, those not affiliated with religion increased from 12% to 21% of the population. According to some projections, if current trends persist, the two groups could equally represent 35% of the population by 2035. This would be a dramatic shift in religious demographics and could force the US government to reassess its current unconditional support for the Israeli war. crimes and instead start keeping it to the same standards of civilized behavior that it regularly demands of other countries.
These changes are already being felt. US support for Israel previously enjoyed equal bipartisan support in Congress. However, a growing number of a new generation of elected Democratic Representatives (such as Representative Ilhan Omar, Representative Rashida Tlaib, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative Ayanna Pressley) and fewer new Representatives (such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Chris Van Hollen) are increasingly questioning and questioning this support. The Liberal Democrats have attacked their own party chairman, Biden, after repeatedly declaring that Israel has the right to defend itself.
Some of these changing attitudes of the American (and global) public must be attributed to ongoing messages that have increased awareness and education on social justice issues. In 2013, the board of the Native and Native Studies Association (NAISA) issued a statement in support of the global academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, made up and supported largely by young people, opposes the lingering legacy of slavery and racism in America. Upholding social justice at home but denying Palestinians the same would require a special kind of cognitive dissonance. This is why more Americans who understand the injustices inflicted on Native Americans and African Americans can see Israel’s oppression and slow ethnic cleansing for what they are.
The ubiquitous access to cameras and publishing platforms makes it increasingly difficult for Israel to sell its fictional narrative to whitewash its abuses. We may be living in the age of fake news, but there are limits to the degree to which the torrent of images and videos from Palestine can be broadcast. In the meantime, the governments supporting Israeli crimes must decide whether we are going to live in a world that strives to achieve the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for every human being or in a world where state terror and the subjugation of people in the name of Regressive ideas like manifest destiny and religious supremacism are acceptable.
The writer is an independent educational researcher and consultant. She holds a doctorate in education from Michigan State University.