*Alain Epp Weaver is the Mennonite Central Committee Representative for Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq.
The editors have asked me to address “the role of the church in constructing and de-constructing colonization/apartheid in Palestine.” I’ll narrow this topic somewhat by focusing on Western Christianity, as it has been most complicit in the colonization of Palestine. I will not discuss, but instead will note upfront, the important role that the Palestinian churches and church-related organizations have played and continue to play in countering the dispossession of the Palestinian people.
Most recently, for example, some Palestinian church-related organizations have been active in the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, or BDS. I will also not examine the complex relationship of Christianity in the global south to Zionism and the anti-colonization struggle in Palestine.
The simple thing to do would be to contrast two phenomena within the Western Christian world. On the one hand, one has Christian Zionism, with its luminaries (e.g., Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson), political action committees (such as the recently announced initiative to create a Christian equivalent of AIPAC to lobby the US government), and pop culture (for example, the wildly popular Left Behind novels). All components of Christian Zionism are informed by a particular theology (termed premillennial dispensationalism) that reads the biblical story as pointing towards an apocalyptic end of history in which the founding of the State of Israel and the in-gathering of the exiled Jewish people plays a decisive role in precipitating the last battle of Armageddon in which the anti-Christ/Satan is decisively defeated.