[This article originally published April 19, 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.feldpolitik.de/feldblog/item.php?I=133.]
Oh, now I walk on shaky ground. The following article could be interpreted as “anti-Semitic”. However the article should be simply viewed as a sober political/religious/geo-strategic analysis together with speculations – something that should be possible in a free world.
What has happened recently is spine chilling and scary. In the US, a deeply religious man was smuggled into the presidency. His religion is based on Christianity in the widest sense. Bush and his whole policy appeal to the Bible. This man started 2 wars during his term in office (“true wars” far different from the many little conflicts ala Haiti) in countries that are part of the Muslim world. Islam may represent the greatest “religious competition” according to the Bible.
On the other hand, Judaism is not competition. Christians and Jews relate to the same original history. The Old Testament of Christendom corresponds to the Tanach of Judaism. The Old Testament is the common basis for both religions.
The “political leaders” of these two religions are seemingly joining forces. Bush and Sharon are one heart and one soul. In the name of the world power US, Bush seems to give a green light for Sharon’s plans in Palestine. The new Hamas-head was raised into the martyr’s state at the touch of a button, only a few weeks after his predecessor suffered the same fate.
Bush is again using the word “crusade” in speaking of the crusade against terrorism. Can a simple mind like Bush distinguish between terrorism and other religions? When it is the firm unshakable belief of a person that there is only one God, only his God, and he feels “chosen” by this God, how much openness will he bring for other ways of looking at things? How much tolerance can anyone completely convinced of the uniqueness of his God show other gods and their followers?
The Bible emphasizes the significance of the land of Israel. Israel is an important and holy place for Judaism and Christianity. Therefore Bush and Sharon have a special interest in Israel. In its present state form, Israel arose though Zionism, a politico-religious movement. “Post=Zionism” is a fundamentalist redevelopment of the original concept. Ury Averny describes Sharon as “the last Zionist”. The question how Sharon defines Zionism could be raised.
Human communication often breaks down in defining terms. One cannot follow another’s understanding. Conceivably Sharon may have another definition of Zionism than generally accepted. For example, Sharon could hold strictly to the old words or a particular word of the founder of Zionism instead of focusing on the new realities – as often happens with fundamentalists. In a marginal note, Theodor Herzl said Israel extends from Egypt’s river (the Nile) to the Euphrates. The Euphrates runs in the middle of Iraq, the country the Bush-crusaders sought to bring under control. A map with this quotation can be found on the Internet. To other people, Israel’s image is damaged. Are the statements quoted correctly? Or are they only crackpot ideas for the purpose of defamation?
Israel has always had problems with its neighbors who felt threatened by the actions of the country and could not counter their resentment toward Israel. What Sharon has done in the last weeks does not suggest that he wants a peaceful solution. He seems to prefer a provocation causing the whole Arab region to burst into flames “necessitating” interventions from the outside, Israel in the East, a US religiously stamped army in the West and Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia in between. Bush recently urged his compatriots to leave Saudi Arabia. Today the US chief of staff warns media-friendly Syria not to send any more combatants into Iraq. The evidentiary situation is absolutely unequivocal as so often happened in recent times. “It is a fact. We know it. The Syrians know it.” A Telepolis article describes the situation between Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the US. According to the press, a terrorist attack with Syrian power brokers was prevented yesterday in Jordan.
Could Bush with his crusades lump everything together and not only mean terrorists? Can it be excluded that this man “called by God” will help restore “his” Israel as “God’s will”? This will obviously be a Biblical, not a Muslim Israel…
In my opinion, the religious component of the conflict of the last years is greatly underrated in the discussion. Nevertheless the inflammatory belligerent words of Bush and Sharon are unequivocal.
This development also brings problems for Europe. If “we” are not yet able to recognize the religious differences in Islam and foment fear of Islam – unconsciously – in the Western press, can Muslims distinguish between Judaism, Christendom and Bush’s resurrected baptism? Perhaps for Muslims all people who appeal to the Bible (or parts of the Bible) are “one tribe”. What reactions would follow if the belligerent measures were really understood as biblical crusades instead of the work of hard-as-nail politicians?