On Christian Zionism and the Prison Tablet Propaganda Machine

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Palestine] [Digital Mail] [Idealism/Religion]

On Christian Zionism and the Prison Tablet Propaganda Machine

Same Struggle: Palestine New Afrikan Flags
Same Struggle - a piece connecting the liberation struggles of New Afrika and Palestine from the years of their colonization

At the end of Orisanmi Burton’s Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt – a book USW cadre have been studying since its’ release in late October 2023 – Burton correctly labels the prison tablets supplied to the imprisoned lumpen by predatory prison communications companies like Securus and Global Tel Link(GTL)/ViaPath Technologies as “the cutting edge of carceral war.”(1)

Much has already been written by MIM and USW comrades about these tablets including the several areas Burton shortly discusses; the use of predatory pricing strategies that extract even more money from oppressed nation communities, expanding the surveillance state, and behavior modification/digital babysitters.(2) What has not been discussed in much detail is the use of the tablets as imperialist propaganda machines.

Of course, all of the content on the tablets is highly censored, with an extensive vetting process for orgs who want to place their content on them. On the GTL/ViaPath tablets we have at Main Jail in San Jose (Model VT-TABLET-5081S) the only app we have besides the GTL phone app is the free edu-tainment platform “Edovo”, which is – to no ones’ surprise – full of garbage content.

Shortly after the Palestinian resistance launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, smashing the Iron Wall and entering the rest of their homeland as a force to be reckoned with, there was an almost weekly upload of Christian Zionist and other Zionist propaganda pushed onto the platform. The first of these that I noticed was the feature film “Exodus: Gods & Kings” which details the Old Testament story of Moses leading the Israelites to Palestine, or as it is called in the movie, Canaan. This story, along with several other books of the Old Testament, are the basis for what Zionists today use as their claim to Palestine as their “ancient homeland”. And yet, as Palestinian hystorian Nur Masalha writes, “The Old Testament is not actual history but imaginative fiction, theology, sacred literature, ethics and wisdom.”(3) In short, the stories that Zionists base their land claims to Palestine on are myth narratives, not proven hystory.

Roughly around the same time, episodes of a Christian Zionist podcast started to be uploaded to Edovo. This podcast, called “Real Vida TV”, is put together by evangelists from Tyler, Texas who use their show to spread vaccine/COVID conspiracy theories popular among the Amerikan right, as well as anti-immigrant, queer & transphobic rhetoric alongside Bible verses.

Since October 7th they’ve been spreading the usual Zionist lies of mass rape, beheading babies, etc… that the imperialist media continues to propagate. They also have been tying everything occurring in Palestine and the Middle East into the strange and insane “end times” prophecies that are the main reason for the strong support of Christian Zionism, led mostly by Amerikan evangelists.

To understand this a bit better, let’s take a step back from the Zionist podcast and take a closer look at Christian Zionism, which, to my knowledge, hasn’t had anything substantial written on it in ULK.

Evangelical Christians, the bulk of Christian Zionists in the United $tates, take the writings in the bible literally. To get a numerical picture, there are roughly around 15 million Jews around the world today (which I’d like to note, a large percentage are anti-Zionist and completely reject the genocidal state of “i$rael”); in comparison there are over 70 million evangelicals who share the same “ironclad” support of “i$rael” as Genocide Goe in the United $tates. Christian Zionism also finds its roots in the Bible, but it is not because of some altruistic wish to “return” the Jews to the safety of their so-called “ancient homeland”. The return and consolidation of the Jews in the land of Palestine is supported so strongly by the Christian Zionists because they believe once this has been finally accomplished their “messiah” Jesus Christ will return, render judgement(punishment) upon the nonbelievers (which includes Jews as they do not believe Christ is the “messiah”), and then get into motion the so-called end-times prophecies of the Book of Revelation (which depicts Armageddon), where the non-believers will burn and the true believers will float up with Jesus to LaLa Land.

No, I am not making this up sadly.

Even more sadly, these views are being used by those who produce the podcast to justify the ongoing genocide and dispossession of Palestinian people, the actual indigenous inhabitants of the land of Palestine.

What’s worse, at least for Our comrades in Texas, is that these Christian Zionists go to and have access to all of the TDCJ gulags where they can spread this poisonous rhetoric, possibly making it even harder to shift public opinion in the units in favor of the Palestinian liberation struggle (I’d be interested to know the point of view of Our comrades in Texas on this). As the Zionists and their imperialist backers continue to spread their lies to try to sway the opinions of the masses toward support of their genocidal logic, We must counter them in every way We can, especially in the writing and dissemination of articles on Palestine in the pages of ULK, and by supporting/working on the USW Palestine campaign.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

MIM(Prisons) adds: A USW leader in Florida wrote an article on the Biblical “history” of the Jewish people. We are not printing that article. But here is their explanation for the approach they took in that piece:

“I’m hearing pro-I$raeli comments in the quad and on the yard every day. Prisoners are completely swallowing and promoting the CIPWS zionist pro I$raeli narrative, ie., that the Palestinians brought the genocide upon themselves when they attacked I$raeli citizens, rather than settlers/invaders, on October 7, 2023, rather than in response to 70-plus years of CIPWS zionist occupation and oppression.

“I am surrounded by prisoners who hear the word”Israel” and automatically think “Jesus”. Prisoners see the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict and situation from a biblical point of view rather than a historical and U.$. imperialist political one.

“The average prisoner had never heard of Hamas, Zionists, Hizbullah, Houthi, etc. until recently. Prisoners identify with Israel mostly due to religion and all they are told is that Israel was attacked by Palestinians, and that Palestinians want Israel extinct, even as they see the total opposite happening with their own oppressed eyes. Even Muslims here, due to subliminal incognizance, do not support or identify with he Palestinians’ plight. They see the Palestinians, not as victims, but as terrorists, not as brothers.”

As members of United Struggle from Within (USW) have come out in strong support of the Palestinian resistance, we see this is not representative of the consciousness of the imprisoned lumpen as a whole. Thus the need for our leaders inside to continue this campaign to support Palestine in the realm of education and ideological struggle among the oppressed in this country. People who are suffering a lower level genocide through the prison system itself are somehow identifying with their own oppressor. If the national liberation struggles were stronger in this country, we would be seeing a lot more support for national liberation of Palestine here as well.

(1) Burton, Orisami, “Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt”,(University of California Press, 2023),p.227
(2) Ibid. p.228
(3) Masalh, Nur, “Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History”,(I.B. Taurus, 2018) p.30