Catholic Zionists?
The remaining diehard traditionalist defenders of the War on Iraq need to explain how Catholics can support this Zionist-inspired misadventure.

Christopher A. Ferrara

“You’re sure? You understand the consequences?
You know you’re going to be owning this place?”

Colin L. Powell to George Bush, shortly before the invasion of Iraq

At his tightly controlled press conference of April 14, 2004 (at which only pre-selected questions were answered), George Bush offered this explanation for our catastrophic misadventure in Iraq: “And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat, and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.”

He wants to know why we haven’t found “a weapon” yet, folks, but he just knows Saddam was a threat to the United States. To read the child-like locutions of George W. Bush in defense of his preposterous war is to fear for the very future of our homeland. As Bush explained his latest intuition of why he started the war on Iraq: “My job as the President”—the President, he says, as if he were the head of a little neighborhood boy’s club—“is to lead this nation into making the world a better place. And that's exactly what we're doing.… We're going to do the job. And a free Iraq is going to be a major blow for (sic) terrorism. It will change the world.” A major blow for terrorism is surely what Bush has accomplished, as the Sunnis and the Shiites put aside thousand-year-old enmities to unite against the American occupation.

Tragically, the American body count mounts as history’s most powerful military machine pounds away at what is left of Iraqi society, at the command of a man who cannot muster the eloquence and intellectual focus of a middling high school student defending a policy position in civics class: We must make the world a better place. We must “free” Iraq. We must do the job. We must change the world. This jumble of vague notions is what now animates our none-too-swift Commander in Chief, long after his originally proffered justifications for the war were exposed as fraudulent.

Bush Sells Out the Palestinians

What The New York Times rightly called Bush’s “rambling and unfocused” performance at his one and only press conference of 2004 reminds us that, after all, Bush is little more than a figurehead captain of the ship of state, who failed a pop quiz on the names of four world leaders before he took office. It is the men who do Bush’s thinking for him who have their hands on the ship’s wheel. Just whose hands are on the wheel was revealed the day before the April 14th press conference, when Bush, with Ariel Sharon standing by his side at the White House, suddenly changed United States policy and sold out the people of Palestine. Bush’s bombshell diplomatic letter to Sharon renounced the long-recognized right of Palestinian Arabs to return to the territory from which 750,000 of them were expelled by the Israeli army in 1948, following the illegal creation of a “Jewish state” by UN fiat:

The United States is strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state. It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…

A beaming Sharon gloated that Bush had “handed me a letter that includes very important statements regarding Israel's security and its wellbeing as a Jewish state.” As the Globe and Mail put it: “U.S. President George W. Bush told Palestinian refugees Wednesday to forget about ever returning to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel. Indicating a major shift in policy, Mr. Bush rejected the ‘right of return’ for Palestinians uprooted in the 1940s and [also] suggested that Palestinians should recognize that some Jewish settlements on the West Bank are here to stay.”

That is, Bush has not only renounced a Palestinian right of return to the territory seized in the 1940s, but also ratified further Israeli seizures of Arab land in the West Bank during the Six Day War in 1967, and most of the Likudist West Bank “settlement” expansions since then. (The Israelis now propose to relinquish only the illegal Gaza strip settlements they no longer deem worth retaining.) As Bush and Sharon would have it, the “Jewish state” created ex nihilo by the United Nations now includes about 80% of the total land area of Palestine—all of it seized by the Israelis in violation of international law (save for about 5% actually purchased lawfully by early Zionist immigrants). Thus, Bush has hemmed the United States into a negotiating position in which any future Palestinian state in a “two-state” peace agreement could consist of no more than about 20% of former Arab territory for 100% of the current, and much larger, Arab population.

For the Israelis, such a deal. For the Arabs, yet another provocation from the United States. As The Globe and Mail reported, “moderate Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia insisted that his people ‘will not accept’ Mr. Bush's position. ‘Bush is the first U.S. president to give legitimacy to Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. We reject this, we will not accept it… Nobody in the world has the right to give up Palestinian rights.” The same Globe and Mail article reported that Islamic Jihad’s spokesman Kaled al-Batsh told Reuters that “Bush's denial of the Palestinians' right to return was a declaration of war against the Palestinian people. Bush and Sharon will have to shoulder the responsibility for the new cycle of war.”

So, at the very moment Bush’s armies are decimating Arab homesteads in Iraq in an effort to break the back of Shiite resistance, Bush commits the United States to the proposition that there must be a “Jewish state” in Israel from which forcibly dispossessed Arab families would forever be excluded. As Bush uses military force to prevent the emergence of a Shiite state in a country whose population is 65% Shiite, he defends and protects a “Jewish state” in territory illegally seized from its Arab owners by a Jewish minority. Pluralism, you see, is just for the goys.

And this is how George Bush proposes to fight “the war on terrorism.” Or rather, it is how the men who hand Bush pieces of paper to read into the microphone propose to fight it. And who are these men? They are the same pro-Israeli brain trust that has been plotting the invasion of Iraq since at least 1998.

The Iraq War: A Zionist Project

In an article for The American Conservative in October 2001, Paul W. Schroeder noted the possibility that “the unacknowledged real reason and motive” behind the coming Iraq war was “security for Israel.” If America were to invade Iraq for Israel’s benefit, wrote Schroeder, “It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state.” But that is exactly what is happening in Iraq at this very moment.

As we know, until he made the mistake of invading Kuwait (after receiving a diplomatic nihil obstat from the administration of Bush I), Saddam Hussein was our man in the Middle East. During the Reagan administration it was none other than special envoy Donald Rumsfeld who represented the United States in the process of restoring relations with Iraq in 1983. As Stephen J. Siegnoski notes in his important article “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel,” from 1983-88 “Washington eased up on its own technology export restrictions to Iraq, which allowed the Iraqis to import supercomputers, machine tools, poisonous chemicals, and even strains of anthrax and bubonic plague. In short, the United States helped arm Iraq with the very weaponry of horror that administration officials are now trumpeting as justification for forcibly removing Saddam from power.” During the Iran-Iraq war, Washington had nothing to say about Saddam “gassing his own people”—that is, Kurdistan insurgents, along with the Iranians Washington virtually commissioned Saddam to kill by proxy.

By early 1998, however, American Jewish neo-cons were already demanding war on Iraq as a first step in a “war on terrorism” that would embrace Iran, Syria, Lebanon and even Saudi Arabia. That policy goal happens to coincide perfectly with the old Zionist dream of expelling the Arabs from all of Palestine with a resulting pax Israelica—a dream that has had a revival with the ascendancy of Ariel Sharon and the Likud Party. As Siegnoski observes:

It was during the 1980s, with the coming to power of the rightwing Likud government, that the idea of expulsion publicly resurfaced. And this time it was directly tied to a larger war, with destabilization of the Middle East seen as a precondition for Palestinian expulsion. Such a proposal, including Palestinian population removal, was outlined in an article by Oded Yinon, entitled 'A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,' which appeared in the World Zionist Organization's periodical Kivunim in February 1982. Oded Yinon, had been attached to the Foreign Ministry and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.

The article called for Israel to bring about the dissolution and fragmentation of the Arab states into a mosaic of ethnic groupings. Thinking along these lines, Ariel Sharon stated on March 24, 1988 that if the Palestinian uprising continued, Israel would have to make war on its Arab neighbors. The war, he stated, would provide 'the circumstances' for the removal of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from inside Israel proper.

On February 19, 1998—three-and-half years before 9/11—the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf published an Open Letter to Bush II proposing a “comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.” Along with Donald Rumsfeld, the signers of the Open Letter included the following pro-Likud neo-cons, all of whom would become high-ranking advisors to the Bush II administration: Elliott Abrams (National Security Council), Doug Feith (Defense Department), Paul Wolfowitz (Defense Department), David Wurmser (State Department), Dov Zakheim (Defense Department), and Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board). Sniegoski points out that “Signers of the letter also included such pro-Zionist and neoconservative luminaries as Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Frank Gaffney (Director, Center for Security Policy), Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute), Martin Peretz (Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic), Leon Wieseltier, (The New Republic), former congressman Stephen Solarz.”

Sniegoski further references an article by Jason Vest in The Nation that discusses “the immense power of individuals from two major neoconservative research organizations, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP), in the current Bush Administration. Vest details the close links between these organizations, right-wing politicians, arms merchants, military men, Jewish multi-millionaires/billionaires, and Republican administrations.”[1]/ That’s the leftist The Nation magazine, not some “anti-Semitic” publication of the Far Right.

Vest notes that JINSA and CPSU members “have ascended to powerful government posts, where… they’ve managed to weave a number of issues—support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general—into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core…. On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war—not just with Iraq, but ‘total war,’ as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, ‘regime change’ by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.’”

Sniegoski’s deductions from this evidence are perfectly obvious: “First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks.

Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives have argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the September 11, 2001 atrocities. After September 11, neoconservatives have taken the lead in advocating such a war, and they hold influential positions in the Bush administration regarding foreign policy and national security affairs.”

In short, the war on Iraq, while manifestly pointless and disastrously counterproductive from an American perspective, is a rational undertaking from the Zionist perspective—provided, of course, that the entire plan for destabilization of the Middle East is carried out by the United States as Israel’s proxy. Otherwise, ironically enough, Israel too will only suffer from the half-measure of the American invasion of Iraq. This is not to suggest that an American occupation and political remodeling of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is even remotely achievable. Bush’s vision of a “democratic” Middle East is but a childish fantasy, as the out-of-control situation in Iraq alone should demonstrate to all but the most delusional proponents of “the war on terrorism."

Listen to the Rabbis

Yet what is Zionism itself but a childish fantasy—a fantasy born of the rebellion of those children Our Lord wished to put under His wing, but they wouldst not. The fantasy that the Jews can establish an earthly kingdom on a piece of land taken by force from their fellow men is seen as a rebellion against divine authority even by Orthodox Jews in their reading of the Old Testament. This is why some of the strongest opposition to Zionism, from the nineteenth century to the present day, has come from Orthodox rabbinic leadership.

Consider, for example, an address delivered by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss at the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), publishers of the Middle East Affairs Journal, on March 14, 2002.2 Rabbi Weiss gave a theological critique of the Zionist agenda that is astonishingly consistent with the traditional Catholic view of the Jewish people and the Book of the Apocalypse, even if it fails to perceive that the exile of the Jews has resulted specifically from their rejection of their own Messiah. The Rabbi’s remarkable observations (which reflect a substantial segment of Orthodox Jewish opinion) deserve to be quoted at length:

Through many of the Prophetic books in the Old Testament the Jewish people were warned that a serious rebellion against the Will of G-d would result in the most severe of punishments. Unchecked it could lead to the ruin of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the entirety of the Jewish nation.

And, it is here, my friends, in those Old Testament prophesies, that the quarrel between Judaism and Zionism begins.

Eventually the horrors foretold by the Prophets came to pass. Jewry was exiled from the Land. The first exile, also known as the Babylonian captivity, lasted only 70 years. By a series of miraculous events the people were returned to the land. This second entry into the land led to the rebuilding of the Temple. The Second Temple stood from about 2500 years ago until about 1900 years ago, then it too was destroyed. This time the cause was once again the backsliding of the people who were, as always, held to a very demanding Divine standard….

The exile would not be forever. There would be years of dispersion, many of them endured under persecution. Yet, there was the promise that the people would yet return to the Land. But this return was not to be under human control. It would be heralded by the advent of Elijah the Prophet and accompanied with many miracles. And, this time, the redemption would not just be for the Jewish people but rather for all men….

…Thus, at the burning of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were sent into an exile which extends till today. For two thousand years Jews have prayed for the end of their exile and the accompanying redemption of the entire world….

To suggest that one could use political or military means to escape the Creator’s decree was seen as heresy, as a denial of the Divine stewardship over sin and forgiveness…. [N]o Jew anywhere suggested—and this among a people that studied its sacred texts constantly and wrote about them voluminously—that exile could be ended by human means.

It was only towards the end of the nineteenth century, among Jews far estranged from their faith, that the notion began to be put forth that exile was the result of Jewish weakness. Theodore Herzl and a handful of others, all ignorant or non-observant of Torah, began to set the process in motion that by the end of the next century would have produced untold suffering for Jews and Palestinians.

Rabbi Weiss went on to observe that: “The very concept of Zionism was a refutation of the traditional Torah belief in exile as punishment and redemption and as dependant on penitence and Divine intervention.” The Rabbi then uttered a conclusion that should be obvious to anyone who calls himself a traditional Catholic: “Friends, there will be no peace in the Middle East until there is no state of Israel. The Torah cannot be violated. Our task in exile cannot be fulfilled by trying to end exile by human agitations. Nor can our hopes for redemption be realized in the Israeli state.”

The Rabbi’s solution to the crisis in the Middle East is, accordingly, precisely the one George Bush has just renounced to the delight of the Zionist Ariel Sharon and his Zionist Likud Party:

The true Torah solution, the key to peace is the immediate return of Palestine to the Palestinians in its entirety including the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. This would, of course, include a full right of return for all Palestinian refugees. That is what elementary justice demands. This is the path of the Torah and of common sense….

May it be the Creator’s Will that the state of Israel be peacefully dismantled speedily in our days, that Jew and Palestinian live yet in peace with each other around the world and in the Holy Land and that speedily in our days all mankind may merit the advent of Divine Redemption where G-d’s Kingdom will be accepted.

No traditional Catholic has any excuse for rejecting “the Torah solution” to the Middle East crisis and the threat of Arab terrorism. Catholics, guided by the light of the Gospel, can hardly be more inclined than even Orthodox Jews to tolerate the malign influence of an outlaw “Jewish state” whose very existence is obviously the chief provocation for Arab terrorism throughout the world.

Can Any Traditionalist Still Defend This Debacle?

And yet one of the most intelligent and committed traditionalists I know persists in defending war in the Middle East as the answer to terrorism, even as he acknowledges that it is America’s pro-Zionist foreign policy that has created our Arab enemies. Since our Israeli policy cannot be changed, he argues, “the only alternative is to go after the enemies we create because of our Israeli policy—to protect our citizens as best as we can.” That is, we must allow the Zionist tail to wag the American dog, no matter what it costs our nation in blood and treasure.

With all due respect, it is impossible to see how this could be an acceptable Catholic position. If even Orthodox Jews recognize that the very existence of a “Jewish state” offends Almighty God and is the root cause of Arab terrorism, how can traditional Catholics continue to support a Middle East war plan that is clearly the doing of American Zionist Likudniks? Why is it that traditionalists who unhesitatingly denounce Zionist designs wherever else they appear in history, simply throw up their hands when confronted with the Zionist influences on American foreign policy that were the sine qua non of the insane war in which this nation is now embroiled?

These are the questions that must be answered by the few remaining traditionalist defenders of George Bush’s monumental folly in the deserts of Iraq.


1 The Men From JINSA and CSP, The Nation, September 2, 2002