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S0Noma
12-20-2006, 10:16 AM
By Bill Berkowitz

OAKLAND, California - Over the past 20 years, the US Christian Right has evolved into one of the most powerful grassroots organizing forces within the Republican Party, and a host of Christian Zionists have taken a well-earned seat at the foreign-policy table.

At the same time, their support for Israel is not only growing, it is becoming an influential political factor.

Several prominent Christian Right and conservative Jewish leaders have teamed up to found organizations that have provided millions of dollars to Israeli charities, lobbied in support of policies advanced by right-wing leaders in Israel, opposed President George W Bush's so-called "roadmap" to peace in the Middle East, and have helped defray the costs of the immigration of Russian Jews to Israel, among other activities.

While the Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have been longtime supporters of Israel, the founding this year of Christians United for Israel by John Hagee, the pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, drew a great deal of media attention.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's popularity has plummeted since the end of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Christian Zionists in the United States view the outcome not only as a defeat for Israel, but as a prelude to a much wider war. In fact, they think the conflict might be a sign of impending Armageddon.

"The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching," Hagee wrote in his most recent book, Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World . "Just before us is a nuclear countdown with Iran," he wrote, "followed by Ezekiel's war [as described in the biblical Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39], and then the final battle - the battle of Armageddon."

For Hagee, best-selling author Joel Rosenberg and other Christian Zionists, Israel plays the critical role in End Time scenarios. Their books, commentaries and public statements reflect their beliefs that serial conflicts in the Middle East are a sign of the biblical prophecy presaging Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ, and the final battle for the souls of mankind.

And some have started to train their sights on Tehran. In a recent weblog post datelined Jerusalem, Rosenberg wrote: "The buzz here in the last few days is that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and ballistic-missile sites."

Given Israel's less-than-sterling performance against Hezbollah this past summer, Rosenberg was not convinced that Israel "has the capacity - or the will - at the moment to neutralize the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile threat".

However, with "a new [Adolf] Hitler rising in Iran", it is up to Bush, who met with Olmert in Washington in mid-November, to deal with the Iranian threat: "If President Bush believes Iran needs to be neutralized (and I believe he does), and he is convinced that military action is the only way, I don't believe he is there right now, then the US should take the lead."

After all, wrote Rosenberg, "If anyone is going to stop Iran from threatening the world with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, it has to be soon, perhaps no later than the end of 2007. After all, 2008 is an American election year. [The year] 2009 will be the start of a new administration. By then it may be too late. The thermonuclear genie may be out of the bottle."

The Israeli-Hezbollah war led several US cable-television news networks to raise questions about whether the crisis in the Middle East was a signal that the "End Times" were approaching. Rosenberg, author of such apocalyptic political thrillers as The Copper Scroll, The Ezekiel Option, and The Last Jihad, was invited to appear on CNN and the Fox News Channel.

In one recent appearance, Rosenberg said he had made several visits to "speak at a White House Bible study" and had conversations with "a number of congressional leaders and Homeland Security, Pentagon [officials] about my novels, which are based on Bible prophecy".

Rosenberg said, "The question that's been most interesting among these various administration and congressional officials is, 'Are you saying that the Bible talks about an alliance between Iran, Russia, and a group of Middle Eastern countries to attack Israel at some point?' And the answer is yes."

Some critics charge that Rosenberg is a self-promoter with little real understanding of Judaism.

"Rosenberg chooses to trade in his private salvation narrative as a way of winning readers, exploiting contacts, and - most dangerously - political ventriloquism," said Rabbi Haim Dov



Beliak, the co-founder of JewsOnFirst.org, a website devoted to protecting free speech, and the rabbi of Beth Shalom Temple in Whittier, California.

"In this case, political ventriloquism is using the 'voice' of Jews to their eventual detriment - while claiming it is for their benefit - and seeking what I as a believing Jew must describe as apostasy against Judaism and God," he said. "Rooting for war with Iran and lobbying for world destruction using Israel as catalytic agent is no longer 'entertainment' - it is obscene."

Rosenberg was an important but mostly behind-the-scenes figure in the conservative movement until his first novel The Last Jihad became a best-seller. A Jew who converted to Christianity more than 30 years ago, he had worked for former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician and author Natan Sharansky, US business-magazine magnate Steve Forbes, and right-wing radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. He is also a former Heritage Foundation staffer.

The Last Jihad, completed before the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, propelled Rosenberg into the spotlight. The novel featured a hijacked jet making a kamikaze-like attack against the president of the United States, simultaneous terrorist strikes on the US, London, Paris and Saudi Arabia, an oil deal between Israel and the Palestinians that threatened to unleash a war with Iraq, and a possible preemptive nuclear strike.

In a late-October interview with the Washington Times, Rosenberg told reporter Chrissie Thompson that he didn't think his novels "were going to predict the future ... I was basing them on a series of Bible prophecies, but when [they] started to come true ... that has been striking for all of us, myself included."

Another of his novels, The Ezekiel Option, is described by Rosenberg as "a political thriller about the threat of a Russian-Iranian alliance to destroy Israel based on the biblical prophecies found in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39".

These prophecies, according to Rosenberg, "describe what Bible scholars call the war of Gog and Magog. Russia and Iran form a military alliance with Lebanon, Syria and a group of other Middle East countries to destroy Israel in what Ezekiel described as the last days."

In recent months, Rosenberg has suggested that Russia be added to the Bush administration's "axis of evil" that originally included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Recently, Rosenberg and his wife Lynn co-founded the Joshua Fund, which "partner[s] with evangelical ministries in the Middle East to provide desperately needed resources to Christians in the region to bless their neighbors in need in the name of Jesus".

According to Internet religion commentator Richard Bartholomew, the fund's two "humanitarian aid" efforts are called the "Project to Bless Israel" and the "Project to Bless Lebanon".

"Lebanese refugees will get 'Bags of Blessing', to be distributed by Campus Crusade for Christ and local evangelicals," Bartholomew reported on his website.

The bags will include food and other basic items such as soap and headache pills, he said, as well as a digital video disc on Jesus in Arabic.

However, Bartholomew clarified that while the Lebanese refugees will receive the Jesus DVD, the Israelis "will be spared a similar Jesus DVD in Hebrew, for obvious political reasons".

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative Watch" documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the US right.

Gayle in MD
12-22-2006, 10:29 PM
Thanks for the post. Very Interesting. What a shame that the whole world must live at risk, due to organized religion, and its on going flare for drama based on mythology. Seems it never ends.

Gayle in Md.

Bobbyrx
12-23-2006, 12:50 AM
Typical left wing wacko Bill Berkowitz BS. Gee, and I thought it was the Islamic extremists who were the terrorists, not the Christians and Jews. Go to Berkowitz's blog (The Smirking Chimp) and he's selling "President F###face" tee shirts. Yeah really credible source

S0Noma
12-23-2006, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the heads up.

So the guy's strongly anti-Bush, eh? Geeze, why would we want to listen to a loner like that? Talk about NO credibility. By this same logic, almost anyone who disagrees with Bush deserves the same treatment.

Oddly enough, according to a very recent CNN poll (clearly another left wing wacko news source) that group now represents over half of all Americans.

[ QUOTE ]
Friday, December 22, 2006
<font color="red">Poll: Bush not trustworthy, doesn't share values, no longer inspires confidence</font color>

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush faces some discouraging poll numbers as the year many have called the most challenging of his presidency comes to an end.

<font color="blue">A majority of the American people, 55 percent, no longer believe Bush shares their values. They also are not sure if he is honest and trustworthy or if he understands complex issues, a CNN poll released Thursday reports. The poll was conducted for CNN by the Opinion Research Corporation and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Nearly 53 percent say he is not honest and trustworthy, and the same number believes he does not understand complex issues. Fifty-one percent also say he is not a strong leader.</font color>

Only 37 percent believe that the president inspires confidence, compared to 61 percent who say that he does not. In 2005, 46 percent thought the president inspired confidence. Bush fared much better in this category in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks, when 75 percent said that he inspired confidence. <hr /></blockquote> </font color>

web page (http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/blogs/politicalticker/2006/12/poll-bush-not-trustworthy-doesnt-share.html)

Bobbyrx
12-23-2006, 08:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote S0Noma:</font><hr> Thanks for the heads up.

So the guy's strongly anti-Bush, eh? Geeze, why would we want to listen to a loner like that? Talk about NO credibility. By this same logic, almost anyone who disagrees with Bush deserves the same treatment. <font color="blue">No, just pointing out where this guy comes from. There are almost as many conservative commentators disagreeing with Bush </font color>

Oddly enough, according to a very recent CNN poll (clearly another left wing wacko news source) <font color="blue"> Eason Jordan ring a bell?</font color> that group now represents over half of all Americans. <font color="blue"> True, because his supporters on the right have turned against him because he has governed like a democrat. But I don't think the majority of Americans blame the Christians and Jews for all the trouble in the Middle East or the world like this guy hints at </font color>

Gayle in MD
12-24-2006, 10:33 AM
Gee, would it matter whom the author was to the righties? their mindset all along has been to kill the messenger, just as thier President does regularly! It's the basis of the right wing BS...discredit the author! Now, it cannot be denied what a lousey job he's doing, so of course, he's geverning like a Democrat!!! Interesting, huh? All of them governing like Democrats? Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld?

What a crock!

Gayle...

S0Noma
12-24-2006, 01:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bobbyrx:</font><hr> But I don't think the majority of Americans blame the Christians and Jews for all the trouble in the Middle East or the world like this guy hints at </font color>
<hr /></blockquote>

I didn't 'get' that the author was trying to blame all the trouble in the Middle East on Christians and Jews. If that's what you 'got' perhaps you should read some of the supporting articles below? What he is saying is that there are politically active Christians in this country who would very much like to help do what they can to bring about 'The End Times' and 'The Rapture'. In some very public cases this means donating millions in support of the State of Israel. It's known as Premillennial Dispensationalism (http://www.nyu.edu/fas/projects/vcb/ChristianMedia/prophecy_premdisp.html). There's another good link here: The End Times: what I don't believe (http://web.israelinsider.com/views/9982.htm)
[ QUOTE ]
"The worry stems in part from certain interpretations of the Book of Revelations [sic], which make Jewish control of the Holy Land a prerequisite for the Rapture, when true believers will be ushered into heaven ahead of the Apocalypse."

Said the paper: "Evangelist Chuck Missler -- who once told a reporter that Israel gets more support in America from Christian fundamentalists than from 'ethnic Jews' -- has called Auschwitz 'just a prelude' to what will happen to Jews in the Last Days."

Missler is far from being a loner. Other high-profile pro-Israel evangelicals -- preachers and Bible teachers -- also subscribe to these beliefs, among them:

- Kay Arthur, founder and director of Precept Ministries
-John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonia, Texas, and founder of the newly-formed Christians United for Israel
-Jerry Falwell, Moral Majority founder and founder of Liberty University
-Jack van Impe, whose website describes him as the "Walking Bible" and "one of the world's foremost prophecy scholars."
.........................
Hagee, Falwell and Van Impe all hold to this classic Dispensationalist view -- which says that the Church will be raptured out of here while the Jews are left behind to face, in the title of Van Impe's book, "Israel's Final Holocaust."

In "Jerusalem Countdown," published earlier this year, Hagee states emphatically, (as if it were written in the Bible instead of having been deduced from a variety of scriptural passages by mere, if well-intentioned, men):

"Let me remind you that during the great Tribulation the Gentile church is in heaven [while] ... a nation called Israel is alive and well" down on earth.

He repeats it elsewhere with this twist: "... please understand that during the Great Tribulation Christians will already be in heaven at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb."

The message that Jews understand as being an almost universal evangelical doctrine is that the Christians will be partying it up in heaven with "their" Lord while His Jewish people will be going through hell on earth.
<hr /></blockquote>

And last but not least: Newsweek: Are These the End Times? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14083809/site/newsweek/)

[ QUOTE ]
When Tim LaHaye talks, the faithful listen—by the millions. The conservative Protestant minister is the coauthor of the wildly popular apocalyptic “Left Behind” novels. The controversial books, which have sold more than 60 million copies, depict the biblical end of the world: the Christian eschatology of the upheaval that precedes the second coming of Jesus Christ, known also as “end times.” LaHaye recently spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Brian Braiker about why he believes the events currently unfolding in the Middle East reflect biblical prophesy. <hr /></blockquote>

Bobbyrx
12-26-2006, 05:08 PM
I didn't 'get' that the author was trying to blame all the trouble in the Middle East on Christians and Jews. If that's what you 'got' perhaps you should read some of the supporting articles below? What he is saying is that there are politically active Christians in this country who would very much like to help do what they can to bring about 'The End Times' and 'The Rapture'. In some very public cases this means donating millions in support of the State of Israel. <font color="blue">I understand what he is saying but I don't see the threat. I really don't see that a few Christians giving money to Isreal is going to jump start the end of time and I think their political influence is grossly overstated. I've never heard a government official in any capacity in this country say that this is what their aim is. However I have heard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say that very thing. I think he's a little more of a threat to us than Jerry Falwell</font color>

Bobbyrx
12-26-2006, 05:18 PM
quote "someone who asked me not to respond to her but keeps responding to me" "Gee, would it matter whom the author was to the righties? their mindset all along has been to kill the messenger, just as thier President does regularly! It's the basis of the right wing BS...discredit the author! <font color="blue"> Yea like those swift boat vets</font color>