Why the calamity in Gaza and Israel may not rebound on Trump

When a friend converted to Judaism in Israel, the rabbis first interrogated her extensively to ensure she wasn’t a fundamentalist Christian bent on insinuating herself into their homes and intent on persuading them that Christ is the messiah.

Apparently there has been a real problem for Israel’s Jewish community of Christian double agents securing invitations to Friday night suppers as born-again Jews, and then trying to woo the diners on to the Christian team.

I mention this because it sheds light on why a large portion of America’s fundamentalist Christian community is so enthusiastic about Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Israel - even though it was always likely to spark the kind of appalling conflict between the Israeli army and Gaza’s Palestinians we’ve witnessed.

This is how Diana Butler Bass of Duke University explained it, in an article for CNN:

“For many conservative evangelicals, Jerusalem is not about politics. It is not about peace plans or Palestinians or two-state solutions. It is about prophecy. About the Bible. And, most certainly, it is about the end-of-times”.

The point is that many Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians believe that Christ will return and reign on earth in the Rapture, when the Jews of the Holy Land and Jerusalem finally accept Christ as their Messiah, after the devastating Battle of Armageddon.

The US embassy was opened by Ivanka Trump as clashes took place in Gaza. Credit: AP

Which is not to say they actively want the bloodshed and trauma that is happening in Israel. But some see it as the true and pre-destined path to heaven on earth.

As for Trump, there is no need to doubt his sincerity when he says that he seeks peace in Israel - even if you think he is profoundly misguided in breaching the international convention, bedrock of a long-cherished schema for a two-state solution to the conflict, that Jerusalem should not be recognised as Israel’s capital.

What is important is that if Israel and Palestine descend further into a cauldron of conflict, violence and hate, Trump may not necessarily become any less popular with his Christian evangelical supporters - and we know how little attention he pays to liberals and Europeans.