For these words, Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald J. Trump and currently Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network, received standing ovations at the annual gala of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) at the Hyatt in New York City.
ZOA, the extreme right-wing Zionist organization, has been for Trump and Bannon right from the start. Besides Bannon, other Zionist extremists attended the event, among them Alan Dershowitz, a former Harvard law professor, and Tom Cotton, Rep. Senator from Arkansas and the darling of the Zionist Israel lobby. He earned some fame initiating a childish letter to the Iranian leadership defaming the Iran nuclear deal. Joe Liebermann also attended who is famous for his extreme one-sided Israel support. And last but not least, America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who de facto serves instead as Israel’s ambassador to the US.
When Bannon joint the Trump campaign and rose to influence in the White House, liberal Jewish organizations and the liberal political class, in general, libeled Bannon an “anti-Semite,” “Racist”, “White Supremacist” you name it, whereas the ZOA stuck by Bannon, especially Alan Dershowitz.
In his speech he targeted the Republican establishment and the “permanent political class in Washington. He called on the crowd to act together against the establishment and their “double deals”. “President Trump needs our back because we’re a nation at war, and this war is only going to be won if we bind together and work as partners.” And he continued saying: “It is time for us to act, and I believe the only way to act is not through moderation. I am not a moderate, I’m a fighter. And that’s why I’m proud to stand with the state of Israel. That’s why I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist. That is why I’m proud to be a partner of one of the greatest nations on earth and the foundation of the Judeo-Christian West.”
Bannon attributed Trump’s victory to a great deal to Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul of Las Vegas. Victory wouldn’t have come without him. When the “Access Hollywood” tape was released in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting a women, “Adelson did not cut and run.” Bannon continued with his praise: “Sheldon Adelson had Donald Trump’s back. Sheldon Adelson offered guidance and counsel and wisdom on how to get through it. He was there for Donald Trump about how to comport oneself and how to dig down deep, and it was his guidance and his wisdom that helped get us through it.”
Being a Christian Zionist means belonging to the Christian Right in the US, which wages a culture war against secularism. Moral and religious issues have deeply polarized American society and have supplanted economic controversies, which have been dominating the US up until recently. For the fundamentalist, moral authority comes from above once and for all. For progressives, however, intellectual influence is equated by a spirit of rationalism, modernity, and subjectivism. Keywords in this fight are abortion, creationism versus evolution, values in schools, defense of the traditional family, homosexuality, to name a few.
No other than John Nelson Darby laid the foundations for a development of Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Zionism, whose influence in the US is mighty and utilized by the Zionist establishment to further Israeli interests. Darby did not subscribe to the view that the church had replaced Israel, he claimed that Israel would supplant it, which means that God continues his covenantal relationship with Israel.
The mixing of a divine concept of Israel with real Zionism results in blind support of Catholics such as Steve Bannon. What attributes to the silencing of any criticism is the Holocaust. Especially Christians have been dominated by Holocaust theology, with its suffering and empowerment, which makes Christians silent bystanders to the brutality of Israeli policy towards the Palestinian people. A strong influence on the thinking of the Christian Right exerted the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who commemorated the establishment of Israel as a triumph of justice and liberation. This terminology corresponds to the Zionist myth of returning after 2000 years of exile. The Israel lobby or their political surrogates within the power elite silence any critics of Israel’s cruel policy within the Christian community.
Does being proud to be a “Christian Zionist” means to Bannon that he is pleased to support an oppressive occupation regime that robs the land of a colonized people and lock them up behind massive ghetto walls? Perhaps Bannon couldn’t care less regarding his anti-Muslim fervor. For him, there is a long struggle ahead. “Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Middle East right now is on a knife’s edge.” To fight these countries, it will take a “strong leadership,” says Bannon. Does he mean the rogue leaders of the “Axis of Evil,” the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia? Has the former chief strategist forgotten that the US got a bloody nose in the Middle East and Donald J. Trump wanted to end this kind of adventurism? Or is Netanyahu the guy who calls the shots?