Christian Zionists pipe new hasbara line (glass houses)

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

I saw this over at Foreign Policy. David Brog of CUFI argues that Americans have no right to criticize Israel because of Fallujah operation in Iraq. Glass houses, etc. I suspect we’ll hear more of this. My two reactions: first, the thing was probably ghost written, because no CUFI member could write an op-ed by himself. (Too cynical perhaps?) Second, I don’t think we would have ended up in Iraq without Israel, the lobby, etc–the Iraq war dovetailed with the effort to convince Americans our struggles were one and the same.

I wonder if this bit of hasbara will take root. I really don’t want to argue that American troops behave better than Israelis– because I’m not sure they do.

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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20 Responses

  1. Les
    June 10, 2010, 11:35 am

    Glass House argument

    link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

    How to make the case for Israel and win

    You begin by saying how great Israel is. Israel want peace; Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East; the desert blooms; kibutz; Israelis invented antibiotics, the wheel, the E minor scale; thanks to the occupation Palestinians no longer live in caves; Israel liberates Arab women; Israel has the most moral army in the world, etc.

    This will win over 50% of your listeners immediately. Don’t worry about the factual content. This is about brand identity, not writing a PhD. Do you really think BP is ‘beyond petroleum’?

    Then you go into the second point: They suck. Here you talk about the legal system of Saudi Arabia, gay rights in Iran, slave trade in the Sudan, Mohammad Atta, the burqa, Palestinians dancing after 9/11, Arafat’s facial hair, etc.

  2. Psychopathic god
    June 10, 2010, 11:47 am

    I really really wish I knew how to manipulate youtube videos.

    I’d get me one of them John Hagee videos, with him shouting at AIPAC, “Israel Lives!” and I’d switch it to “Israel Sucks!” real loud.

  3. kylebisme
    June 10, 2010, 12:02 pm

    I’m quite sure the “two wrongs make a right” argument is more akin to satanism rather than anything Jesus taught.

    • Walid
      June 10, 2010, 12:23 pm

      It’s the same “Israel and the US in the same boat against the world” garbage being dished out to attract some sympathy from unsuspecting and uninformed Americans. McConnell should have been aware that what Americans did in Fallujah, phosphorus, Clusters, DU, DIME bombs and all used on civilians, it was learned from the Israelis and didn’t we read somewhere a few years back how Israel was giving special training to US troops in Iraq on how to conduct house-to-house searches using human shields? There are over 500 Israeli companies doing business in Iraq thanks to the Americans for having opened Iraq’s door for them, especially in the Kurdish north.

  4. hayate
    June 10, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Since Christian zionists are just another zionist tool, it’s likely the scheme was developed by those same people that came up with the hasbara that israel was just defending itself from al ciada aboard the Mavi Marmara.

  5. MHughes976
    June 10, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Brog is not easy to read – phrases like ‘treasure every innocent life’ strike a false note – pretended piety.
    But suppose we say that we say that this principle ought to apply it follows that every breach of it should arouse disquiet – to use the very mildest terms. If we say ‘We have not always followed this principle and we deeply regret this fact’ we are then allowed, even compelled, to say ‘Others are not following it either and we regret that too’.
    Brog seems to suggest the idea that if ‘we aren’t following the principle and neither are others let’s not talk about the subject’ – rather a bad idea and in some general conflict with the Bible, which might matter in this context. It also rings false when put beside Brog’s distress at the thought of approaching terrorism by ‘crossing moral lines’. Keeping silent about moral lines seems bad too.

  6. MRW
    June 10, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Steve McConnell, you don’t know the half of it. Perhaps you could write about this for The American Conservative (don’t forget that Ari Fleischer is a director or board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition:

    Republican Jewish Coalition responsible for mailing anti-Muslim film
    Mailing done in cooperation with Christian Zionist organization

    By JewsOnFirst.org, February 15, 2007

    The Republican Jewish Coalition is responsible for a mailing received by Reform rabbis and other Jews that included a DVD of the controversial anti-Muslim film Obsession, JewsOnFirst.org has learned. At least part of the mailing was sent under the postal permit of Christians United for Israel, a leading Christian Zionist organization.

    The DVD was packaged inside a book by David Brog (see scan below, at right), CUFI’s executive director. The package also contained a letter by a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, endorsing Brog’s book and calling on Jews to accept an alliance with Christian Zionists.

    CUFI’s media representative told JewsOnFirst.org that the package was “mailed out” by the Republican Jewish Coalition. The representative, Juda S. Engelmayer, was unable to specify a particular mailing list the coalition used, but said he believed the recipients came from “a combination of various lists.”

    Informal surveys by JewsOnFirst and others determined that the mailing was received by many rabbis, and also many members of the Jewish community.

    A staffer at the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the organized rabbinate of Reform Judaism, said that the organization had neither made its list available for the mailing nor sent the package through its mailing house.

    Book cover altered
    The Republican Jewish Coalition’s media officer asked that a request to confirm the group’s role in the mailing be emailed. She has not responded to the email or subsequent phone messages.

    Engelmayer of CUFI told JewsOnFirst that he did not know what motivated the Republican Jewish Coalition’s involvement, but that the mailing was intended to reach “the broadest spectrum of Jewish community members.”
    [...]

    Israeli ambassador urges U.S. Jews to embrace Christian Zionists
    In the cover letter included in the mailing, former ambassador Daniel Ayalon [and Yisrael Beitenu Knesset member] praised CUFI’s David Brog for his work with Christians and urged Jews to overcome their antipathy to Christian Zionists. “For the first time in Israel’s history, we are seeing the emergence of a significant pro-Israel movement outside of the Jewish community,” wrote Ayalon, who was ambassador to the U.S. between 2002 and 2006.

    Rabbi Philip Bentley of Agudas Israel Congregation in Hendersonville, North Carolina, said that Reform Movement organizations ought to protest Ayalon’s intervention in U.S. politics. “The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judiasm ought to register a strong protest against this mailing and against former Ambassador Ayalon for lending himself, his organization, and his title to the Hagee organization,” Bently said. “If we are silent we have only ourselves to blame if Hagee makes inroads into our movement.

    As does Ayalon in his letter, Brog (who is Jewish) argues in Standing with Israel that Jews should appreciate — not shun — Christian Zionist support for Israel.

    Scott, the RJC was behind the ‘Obama is a Muslim’ campaign from the very beginning (the article above was written in 2007, five days after Obama announced his campaign, and Adelson’s money is involved). The Rabbi who runs jewsonfirst.org has a much longer investigation on his site into CUFI/Brog and the rest of them. He traced the money to shadow right-wing foundation groups in Israel.

  7. MRW
    June 10, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Whoops, forgot the link:
    link to jewsonfirst.org

  8. MRW
    June 10, 2010, 1:28 pm

    David Brog of CUFI argues that Americans have no right to criticize Israel because of Fallujah operation in Iraq.

    The US was/is at war. If Brog is equating Israel’s actions as an act of war, then according to Craig Murray, the man who helped draft maritime law and treaties for the British government and the UN, what Israel did in international waters was a war crime. Read the explanation here, which Eva covered in a previous post for Mondoweiss:
    link to craigmurray.org.uk

    A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

    Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea [emphasis mine] is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody’s territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

    There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

    Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

    Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

    In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution.

    Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

    I think Craig Murray has more standing to make comparisons than David Brog.

  9. MRW
    June 10, 2010, 1:35 pm

    Scott, here is Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak’s extensive investigative report into the RJC/CUFI Obsession affair.
    link to jewsonfirst.org

  10. Susan Johnson
    June 10, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Have not really swwn this discussed and given the title of the post I’d like to add my too sense and receive feedback.

    As a former Christian (I am coming out of the closet big-time… some suspect but few have been told point blank) you might want to know that not one of my christian friends,, family or acquaintances would identify themselves as “Christian Zionists”. I bet they wouldn’t know who you are referring to.

    Now, born again Christian, “That’s me!” fundamentalist Christian “That’s me” “bible believing/centered christian” That’s me!” Christian Zionist….I never heard of them! I must admit my sister described herself as an “Orthodox Episcopalian” to which I replied “You’re serious? I never heard of them?” (my families religion) Once I refereed to “Jesus freaks” and a very good friend cut in…”That’s me!”
    They firmly believe “Jews are God’s chosen people!!” The Jews are entitled to/must have their chosen place, Israel” ….in preperation for Armageddon.. when these Christians will be raptured. They must support Israel, and to a lesser extent Jews. The bible tels them to! It’s a big deal…life’s purpose, and as I understand…Jews and Israel make it possible.

    These “believers” are a serious group to contend with…listen to their radio programs…they haul in thousands, if not millions of dollars…much of it goes to Christian/Israeli causes.

    I have no idea how one contends with them….they are as radical as Jewish Zionists,,,,without the military power to back them up. Ask them, they don’t need it…god’s on their side!

    Don’t forget to factor them in when thinking of the US. They are there big time!!

    • MRW
      June 10, 2010, 5:39 pm

      Susan, I follow some of the Christian Zionist sites mostly through an ex-Evangelical but thoroughly and deeply devout Christian by the last name of Carlson. His website is whtt.org. He used to believe the John Hagee line, I guess, and was a big Armageddon guy until he discovered something in his Bible Study, and it may have been after he retired, but I dont know. He went to Gaza some years ago with his bible study group, and that’s when his eyes were opened.

      If you go to his site, he has an amateur video about it on the left side called Christian-Zioinist roots that you can either purchase or watch online. I gather the video is better quality, and professionally done. He and a couple of other guys are the ones that researched it the Rapture and Armageddon stuff that the pre-Dispensaltionalists spout, and they have a religious radio show together. Even though you’re leaving the flock, you might find it fascinating, because you know all the buzzwords. What you will find stunning is that the issue of support for Israel was never in the bible until the 20th C. It was first added in 1906.

      Hagee contends that his group is 70 million strong, which is probably bullshit. The interlocking relationship between right-wing Israel and Jerry Falwell started in the late 70s, early 80s, as a planned deception by Menachem Begin and Yitzak Shamir to use them as a voting base to get to Reagan. Since the Christian Right at the time still blamed Jews for killing Jesus, Begin used the bridge of hatred of homosexuality to mend fences, and Falwell fell for it. That, and…Begin would communicate Israel’s back channel info to Falwell who then communicated it to the WH. Falwell loved the power. And this is an entirely different story altogether.

      Check out whtt.org and tell your devout Christian friends about it. ;-)

      • MRW
        June 10, 2010, 6:18 pm

        Excuse all the typos and bad grammar/syntax. Doing 80 things at once here. Also…not only was it added in 1906, but the previous versions were subsequently altered over time. ;-)

      • Conrad
        June 10, 2010, 6:26 pm

        Thank you for the site.

  11. Keith
    June 10, 2010, 5:38 pm

    Americans not only have a right to criticize Israel, they have an OBLIGATION to criticize Israel. And an OBLIGATION to criticize the US Empire, of which, Israel is an integral part. Due to the interpenetration of the centers of power of both, to the extent that the locus of decision making is blurred and fuzzy, Israel may be considered as much more than a US ally, hence, in the Middle East it is US/Israel. It is a mistake to treat them as two separate entities for they have become intertwined in a unique and perverse fashion.

  12. Conrad
    June 10, 2010, 6:18 pm

    That piece of shit Christian Zionist can go to hell for all I care since they think we all going to hell. That’s their idea for love. Also for him to lump all Americans as supporting the traitorous and crime against humanity invasion of Iraq is laughable. I for one never bought that bullshit about WMD in Iraq, so I feel no guilt. When these “leaders” go to the Gallows, I pray they bring all the Christian Zionist leaders with them. They shouldn’t have any thing to fear especially death since God loves them so much. But if I were them I sure would be fearful of meeting my maker.

  13. Les
    June 10, 2010, 6:39 pm

    White racists did not rebrand themselves into Christian Zionists. That was the US media.
    Methodist Hilary Clinton is every bit the Christian Zionist as Huckabee. Imagine Huckabee and company’s (welcome?) response to Helen Thomas’ recommendation that American Jews currently occupying Palestine return to the US.

  14. alanb
    June 10, 2010, 10:51 pm

    Brog is of course wrong when he says we don’t have the right to criticize Israel, but I think we are wrong in not also criticizing the U.S. We deplore the seige of Gaza as we should, but who ever complains about the embargo of Cuba that has helped to keep Cubans impoverished for 60 years? We condemn Operation Cast Lead and are correct to do so, but we say nothing about U.S. drones killing civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I also do not agree that we should blame Israel because we slaughtered civilians in Iraq even if our Iraq misadventure was motivated by support of Israel. We need to hold the U.S. responsible for its misdeeds.

  15. Leper Colonialist
    June 16, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Here’s how to piss off a Xtian Zionist Fundie, and put the self-deluded clown in his/her place as well : just ask how the conversion-of-the-Israelis-to- Xtianity program is going.

    I don’t know if they are more to be despised or to be pitied.

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