Étranges compagnons de lit

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Étranges compagnons de lit

14 octobre 2002 — Un article publié aujourd'hui par l'International Herald Tribune doit retenir notre attention. Il s'agit d'un article de Gershom Gorenberg, « Look who's in bed with the Christian right, —Jews ought to know better ». C'est une mise en cause de l'alliance qui s'est établie aux États-Unis entre les juifs américains et les chrétiens intégristes, alliance qui est le principal soutien de la politique belliciste actuelle et, d'une certaine façon, l'inspiratrice des conceptions de GW. Enfin, cette alliance verrouille le soutien américain, non pas tant à Israël qu'à la politique maximaliste de Sharon en Israël.

Le texte de Gorenberg recoupe certains autres textes allant dans le même sens, notamment un excellent article de Allan C. Brownfeld, dans “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs” (MRMEA) d'août 2002. Il est à noter cette similitude, qui est ou qui n'est pas fortuite, avec la même image figurant sous des expressions différentes (strange bedfellows, ou “étranges compagnons de lit” et in bed with pour “au lit avec”), dans les titres (titre de Brownfeld : « Strange Bedfellows: The Jewish Establishment and the Christian Right. »)

Cette alliance entre juifs et chrétiens intégristes américains est fondamentale dans le contexte actuel. Elle explique l'actuelle politique américaine et les liens très resserrés des USA avec Israël dans le cadre de la politique maximaliste de Sharon, l'influence des neo-conservatives (où l'on trouve beaucoup de juifs américains proches d'Israël), le comportement de GW (lui-même proche des chrétiens fondamentalistes). Brownfeld explique cela en empruntant au Wall Street Journal, orfèvre en la matière.

« The emerging coalition between Israel’s Jewish and evangelical Christian supporters has had an important influence upon U.S. Middle East policy. The Christian right’s vocal support of the Sharon government “is having far-reaching consequences,” reported the May 23 Wall Street Journal. “More than any other single factor, it explains why there has been so little pressure from a Republican White House on Israel to curb its crackdown on Palestinians. President Bush, himself a born-again Southerner with far more instinctive sympathy for Israel than his father displayed, has taken advantage of the new climate by repeatedly expressing understanding for Israel’s tactics in response to terror attacks. House Republican leader Dick Armey of Texas has gone so far as to suggest that Palestinians, not Israelis, ought to be the ones to surrender land in the quest for peace. In large part, this new alignment of forces represents an unanticipated consequence of the rise of religious conservatives within the GOP….” »

La coalition juifs et chrétiens intégristes aux USA est en général vue comme un grand avantage pour Israël, en rapprochant décisivement les USA d'une politique anti-palestienne maximaliste. Il y a déjà des facteurs politiques qui font douter de cette analyse, et notamment d'un point de vue israélien :

• Cette évolution renforce la main-mise de la fraction extrême du complexe militaro-industriel US (Pentagone et industrie d'armement) sur les structures de direction israélienne, déjà peuplées d'anciens officiers israéliens souvent proches du Pentagone.

• Le soutien US porte sur une politique extrémiste, c'est-à-dire sur l'extrême-droite de Sharon et ses alliés religieux extrémistes. Que la position de cette faction à la tête du pouvoir soit un avantage pour Israël est un argument largement à débattre.

Nos deux auteurs amènent un élément de plus, irrationnel mais extrêmement puissant aujourd'hui aux USA, avec un président born-again, très proche des chrétiens intégristes et très porté sur les références bibliques, surtout depuis le 11 septembre 2001.

Voici l'analyse de Gorenberg sur ce point :

« The Christian right's view of Israel derives largely from a double-edged theological position. Following a classic anti-Jewish stance, it regards the Jewish people as spiritually blind for rejecting Jesus. Yet it says that divine promises to Jews — to bless those who bless them, to return them to their land — remain intact. Indeed, it regards Israel's existence as proof that biblical prophecies are coming true - heralding an apocalypse in which Jews will either die or accept Jesus.

» Israel is loved as confirmation of fundamentalist Christian doctrine. “The most dramatic evidence for His imminent return,” the Reverend Jerry Falwell has stated, is “the rebirth of the nation of Israel.”

» The evangelist Chuck Missler once told me that Israel gets more support in America from Christian fundamentalists than from “ethnic Jews” — yet he has asserted that Auschwitz was “just a prelude” to what will happen to Jews in the approaching Last Days. »

Sur ce même thème, l'article de Brownfeld développe avec précisions les différentes données expliquant, selon lui, le rapprochement des chrétiens fondamentalistes des juifs, et les implications sur la politique actuelle, sur l'orientation donnée à cette politique, et enfin pour les juifs eux-mêmes. Brownfeld estime en effet que, d'un point de vue religieux et même en référence à la Bible, le rapprochement des chrétiens intégristes est uniquement tactique (des chrétiens intégristes encore considérés il y a une dizaine d'années comme des adversaires potentiels des juifs, voire des antisémites).

«  Few Americans—and even fewer American Jews—understand the real reason for the alliance between Christian fundamentalism and the most extreme segments of Israeli life—and, today, with the major American-Jewish organizations. An interesting explanation for these reasons can be found in the late Grace Halsell’s book Prophecy and Politics.

» Joining two of Falwell’s Holy Land Tours, Halsell, who worked as a speech writer during the administration of Lyndon Johnson and was a distinguished author and journalist, interviewed fundamentalist Moral Majority members, all of whom believed that the biblical prophecy of fighting World War III—the Battle of Armageddon—must be fulfilled preparatory to the Second Coming of Christ.

» According to Halsell, the strain of fundamentalism known as “dispensationalism” believes that the world will soon be destroyed: “God knows it will happen. He knew it from the beginning,” she wrote. “But, God kept his plan secret from all the billions of people who lived before us. But now…He has revealed the plan…we must move through seven time periods, or dispensations—one of which includes the terrible battle of Armageddon, where new and totally destructive nuclear weapons will be unleashed and blood will flow like mighty rivers.”

» Spreading Dispensationalism

» Dispensationalism spread throughout the U.S. largely as a result of the efforts of Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, born in 1843. His belief system was not original with him, however, but goes back to John Nelson Darby, a 19th century Irishman and one-time priest in the Church of England.

» On one occasion, Scofield reminded his audience that year after year he had sounded the same warning: our world will end “in disaster, in ruin, in the great, final world-catastrophe.” But, he said, born-again Christians should welcome such a catastrophe because once the final battle began, Christ will lift them up into the clouds. This has come to be known as the “rapture.”

» As a participant in two Falwell-sponsored journeys to Israel, Grace Halsell mingled with many dispensationalists. One of them, Owen, explained his belief system, which entailed the need to destroy Jerusalem’s most holy Islamic shrine, and the necessity of waging a nuclear Armageddon to destroy the world.

» Christian fundamentalists donate heavily to Jewish fundamentalist groups in Israel. Wrote Halsell, “Dr. James DeLoach, pastor of Houston’s Second Baptist Church…boasted that he and others had formed a Jewish Temple Foundation specifically to aid those intent on destroying the mosque and building a temple.”

» Dr. John Walvoord, a professor at Southwestern School of Bible in Dallas, explained the dispensationalist worldview: “God does not look on all of His children the same way. He sees us divided into categories, the Jews and the Gentiles. God has one plan, for the born-again Christians. The other peoples of the world—Muslims, Buddhists, and those of other faiths as well as those Christians not born again—do not concern Him. As for destroying the planet earth, we can do nothing. Peace, for us, is not in God’s book…”

» At a 1985 meeting of Christian Zionists in Basel, Switzerland, the group adopted resolutions calling for all Jews living outside of Israel to leave their countries and move to the Jewish state. The Christians also urged Israel to annex the West Bank. When an Israeli in the audience urged more moderate language, pointing out that an Israeli poll showed that more than one-third of Israelis would be willing to trade territory seized in 1967 for peace with the Palestinians, one of the Christian leaders replied, “We don’t care what the Israelis vote! We care what God says! And God gave the land to the Jews!”

» Reformation Roots

» The roots of Christian Zionism go back to the Protestant Reformation. Before that time, all Western Christians were Catholic and generally accepted the view taught by St. Augustine and others—that certain biblical passages should be interpreted allegorically, not literally. As an example, Jerusalem and Zion were heavenly, other-worldly—open to all of us, and not actual places here on earth to be inhabited exclusively by Jews. By the 16th and 17th centuries, however, Christians for the first time were buying Bibles and interpreting Scripture for themselves. In doing so, they began to elevate the concept of Israel—and the Jews—as the key factors in biblical prophecy. Bible-loving Christians came to regard the Old Testament as the only history that mattered in the Middle East.

» In 1839, Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftsbury, and known as the “great Reformer” for his championing of more humane treatment of child labor, the mentally ill and prisoners, urged all Jews to emigrate to Israel. In a published article, ”State and Prospect of the Jews,” he expressed concern over the “Hebrew race” but opposed the idea of assimilation and emancipation on the ground that Jews would always remain aliens in countries where non-Jews resided.

» Shaftsbury saw Jews playing a key role in the “divine plan” of Christ’s Second Coming. As he interpreted scripture, the Second Coming would transpire only with the Jews living in a restored and converted Israel. Convinced that he should help God bring about the Divine plan of moving all Jews to Palestine, he told his fellow Englishmen that the Jews were vital to a Christian’s hope of salvation.

» Ignoring the people living in Palestine at the time, Shaftsbury stated that Palestine was “a country without a nation for a nation without a country”—a phrase later used by Jewish Zionists as “a land without a people for a people without a land.”

» Dreams Beyond Israel

» Some Christian Zionists have dreams beyond Israel. “Just as early Christian Zionists urged European Jews to go to Palestine and take as much land as they could,” reported Halsell, “so Christian Zionists like Jerry Falwell are urging Jews today to go beyond Palestine and claim all Arab lands that stretch from the River Euphrates on the east, west to the Nile.”

» Expressing this mindset in the Congress, Sen. James M. Inofe (R-OK) stated March 4 on the Senate floor, “I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel…because God said so…Look it up in the Book of Genesis…This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.”

» According to Randall Price, founder of World of the Bible Ministries, “In the Book of Genesis, there are territorial dimensions for the land that is given to Abraham and his descendants. It’s from the river of Egypt to the River of the Euphrates.” In Price’s view, Israel’s right to the land, which extends into modern-day Iraq, is absolute. As for the Palestinians, says Price, “Ishmael has said that his descendants would live to the East of their brother. There’s a much larger geographical territory allotted to them.”

» It is unlikely that many members of the Jewish organizations now embracing the Christian Right understand the motives and theology of their new allies. Do they understand that Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Tom DeLay and the others support Israel’s most extreme policies—even the “transfer” of Palestinians from the West Bank—not because they seek Middle East peace, but because they are encouraging conflict which, they believe, will hasten the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ? And what would become of Jews if this scenario occurred? Those who did not become Christians would be condemned to hell while their “allies” were raptured to heaven.

» To the extent that U.S. Middle East policy is influenced by such an apocalyptic vision it becomes an instrument which sows discord and makes genuine peace increasingly unlikely. Jewish groups making a theology of embracing every twist and turn in Israeli policy find themselves in a strange alliance with those whose dream is a violent end of the world. It is this dangerous confusion of religion, politics and foreign policy which leads to such strange bedfellows and their current embrace. Such an embrace is likely to bear very bitter fruit indeed. »


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