Monday, 10 August 2015

Zionism,  Anti-Semitism and the Bible.   

June 24th 2015

Rev. Dr. Duncan Macpherson presented this paper to us on June 24th. Duncan has an impeccable pedigree academically and theologically in a discussion of this topic. He was a personal friend of Michael Prior who was a scholar who tackled head on the legitimacy of a modern Israel founded on the biblical promise of land and, of course, one of the founding members, like Duncan, of Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust. Duncan too has an informed interest in the growth of quasi-political religious movements arising out of the historical, sociological and economic drivers in recent centuries.

Who better then to track the various ambiguities around the notion of return to a ‘promised land’ by European Jews and its relationship to interpretations of the responsibility of ‘Jews’ for the persecution and death of Jesus Christ and for persecution of the early Christian Church?  Who better to explore the synergies that from time to time bolstered relationships between Zionism and Semitism and Zionism and anti Semitism?

Averred to  are the political intrigues that established the State of Israel and the vested interests of the protagonists in the First World War and the Second World War in the growth towards the reality of a nascent state.  With a serious look in are the Christian Zionist enthusiasts who would have Jews return to biblical Israel to hasten the second coming.

So who are the anti Semites, the Jew Haters and the pro Zionists and where do the Palestinians fit in to a world history which does not seem to care much for the person of the Palestinian or the Jew in the historical, political, social, economic and religious argument.

This was the stuff of the lecture presented to us and it led to a stimulating and thoughtful debate about many issues including the role that a State plays in delegitimising and marginalising groups of people  that it sees as a problem in its own society.

Colin South

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