Archive for Christians United for Israel

Christians for Palestine

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Jerusalem Church

“Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr.” –Yasser Arafat

A few months back Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren penned an article titled, “Israel and the plight of Palestinian Christians,” in which he attempted to manipulate the reality of Christians in the Holy Land. Oren’s article came on the heels of an Islamophobic screed by Ayaan H. Ali in Newsweek titled, “The War on Christians.”

Also, today, Bob Simon of 60 minutes will be reporting on the “slow exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.”

As the birthplace of Christianity, Palestine is home to the oldest Christian populations in the world. But after centuries of continuous presence in the Holy Land, the creation of modern-day Israel in 1948 precipitated a quiet exodus of native Christians.

Although Christian opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been mixed in Western countries, many evangelicals have been blind to the plight of  Palestinians in favor of Israeli hardliners. Though their unconditional support for Israel can be attributed to many factors, the phenomenon of “Christian Zionism” can at least in part be traced to concerted outreach efforts on behalf of Israel–bolstered by negative portrayals of the Palestinian people, and an absence of their narrative.

Christian Palestinian groups like Sabeel Center and Al-Bushra have had an on-line presence for years, but they were not widely known outside the Middle East. Recently, Palestinian Christians reached out to the global community with the launch of the Kairos Palestine Document, modeled after the South African Kairos Document published in 1985 as part of a successful effort to abolish Apartheid:

This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God.

We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.

Also, last month in the West Bank city of  Christ’s birth, the Bethlehem Bible College  held an annual conference under the banner, “Christ at the Checkpoint.” Hundreds of Christians from around the world attended, and organizers hailed the event as, ”a major breakthrough in the evangelical world.”

While Palestinian Christians have so far reached only a small minority of their Western counterparts, their apparent success has captured the attention of Israel’s increasingly worried supporters.

Christians for Palestine

By Lee SmithTablet

For most American Jews and Israelis, evangelical Christians are synonymous with zealous, biblically inspired support of the Jewish state—so zealous, in fact, that it makes some Jews uneasy. But the days when Israel could count on unconditional support from evangelicals may be coming to an end.

Last month, a conference convened in Bethlehem by Palestinian activists and Christian clergy long at odds with the Jewish state managed to bring a number of leading lights from the evangelical community in North America and Europe to the Holy Land. Many of the speeches at the conference touched on themes that one would commonly hear at a BDS teach-in, like blaming the entire Middle East conflict on Israel’s occupation and the settlements.

Indeed, the name of the conference, Christ at the Checkpoint, is indicative of the different direction this segment of the evangelical movement is heading toward. The idea is that evangelicals should rethink their support for a state that occupies another people and oppresses them. Once they get the full story, conference organizers hope, Western evangelicals may find they have more in common with the downtrodden Palestinians than with the Israelis.

To pro-Israel evangelicals and Zionists who were paying attention, Christ at the Checkpoint was a wake-up call. The larger trend, which for want of a better phrase might be called the pro-Palestinian evangelical movement and is indeed spearheaded by Palestinian Christians, is already changing minds. Giving them momentum are money raised in the United States, theology, and perhaps most important of all, a movie. The documentary film With God on Our Side is leaving many former pro-Israel evangelicals wondering why they never heard the Palestinian side of the story.

Many friends of Israel, as well as Israelis, have long been concerned that evangelical support is premised largely on self-interest of an especially macabre nature. Israel, in this reading, is ground zero for the apocalypse: Before Christ can return to Earth, the Jews must return to Israel and the Temple must be restored, ushering in first a time of tribulation and then a reign of peace.

Of course, the apocalypse and Christ’s return is not the only justification for Christian support of Israel. Indeed, this end-time scenario embarrasses some evangelicals whose support is premised on the idea that God keeps his promises, not only to Christians but also to Jews, to whom God pledged the land of Israel. This conviction is further buttressed by a sense of historical responsibility, specifically to stand with the Jews and atone for the failure of Christians during the Holocaust to save the nation that gave them their savior.

Though the vast majority of evangelicals still maintain that support, for the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948, there is an increasingly heated debate in the evangelical community that may augur a shift in the political winds. And if the Christ at the Checkpoint camp wins out, the pro-Israel Jewish community that once looked warily upon evangelical support may come to regard that movement with nostalgia.

***

“The debate in the Jewish community should not be about whether or not to be comfortable with Christian support for Israel,” David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, told me last week. “Christians are going to be involved in the issue whether we are comfortable or not. The question is whether they’re going to be on Israel’s side or not.”

Christians United for Israel is the United States’ largest and best-known Christian Zionist organization. Founded in 2006 by John Hagee, pastor of the CornerStone Church in San Antonio, Texas, CUFI boasts over a million members. Hagee has found himself in the middle of political controversy in the past—most recently during John McCain’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign when his statements regarding the Holocaust were misinterpreted and McCain rejected his support. (Hagee declined to comment for this article.)

John Hagee
John Hagee

Hagee and other figures base support for the Jewish state on biblical foundations, specifically on Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” The message is clear: Those who support Israel will be rewarded by God. But pro-Israel evangelicals have sent their flock out into the field vulnerable—that is, without an account of the conflict that besets the citizens of the present-day homeland of the Jews. Armed only with a biblical defense of the Jewish state, evangelicals are unprepared to justify it on political grounds.

This gap has made room for people across the cultural and ideological spectrum—whose motivations run the gamut from genuine compassion for Palestinians to anti-Semitism—to fill the space with their own interpretations of contemporary Middle East history. Not surprisingly, many of these narratives tend to be drawn from precincts of the left, like the BDS movement, that are known for their hostility to the Jewish state. What is peculiar is that these accounts are being entertained and sometimes embraced in evangelical churches, Bible schools, and Christian colleges that are not typically known for their progressive politics.

It wasn’t difficult for these Christian critics of Israel to find a weak link in the Christian Zionist narrative—it’s the ethical morass inherent in the formulation of Genesis 12:3. The children of the Bible, Christians as well as Jews, believe that all people are created in God’s image and are therefore born with individual dignity. But if people of faith are supposed to bless Israel because they’ll be blessed in return, then they are treating others, Jews and Arabs, not as individuals but rather as instruments in their own spiritual drama.

You can’t treat people as chess pieces, says Porter Speakman Jr., the 40-year-old director of With God on Our Side. This 82-minute-long documentary, which premiered in 2010 and is now being shown at churches and college campuses, has had a major role in tilting evangelical opinion, especially among young people, against Israel. Speakman told me in a phone interview that isn’t aim isn’t to “delegitimize Israel, but to be critical of policies that are having an effect on real people’s lives.”

“I grew up in a Christian home in the south, where not to support Israel was to go against God,” Speakman told me. He said he made the film in order to explore a question that he thinks has been missing from the conversation in the evangelical community. That is: “What are the consequences of my beliefs and my theology for real people living on the ground?”

With God on Our Side follows the intellectual odyssey of Christopher Harrell, a twenty-something recent film-school graduate, who is trying to come to grips with the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is a very different story from the Bible-based injunctions that formed his spiritual life as a child. The film’s narrative trajectory starts with Harrell’s parents, who he recalls once celebrated Passover—“I’m not sure why we did that. We’re not Jewish. We’re just this normal American Midwestern family”—and who support Israel because that’s “just what everyone did.” The film moves then to a series of interviews with figures in the evangelical community known for their animus toward Zionism, like Gary Burge and Stephen Sizer, and writers outside the evangelical milieu whose reputation rests on their hostility to Israel, like Ilan Pappé and Norman Finkelstein.

These interviews challenge the mainstream evangelical narrative with well-worn accusations typical of BDSers. For instance, the Israeli occupation, says one South African evangelical, is “apartheid on steroids.”

“Growing up,” Speakman said of his childhood, “there was never a choice, you were supposed to love and support Israel. That meant following Genesis 12 as well as a fulfillment of endtime prophecies. But does supporting Israel mean supporting all of Israel’s geopolitical decisions?”

Speakman, who lived in Israel with his wife from 1998 until 2003, said that he thinks the role of Christians is to support both Jews and Arabs in their search for a solution. But some critics of his documentary think that the film goes much further. They see it as making the case that evangelicals have taken the wrong side—favoring a nation inhabited by those who rejected Jesus as their savior rather than the Christian communities that have existed in the Holy Land since the time of Christ. The issue is that key segments of the Palestinian Christian community have a vested political interest in delegitimizing Zionism—a fact that Speakman and other Western activists in the evangelical community may or may not be aware of.

Among the Palestinian outfits leading the campaign critical of Israel is the Bethlehem Bible College, which organized Christ at the Checkpoint, for which Speakman served as a media coordinator. The most prominent and active organization is the Jerusalem-based Sabeel, headed by a Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek. Its American branch, Friends of Sabeel North America, is based in Portland, Ore., and raises money for its Jerusalem affiliate.

“Sabeel is nakedly hostile to Israel,” Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst for CAMERA, told me in an interview. In an article on Sabeel and Ateek published last week, Van Zile quotes the clergyman at length, including this peculiar admission: “From my perspective as a Palestinian Christian, Zionism is a step backward in the development of Judaism.”

***

According to Randy Neal, Western Regional Coordinator of CUFI, the ideological foundations of the pro-Palestinian Christian movement are grounded in both liberation theology and replacement theology. The first is a politicized doctrine that requires a continual mindset of victimhood, in order to solicit political sympathy and action on behalf of the “oppressed” against the “oppressors.” The latter holds that the church has replaced Jews as God’s chosen and become the real Israel.

“It’s not just that church has replaced Israel,” said Neal, but for many of the Palestinian Christian clergy and their activist sympathizers, “the Palestinian church is the real church. Jesus, on this reading, was an underdog, who came to champion the underdog. He was oppressed by the Romans, so if you are Christ-like, you are also oppressed, like the Palestinians. This increasingly includes the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian. It’s an adopted narrative that is believed to have started with Yasser Arafat, but to some people it’s become a gospel fact.”

In other words, it’s a narrative that denies Jesus’ Jewish identity. “It is a very ugly expression of Christian anti-Semitism,” Neal said.

But Brog, Neal’s colleague, disagrees: “anti-Semitism is not the driving force.” Rather, he said, the impetus comes from a combination of two ideological streams. “There’s the anti-Israel perspective, which comes from the Palestinian Christians, who are using theology to preach a politically anti-Israel message. And then there are the Christians based in North America and Europe who are allowing liberal politics to trump Christian beliefs.”

The unpleasant reality is that Christian anti-Semitism has as much, if not more, theological justification as Christian support for Israel. Compared to two millennia of Christian anti-Semitism culminating with the Holocaust, one biblical verse is a pretty thin thread on which to hang support of the Jewish state.

Neal says that he believes Christian love of Israel is premised on Genesis 12:3 and on Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgement with them there for my people, my heritage Israel.”

“We are supposed to love what God loves,” Neal said. “We consider ourselves ambassadors of Christ. For centuries, Christians abused and abandoned the apple of God’s eye, and we are not going to let that happen again on our watch.”

But as CUFI pushes Genesis and Joel, the Christ at the Checkpoint crowd is focused exclusively on Palestinians’ distress and apparently ignoring history. CAMERA’s Van Zile, who attended last month’s conference, noted that nowhere in the pro-Palestinian evangelical narrative is there any account of Jewish persecution. “I’ve heard moving testimony about Palestinian suffering. But they don’t acknowledge Muslim anti-Semitism. They don’t talk about Palestinian leadership, or how it’s abused the Palestinian community. There’s no account of Hamas in their story about Israel.”

********

John Hagee of the rabid Zionist Christians United for Israel, trying to drag the US into a war with Iran:

Gary Bauer Has Amnesia about How Muslims are Treated

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by loonwatch

We’ve known for a while that Islam is being used by the far right as a stick with which to bash their liberal enemies. Long-time career politician Gary Bauer makes that clear in his newest screed atHuman Events, reproduced on the hate site JihadWatch.

Gary Bauer is an associate of firebrand evangelical John Hagee where they both serve together on the board of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Much has been said about the looniness of CUFI and its wayward spiritual advisor, John Hagee, such as their eagerness to provoke the end timesand their support of hardline Israeli policy. The special report from Jews on First about the CUFI conference records numerous strange and arguably dangerous beliefs including from Bauer himself. Needless to say, Bauer’s bias is evident in his latest editorial. He writes:

Few Americans would deny that Judeo-Christian beliefs and values informed the Founding of this country and that they continue to shape much of American life today. Nor would many of us deny that Americans who embrace Islamic values are a distinct minority here.

Implicit in this second sentence is the canard that “Americans who embrace Islamic values” are embracing values opposed to the Founding of this country. This is, of course, the message  people like Bauer, his friend Robert Spencer, and the anti-Muslim blogosphere are shouting everyday, explicitly or by innuendo. It flatly denies the historical reality that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are so entwined in their common roots and the process of mutual cultural exchange that serious historians believe we should really speak of an Islamo-Christian civilization.

Nevertheless, Bauer continues:

I raise these two facts because of an emerging reality: that, in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians. That might seem like a bizarre assertion, so think about it in another way: What if the Christians were treated like Muslims in America, and Muslims like Christians?

This is the crux of Bauer’s argument: “in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians.” He bases this on a litany of liberal crimes; but of course, within the context he selectively constructs (and without the context he chooses to ignore). He says:

If Muslims were treated like Christians, Muslims would be mocked by late night TV talk show hosts and lampooned in crude cartoon parodies. If Christians were treated like Muslims, conspicuous Christianity would be celebrated by our elites as a sign of our diversity and open-mindedness, not disparaged as an embarrassment, a nuisance and a breach of the law.

Of course, it is wrong to mock and deride entire religious or ethnic groups, but to suggest that Muslims have not likewise been disparaged by TV stars, radio hosts, pundits, and politicians is willful ignorance (has Gary Bauer been paying attention to 2010?). What about Bill O ReillyBill MaherSouth ParkDraw Muhammad DayBrian KilmeadePat RobertsonMichael SavageAnn Coulter, or numerous others? What about obstruction of mosques? As for crude cartoon parodies, did he read JihadWatch today? He continues:

If Christianity were treated like Islam, our students would be taught a white-washed version of Christian history, with the troubling bits miscast or omitted from textbooks and lesson plans.

By this I assume he is faulting the Texas State Board of Education, and similar institutions, of not including Islamophobic myths into their official curriculum. Bauer and company would like our textbooks to tell us how uniquely violent Islam and Muslims are.

His editorial continues by citing more cherry-picked and anecdotal “evidence” to conclude that the liberal “cultural elites” have sold Christianity up the river all the while Muslims get off the hook. We are left feeling that we should be incensed at those cultural elites who treat Islam better than Christianity. The reader has no more room for sympathy in his heart for those freeloading Muslims who have had it too good for too long. Not a shred of empathy for the challenges faced by his fellow American Muslim citizens. However, Bauer does end his piece with a noteworthy observation:

I’m not in favor of burning the Koran, and I don’t think insulting or defaming symbols of any religion constitutes art. At a time of the year when intolerance for public displays of Christianity is most acute, it is my Christmas wish that Muslims and Christians would be treated equally.

Good to know you are against burning the Quran, Mr. Bauer. That’s a step in the right direction. It is wrong to insult the holy symbols of different religions (a message we have repeated many times here at Loonwatch). As for intolerance of public displays of Christianity, it seems quite a stretch (considering the giant Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Centre, for example), but I do agree that Muslims and Christians should be treated equally. However, that will never happen until the far right (including you and your associates, Mr. Bauer) give up using Islam as a divisive wedge-issue just to score cheap political points. You cannot honestly complain about American Christians being treated worse than American Muslims while you do not give Muslims the same respect you are demanding for your self. Your arguments reek of tribalism and nativist populism.

Mr. Bauer, some day Muslims and Christians in America will be treated equal, but it will be no thanks to you or CUFI.

 

Jews on First: Special Report from the CUFI Conference

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by loonwatch

Jews on First has an excellent report on the CUFI Conference that is a must read.

Inside CUFI’s 2010 Washington “Summit”

Christians United for Israel’s (CUFI) fifth annual Washington Summit, held this past July 20-22, 2010, highlighted once again the persistence and institutionalization of CUFI as the American Christian Zionist organization. As with its previous Summits, it was repeatedly emphasized that t

he support and love that CUFI and its members have for Israel and the Jewish people – to be sure a very particular kind of support – was based on the Biblical mandate of Christians to do just that. Of course, this is not to be dismissed as afalse reason for its support. Indeed the proliferation and popularity of the “prosperity gospel” in contemporary conservative Protestantism has ensured that the repeated refrain of Genesis 12:3 (I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you) resonates among the (Christian) leaders of CUFI and its members. This is because it funnels the belief in personal “blessings” (which are almost always considered in financial terms) and national blessings (the furtherance of a conservative social agenda and American global dominance) into the ultimate investment: Israel.

This point was emphasized within the first hour of the opening night of the conference by Diana Hagee (wife of Rev. John Hagee) who pointed out that: “we need to spend more time praying for Israel and less time praying for our personal needs. Life is going to get a whole lot better for us, and trust me, all those other things (one’s personal desires) are going to be taken care of [if we bless Israel correctly].” While not false reasons for support (irrespective of how misguided they might be), it was evident that the repeated invocation also served a didactic function for those in attendance – many of whom, as in previous years, cited the importance of Israel in the end-times as reasons for their support – to let them know how they should be responding to questions regarding their support for Israel.

Despite this, the subtle invocations of symbolic eschatological language and logic were evident, not only in the words of the speakers, but also in the jubilant responses from the audience when such symbolism was used. And really, in the context of CUFI, symbolism is all that is needed to convey the eschatological underpinnings of its goals and their mission, despite the sustained refrain to the contrary. This is because the particular end-times message has been around long enough and is more comprehensively conveyed in other mediums that allusion is sufficient to engender the desired understanding from the audience, while not alienating those who don’t understand or share the same beliefs.

The use of symbolic language, in a particularly religious context was most evident in the opening session of prayer, in which attendees were instructed on how to effectively pray for Israel, and taught the purpose of their mission. Significantly, the opening prayer session was used as a moment to consecrate the conference and the role of attendees as God’s divine agents at a particular point in history (the history of the future), and that they would be blessed accordingly for serving God in this way. In Diana Hagee’s words: “God use me, ’til I draw my last breath or better yet till the trumpet sounds!” (That is, until the rapture occurs).

Diana Hagee further elaborated CUFI’s prophetic mission when she likened her husband to a modern day prophet:

Watchmen can see into the distance, and there have been three people in history with this prophetic power. Theodore Herzl – although being an unlikely candidate for God’s will (as a secular Jew) fulfilled it (and it was made clear that this was concomitant with the help of early Christian Zionists) by pushing for the creation of modern Israel. The second person was Ze’ev Jabotinsky for calling Jews out of Europe prior to the Holocaust. The third is John Hagee. Four years ago, John Hagee called together over 400 leaders to start CUFI and at the time things were good; we had a Christian who supported Israel in the White House and there was little trouble. But he said that in its fifth year we “will know why we are here.” And now we are in our fifth year and we know why we are here.

The implication of this – which was not lost on the audience – was that now, the Obama Administration is serving the cause of evil. It is applying further pressure on the Israeli administration to negotiate peace with its Palestinian neighbors, while also attempting to reach out to the Arab and Muslim world – two things which are themselves considered to be harbingers of the end-times because of the “false peace” brought about by the antichrist, and also the establishment of a one-world government, to which international cooperation and diplomacy are frequently portrayed as precursors.

The opening night of the conference coincided with the start of Tisha B’av, the Jewish commemoration and mourning of the destruction of the first and second Temples. It is difficult to discern whether or not Tisha B’av was taken into account prior to the organization of the conference. When asking whether attendees knew what it was, Diana Hagee claimed a willful ignorance, relating that when Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg used the words “Tisha B’av”, she didn’t know what it was and thought he could have just as easily been “ordering a sandwich.” Although the comment was meant to be light-hearted it seemed to betray a distinct lack of respect for Jewish tradition from an organization that emphatically portrays itself as an embodiment of modern philo-Semitism (admiration for Jews). Nevertheless, the customary reading of the Book of Lamentations proceeded to the delight of the Christian attendees. This commemoration of Tisha B’av at the conference seemed to perform another function: It further consecrated the event, as an historical one of the coming together of Christians and Jews, but more importantly it defined the Jewish speakers at the conference as “real Jews,” conferring to them a much greater sense of legitimacy and authority because of their religious devotion. Such adulation is in keeping with our report and reflections on the 2008 Summit (which can be found here.)

The religious and motivational significance of this opening night should not be underestimated. It set the tone for the rest of the conference, which was slowly emptied of overt theological reference to focus on politics and the more practical reasons that Christians need to be supporting Israel, instilling the belief that they have been brought up by God for a mission “at such a time as this.” It conveyed to the Christian attendees that they were “walking in the mantle of Esther” – a reference to Queen Esther who saved all the Jews from annihilation, as celebrated during the Jewish holiday of Purim. Importantly for today, the parallel is rendered even more effective due to the fact that the Book of Esther is set in ancient Persia – modern Iran – the current thorn in the side of neoconservatives and also a country with a prominent role in the eschatology of Christian Zionists. Therefore the neoconservative message they received at the various tutorials during the proceeding days became imbued with a sacred meaning despite the very worldly hegemonic goals of those espousing them.

Israel 101: The Basics of the Arab Israeli Conflict
At one of the educational breakout sessions entitled: Israel 101: The Basics of the Arab Israeli Conflict, Gary Bauer opened the session, highlighting the salience of fear and emotion used to garner support and to frame issues within a wider cosmic battle by using his time to speak explicitly about 9/11. The central thrust of Bauer’s argument, was that “the attackers on 9/11, thepeople causing havoc throughout the Middle East were not created by poverty or social injustice, they grew out of radical Islam.” Palestinians were further painted with a broad brush as extremists, while strains of thought that gave the Palestinians a sense of humanity were similarly disparaged when Bauer later noted that:

It is has become an accepted fact among America’s elites that the great majority of the Palestinian people want to live in peace, side by side with the Israeli people – I’m sorry, somebody needs to prove it to me… The reality, ladies and gentlemen is this: evil men, who worship death, they brag about. Evil men who worship death, at this very moment are planning for you and for me, and for Israelis and for free men and women all over the world, sorrows unimaginable to us.

He later went on to state that he does not believe “any peace process will work in the Middle East, until this evil philosophy has been defeated. And then – and only then – Israel will be secure, America will be secure, and we, thank God, will have avoided another dark age.” This statement furthered a theme that was evident throughout the conference, which began with the divine mandate given to CUFI by its leaders on the opening night: America and Israel are engaged in a cosmic battle between good and evil, the success of which must be ensured to continue to curry God’s favor for the West. Moreover, it subtly shows the continued hostility that CUFI has towards the peace process, preferring to focus on defeating “this evil philosophy”, which appeared to be code for an unabated continuity of the “war on terrorism.”

Bauer was followed by AIPAC’s Jeff Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn opened his speech using language that spoke directly to the eschatological hopes and dreams of many Christian Zionists, describing Israel as “not just a Jewish issue, it is [also] a Christian issue, it is an American issue, it is an issue of importance to the Western world – and I think ultimately, it is an issue of great importance to all of civilization.” That is to say, Mendelsohn was engaging Christian Zionists in their belief that Israel is the key to end-times prophecy and the place where God’s millennial kingdom will be established after the tribulation; it is the epicenter where civilization will continue after the current world has been rid of evil.

The Iranian Threat
As in previous years enmity towards Iran maintained a strong foothold throughout the conference. During the second breakout session, The Iranian Threat, self-described CUFI “repeat offender” and former Reagan official, Frank Gaffney, described Iran as being “probably within months of operationalizing” its “incipient nuclear capabilities.” Gaffney then told the audience that Iran could use one of these weapons against the United States in a “catastrophic attack that could literally destroy the country” through the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a favorite line that John Hagee has also towed in his numerous books on prophecy. 9/11 was again intoned to remind attendees of the threat purportedly facing the United States and to link Iran to those events, whenGaffney described jihad as “the violent form of terror that we have all come to know particularly since 9/11 but that actually, arguably, was first waged against us back in 1979 by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

While reminding the audience of this ominous threat, Gaffney quickly altered his focus to the more subtle (and potentially more fear-inducing) threat of “stealth jihad” and the notion that Iran and the rest of the “Muslim world” were unequivocally bent on establishing a global theocracy that would rule over each one of us.

The idea that Iran and other more generic threats from Islam were “stealing a march on us” through this stealth jihad was discussed in terms of the availability of “Shariah compliant finance” as an insidious threat to our way of life: “It is afflicting freedom loving people not just in the Middle East, but Europe, Canada, Latin America, and yes here in the United States as well. We must do what we can to save our country, to save Israel, from these assorted threats. We need to be informed about this one most especially.”

The “Ground Zero Mosque” was highlighted as the most ominous characterization of this threat, and elicited the most emotional response from the audience. In Gaffney’s words:

Right now, there is a fight brewing over whether we will accede to the latest assertion of Shariah’s dominance of our ultimate, inevitable submission to this program, within what I like to call ‘spitting distance’ of what is arguably for most Americans today, the most sacred ground in this country. I’m talking about Ground Zero. There, in keeping with the traditions of Shariah…. adherents to Shariah, people who have made it absolutely explicit they intend to bring it to America, are now proposing to build within 600 feet within the World Trade Center site, a 13-story building, $100 million for Shariah…. It is part of this supremacist agenda of symbolically and for all time demonstrating the triumph of this Islamic program, on our most sacred soil. I say to you ladies and gentlemen, it is not about faith; Shariah is a totalitarian, political program. It is about conquest. It is about the destruction of freedom of religion, and indeed all civil liberties … those who adhere to it are our absolutely immutable enemies! They must be defeated!

Clifford May, president of the conservative “Foundation for the Defense of Democracies”, also appealed to the attendees’ belief in their divine mission, letting them know during the opening of his talk that they were “doing God’s work.” His talk, followed a similar line to Gaffney’s, warning the audience of the goals the Iranian Mullahs’ desires to bring the Western World under the control of an Islamic Caliphate. May further entrenched Gaffney’s point that “once shariah get its nose, its camel’s nose, in the tent, the beast will follow.” May then spent most of his talk, traversing quickly between statements by Iranian officials and other leaders in the Muslim world about their purportedly unified effort to bring down the West.

Controversial and incendiary comments about a pre-emptive strike on Iran – which many ChristianZionists see as a catalyst for an attack on Israel purportedly prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 – that have been made by John Hagee at past conferences were notably absent from this year’s Summit. However, May was able to effectively promote the idea by putting the words into the mouth of the ambassador for the United Arab Emirates, as May paraphrased him:

We cannot live with a nuclear Iran. By we [the ambassador] apparently meant the more moderate countries of the Middle East. He went on to add that if sanctions failed to stop Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons military force will be the only option left, and it must not be ruled out.

In describing the Iranian threat of nuclear capabilities, Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, also created a sense of urgency. Like the speakers before him, Satloff used some vague terms that are familiar to Christian Zionists regarding the end times, suggesting that the short time needed for Iran to achieve nuclear capability meant that it was “five minutes to midnight.” Anyone familiar with John Hagee’s book From Daniel to Doomsday or other literature on prophecy will know that certain prophetic events are often demarcated based on their length of time from midnight.

To Satloff’s credit he did speak on the importance of the Green movement in Iran and the reality that the country itself is divided, rather than portraying the country as a unified force where the enitre population seeks to destroy the West and Israel through any means necessary. However, this assertion was undercut by Gaffney later during the question and answer period when Gaffney argued that: “Time is running out to support the Greens. We had best be about the business of preparing for military action,” to which the crowd responded far more enthusiastically than they did to Satloff’s suggestion of the potential to reach out and help the Green movement.

Lobbying Congress
During the “Civics 101″ session CUFI’s Executive Director, David Brog took time to steer attendees down a particular path: appeal to American civil religion, but don’t reference your explicit beliefs. He instructed attendees to “tell your congressman that you are a Christian and you are here for onereason and one reason only: Israel…. It’s a Christian issue, and more importantly, it’s an American issue.” Something that again subtly speaks to the belief among Christian Zionists that their, and America’s, failure to support Israel in the way that CUFI defines support will result in divine punishment for America.

Intent on ensuring that an effective and professional group was representing CUFI to their congressmen and women, while also understanding the true issues that motivate CUFI members, Brog was even more specific:

Please stay on the issue of Israel…. If you care about the issue of life, that’s fantastic, but come another day. If you care about the issue of marriage, that’s important. Call them another day. We are here for one issue and one issue only. [tell them] ‘I’m your constituent, I’m a Christian, I’m here for Israel.’ Please don’t stray from the talking points…. When in Rome, do as the Romans do … it is important to speak to policy makers in a language that they understand, and that is the language of policy. Our faith informs and inspires our activism. We’re all here because of our faith. But with sadly limited exceptions, most of those guys on Capitol Hill, don’t speak the language of faith. With sadly limited exceptions, most of the guys on the Hill are driven by policy considerations, not considerations of faith. So, I ask you this quite seriously. When you go up to a congressman, and you start quoting the Bible, quoting the scripture, talking about a vision you had that’s been very important in your life … they just don’t speak that language, and they’re not going to be swayed by that language. So unless you know your member well, and you know he’s a man of God, we strongly and respectfully request you speak to them in a language that they will understand, the language of policy.”

While asking members not to express the specifics of their faith openly, Brog quickly emphasized that he understands and shares the views of the attendees, speaking inclusively, he stated: “We are here because of our faith, but we’re doing something important for God if we get these men of power to stand with Israel … let’s speak their language, that’s how we will best serve God tomorrow.”

Diana Hagee also made a brief appearance during the session as a way to remind attendees of their prophetic mission as a parallel to Brog’s more practical requests: “we are chosen for such a time as this to be watchmen on the wall. We’re all building our portion of the wall; we’re all doing a good work. We have a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other….”

Night To Honor Israel
While Brog emphasized the importance of speaking in the language of policy, rather than prophecy, to the elected officials,speakers at the culminating Night to Honor Israel reversed the trend and reinvoked the symbolic, eschatological language that opened the Summit.

As in previous years, Sentator Joseph Lieberman referred to John Hagee as a “man of God” just like Moses. Similarly, Gary Bauer, after again disparaging the catastrophic threats awaiting Israel and the West proclaimed, “It is for such a time as this, that John Hagee has become a watchman on the wall for Israel who never sleeps.”

During his speech John Hagee quickly divided the world into two groups: “those who support Israel, and those who don’t. There is no middle ground.” Hagee continued to claim, “The free world is at war with radical Islam. Without victory there is no survival. Not for America, not for Israel.”

Immediatly following Hagee’s speech, his wife Diana took the stage to put pressure on attendees for financial donations. “Our future does not depend on our economy,” stated Diana, “our future depends on our obedience to the living God. And if we give, and if we honor God, we can trust him to honor us. Our cause is Israel. Our cause is just. Our cause is right. Our cause is good, and our cause is holy.”

Critical Reflections on the 2010 Washington Summit
Throughout the conference a number of observations can be made. Firstly, now in its fifth year, CUFI has evolved and seems to have tightened it grip on some of the more stark language that can be easily attacked by its critics. Violent language calling for preemtive strikes on Iran were softened, and terms like “Islamofascism” – favorites of John Hagee in other mediums and previous Summits – were notably absent. Even Frank Gaffney who is openly hostile towards Islam corrected an attendee who referred to Islam as “Islamofascism” preferring to call it jihad. However, the emphasis on these issues and the preferred action to be taken against them remained the same as in previous years. There was also a strong sense that despite CUFI’s obvious purpose being the support of Israel, the interest among many of the Summit attendees was the salvation of America. Standing with Israel was always framed as an “American Issue.” Senator Joseph Lieberman, after once again comparing John Hagee to Moses, stated “Support of Israel is as American as apple pie and baseball.” It is this issue that helps confirm the eschatological worldview of participants and leaders as well. Their absolute belief in Genesis 12:3, combined with a belief in the imminence of divine judgement propels them to support Israel, ultimately it would seem for many, to ensure America survives.

 

Joseph Lieberman, You Don’t Speak for Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2010 by loonwatch

john-hagee-and-joe-lieberman-embrace

Joseph Lieberman is a chameleon-like politician who has weathered many political storms throughout his career. From running as Vice President along with Al Gore to the recent health care reform efforts, he has been a controversial figure. His trajectory has been one of a politician who started out as a liberal progressive but has increasingly taken on the causes and issues of the right-wing.

He has embraced and aligned himself with controversial figures such as Pastor John Hagee,whose Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conferences he has spoken at and attended in the past. He even compared Hagee to Moses! Hagee believes in the Rapture and end times ideology which say Jesus will return to earth and lift all his followers into the clouds and all other human beings will eventually be destroyed in tumultuous chaos. It is an ideology that also states that all the Jews will be annihilated except for a few thousand who convert to Christianity. This is what Pastor John Hagee believes, isn’t it strange for Lieberman to compare him to Moses?

This brings us to our topic today in which John Lieberman casts himself as the spokesperson or analyst who knows the inner feelings of Muslims. Responding to news that President Barack Obama’s administration is no longer using the misnomer “Islamic terrorism,” Lieberman responded by saying “this is not the first time that Obama administration has tried to tiptoe around referring to Islam in its security documents and that it’s time to ‘blow the whistle’ on the trend. ”

The Fox article in its entirety,

Lieberman: Omitting ‘Islamic’ Terrorism from Security Document Dishonest, ‘Offensive’

Sen. Joe Lieberman slammed the Obama administration Sunday for stripping terms like “Islamic extremism” from a key national security document, calling the move dishonest, wrong-headed and disrespectful to the majority of Muslims who are not terrorists.

The Connecticut independent revealed that he wrote a letter Friday to top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan urging the administration to “identify accurately the ideological source” of the threat against the United States. He wrote that failing to identify “violent Islamist extremism” as the enemy is “offensive.”

The letter was written following reports that the administration was removing religious references from the U.S. National Security Strategy — the document that had described the “ideological conflict” of the early 21st century as “the struggle against militant Islamic radicalism.”

Lieberman told “Fox News Sunday” this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has tried to tiptoe around referring to Islam in its security documents and that it’s time to “blow the whistle” on the trend.

This is not honest and, frankly, I think it’s hurtful in our relations with the Muslim world,” Lieberman said. “We’re not in a war against Islam. It’s a group of Islamist extremists who have taken the Muslim religion and made it into a political ideology, and I think if we’re not clear about that, we disrespect the overwhelming majority of Muslims who are not extremists.”

Lieberman, in his letter, noted that prior Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon documents also did not refer to “Islamist extremism.” He expressed dismay that the administration’s review of the Fort Hood shooting, in which alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan was said to have had contact with a radical cleric beforehand, omitted the term.

“Unless we’re honest about that, we’re not going to be able to defeat this enemy,” Lieberman told “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s absolutely Orwellian and counterproductive to the fight that we’re fighting.” (emphasis mine)

Can you imagine the chutzpah involved in stating that “we disrespect the overwhelming majority of Muslims” by not using terms such as “Islamic extremism.” Hello Joe, Muslims feel disrespected when hypocritical politicians attempt to sully the name of their faith in a way that paints all Muslims as extremists. That is exactly what is done when offensive, wrong and illogical neologisms such as “Islamic extremism” are employed. They shed no light on the problem at hand, instead, it obfuscates the threat to America.

The disclaimer he gives about “we are not in a war against Islam” is an empty statement. It is stating the obvious, but when he then turns around and advocates usage of terms such as “Islamic extremism,” he contradicts himself because he falls into the trap of implying that extremism is intrinsic to Islam. A connection which is as absurd as comparing John Hagee to Moses.

 

Why Did Eli Wiesel Speak at CUFI?

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by loonwatch

Why Did Eli Wiesel Speak at CUFI?

Eli Wiesel
Eli Wiesel

Why has Eli Wiesel, the renowned author of Night, a book which many consider to be part of the canon of 2oth century literature spoken at a CUFI (Christians United for Israel) conference? This is astounding considering that CUFI is an apocalyptic organization which holds some very strange, some would characterize Anti-Semitic views. It is also an organization that is virulently anti-Muslim and Islamophobic.

This is a letter that some concerned individuals in the Jewish Community sent to Mr. Wiesel in the hope that he would cancel his speech at CUFI.

An Open Letter to Eli Wiesel

Dear Mr. Wiesel,

Your years of tireless campaigning for human rights and against anti-Semitism have earned our deepest respect. For this reason we have written the following letter in hope that you will reconsider your support of events sponsored by John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. We realize that the outward show of support for Jews and Israel, on display at Hagee’s CUFI events, can be very enticing but there is another aspect of Christian Zionism which we believe runs strongly counter to Jewish and Israeli interests.

John Hagee teaches “theological racism,” the idea that the destiny of peoples is based on their biblical genealogy. Hagee claims Jewish souls are different from those of gentiles and that, according to divine plan, Jews have no right to live anywhere on Earth but in Israel. Hagee’s fellow Christian Zionists predict that a coming, divinely ordained paroxysm of anti-Semitic violence, a “second Holocaust,” will be necessary to force all Jews to make aliyah. From the pulpit, pastor Hagee and his fellow Christian Zionists preach their theological racism that risks provoking such a catastrophe.

When you attend CUFI events, you will receive a great deal of outward affection and participate in singing and celebration that looks and sounds Jewish. However, this is a manifestation of a volatile millennial cycle, an exuberant embrace of “Hebrew roots” founded on the expectation that this generation will bring about the fulfillment of “God’s plan for Israel.” There is some argument among Christian Zionists about the exact timing and details of this plan, but on one point they are absolutely consistent; the ingathering of Jews to Israel, and the elimination of Rabbinic Judaism as part of Israel’s “restoration,” are required for the 1000 year reign of Christ.

Our combined years of research have produced a substantial body of documentation on the anti-Semitic face of Christian Zionism. Last May, one small piece of that documentation was widely publicized through a video by Bruce Wilson that included a quote, from a sermon John Hagee gave in 2005, in which pastor Hagee stated “…then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.” Amidst the ensuing publicity, presidential candidate John McCain rejected Hagee’s political endorsement.

John Hagee’s attacks on Judaism are well documented and have included calling Hillel an extremist whose followers incited both the killing of Jesus and centuries of anti-Semitism. From the pulpit Hagee has claimed that the anti-Christ is “partially Jewish, as was Adolf Hitler.”

Hagee also preaches that European-based Rothschilds control the US economy, through the Federal Reserve, and conspire to attack the American middle class by devaluing the dollar. According to the ADL, this class of Federal Reserve conspiracy theory, which names Rothschilds, is a “classic anti-Semitic myth.” ADL traces it to Christian Identity, one of the most overtly anti-Semitic sectors of American society but one which uses “Hebrew” symbols and Christianized version of Jewish holidays because, according to Identity theology, Christians, not Jews, are the “true Israelites.”

Christian Identity’s roots are based a millennial movement that was “philo-Semitic,” but which in the early 20th century rejected Jews as impostors descended from Esau and the Edomites. This narrative can still be seen throughout Identity media. In his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee promotes a similar theological claim, that a lineage of “half-breed Jews,” descended from Esau and which included Adolf Hitler, have persecuted full-blooded Jews throughout history. Hagee writes that God intends to exterminate that “half-breed Jew” line.

Christian Identity’s overt anti-Semitism has very limited appeal and reach. Cloaked in the guise of “love” for Jews and Israel, John Hagee’s conspiracy theories and theological racism can be consumed without guilt by listeners in the 190 nations Hagee claims to reach through Christian television and radio broadcast networks.

How can John Hagee so sincerely and convincingly claim to love Israel while introducing theological racism to a international audience?

The widely taught prophecy narrative of the “fishers and hunters” of Jeremiah 16 helps to explain this paradox. Christian Zionists see themselves as the “fishers” who must befriend and cajole Jews, through emotional and financial support, to fulfill their prophetic destiny. Meanwhile, the “hunters” are overt anti-Semites who will force the remaining Jews of the world to flee to Israel. In order for the Christian Zionist prophecy of the “restoration of Israel” to be fulfilled, there must be a future wave of violent anti-Semitism in which the world will turn on Jews and Israel.

The quote which our research team provided to the press from Hagee’s 2005 sermon series, “Jerusalem Countdown,” concerned Hitler’s role as a “hunter” in the “fishers and hunters” narrative. But Hitler did not succeed in forcing all Jews to flee to Israel, and even those Jews who have settled in today’s modern state of Israel have not met the prophetic requirement of “spiritual restoration,” which is acceptance of Jesus. In his 2005 sermon Hagee also stated, “they [the Jews] are physically alive but they’re not spiritually alive. Now how is God going to cause the Jewish people to come spiritually alive…”

Many Christian Zionist leaders describe their prophecy of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” as the second or final holocaust of the Jews. Tom Hess, in Let My People Go, pleads with Jews to leave the U.S. before it is too late, and Hess details his vision of trains all over the world taking Jews from major cities. In her best-selling fictional portrayal of the Jewish people, Israel My Beloved, Kay Arthur has portrayed the coming persecution to be “beyond the horrors of Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz.” Richard Booker’s Blow the Trumpet in Zion features a list, on the back cover, of the book’s topics, including “Why Christians Should Love Jews” and “The Jews’ Final Holocaust.” Booker explains that nothing less than this “final holocaust” can bring the Jews back to God, and Jesus can not be king of all the world until Jews accept him. Paradoxically, these Christian Zionists seek to “bless Israel” and show their “love” for Jews through fulfillment of a prophecy in which Judaism is eradicated.

All three of these Christian Zionist leaders have become involved in the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, which is working to raise millennial expectations to a fevered pitch – with the endorsement of the Israeli government. Some may view their support as politically valuable, but Christian Zionists are helping to spread around the globe a dangerous obsession with Jews and Israel.

Mr. Wiesel, you have spent your life teaching the world about the dangers of anti-Semitism. Please do not provide legitimacy to John Hagee and other Christian Zionists who have spent their careers teaching that the elimination of Judaism is the will of God and the divine plan for Israel. Yes, the exuberant singing, dancing, and tears of Christian Zionists are indeed a celebration of their love for Israel – but that is a strange and terrible love, not too far from hate, which seeks a very different Israel than the one of Jewish hopes and a very different future for the world than the vision of peace and coexistence for which you have fought all of these years.

Sincerely,
Bruce Wilson
Rachel Tabachnick

Notes:
Elie Wiesel is scheduled to speak at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church on Sunday, October 25 for a CUFI Night to Honor Israel event.

Bruce Wilson is the co-founder of Talk2action.org and produced the nationally televised video clip on Hagee’s 2005 sermon series, “Jerusalem: Countdown To Crisis”. (Despite Hagee’s comments, the quote came from a 2005 sermon in which Hagee later referred to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.)

Rachel Tabachnick also contributes to Talk2Action.org and is the author of “God’s Plan for Israel, The End Times Prophecy Narrative of Christian Zionism,” a free teaching resource on CD.

Freedumb of Speech Summit?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2009 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

To Freedom of Speech or to Freedumb of Speech?  That is the question. My apologies to Bill Shakespeare but I am actually referring to a real event. Mark your calendars freedom lovers for April 25th — especially if you live near Delray Beach, Florida — for you guys are about to witness a real “love-fest ” in defense of Democracy and Western Civilization.

For $150 you can have the pleasure of listening to one of Europe’s leading Fascists — Geert Wilders — rant about the evils of Islam and Muslims, the need to ban the Koran, its similarities to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and other fun anecdotes.  You’ll also get an opportunity to view his much hyped but universally ignored film Fitna which is just as easily viewable for free online. As you’re passing around the cocktails amongst an audience of the clinically paranoid, wondering what the hell you’re doing there, make sure you at least stay for dinner because for God’s sakes you paid $150 for it.

Bostom Wilders Spencer Geller

Bostom Wilders Spencer Geller

Also on the guest list is Robert Spencer who runs that den of hospitality and enlightened discourse known as JihadWatch. Spencer, known for his selective and misleading mangling of Muslim texts, casting aspersions on all Muslims, and general poor scholarship, is also known for joining a White supremacist group on his personal Facebook account called “Campaign for ‘the Reconquista’ in Anatolia” that states as one of its aims:

the total Reconquest and complete reassymilation of the Anatolia penninsular, eastern Thrace, northern Cyprus, Greater Armenia, The Pontus and Antiochia through the medium of Greek, Armenian, Cypriot, Byzantine, Pontic and Syriac National Sovereignty and on an unconditional basis.

If some of you don’t know why that’s bad, the Anatolian Penninsula is pre-dominantly populated by Turks and Kurds and is 99% Muslim. As of yet, Spencer has not apologized for joining the group or condemned the group’s mission.

Another participant is Brigitte Gabriel, described by the New York Times as a “Radical Islamophobe.” She can’t make up her mind if moderate Muslims exist or not. In a speech given at the conference for Christians United for Israel she stated,

The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil [applause]…. this is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no SOUL !, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call “Allah” which is very different from the God we believe….[applause] because our God is the God of love.

She also seems to believe as she stated on her Orwellian named organization Act! for America that “Lebanon…is nearly all Islamic.” This is a much needed dose of laughter to go along with her other inanities. Lebanon has a Christian population that is cited as being 39% according to the CIA Factbook while Muslims (including all sects: Shia, Sunni, Druze) account for nearly 60% of the total population. Lebanon is also known for being not only one of the most pluralistic countries in the Middle East but also one of the most Westernized; Beirut itself is known as “the Paris of the Middle East.”

These are just a few of the characters and headliners of this Freedumb of Speech Summit. Sure sounds like fun! A European Fascist hooking up with an American Fascist hooking up with a Lebanese Fascist who believes Arabs have no soul – all in the cause of defending Freedom of Speech and Western Civilization. Birds of a feather flock together couldn’t be a more apt description here.

On the other hand, you might want to skip this Muslim-Bash summit and go over to Disney World. How much are tickets now-a-days? Can’t be any more than $150 and probably would be money better spent.

The Three Stooges Coming to a Campus Near You!

Posted in Feature, Loon Busters, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2009 by loonwatch

shoebat

If you live near to, or are a student at a university you might be interested in knowing that the Three Stooges are touring college campuses nationwide, but before you get your hopes up just know that it’s not the three stooges that you might be familiar with.

We’re talking about the three stooges of the Christian Right: Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem and Zachariah Anani.

These three aren’t comedic geniuses in the usual sense but rather are funny in the same way that televangelists who steal money from gullible viewers searching for a cure to their ills give you fits of laughter while at the same time making you feel sick to your stomach. You know its a charade, a concocted myth but you watch to see the theatrics of the show and the usual ‘planted’ caller who declares how the televangelist’s powers cured them of their incurable disease.

So now we have another group of individuals using and abusing Christianity in the name of profit. Former New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief and expert on Christian Fundamentalism Chris Hedges describes them to a tee:

These self-described former Muslim terrorists are regularly trotted out at Christian colleges—a few days ago they were at the Air Force Academy—to spew racist filth about Islam on behalf of groups such as Focus on the Family. It is a clever tactic. Curly, Larry and Mo, who all say they are born-again Christians, engage in hate speech and assure us it comes from personal experience. They tell their audiences that the only way to deal with one-fifth of the world’s population is by converting or eradicating all Muslims.Their cant is broadcast regularly on Fox News, including the Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto shows, as well as on numerous Christian radio and television programs. Shoebat, who has written a book called “Why We Want to Kill You,” promises in his lectures to explain the numerous similarities between radical Muslims and the Nazis, how “Muslim terrorists” invaded America 30 years ago and how “perseverance, recruitment and hate” have fueled attacks by Muslims. (emphasis added)

In fact their tour isn’t simply limited to Christian colleges but extends to colleges and universities that have no affiliation with religion. As noted above they have spoken at the Air Force Academy and most recently (minus Anani) at Western Michigan University.

The fundamentally obvious question that seems to escape people is, “If these guys really are ‘ex-terrorists’ why are they allowed to roam free, campus to campus, lecture hall to lecture hall without being monitored or questioned by the FBI?” The logic of a lot of their supporters in answering this concludes that: if a terrorist repents and accepts Christianity they should be spared prosecution for any crimes committed beforehand.

The looniness in the case of these stooges doesn’t require a great deal of research but can be gleaned from their own words as the best material for their hilarity comes from their own mouths.

For instance, Zachariah Anani claim’s in his biography posted on Shoebat’s hate-site that:

“Every time I killed someone and two or three fighters witnessed it, they would give me a point on my chart. I carried 223 points.”Even his comrades feared him. “Although we had a sense of loyalty to each other,” he says, “we were ready to take out enemies or friends.” When a fanatical Muslim joined his regiment and began knocking on doors to wake the others for prayer at 3 A.M., Anani warned him: “I don’t want to pray. Don’t come and wake me.” When he heard the knock early the next morning, Anani picked up his gun, shot him, and went back to sleep.

LoonWatchers, we can’t make this stuff up!

According to his own admission he has killed at least 223 people and that’s only in those cases in which there were two or three witnesses. You’d think the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security would be all over this murderer but no one knows who he is or what he’s talking about. Also, what kind of insane and pathological individual non-chalantly shoots someone and then simply goes back to sleep; Anani it seems!

The other two stooges are just as bad if not worse in attempting to sell their outlandish and fantastical stories.

Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat

Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat

Kamal Saleem claim’s to be the descendant of someone called the “The Grand Wazir of Islam,” which  Hedges points out is “a title and a position that do not exist in the Arab world.” It can be further noted that the religion of Islam has no clerical hierarchy similar to the Catholic Church with defined positions such as the Pope, Bishops, Priests, etc. Kamal’s blooper in his bio is either a result of an ignorance of Islam and its structure or an attempt to manipulate the ignorance of his audience.

Shoebat may be the most outlandish of them all, he is also the most well known. He has in the past equated Islam with “Satanism” and “Nazism.” He also stated in front of an audience at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee that “Palestinians keep Jewish testicles and breasts in jars.”

He claim’s to have planted a bomb at Bank Leumi in Bethlehem but his story has been debunked by several sources including the Jerusalem Post and Shoebat’s own family members. Bank Leumi itself states that they have no record of a bomb attack for the time period asserted by Shoebat.

Simon Altaf, a former Muslim and a convert to Christianity was a close friend of Shoebat and along with him co-authored a book titled This is our Eden, This is our End. Altaf states that,

Walid wanted to be an ex-Terrorist to make money, pure and simple.

In the end the goal is to make money off of these speaking engagements, television appearances, and Church gatherings. This is an easy sell, after 9/11 many Americans were rightly afraid of another terrorist attack;  in this climate Anti-Muslim and Islamophobic sentiment grew making it a ripe time for someone to capitalize on the growing fear and paranoia in the country.

These three stooges hit on the jack pot and saw that there was a cottage industry developing to bash Muslims and Islam and so jumped on the bandwagon, taking their loony lies and hate-caravan all the way to the bank.