[Marxism] NY Times on Gaza
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 15 08:04:45 MDT 2018
(2 articles are barometers of shifting tides.)
Pastor Who Said Jews Are Going to Hell Led Prayer at Jerusalem Embassy
By Matthew Haag
A Dallas evangelical pastor who once said that Jewish people are going
to hell and a megachurch televangelist who claimed that Hitler was part
of God’s plan to return Jews to Israel both played prominent roles on
Monday in the opening ceremony of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem.
Robert Jeffress, who spoke at President Trump’s private inaugural prayer
service and is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, delivered a
prayer at the opening ceremony on Monday, while the Rev. John C. Hagee,
a televangelist who founded Christians United for Israel and leads a San
Antonio megachurch, gave the closing benediction.
Despite their comments about Jewish people, the two pastors are among
the leading pro-Israel voices in the evangelical Christian world. Some
evangelicals believe that American foreign policy should support Israel
to help fulfill biblical prophecies about the second coming of Christ.
The decision by Mr. Trump to move the embassy from Tel Aviv fulfilled a
major campaign promise and handed a victory to hard-line pro-Israel
Americans, as well as conservative and evangelical Christians who have
long wanted the United States’ diplomatic home to be in Jerusalem.
But critics say the move, which broke from almost seven decades of
United States policy, could risk peace negotiations between Israelis and
Palestinians, who both claim Jerusalem as their capital. Mass protests
broke out along the border fence with Gaza in the hours before the
embassy opening on Monday, and Israeli soldiers shot and killed more
than 50 Palestinians, the Health Ministry reported.
In their prayers at the ceremony on Monday, both pastors praised Mr.
Trump. Mr. Jeffress said the president “stands on the right side of you,
God, when it comes to Israel.” Mr. Hagee said the new embassy made a
clear statement: “Let every Islamic terrorist hear this message: ‘Israel
Here are some of the most incendiary remarks they’ve made in the past.
Jeffress: ‘You can’t be saved being a Jew’
Mr. Jeffress, who leads one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in
the country, suggested in a 2010 interview with the Trinity Broadcasting
Network that some churches might shy away from saying “anything that’s
going to offend people” to try to grow their congregations. He made it
clear he was going to preach what he believes the Bible says.
“Islam is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell,” Mr. Jeffress said
in the interview. “Mormonism is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell.”
He added: “Judaism — you can’t be saved being a Jew. You know who said
that, by the way? The three greatest Jews in the New Testament: Peter,
Paul and Jesus Christ. They all said Judaism won’t do it. It’s faith in
In the past decade, Mr. Jeffress has assumed a prominent role in
conservative politics, appearing frequently on Fox News and urging in
sermons and on television to elect a Christian as president.
Non-Christian religions are sending their followers to hell, he preached
in a September 2008 sermon.
“Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not
only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an
eternity of separation from God in hell,” Mr. Jeffress said. “Hell is
going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the
truth of Christ.”
Hagee: Hurricane Katrina punished New Orleans for its sins
After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, killing more
than 1,200 people, Mr. Hagee said that the storm was God’s punishment
for its sinful ways, a common trope among conservative evangelists.
Those sins included a gay pride parade that was scheduled for the same
day that Katrina made landfall.
“New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were
recipients of the judgment of God for that,” Mr. Hagee said in an
interview on NPR in 2006. “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment
of God against the City of New Orleans.”
In the NPR interview, Mr. Hagee spoke about his affection for Israel and
how he believes Jews will be saved during the Second Coming of Jesus
Christ, which he has long said is imminent. While Jews do not believe in
Jesus as their savior, Mr. Hagee said, they will accept him when he
appears and “they will weep as one weeps for his only son for a period
of one week.”
But he had a less sympathetic view of Muslims. “Islam in general, those
who live by the Quran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and
Jews,” he told NPR, adding that about 200 million Muslims wanted to
“come to America or invade Israel to crush it.”
Jeffress: Mitt Romney is part of a cult
Three months before the start of the 2008 Republican presidential
primaries in 2008, Mr. Jeffress said in a sermon that the candidate Mitt
Romney, a Mormon, was part of a cult.
“Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” Mr.
Jeffress said in September 2007, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a
Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”
After the pastor said on Fox News over the weekend that he would give
the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony, Mr. Romney called him a
Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism
is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such
a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United
States Embassy in Jerusalem.
Hagee: Hitler was part of God’s plan for Israel
Mr. Hagee has also taken a leading role in conservative politics and
threw his support behind Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008
presidential election. But Mr. McCain later disavowed Mr. Hagee's
endorsement after the pastor’s past remarks about Hitler and the
In a sermon in the late 1990s, Mr. Hagee said the Bible made clear that
Hitler and the Holocaust — when about six million Jews were killed —
were part of God’s plan to return Jews to Israel. “How did it happen?
Because God allowed it to happen,” he said, referring to the Holocaust.
“Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish
people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”
Jeffress: ‘Gay Is Not O.K.’
Before Mr. Jeffress joined First Baptist Dallas, he led the First
Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Tex., near the Oklahoma border. He made
national news in 1998 when he refused to return two books about children
with gay parents to the city’s library.
A church member gave him the two books — “Heather Has Two Mommies” and
“Daddy’s Roommate” — and then Mr. Jeffress sent a $54 check to the
library for the cost of the books. “We wanted to highlight the problem
in our community,” Mr. Jeffress told The Associated Press in May 1998.
“I really hope people will look at the book and see what their tax
dollars are supporting.”
He said he was trying to protect children because homosexuality causes
“the deaths of tens of thousands every year through AIDS.”
A decade later in Dallas, he gave a sermon titled “Gay Is Not O.K.,”
which led to protests outside the church. “Even though culture changes,
God’s word doesn’t change,” he told The Dallas Morning News.
A Grotesque Spectacle in Jerusalem
By Michelle Goldberg
On Monday, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other leading lights of the
Trumpist right gathered in Israel to celebrate the relocation of the
American 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.
This spectacle, geared toward Donald Trump’s Christian American base,
coincided with a massacre about 40 miles away. Since March 30, there
have been mass protests at the fence separating Gaza and Israel. Gazans,
facing an escalating humanitarian crisis due in large part to an Israeli
blockade, are demanding the right to return to homes in Israel that
their families were forced from at Israel’s founding. The demonstrators
have been mostly but not entirely peaceful; Gazans have thrown rocks at
Israeli soldiers and tried to fly flaming kites into Israel. The Israeli
military has responded with live gunfire as well as rubber bullets and
tear gas. In clashes on Monday, at least 58 Palestinians were killed and
thousands wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
The juxtaposition of images of dead and wounded Palestinians and Ivanka
Trump smiling in Jerusalem like a Zionist Marie Antoinette tell us a lot
about America’s relationship to Israel right now. It has never been
closer, but within that closeness there are seeds of potential estrangement.
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Defenders of Israel’s actions in Gaza will argue no country would allow
a mob to charge its border. They will say that even if Hamas didn’t call
the protests, it has thrown its support behind them. “The responsibility
for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” a White House
spokesman, Raj Shah, said on Monday.
But even if you completely dismiss the Palestinian right of return —
which I find harder to do now that Israel’s leadership has all but
abandoned the possibility of a Palestinian state — it hardly excuses the
Israeli military’s disproportionate violence. “What we’re seeing is that
Israel has used, yet again, excessive and lethal force against
protesters who do not pose an imminent threat,” Magdalena Mughrabi,
Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North
Africa, told me by phone from Jerusalem.
Much of the world condemned the killings in Gaza. Yet the United States,
Israel’s most important patron, has given it a free hand to do with the
Palestinians what it will. Indeed, by moving the embassy to Jerusalem in
the first place, Trump sent the implicit message that the American
government has given up any pretense of neutrality.
Reports of Israel’s gratitude to Trump abound. A square near the embassy
is being renamed in his honor. Beitar Jerusalem, a soccer team whose
fans are notorious for their racism, is now calling itself Beitar
“Trump” Jerusalem. But if Israelis love Trump, many Americans — and
certainly most American Jews — do not. The more Trumpism and Israel are
intertwined, the more left-leaning Americans will grow alienated from
Even before Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu helped open a
partisan divide on Israel in American politics, where previously there
had been stultifying unanimity. “Until these past few years, you’d never
heard the word ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ or talk about Gaza,” Jeremy
Ben-Ami, president of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street, said of
American politicians. But Ben-Ami told me that since 2015, when
Netanyahu tried to undercut President Barack Obama with a controversial
address to Congress opposing the Iran deal, Democrats have felt more
emboldened. “That changed the calculus forever,” he told me.
The events of Monday may have changed it further, and things could get
worse still. Tuesday is Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate their
dispossession, and the protests at the fence are expected to be even
larger. “People don’t feel like they can stay at home after loved ones
and neighbors have been killed for peacefully protesting for their
rights,” Abdulrahman Abunahel, a Gaza-based activist with the boycott,
divestment and sanctions movement, told me via email.
Trump has empowered what’s worst in Israel, and as long as he is
president, it may be that Israel can kill Palestinians, demolish their
homes and appropriate their land with impunity. But some day, Trump will
be gone. With hope for a two-state solution nearly dead, current trends
suggest that a Jewish minority will come to rule over a largely
disenfranchised Muslim majority in all the land under Israel’s control.
A rising generation of Americans may see an apartheid state with a Trump
Square in its capital and wonder why it’s supposed to be our friend.
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