Defending Israel to the 'End Times'
By Bill Berkowitz
Online Journal Guest Writer
Feb 1, 2008, 00:53
These are busy days for Christian Zionists. While President
Bush recently returned from his trip to the Middle East "optimistic"
that a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians could be reached
by the end of the year, Pastor John Hagee's
Christian United for Israel (CUFI) is setting forth plans to put the kibosh --
if not on the entire peace process -- on any agreement that would sanction the
division of Jerusalem. And Dr. Mike Evans has launched a "Save Jerusalem
Campaign,� while Joel C. Rosenberg's
Joshua Fund is planning a major celebration in Jerusalem in honor of Israel's
CUFI, the pro-Israel lobbying group launched in February
2006 to provide support for Israel, believes that "'Jerusalem must remain
undivided as the eternal capital of the Jewish people' (meaning no portion of
it should be turned over to the Palestinians)," Sarah Posner, writes in
her new book "God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for
Values Voters" (PoliPointPress, 2008).
Hagee, who heads up an 18,000-member Pentecostal
congregation in San Antonio, Texas, "inject[s] . . . the charged rhetoric
of biblical prophesy into contemporary foreign policy," Posner writes,
"[which] has catapulted him to the forefront of an American Christian
Zionist movement that has become the darling of conservative Israel hawks in
Washington and neoconservatives
yearning for regional war in the Middle East."
Last week, while Bush was still in the Middle East, Pastor
Hagee sent the following e-mail to his supporters, a message that Posner
characterized in an e-mail as a "pretty clear biblical directive to his
followers, but . . . not very political:
"As world leaders attempt to decide the future of
Israel and Jerusalem during diplomatic visits in an endeavor to create peace in
the Middle East let remain focused on the Word of God and what is says about
the future glory on Zion.�
Say to them that are of a fearful
Be strong, fear not: behold,
your God will come with vengeance,
even God with a recompense;
he will come and save you. Isaiah 35:4
"The Word clearly speaks of the future house of God,�
In the last days the mountain of the
Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised
above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God
of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah
In the last days the mountain of the
Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be
raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come
and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of
the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his
paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from
Jerusalem. Micah 4:1-2
Over at the CUFI blog, David Brog, the organization's Jewish
executive director, issued a message of his own. In announcing its third annual
Washington, DC, summit -- scheduled for July 21 to July 24 -- Brog asked
supporters to "think about" three things:
Bush is committed to completing a Middle East peace agreement by the time
he leaves office. Our Summit will likely provide a final opportunity to
influence this process in what may well be its final, fateful days.
We'll be meeting in Washington less than four months before the 2008
Presidential election. Our Summit will be a last opportunity to impact the
debate before this campaign hits the home stretch.
When we go up to Capitol Hill to visit with our representatives, there
will be only a few working months left in this session of Congress. Once
Congress adjourns, every bill before Congress that has not received a
final up-or-down vote will die and we will need to start from scratch in
the new Congress that is sworn in during January 2009. Our Summit will be
a final opportunity to secure passage of important pro-Israel legislation
currently before Congress."
Another item that will likely be on CUFI's agenda is Iran.
On the organization's homepage Hagee doesn't mince words: Ignoring the recent
National Intelligence Estimate which found that Iran had halted its nuclear
weapons program in 2003 and is unlikely to produce enough weapons-grade uranium
for a bomb until at least 2010, Hagee insists on calling President Ahmadinejad
of Iran "a new Hitler in the Middle East . . . who has threatened to wipe
out Israel and America and is rapidly acquiring the nuclear technology to make
good on his threat. If we learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that when
a madman threatens genocide we must take him seriously."
Mike Evans' 'Save Jerusalem Campaign'
Meanwhile, in a media-savvy move on the first day of Bush's
trip, Dr. Mike Evans used the front page of the heavily trafficked online
website, the Drudge Report,
to advertise for his Save Jerusalem Campaign.
Evans, the head of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the author of
the New York Times bestseller "The Final Move Beyond Iraq,"
and the publisher of the online Jerusalem World News, is angry with president Bush for
"moving full-speed ahead with his Annapolis Road Map plan to have a
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital before he leaves
In a recent report titled "Betrayed: The Bush
Conspiracy to Divide Jerusalem," Evans argued that the Road Map, proposed
by the international Quartet -- the U.S., the European Union, Russia, and the
United Nations -- "has become corrupted by Saudi Arabia and other
fundamentalist Islamic forces into a plan to divide Jerusalem and make east
Jerusalem -- the home of Christianity -- the capital of a Palestinian state and
force Israel to return all lands reclaimed in 1967."
In an e-mail to supporters dated January 22, Evans wrote
that he was "completely outraged when [he] heard that [Israeli Prime
Minister] Ehud Olmert, whom I have known for 26 years, stood next to President
Bush and declared that he would work to fulfill the final status solution to
the Road Map to Peace. In essence, this means the division of Jerusalem (with
all Christian Holy Sites being under Islamic rule of law) and Judea and Samaria
turned over to the Palestinians."
Another longtime Christian Zionist, Joel C. Rosenberg, has a
rather nuanced view of the peace process. Rosenberg, the founder of The Joshua
Fund -- whose operating motto is "Pray for peace, but prepare for
war" -- maintained on his blog that despite the previous failures at
reaching an accord, "we should not write off this possibility [of peace]
Rosenberg, a Jew who converted to Christianity more than 30
years ago, was a mostly behind-the-scenes figure in the conservative movement
until his first novel "The Last Jihad" became a New York Times
bestseller. Over the years, he has worked for former Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician Natan Sharansky, U.S. business magazine
magnate Steve Forbes, and right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. He is
also a former Heritage
Rosenberg appears to believe that if a peace deal is
concluded, it will not contradict Biblical prophesy: "While . . . Matthew
24 and Luke 21 indicate that there will be wars, rumors of wars and revolutions
in the Middle East in the last days, Ezekiel 38 also indicates that for a
season at least the Jews will be living 'securely' in the land prior to the
apocalyptic War of Gog & Magog (the Russian-Iranian alliance to destroy
In early January on his blog, Rosenberg characterized Olmert
as "a man who seems almost desperate for a peace deal with the
Palestinians, even if that means dividing Jerusalem (a terrible idea we should
strongly oppose)." And in an entry dated January 23, Rosenberg seems
buoyed by the possibility that Olmert's government "is increasingly in
danger of collapse."
"Meanwhile," writes Rosenberg, the Likud Party's
Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally/friend of U.S. Christian Zionists, "is
waiting in the wings, talking tough on Gaza and Iran, saying Olmert should
strike hard and fast with 'disproportionate force' against Palestinian
terrorists." Netanyahu said that 'In a war of attrition the enemy strikes
and you react, the enemy strikes harder and you retaliate harder. This gradual
increase in violence is the antithesis of deterrence. . . . Deterrence always
means using disproportionate force. We need to move from a concept of attrition
to one of tough deterrence that will eventually lead to the removal of the
Hamas regime, because as long as it exists it will continue arming itself and
continue its attacks.'"
Most importantly for Rosenberg, Evans, and CUFI is that
"Netanyahu is also warning against dividing Jerusalem or giving away the
West Bank and thus creating potential bases for Iran," according to
Rosenberg. "We must not repeat this mistake of the South Lebanon and Gaza
withdrawals,'" Netanyahu said on January 21, "This time we're going
to have an Iranian base facing Jerusalem and the Dan Bloc, which includes Tel
Aviv. We have to prevent Iran's armament and not let it establish new bases on
While possibly going against the desires of Christian
Zionists regarding Jerusalem, on his trip Bush continued to throw them a bone,
hammering away at Iran. At a stop in Abu Dhabi, the president called Iran
"the world's leading state-sponsor of terror." Bush said that Iran
threatens all nations and the U.S. was "rallying friends around the world
to confront this danger before it is too late."
Rosenberg's Joshua Fund is organizing a conference slated
for April 10 in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary. According to
Rosenberg, the purpose of the conference is "to educate people as to the
serious threats facing the Jewish State and their neighbors, mobilize
Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and provide
humanitarian relief to the poor and needy and those suffering from war and
Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement and a frequent
writer for Media Transparency.
He documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of
the American Right.
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