A recent blog post in the Erasmus blog on The Economist challenged the Zionism study guide recently published by American Presbyterians. The Rev. Naim Ateek responds:
The strongest expression of Zionism in today’s Israel is religious. The way this Zionism has been practiced by the government of Israel reflects a false and distorted Jewish theology. The Palestinians’ experience with religious Zionism in the aftermath of the 1967 war has been oppression, humiliation, and dispossession of the Palestinian people, both Christians and Muslims. Such expressions are in line with the dark side of the Bible and do not reflect the enlightened tenets of the Jewish faith articulated by the great prophets of the Hebrew Bible, namely, truth, justice, mercy, and peace. I, therefore, maintain that the Zionism practiced by the settlers with the active encouragement and support of the right-wing Israeli government is a betrayal of any authentic religious faith, including that of authentic Judaism. This settler form of Judaism dehumanizes the Palestinians, and whatever dehumanizes people cannot reflect authentic religion and needs to be resisted through all nonviolent means.