Category Archives: Christian Zionism

‘If there wasn’t a Glenn Beck, Israel would have had to invent one’

Ami Kaufman reports on Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel’s Knesset today:

Outside the Negev hall, the atmosphere was like before a rock concert, complete with the pushing and shoving. Most attendees were religious, all the way from knitted kippas to haredim. After we sat down, it was only a few minutes wait till the star came in. Almost immediately the whole room stood up, including the Members of Knesset, and gave the man a standing ovation.

This was only the beginning of the biggest love-fest I’ve ever seen. At times, I was squirming in my chair. Considering how Beck has been accused of anti-semitism, the amount of love was particularly odd. Just recently, pundit Dana Milbank of the Washington Post listed a few of Beck’s feats in this field:

…hosting a guest on his show who describes as “accurate” the anti-Semitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”; likening Reform rabbis to “radicalized Islam”; calling Holocaust survivor George Soros a “puppet master,” a bloodsucker and a Nazi collaborator; touting the work of a Nazi sympathizer who referred to Eisenhower as “Ike the Kike”; and claiming the Jews killed Jesus.

But I guess it takes one to know one, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see Baruch Marzel (the notorious Kahanist and in my humble opinion of of the most dangerous people this country has seen) taking a seat to hear Beck’s sermon.

MK Danny Danon (Likud), the committe chairman, warned the audience not to clap in the Knesset. Yet to no avail. Dannon went on to introduce Beck as “a friend of Israel. If there wasn’t a Glenn Beck, Israel would have had to invent one.”

The first thing Beck did was apologize for not wearing a tie. He proceeded to tell some kind of story about clothes and meeting a vice premier here, where Danon cut in and said: “Which vice? We have many vices,” which is where I said under my breath: ‘You got that right, Danny boy! Many vices indeed!”


Can Glenn Back save Israel?

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Conservative pundit Glenn Beck will advise MKs [members of the Knesset] on fighting the delegitimization of Israel abroad during a trip to Israel in July.

Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee chair MK Danny Danon (Likud) invited Beck, a Fox News and radio host and an outspoken supporter of Israel, to address the committee on how to recruit friends of Israel in the US to defend Israel’s right to exist.

“When we face an international wave of hatred of Israel and Jews – which is expressed in Facebook pages and films calling for our destruction – it’s good that Israel has talented friends that can contribute to our public-relations efforts,” Danon said.

The Likud MK added that the July 11 committee meeting with Beck will focus on September’s UN General Assembly, where the Palestinian Authority has said it will unilaterally declare statehood.

“September isn’t just a crisis,” Danon explained. “It’s an opportunity to explain to the world that we are not occupying anything.”


The 9/11 hijackers now defending Ground Zero

The opponents of Park51, the so-called “Ground Zero mosque,” have decided that the litmus test for identifying “good Muslims” is to ask them whether they regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Andy McCarthy, one of the lead knights in the crusade to stop “the Islamization of America,” strikes the latest blow — this time against a rather guileless Imam Dawoud Kringle. This is how McCarthy recounts the crucial part of his “debate” on the fair-and-balanced Fox News:

Then came the moment of truth: the very simple question, “Is Hamas a terrorist organization?” Have a look at the YouTube clip below. Like his friend Imam Feisal Rauf, Imam Kringle won’t answer the question. I pressed him, pointing out that it is a very simple question. And it is: Quite apart from the fact that Hamas is formally designated as a terrorist organization under U.S. law, Hamas’s own charter makes abundantly clear — indeed, wears like a badge of honor — that Hamas exists solely for the purpose of driving Israel out of Palestine by violent jihad. Yet the imam cannot bring himself to say Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Perhaps Kringle would have held surer footing if he had first addressed the reliability of the US government in identifying terrorists.

It was only two years ago that Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress were removed from the US terrorism watch list — that was 15 years after Mandela had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The terrorism watch list — like the Nobel Peace Prize — is not in and of itself a reliable indicator of someone’s current willingness to use violence in pursuit of a political cause.

Likewise, the fact that in the 1980s the Reagan administration regarded Afghanistan’s mujahideen as “freedom fighters” — not terrorists — had everything to do with who they were fighting (the Soviets) and nothing to do with the methods they employed or the causes those particular jihadists might subsequently espouse.

Terrorism and terrorist — as everyone knew until they suddenly forgot on 9/11 — are mutable designations that more clearly specify the relationship between the designator and the designee than they say much else.

Is Hamas a terrorist organization? As far as the US government is concerned, the answer it yes. It’s on the list. Yet not all organizations listed terrorist are the same — and like most objective foreign policy analysts, the US government like every other government knows this: these organizations are as diverse in their political aims as they are in their geographical distribution.

Hamas has been presented with a set of conditions which, if fulfilled, would allow it to participate in the peace process. In other words, even from the perspective of those governments who currently describe it as a terrorist organization there is an exit ramp for Hamas to shed its “terrorist” label. In contrast, there are no conditions under which any government will enter talks with al Qaeda.

Contrary to what McCarthy and others insinuate, Hamas and al Qaeda are not two peas in the same pod. They are in fact sworn enemies.

But given that so far no one has pointed to any direct connection between Park51 and Hamas, one has to wonder why those affiliated with the proposed Islamic center are being asked their views on the Palestinian movement?

The answer has much less to do with Park51 than it does with the myth that America’s interests are indistinguishable from those of Israel.

Whether McCarthy describes himself as a Zionist, he is certainly pushing a Zionist agenda when he claims: “Hamas exists solely for the purpose of driving Israel out of Palestine by violent jihad.”

In fact, Hamas’ leadership has explicitly supported the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders if Israel ends the occupation. But this politically pragmatic position is one that McCarthy and his ilk refuse to acknowledge because it conflicts with a narrative that pits Israel and its allies against an ideologically unyielding and anti-Semitic foe. Characterize the conflict that way and there is no compromise a peace-loving Israel could make which would satisfy its enemies.

Indeed, elsewhere McCarthy has made it clear that he subscribes to the right-wing Zionist school of thought which sees a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as contingent solely on the ability of Israel to crush its opponent.

As he wrote during the war on Gaza: “What Israel needs is to be allowed to win: to finish the grisly work of ‘breaking the will of the Palestinians, of Hamas, to continue to fire at Israel,’ as Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit so aptly put it.”

As for Palestinian national aspirations in general, McCarthy says: “On the political front, it is high time to acknowledge the failure of the fantasy that the Palestinians are legitimate actors worthy of statehood and its privileges.” He says: “we must halt the mindless ‘two state solution’ rhetoric.” Scorning those who he calls “democracy devotees,” McCarthy says: “Let’s be blunt: we are looking at a generation or more before the Palestinians might be prepared to assume the obligations of sovereignty. So we should stop talking about it.”

Daniel Luban in an article in which he describes Islamophobia as the “new anti-Semitism,” notes the central role that McCarthy has assumed as an ideologue now marshaling opposition to Islam in America.

The mosque furor is only the most recent and revealing demonstration of the anti-jihadists’ political influence; from the beginning of the controversy, McCarthy and his allies have dictated the terms of debate on the right. In his July 28 statement attacking the Islamic center, Newt Gingrich cited [McCarthy’s book] The Grand Jihad and framed the controversy in McCarthy’s terms of Western civilization under siege from creeping sharia. More recently, the American Family Association — a leading fundamentalist Christian group — cited the book to argue that no more mosques should be built anywhere in the United States because “each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.” A campaign spearheaded by Pamela Geller, the right-wing blogger who was previously most notorious for publishing a lengthy piece alleging that Obama is the illegitimate child of Malcolm X, will place ads on New York City buses opposing the Islamic center. On September 11, she and Gingrich will lead a major rally against the center that will also feature [Geert] Wilders, the Islamophobic Dutch politician. What was once a lunatic fringe now appears to be running the show, aided and abetted by mainstream figures like Gingrich.

It is quite possible that the next Republican president will also be a party to what can justly be called the new McCarthyism; for that reason alone, McCarthy and his allies deserve our attention. But even more important is the impact of this steady stream of anti-Muslim vitriol on the popular consciousness. Cynical politicians like Gingrich may know that all the talk of the Islamic center as a “9/11 victory monument” and of ordinary Muslims as stealth sharia operatives is mere agitprop designed to win votes in an election year, but ordinary citizens may take them at their word and act accordingly.

Given that McCarthy and his cohorts want to associate Park51 with Hamas, it’s worth considering what Hamas has to say about the plans for the Islamic center.

In an interview on New York’s WABC radio (audio can be heard here), Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas who is in the Gaza political leadership, was asked by Aaron Klein to comment on the construction of the center.

Without addressing the question directly, Zahar chose to respond by pointing out that Muslims in America are like Muslims elsewhere, living in accordance with Islam, fasting (during Ramadan), praying and so forth. He then went on to say that Hamas is being misrepresented by those who would liken it to the Taliban and that it is recognized across the Islamic world as a moderate organization.

Klein, however, wanted to focus on the mosque controversy and returned to that question:

Klein: What do you think about the new initiative to build a mosque near the World Trade Center in New York, which is a major point of controversy on all sides?

Zahar: We have to build the mosque as you are allowed to build the church and the Israeli are building their holy places. We have to build everywhere — in every area we have muslims, we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer especially for the people when they are looking to be in the group — not individual.

Muslims should be allowed to worship in mosques, just like Christians going to church and Jews going to the synagogue.

Not much controversy there, right?

Well, the New York Post seemed eager to pour fuel on the fire by inserting a few words implying that Hamas (and Muslims in general) are engaged in territorial expansion.

A leader of the Hamas terror group yesterday jumped into the emotional debate on the plan to construct a mosque near Ground Zero — insisting Muslims “have to build” it there.

“We have to build everywhere,” said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and the organization’s chief on the Gaza Strip.

“In every area we have, [as] Muslim[s], we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer,” he said on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on WABC.

Zahar actually said, “In every area we have Muslims, we have to pray,” which is to say, wherever Muslims live they have a religious obligation to gather for prayer and they do this in mosques.

The New York Post twisted this into: “In every area we have, [as] Muslims[s], we have to pray,” which conjures up a completely different picture. Lower Manhattan is now an area that Muslims claim as their own — at least the New York Post appears to want to promote this lie.

Those who now man the barricades in response to what they call the Islamization of America, reveal in the shadow of their fears the scope of their ambitions.

On 9/11, four groups of hijackers took control of four aircraft resulting in the horrific deaths of 3,000 people. The same day, another group of hijackers took control of the aftermath of the attacks and began a war in which hundreds of thousands have died and millions been displaced. The campaign of those hijackers continues and Park51 is merely its latest target.


Defending the unbreakable bond between Israel and Pennsylvania

When voters in Pennsylvania head to the polls this November to elect a new senator, Bill Kristol and his newly launched outfit want to make sure that the issue uppermost in the voters’ considerations is how great a friend of Israel their next senator will be — this is the first assignment adopted by the Emergency Committee for Israel (“we’re the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community,” says Kristol) which is running this ad on Fox News and CNN:

This ad follows in the footsteps of an ad run earlier this year (before Congressman Joe Sestak won the Democratic primary) which says “keeping Israel safe helps keep America safe.”

For people like Bill Kristol and the rest of the gang that makes up the Israel lobby, keeping Israel safe keeps America safe, is a strong expression of the unbreakable bond that Israel’s Democratic and Republican subordinates all like to celebrate. Yet for others — and this may turn out to include a plurality of Pennsylvania voters — this is a message that has more than a hint of a mafia protection racket threat. If you want to sleep comfortably in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, you’d better take care of Israel. It’s quite a sinister message.

Meanwhile, as Kristol’s emergency committee works to shore up the unbreakable bond between Pennsylvania and Israel, it seems like another bond — one they might have imagined would need no defense — is showing signs of disrepair.

In a report on discrimination against Palestinians in Jerusalem, Fox News veered dangerously off message. (H/t Matt Duss at Think Progress.)

When Joe Sestak won the Democratic primary in May, Jon Delano, political director of KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, noted: “Sestak has done this all on his own. He has had no support from the Washington crowd. None whatsoever. This is a victory that he can savor all by himself.”

As the mid-term elections approach, the Israel lobby imagines it can leverage disenchantment with Obama in support of its cause, yet to the extent that the election is a contest between Washington insiders and outsiders, the lobby, as a pillar of the Washington establishment, will find itself on the wrong side of the divide.


Rep. Bachmann: America ‘cursed’ by God ‘if we reject Israel’

The Minnesota Independent drew attention to remarks made by Rep. Michele Bachmann when she addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles this month. Bachmann said:

I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.

Right now in my own private Bible time, I am working through Isaiah . . . and there is continually a coming back to what God gave to Israel initially, which was the Torah and the Ten Commandments, and I have a wonderful quote from John Adams that if you will indulge me [while I find it] . . . [from his February 16, 1809 letter to François Adriaan van der Kemp]:

I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.

… So that is a very long way to answer your question, but I believe that an explicit statement from us about our support for Israel as tied to American security, we would do well to do that.


Onward, Christian Zionists

Onward, Christian Zionists

Christian Zionists believe that in order to fulfill Biblical prophecy, Israel must conquer most of the Middle East. They are a growing force in American politics with ties to many powerful pro-Israel groups in Washington. Once considered a marginal doctrine among evangelicals, the dispensationalist theology of Christian Zionism includes a belief in the rapture, when the faithful are to be lifted up to Heaven while the rest of humanity—including most of the Jews—will perish.


British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni

British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni

A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel’s former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today.

Tzipi Livni, a member of the war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead, had been due to address a meeting in London on Sunday but cancelled her attendance in advance. The Guardian has established that Westminster magistrates’ court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers acting for some of the Palestinian victims of the fighting but it was later dropped.

The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under “universal jurisidiction”. Israel rejects these efforts as politically motivated, saying it acted in self-defence against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. [continued…]

U.S. tax dollars fund rabbi who excused killing gentile babies

The White House condemns the torching of a mosque, yet respectable Americans contribute to a yeshiva whose rabbi said it’s okay to kill gentile babies. It is no surprise that the American administration tacitly, if unenthusiastically, accepted the excuse that the map of national priority zones the cabinet approved on Sunday does not violate the decision to freeze construction in the settlements.

How can President Barack Obama object to furthering education in a settlement like Yitzhar, located in the heart of the West Bank? After all, his own tax revenues contribute to the flourishing of the Od Yosef Chai Shechem yeshiva, the settlement’s crowning glory.

This is the same yeshiva whose rabbi said it is permissible to kill gentile babies because of “the future danger that will arise if they are allowed to grow into evil people like their parents.” In his latest book, the head of the yeshiva, Yitzhak Shapira, who bears the honorable title of rabbi, even permits killing anyone “who, through his remarks and so forth, weakens our kingdom” (Obama, beware!). [continued…]

How Israel’s system of Jewish apartheid operates in Jerusalem

Green Zone from Nimrod Zin on Vimeo.

Green Zone – is a 20 minute long documentary, exploring Israel’s discriminatory policies in occupied East Jerusalem. Since 1967 urban planning has been used by the Israeli establishment as a tool to contain the growth of the Palestinian population in the mixed city. The impact of these policies has been catastrophic for many Palestinian residents, resulting in an average of 100 house demolitions every year. The film incorporates interviews with Israeli and Palestinian residents, architects, journalists and politicians, in an attempt to present this complex situation, which has significant ramifications to the whole peace process.

Lawless settlers are an inseparable part of Israel

The dogs of Shiloh run about, excited. Barking loudly, they try to chase after the long convoy of security vehicles passing the doghouses. But they aren’t going anywhere: They’re collared to long iron chains.

No sight could better illustrate the futile journey of the inspectors and police officers through the West Bank this week.

They’re here to deliver the building freeze orders, to people who rip them up in front of the cameras. This week, they traveled from one settlement to the next, and we followed, an odd convoy of armored vehicles from the Civil Administration, the Yasam special police forces and the Border Police, two cars full of journalists and one car driven by a settler activist reporting to his friends from the field and giving advance notice.

Some settlements the convoy passed quickly, without stopping, which raised even more speculation about the objective of this shadowy trip. At other settlements, its way was blocked. When the convoy parked at one West Bank junction, a few Palestinian passersby from a nearby village stared. They had no idea where it was headed; it seemed like the members of the secured convoy weren’t so sure either. [continued…]

Far-right yeshiva head: My duty is to tell troops to refuse orders

The head rabbi of a far-right West Bank yeshiva declared Monday after his school was ousted from the Israel Defense Forces hesder program that he encouraged his students to refuse settlement evacuation orders because he had an obligation to “speak his inner truth.”

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, whose Har Bracha Yeshiva’s status was revoked late Sunday, wrote in an article published on Arutz 7 that he had skipped a critical hearing on the matter with Defense Minister Ehud Barak because he would not give in to “governmental pressure.”

“Although I knew by the Defense Minister’s rudeness that this could cause the end of the arrangement with Yeshiva Har Bracha,” wrote Melamed. “And despite all of the harsh significance that it entailed, I was obligated to stick to my independent principles and not give in.” [continued…]

Israel votes new funding for settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted more funding for Jewish settlements on Sunday as violence over a temporary settlement building freeze in enclaves in the occupied West Bank increased.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak voted against the plan, saying it would reward settlers living in parts of the West Bank where Palestinians have lately come under attack, such as a village where parts of a mosque was torched at the weekend.

Netanyahu condemned the burning of carpets and copies of the Koran at Yasuf village near Nablus, where graffiti scrawled in Hebrew called the act “a price tag.” It was similar to a slogan left by suspected settlers after other acts of vandalism. [continued…]

Life behind The Wall


Palestinian equal rights joins the progressive agenda on ‘The Daily Show’

Palestinian equal rights joins the progressive agenda on ‘The Daily Show’

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Throughout the day I had been hearing on the grapevine that The Daily Show was having second thoughts about doing the show as they had been getting pressure to cancel it. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — During a week in which J Street — an organization that is attempting to break AIPAC’s stranglehold on the issue of US-Israeli relations — held its first national conference in Washington DC, it’s interesting that Jon Stewart took the opportunity to turn to the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not by inviting J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami onto the show but instead, as Adam Horowitz notes, “a Palestinian leader demanding equal rights and an anti-Zionist Jew calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel towards peace.”

One of the disappointing features of the way the interview got edited for broadcast was that by cutting out much of the applause, the editors took out one of the most significant messages: the Palestinian issue, framed as one of freedom and human rights, resonated well with Jon Stewart’s audience.

While Stewart himself tended to stick to the well-worn tracks that this is a seemingly intractable conflict, that the Palestinians need to stop anti-Semitic incitement, that the Arabs need to do their bit, Barghouti’s constant refrain was that the core issue here is freedom.

That’s a message the J Street and its mainstream two-state-solution supporters really don’t want to see placed at the center of the conversation. They seem to view the conflict not in terms primarily of human rights but in terms of the need to preserve the Jewish state — a state in relation to which Palestinians pose a “demographic threat”. The urgency of implementing a two-state solution is that unless it can be done fast, Palestinians will demand equal rights in a single state — a state in which (thanks to the Greater Israel project that has been in motion for the last 42 years) Jews will be in a minority. That possibility is in the eyes of some, “horrific“.

Squaring the circle and erasing the margins

The mission to move US policy through reforming the Jewish community’s debate over Israel/Palestine has clear political implications. Ben-Ami ended the opening evening by saying the movement J Street is a part of is a “movement rooted in love of Israel,” and while all are welcomed to join J Street in its work, “the heart of this movement has to be in the Jewish community.” From this perspective, it was telling that Gaza was not mentioned once the entire evening (except by Rabbi Andy Bachman who said it was no longer occupied). There was only one panel during the entire conference dedicated to “Palestinian perspectives,” and even the closing panel called “Why Two States? Why Now?” only included speakers to explain Israeli interests and American interests in promoting two states. Two of the most moving parts of the conference for me was hearing Laila El-Haddad, from the Gaza Mom blog, describe life in still occupied Gaza on the unofficial blogger’s panel. She told a story about how her family was almost unable to leave Gaza to visit her in the US and she is totally unable to enter her homeland. Later, Bassim Khoury, the ex-Minister of National Economy for the Palestinian Authority who recently quit in protest to their reaction to the Goldstone report, demonstrated “Israeli apartheid” in Jerusalem through a power point presentation outlining the gross discrepancies in municipal funding between Jews and Palestinians in the city. Both presentation injected an intense dose of reality into a proceeding that seems to be chugging along more on vision and hope.

J Street represents a very important rupture and opportunity in the supposed American Jewish consensus over Israel/Palestine which should be celebrated. Pushing this wedge into the heart of the community could only be a good thing. But, the tenor and message of the J Street conference would seem to indicate that the struggle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda. Meanwhile, Palestinians will have to continue to catch the brunt of the Israel everyone loves so much. [continued…]

Elie Wiesel’s shocking stage appearance with mad preacher and anti-Semite John Hagee

On October 25, while an overflow crowd of 1,500 poured into the first convention of the progressive-leaning Israel-oriented lobbying organization J Street, Elie Wiesel addressed a crowd of 6,000 Christian Zionists at Pastor John Hagee’s “Night To Honor Israel.” According to the San Antonio Express News, while Wiesel sat by his side, Hagee trashed President Barack Obama, baselessly accusing him of “being tougher on Israel than on Russia, Iran, China and North Korea.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, who appeared at Hagee’s Christians United for Israel summit earlier this year, rejected J Street’s request to speak at their convention, instead dispatching a low-level embassy official to “observe” the event. Oren then accused J Street of “impair[ing] Israel’s interests.”

In blessing Hagee while damning J Street, Wiesel and Oren chose an anti-Semitic group led by a far-right End Times theology preacher over a fledgling progressive organization that bills itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” And both Wiesel and Oren seem to be embroiled in yet another controversy over involvement with the extremist preacher. [continued…]


Huckabee says 2 states in Holy Land ‘unrealistic’

Huckabee says 2 states in Holy Land ‘unrealistic’

US presidential contender Mike Huckabee said Tuesday there should be no Palestinian state in the West Bank and endorsed Israeli settlements there, sharply disagreeing with Washington and much of the world.

A three-day tour of Israel, hosted by a far-right group of religious nationalists, is taking Huckabee to some of the most contentious hotspots in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including a West Bank settlement outpost that even Israel’s hard-line government considers illegal and an east Jerusalem housing project that the Obama administration has demanded be halted.[continued…]


CAMPAIGN 08: An inability to recognize ourselves in one another

Islamofascism’s ill political wind

In contrast to the way militant zealotries of other religions have been perceived, there is a broad conviction, especially among many conservative American Christians, that the inner logic of Islam and fascism go together. Political candidates appeal to those Christians by defining the ambition of Islamofascists in language that makes prior threats from, say, Hitler or Stalin seem benign. The point is that there is a deep religious prejudice at work, and when politicians adopt its code, they make it worse.

The Democrats gain little by shaping their rhetoric to appeal to the Republicans’ conservative religious base, but a readiness to denigrate Islam shows up on their side, too. In last week’s debate, moderator Brian Williams put to Barack Obama a question about Internet rumors that claim he is a Muslim. The tone of the question suggested that Obama was being accused of something heinous. He replied with a simple affirmation that he is a Christian. He did not then ask, “And what would be wrong if I were a Muslim?” Had he done so, it seems clear, he would have cost himself votes in the present climate. [complete article]

Obama reaches the mountaintop

… in his Sunday speech at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Barack Obama went to a higher ground — to that mountaintop that King occupied until his death on April 4, 1968, and that Bobby Kennedy stood for a brief and remarkable political moment that played out between April and June of that fateful year.

“Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country,” Obama told a audience that hung on the every word of the most emotionally-effective orator to seek the presidency since Kennedy.

“I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans,” explained Obama. “I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.” [complete article]

What does it mean to be the pro-Israel candidate?

The main reason that Democratic candidates are less frightening to a progressive Israeli worrying about his country’s future, as my progressive friends in Washington remind me, is that the Democrats may be jiving. That is, because they are sensible folks otherwise, we can assume they don’t really mean this stuff. They even hide small hints of moderation in their rhetoric. The Republicans’ sincerity is truly scary.

I suggest that it’s time to talk about what “pro-Israel” should mean. Not because the discussion will change campaign rhetoric: The candidates will stick to cliches. But after the election, one will have to govern. Members of Congress will need to decide how to vote on the usual strident resolutions backed by AIPAC. Debate now on what it means to support Israel might mean that a year from now, elected leaders will be able to refer to publicly recognized ideas to justify acting more sensibly. [complete article]


VIDEO: On the racetrack to Armageddon with Pastor Hagee

Christians United for Israel

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL reports on the politically powerful group Christians United for Israel, whose leader, Pastor John Hagee, advocates for a preemptive strike against Iran. [watch video]

Editor’s Comment — Fascinating report. But the one piece of this story that gets left out is the likelihood that CUFI — along with other right wing Christian groups — look increasingly likely to destroy the organization they most empowered: the GOP.


NEWS: Staying on the straight and narrow — really narrow

McCain: No Muslim president, U.S. better with Christian one

GOP presidential candidate John McCain says America is better off with a Christian President and he doesn’t want a Muslim in the Oval Office.

“I admire the Islam. There’s a lot of good principles in it,” he said. “But I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith.” [complete article]

“Amen” for Israel, say Christian Zionists

7,000 mostly evangelical Christians from across the world flocked to the Holy Land this week to celebrate the Jewish festival of Sukkoth and to show support for Israel.
Not all Christians back Israel. The Vatican’s envoy in the Holy Land and bishops from three other churches last year accused the Christian Zionist movement of promoting “racial exclusivity and perpetual war.”

While pilgrims in Israel this week were keen to visit Jewish towns and settlements, few appeared to venture into Palestinian towns, or meet many Arabs during their stay.

“We dare not go into the Palestinian areas and anyway they are not open to us,” said Elizabeth Lee, a Pentecostal Christian from Malaysia who has been to Israel 40 times.

Many pilgrims saw the Israeli conflict with the Palestinians as an extension of U.S. President George W. Bush’s “War on terror,” and talked about a clash between good and evil.

Mark Burns is an ardent Israel supporter who runs Christian radio stations in Illinois and brings groups every year to the Holy Land to donate blood and money.

“Christians who read the Hebrew scriptures know God made a promise with Israel,” he said. “People who are clueless about the Old Testament can be persuaded to support the other side.” [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — And there I was thinking this web site might help a few folks understand the Middle East better when I should have been studying the Old Testament. Dang!