Over the last few weeks, U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been vilified for criticizing the disproportionate power of the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC. Omar, a Black Muslim refugee from Somalia, was initially smeared as anti-Semitic by the Forward’s Batya Ungar-Sargon and subsequently attacked by both Republicans and Democrats.
Omar was making an important and valid point about AIPAC’s obviously crucial role in securing support for Israel. That being said, the ensuing debate obscured the significance of Israel’s most dedicated ideological supporters in the United States: evangelical Zionists. Indeed, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, hosted evangelical leaders at the White House last week to seek their approval for the Trump administration’s forthcoming “peace plan.”
Evangelical Zionists are powerful. They are well-represented in the U.S. political sphere and include Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They also form the base for both the Republican party and Trump.
While AIPAC is open about the purpose of its lobbying efforts, the goals of evangelical Zionists go beyond economic and geo-political considerations. For them, support for Israel is key to triggering the apocalypse and second coming of Christ. Evangelical Zionists believe that Jews are God’s chosen people and that they must be concentrated in Palestine in order to bring about the end-times. In this extremist Christian fantasy, Muslims and Jews must supposedly fight a holy war against one another.
These fantasies have translated into evangelical policies of unconditional support for all of Israel’s actions. Over the last decade, Christian Zionists have invested 65 million dollars into the West Bank settlement enterprise and have been aggressively pushing for war against Iran. Evangelicals even played a significant role in the U.S. decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, which was seen as the fulfillment of yet another prophecy.
In addition to cooperating with AIPAC, evangelical Zionists use televangelism and several pro-Israeli organizations, like “Christians United for Israel,” to promote their cause. Given its political power, the cult of evangelical Zionists will continue to push fanatical pro-Israeli policies and advance prospects of future wars.