Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Cynical Alliance

Unfortunately, the bizarre phenomenon of Christian Zionism rarely makes it into the ms press, but since Christian Zionist kooks Robert Jeffress and John Hagee were an integral part of the recently concluded Barbie and Ken Kushner Doll gig in Jerusalem, they could hardly not get a mention somewhere in the reportage:

"On Monday, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other leading lights of the Trumpist right gathered in Israel to celebrate the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a gesture widely seen as a slap in the face to Palestinians who envision East Jerusalem as their future capital. The event was grotesque. It was a consummation of the cynical alliance between hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals who believe that the return of Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse and the return of Christ, after which Jews who don't convert will burn forever. Religions like 'Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism' lead people 'to an eternity of separation from God in Hell', Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, once said. He was chosen to give the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony. John Hagee, one of America's most prominent end-times preachers, once said that Hitler was sent by God to drive the Jews to their ancestral homeland. He gave the closing benediction." (A grotesque spectacle and a Trump Square, Michelle Goldberg, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 16/5/18)

(Goldberg's veiled terminology, "hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals" is curious. What's wrong with 'Zionist Jews and Christian Zionists'?)

Hagee, of course, is the high priest of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), hatched in Israel in 2005 and launched in the US in 2006. CUFI is "geared towards co-ordinating the efforts of America's myriad Christian Zionist groups and persuading the US administration to, in Hagee's words, 'stop pressuring Israel to give up land for peace'," and "would function as a Christian Zionist lobbying group on Capitol Hill." (Allies for Armageddon: The Ride of Christian Zionism, Victoria Clark, 2007, p 221)

To give you some idea of how a CUFI gig goes, here's Clark again:

"'God TV' was broadcasting the entire occasion live, worldwide. [Hagee] had video footage of the [Israeli] Vice-Prime-Minister Shimon Peres describing his activities on Israel's behalf as 'the best help Israel could have hoped for', and some more, of Benjamin Netanyahu, reminding everyone that 'the rise of the Jewish state would not have been possible without Christian Zionism'.  To cap it all, he had cheques totalling $7 million to donate to worthy Israeli causes, including half a million for the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a million for Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and $3 million for an orphanage. And, as if all that weren't enough, he had a packed programme of entertainment in store for us. It kicked off with the 'Star Spangled Banner' and the Hatikvah, but that was only the start. Dancers dressed in stetsons, Davy Crockett hats and red neckerchiefs cavorted about the stage singing 'Next Year in Jerusalem'. Hagee Junior sang us a 'song of Zion'. Two soldiers, one in US army camouflage, the other wearing a prayer shawl over his uniform, walked to centre-stage, shook hands and embraced. The auditorium lights went off and the entire choir processed around the church with candles, while a God-like, disembodied voice boomed 'Every drop of Jewish blood is sacred'. Diana Hagee made a brief appearance dressed in the colours of the Israeli flag." (p 282)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A nice Shakespeare quote from an Off Guardian piece......"Hell is empty and all the devils are here".