"I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I will do -- and I have done it -- and God forgives me for it."
Jimmy Carter, November 1976
"[T]he overwhelming bias for Israel comes from among Christians like me who have been taught since childhood to honor and protect God's chosen people from among whom came our own savior, Jesus Christ."
-- Jimmy Carter, December 2006
Jimmy Carter has long cultivated an irritating public persona of the sanctimonious-yet-humble parson. Almost thirty years to the day after he famously owned up to the inner workings of his lustful heart, Carter has blurted out something far more significant and in the process has thrown a welcome shaft of light -- albeit a tiny one -- on the dirtiest secret in the West: that the long and deafening western silence that has greeted Zionist crimes in Palestine is caused by an overwhelming religious bias for Israel among American Protestants.
Mind you, Carter’s Christianity is a fairly garden-variety or at least so it seems in these fevered days of raging monotheistic fundamentalism. Way back in 1976 the born-agains were just getting revved up, our 38th president was their first real public face. Although it seems hard to believe, born-againism in those days was generally regarded as rather outré. Today however Carter’s brand of Christianity seems positively benign and the constant public airing by American politicians of their personal religiosity has become benumbingly commonplace. Thus has the general religious climate degraded these past thirty years. In hindsight Carter’s early and open flogging of his piety may be viewed as an ominous herald of where things were headed.
Nevertheless, confident of forgiveness from both God and American Jewry, Jimmy can’t help himself and this past December he let fly a real nugget.  By comparison, his '70s Playboy confessional was really rather boring although the mainstream media -- with its perpetually dirty mind -- had a field day with his confession. But you may be sure that this recent admission of overwhelming mainstream Christian support for Zionism will scarcely merit a raised media or progressive eyebrow or engender any significant discussion unless it be to tut-tut about the excesses of the Rapturist crowd.
Carter blurts the secret in an open letter to the “Jewish citizens of America” in which he gamely attempts to defend his latest book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid from the anti-Semitic smear campaign being waged diligently by the Lobby thought police. Ever the good Christian, Carter ritually bends his knee to the Lobby as he obediently parrots the line suggested to him by one Rabbi Andrew Strauss that his use of “apartheid” should not apply to Israel within the pre-1967 borders, an astounding statement given that Uri Davis has meticulously documented the covert legal mechanism by which Israel has long buried its apartheid system within its national legal apparatus making it “far more radical and far-reaching” than its South African equivalent. 
Nevertheless, Carter exposes an ignored yet vital truth when in the same missive he states that “Christians like me” are responsible for America’s overwhelming support for Israel down the years. Perhaps his “Christian” motive was to assuage Jewish tetchiness about the Lobby by deflecting responsibility away from what was long ago rumbled “unofficially” by Jeffrey Blankfort and now “officially” by establishmentarians John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Whatever the motive Carter fingers American Protestants as the essential source of support for Zionism as manifested in the state of Israel providing, as I have written, AIPAC’s home court advantage. 
Zionism has been a centuries-long Protestant project -- nay obsession -- even back unto the days of the Reformation. By the time Christianity at long last succeeded in subcontracting the Zionist project to the Jews late in the 19th century western Protestant fixation on the so-called Holy Land as an object of religious necessity increased and dispensationalist momentum burgeoned yet further to nurture and support the new Jewish branch of religious colonialism. The linkage of religion to imperialism using the Palestinian fulcrum was actively promulgated in Protestant Britain, the epicenter of global imperialism in the 19th century, well before Herzl’s first Zionist congress in Basel in 1897.
But by 1918 America was busy supplanting Britain as world imperator and American religion was gearing up to provide an ideological underpinning that would stiffen American resolve to shoulder its imperial leadership successfully. A.A. Berle was not only an archetypical wealthy white guy of this era but also a well-known Christian Zionist whose son Adolph Augustus Berle grew up to help draft the banking and securities laws of the New Deal and who moreover aspired, according to his biographer, to become “the Marx of the shareholding class.”  I kid you not. The relationship between religion and capital has been long and fecund indeed.
In the early 1900s, the Boston-based sire of this economist prodigy assiduously campaigned for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine on the platform of it being a religious necessity. Presaging his son’s predilections, Berle Sr. penned a market analysis of the Zionist project and determined that the system of Protestant Sunday school education of American youth would perforce guarantee its success. Berle wrote:
No commonwealth on earth [i.e. a Jewish state] will start with such a propaganda for its exploitation in world thought, or with such eager and minute scrutiny by millions of people, of its slightest detail. The value of this to such a state can only be conjectured. But that it will give impetus to it, that it will aid it and upbuild it goes without saying . . . Think what it would mean to any enterprise to have millions of Sunday-school children studying about it every Sunday in the year! [emphasis added] 
Think indeed. Note the use of a muscular political economy terminology: “Propaganda,” “exploitation,” “value,” “impetus,” “upbuild,” and “enterprise”. Note also how completely Carter channels Berle referring as he does to a religious inculcation “since childhood.” A key factor here is clearly early childhood education. Get ‘em while they’re young. Those millions of American Protestant Sunday-school children studying the Old Testament on a weekly basis over the entire 20th century (among whose ranks was the no doubt precociously sanctimonious young James Earl Carter) and yes even up to this day, up to the Sunday which has just passed last week, constitute a religiously brainwashed multitude who eagerly perform as unregistered members of AIPAC not merely in the dispensationalist community but more importantly and with far more impact among mainstreamers like Carter and –- worse luck –- among the alleged secularists rife throughout American left who are loathe to critically examine and expose the long-observed and endemic phenomenon of progressive gatekeeping for the Zionist project and its crimes.
J.A. Miller is a grandmother activist from the Middle West who spent many years traveling and studying in the Middle East. She has published essays on Counterpunch and StateofNature and her Burma Shave-style poetry may be found at PoeticInjustice. She maintains an occasional blog at www.secularavatar.blogspot.com and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Uri Davis, Apartheid Israel, 2003.
 Jordan Schwarz, Liberal: Adolf A. Berle and the Vision of an American Era, 1987.
 A.A. Berle, The World Significance of a Jewish State, 1918.