“ ‘Christian Zionists essentially think all Jewish people are caricatures of the ancient Israelites — a caricature they associate, in turn, with the modern state of Israel — and that the loyalty of all Jews is, or should be, to Israel,’ says Ben Lorber, a research analyst for Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank. ’Tied in with this, there is a palpable sense in which they despise Jews in the diaspora, especially liberal Jews.’”
“Some say this political partnership is also premised on something both common and mundane in U.S. politics: Trump’s efforts to mobilize a base in support of himself. “I’m not going to try to get inside Trump’s head,” Steven Gardiner, assistant research director for Political Research Associates and author of a new report on Christian Zionism, told In These Times. “But it’s clear from his actions that whatever his beliefs are, he’s pandering to the Christian Zionist base, and going above and beyond the kind of substantive support for Israel that comes in the ongoing financial and military support and military alliance in the region.” Gardiner includes Trump’s bellicose policies towards Iran within this larger trend. “For the Christian Zionist world,” he says, “Iran is the new devil in play for them.”
This does not mean, however, that Trump is not also trying to curry favor among more bipartisan pro-Israel forces like AIPAC (CUFI mostly draws its support from the right). According to Gardiner, “AIPAC has been more or less non-partisan, or at least willing to ally themselves with anyone who could conceivably be an ally of Israel. Christian Zionists, on the other hand, foreground the very acts that are going to antagonize not just American liberals, but liberal Jews in the diaspora in particular.”
“In terms of mobilizing voters,” Gardiner continues, “It’s the Christian Zionists that are going to get themselves into hundreds of churches, not AIPAC. If you’re a ‘good’ politician, you can do two things with the same action: appeal to AIPAC and Christian Zionists. There’s no reason you wouldn’t.” AIPAC, for its part, has allied with Christian Zionists, and had Hagee speak at its 2007 summit. And both AIPAC and CUFI have rallied around similar and overlapping aims, including the criminalization of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.”
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