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With God on Our Side: A Critique

With God on Our Side: A Critique

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Published by Christopher Skinner
Examining the factual inaccuracies in this "Christian" anti-Zionist film
Examining the factual inaccuracies in this "Christian" anti-Zionist film

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Christopher Skinner on Dec 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/18/2013

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WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE
A Critique of the film
Christopher Skinner
 
Introduction
The film “With God on Our Side” is a film that is currently touring churches across the UK. In thewords of the team behind it:With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teachesthat because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncriticalsupport to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alikeand threatening Israel's security as a whole.This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want tolove and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn't favor one people groupover another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews andPalestinians.
1
Usually I like to commend before I criticise. However on seeing this video I found little tocommend and much to criticise. When I saw this film in Manchester, there was a questions andanswers session at the end. One person put his hand up and asked “were the factual errorsdeliberate”? This is a fair question and will need to be unpacked further, which is the reason fothis essay. First of all, let us meet the cast.
The Cast 
First, Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christchurch, Virginia Waters in Surrey. A look at his website and a perusal of his books reveals malevolence towards Israel. This malevolence is veiled slightly, butnot entirely, by the usual calm tone of his polemics with the occasional eruption:“At best, it seems, the Israeli State views Palestinians as an inferior species to be herdedinto Bantustan townships and refugee camps, and at worst treated like animals,expendable to be sacrificed before the god Of Zionism”
2
Stephen Sizer has written for the Christian newspaper Evangelicals Now as well Friends of Al-Aqsa. This latter magazine has an objective to emphasise
“the significance and the centrality of theal-Aqsa Mosque to the Islamic faith and the Muslim identity and re-affirming the Muslim historicand religious rights to the area
”.
3
Sizer has also made appearances on Press TV, a division of IRIB(Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). This is a state-owned (and controlled) TV network basedin Tehran.
4
An electronic version of his book is available for download at a holocaust denialwebsite.
5
 Second, Ben White. White “is a freelance journalist and writer, specialising in Palestine/Israel. He
1http://www.withgodonourside.com/synopsis.htm2http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/czema.htm3http://www.aqsa.org.uk/FRIENDSOFALAQSA/AboutUs/tabid/91/language/en-GB/Default.aspx4Seehttp://hurryupharry.org/2009/01/31/stephen-sizer-cites-another-holocaust-denier/In this Sizer cites a holocaustdenier as a journalist within 4 minutes of the interview.5http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres2/SIZERchriszion.pdf Front Page: Photo on front page was from http://www.freeisraelphotos.com/Page 1
 
has been regularly visiting the Middle East since 2003 for periods of between two weeks and threemonths at a time”.
6
 In 2002, Ben made the following statement about himself:I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.
7
So Ben White claims “understand” anti-Semitism. White associates with several Christian groupsalthough it is not clear whether he personally trusts in Jesus Christ for salvation. If he does, hisclaim to understand anti-Semitism is most ironic considering that the Saviour is himself Jewish andthat God has used the Jewish people to bless the world in many other ways. If White (and Sizer)have used computers running Windows XP or Vista then they have used Israeli products to supporttheir anti-Israel campaigns.Third, Ilan Pappe, professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at theUniversity of Exeter in the UK. He is also the director of the university's European Centre for Palestine Studies and, co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies Pappe is candidabout the accuracy and motivation of his views:My bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the "truth"when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous. This book is written by one who admits compassion for the colonizednot the colonizer; who sympathizes with the occupied not the occupiers.
8
Such a statement hardly needs comment. If Pappe admits that he is not interested in facts andtruth, then why do the creators of the film WGOOS take him seriously? Fourth, NormanFinkelstein, a political scientist and author. In 2001 he stated:To my thinking the honorable thing now is to show solidarity with Hezbollah as the USand Israel target it for liquidation.
9
Hezbollah has been condemned as a terrorist organisation. It is worth noting also that inFinkelstein was denied entry to Israel on security grounds in May 2008 and has been barred for entering Israel for 10 years
. This is a small selection of the cast. Can we trust men who showsolidarity with terrorist organisations like Hezbollah, demonstrate a blatant disregard for accuracyand cite holocaust deniers? Of course, none of these statements actually appear in the film as itwould undermine the credibility. It is appropriate now to actually look at the facts and arguments presented in the film.
6http://www.benwhite.org.uk/about/7Counterpunch, June 18
th
2002.8Introduction, A History of Modern Palestine, p11, 2
nd
Edition, Cambridge University Press 2004.9Response to The Daily Star, Lebanon. Dec 15
th
2001. http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=4&ar=1510Haaretz, 24
th
May 2008. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/israel-denies-entry-to-high-profile-critic-norman-finkelstein-1.246487Page 2

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