My Desire for Ethnic Cleansing is More Righteous than Yours
By Adam Maarschalk (June 11, 2010)
What does former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee have in common with White House reporter Helen Thomas? Not much in terms of their political leanings. As we will see momentarily, though, both have left their mark on history by calling for the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people. Huckabee targeted the Palestinian people with his remarks, while Thomas took aim at the Jewish people. Their remarks, less than two years apart, are quite similar. Yet, remarkably, one had the nerve last weekend to lash out at the other.
Is there a difference between being anti-Palestinian and being anti-Semitic? Is one more righteous than the other? Is the ethnic cleansing of one group of people justifiable, while the ethnic cleansing of another group of people is not? First, let’s consider Mike Huckabee’s analysis of the remarks made by Helen Thomas, which he rightfully saw as inappropriate, and then we’ll take a look at similar remarks made by Huckabee himself in 2008:
Here’s a quick summary of what we see in this video:
 Mike Huckabee, hosting a segment on Fox News, cuts away to a video clip of Senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas being asked for her comments on Israel. She utters the now famous words, “Tell them [the Jews] to get the hell out of Palestine.” She states that the Jews have occupied the land of Palestine, and they should therefore “go home [to] Poland, Germany, and America and everywhere else [they came from].”
 Huckabee compares Helen’s words to Mexicans living in America being asked to go back to Mexico, to a KKK member suggesting that all African Americans go back to Africa, and to Native Americans asking that all white people go back to where they came from.
PHOTO SOURCE (Primary source unknown)
 Huckabee then acknowledges that Helen Thomas has since apologized for her remarks, but calls her apology “pretty lame.” This, by the way, is the apology she posted on her website:
“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
 Huckabee calls her original comments “outrageous, anti-semitic, racist, indefensible…”
 Huckabee declares that the Jews living in Israel “are home.” To emphasize his point, he adds, “Read Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 34. That’s why they are where they are. Helen, I’ve got a suggestion. Maybe it’s time for you to go home.”
 Huckabee says that Thomas, because of her comments, can no longer be an objective journalist, and she ought to be soundly rebuked by “her pals in the press corps.”
However, as Raw Story author Stephen C. Webster points out, Huckabee has his own “outrageous” comments to answer for:
There’s a saying about how people who live in glass houses should take care to avoid throwing stones. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appears to be ignoring that age-old advice, taking several moments…to attack veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas over her opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict — in spite of his own remarkably similar comments on Palestinians.
Webster points out that Huckabee shared the following thoughts in August 2008 with World Net Daily:
Because of the limited footprint of real estate they have, it’s not practical for Israel to give up any land. The two-state solution is no solution, but will cause only problems… It’s unimaginable. The city [of Jerusalem] must remain under Jewish sovereignty… There is only one place on earth where the Jewish people could have a homeland that is consistent with their roots, whereas the Palestinians can create their homeland in many other places in the Middle East, outside Israel.
Huckabee also expressed strong support for moving Jews into Arab-majority neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Huckabee made these statements while on tour with Jerusalem Reclamation Project, “a pro-settler group seeking to bolster the Jewish presence in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem,” according to AP News journalist Steven Gutkin. On that same tour, Huckabee added this opinion:
The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That’s what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic.
In other words, says Huckabee, the non-Jewish population currently living in Israel ought to be removed from that land. If carried out, this would be known as “ethnic cleansing,” defined this way by the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
The expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity
A good case can be made that this is precisely what has been taking place in the present Israel-Palestinian conflict. One of the talking points of the Zionist cause, also taken up by Christian Zionism (Huckabee belongs to this camp), is that Palestine was largely uninhabited prior to the establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948. This reflects the controversial statement of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, made at a landmark conference in Switzerland in 1897:
[Palestine is] a land without a people, waiting for a people without a land.
Many Zionists today also spin the propaganda that the vast majority of Palestinians today are recent arrivals to the land now known as Israel. This is simply not true. The land has been inhabited for many centuries. Many Palestinians today can legitimately attest that their grandparents, great-grandparents, and earlier ancestors were born in the region known as Palestine. Documented sources on Wikipedia, for example, state the following:
According to Ottoman [empire] statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, the population of Palestine in the early 19th century was 350,000, in 1860 it was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000, of which 94% were Arabs. In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews. McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946.
If these numbers are true, using the given variables, we can construct a chart which looks like this:
**89% Muslim, 11% Christian
According to official census reports for the British Mandate for Palestine, the following chart reflects the religious demographics of Palestine in 1922, 1931, and 1942 (the figures from 1942 being only estimates because of “Arab and Jewish illegal immigration” at the time):
Is a Palestinian homeland, then, “virtually unrealistic,” as Mike Huckabee says? Was it unrealistic in centuries past? On the contrary, there is evidence that a scandalous plan has been hatched during the last 120 years or so to replace the Palestinian homeland with a Jewish one by means of ethnic cleansing. For example, in 1921, the active chairman of the Zionist Commission, Dr. Eder, said the following to British government officials:
There can only be one National Home in Palestine, and that a Jewish one, and no equality in the partnership between Arabs, but a Jewish predominance as soon as the numbers of that race are sufficiently increased.
It’s disheartening, tragic actually, that Christian Zionists have aligned themselves with Zionists who have been advocating ethnic cleansing since the beginning of their movement. Ironically, Christian Zionists have stood in complete solidarity with non-Christian Jews who have been responsible for making homeless, or even killing, Palestinian Christians (along with Palestinian Muslims).
One very important thing to remember is that not all Jews are Zionists. Many, in fact, strongly oppose Zionism.
One Palestinian Christian whose family was hunted, tricked, made homeless, and temporarily split up (and whose entire village was destroyed) is Elias Chacour, the author of “Blood Brothers.” Elias was 9 years old when Israel became a nation in 1948, at which time these things and much more took place. In his personal experience, prior to this turn of events, his family and their fellow villagers had lived peacefully with their Jewish neighbors, all of whom were disgusted when these things took place. Following the Zionist invasion, everything changed. Naturally speaking, Elias has every reason to be bitter, as many more not-yet-mentioned injustices took place against him, his family, and many of the Palestinian people he knew. But Elias’ heart has been transformed by Christ, and today, despite having been educated in the West, he voluntarily lives among his people, ministering and seeking for ways to see Jews and Palestinians reconciled to each other. His story and his message is one that desperately needs to be heard, especially by anyone who is enamored with Christian Zionism. His powerful book, “Blood Brothers,” is available on Amazon.com for as little as $3.50 (used), or $4.85 (new). I highly, highly recommend it:
Many were deeply shocked and/or angered last week at the statements made by Helen Thomas regarding the Jewish people living in Israel, and Thomas has since stepped down from her position. Let there be no misunderstanding—I’m not defending what she said. Yet it’s revealing, at least in the US, that when similar statements are made regarding the Palestinian people (whether as harsh-sounding as Helen’s or not), there seems to be much less of an outcry. It’s even more shameful when Christian pastors and leaders articulate such things and hundreds of thousands in the evangelical Christian community shout “Amen!” Mike Huckabee is not alone in the sentiments that he holds.
In May 2002, House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey (Texas) said on MSNBC’s highly-rated Hardball program that he was “not content to give up any part of Israel for the purpose of a Palestinian state.” He added that “there are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land, soil, and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state…I happen to believe that the Palestinians should leave… I believe that Israel is the state for the Jewish people.” Armey, in this interview, was given numerous chances to clarify his stance, and to back down from his hard-line rhetoric, but he stuck to his guns. His belief was that the West Bank should have no Palestinian presence whatsoever. The transcript of this entire conversation can be seen here.
Megachurch Pastor John Hagee, the founder of the organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI), has been even more extreme. As a political lobbyist on behalf of Zionism, Hagee utilizes his followers to push the American government to consistently side with Israel, even if it means supporting unjust and inhumane policies toward the minorities within her borders. This brief video clip from the documentary film, “With God On Our Side,” illustrates just how extreme John Hagee is when it comes to disparaging the Palestinian people in favor of Zionist ambitions:
Video Source: “The Rebranding of Christians United for Israel (Christian Zionism)” by Porter Speakman, Jr.
In this video clip, we hear John Hagee say these words:
God, in the book of Genesis, takes Abraham out and says, “I’m going to give you this land, to your seed forever.” All of that land around Israel, that we’re now saying the international nations have control of, have no more control of it than you control the moon. That property was given to them by a mandate from God Himself, and it belongs to them. The Palestinians have absolutely no claim to it, not ever. It is the greatest historical fraud in the history of humanity.
These are strong words, but they are devoid of compassion. The implications of saying that the Palestinian people have never had a claim to this land are huge. Among other things, it says to many Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians alike that their forced removal from their homes was justifiable. They deserved such brutal treatment, including being made refugees and witnessing the murder of friends and family, because they dared to squat illegally on the land once occupied by ancient Israel prior to the destruction of that nation in 70 AD. It’s not a travesty that 700,000 or so Palestinians were made refugees in 1948, or that 4 million or so have been made refugees since that time. No, this was their due for standing in the way of the rightful occupation of this land by the Jewish people.
Hagee’s comments go even deeper than this, though. He mentioned “all of that land around Israel,” saying that it also belongs to the Jewish people forever. It seems that he would justify further ethnic cleansing, and perhaps even genocide, if that’s what it would take to get this land into the hands of Zionists. Stephen Webster addresses this same question with regard to the statements made by Mike Huckabee, but it applies just as well to what Hagee is saying here:
Liberal watchdog blog Think Progress added: “Moreover, Huckabee’s suggestion that the Bible be used to justify international boundaries and dictate foreign policy seems to be both a violation of the separation of church and state, and dangerously out of touch with reality. Would Huckabee endorse expanding Israel to cover the entire area God promised to Abraham — which would stretch from ‘the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates,’ including much of modern-day Egypt, Jordan, and Syria — and kick out the local populations along the way?”
In future posts we will look more deeply into the theological side of things as it regards Zionism, and the land promises in particular. In order to not leave the claims of Huckabee and Hagee unaddressed, though, I’ll say a few things for now on this subject. God did indeed promise a great deal of land (Genesis 15:18-21) to Abraham and his offspring “forever”:
And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).
Let us take note that the covenant of fleshly circumcision was also said to be forever/eternal/perpetual [see, for example, Genesis 17:9-14, and note the language used]. The same was said regarding numerous temple-based rituals [Exodus 28:43, 29:28, 31:16-17, 40:15; Leviticus 3:17, 6:18, 22, 7:34, 36]. How does the New Testament deal with the non-land covenants/statutes which were said to be eternal? Should the “eternal” land promises be dealt with in a different manner? If so, why? Were they ever said to be conditional? Are we not heirs of a better “land” under the New Covenant? The land promise was first articulated to Abraham, but what city did he look forward to possessing? The answer can be found here:
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God… These [Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.] all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:10-16; cf. Hebrews 12:22-24 and Galatians 4:21-31).
Furthermore, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ, and this is true in particular of the promises made to Abraham:
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ… And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:16, 29).
This fits what the apostle Paul says elsewhere (parenthetical notes added):
For not all who are descended from [natural] Israel belong to [spiritual] Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his [natural] offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring (Romans 9:6-8; cf. Romans 2:28-29).
If the remarks made by Helen Thomas cause us indignation, but the remarks made by Mike Huckabee, Dick Armey, and John Hagee only make us shrug our shoulders (or, even worse, bring out agreement in us), we have some questions to ask ourselves. Some searching of our hearts is in order, not to mention the cleaning up of our theology. Do we (those of us who claim to be God’s people) love the Palestinian people just as much as we love the Jewish people? Do we see that neither group ought to be subjected to ethnic cleansing in any form? Let us have the heart of God, and the mind of Christ, in these things.
All posts on the subject of Christian Zionism can be found here.
A post on the teachings and agenda of John Hagee is still forthcoming. It’s quite a project, so I allowed this post to “jump the queue” in the meantime.