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Why are two Republican congressmen doing a walkabout on the Temple Mount?

Israel/Palestine
McKinley and Johnson at the Temple Mount. Photo Ed Wittenberg, from the Jewish Tribune

Congressmen McKinley (l) and Johnson (center) at the Temple Mount in February. To Johnson’s left is Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute. From the Jewish Tribune

As Kate noted here the other day, Ma’an reported that two Republican congressmen toured the Temple Mount in February along with rightwing Israel Jews who covet the site.

Two members of the US Congress joined right-wing Jews who toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound escorted by Israeli police officers in February, a Jerusalem-based Fatah official said.

Dimitri Daliani told Ma’an on Thursday that Republicans Bill Johnson of Ohio and David McKinley of Virginia entered the compound with the “extremist” Chaim Richman, director of the rightist Temple Institute.

Daliani said the “congressmen’s participation in such criminal incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque without being questioned by their own government indicates collusion with settler gangs whose aim is to hurt the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Temple Institute promotes Jewish prophecies of “the reestablishment of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.”

Johnson later commented in the Jewish Tribune, on “how little real religious freedom and liberty the people of Israel have over the very land that they are supposed to be the owners of.”

“The Jewish people own the property, but they don’t control the property.”…

“I personally think they’ve given up enough,” he said. “They’ve been squeezed out of their land; the holy sites are being controlled by outsiders.

Both men are from business backgrounds and swing districts. Johnson, a Protestant and former computer scientist, captured his Ohio district from a Democrat in 2010 and beat him again in 2012– 53-47 percent. McKinley, a former engineer and an Episcopalian once divorced, also won his seat in 2010, after Democrats held it for 40 years. He won re-election handily in 2012.

Colin Wright, a former commenter on this site, saw the story and adds:

Two Congressmen recently went the extra mile and joined an Israeli walkabout on the Temple Mount.

Their vital statistics are suggestive.  Both are Republicans, both are from districts that would appear to be stuffed with evangelicals, and both recently beat out Democratic incumbents.  They are vulnerable to being unseated.  Bill Johnson, in particular, barely held onto his seat against a challenge from the apparently discontented former
tenant.

These are exactly the types that need to prove they love Israel the bestest — and they are both from districts with evangelicals.

I mention this, because during my tenure at Mondoweiss, when I tried to point out just how important the evangelical demographic is, some element of the counterargument seemed to contain a weird element of Jewish egotism.  Jews had to be the pivotal element.

Well, I don’t think they are.  I think the backbone of support for Israel in this country is evangelical.  Worse, while many or even most Jews support Israel, what they broadly seem to want is a ‘nice’ Israel — one that is democratic, doesn’t shoot children, etc.

The evangelicals are different.  For a variety of reasons, the worse Israel behaves, the better it is fulfilling their needs.  So if Jews are the original reason we have an Israel, one of the reasons it can be an Israel that behaves so badly are evangelicals.  I think that if American support for Israel hinged solely on Jews, it might well still be there — but it would find itself forced to be a much better-behaved Israel.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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36 Responses

  1. Hostage
    April 13, 2014, 11:48 am

    The Temple Institute promotes Jewish prophecies of “the reestablishment of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.”

    They contained the instructions about the first partition of Palestine, “And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. (Numbers 1:51)” The inscriptions contained in the “stones of warning” in the partition wall of the Temple enclosure were described by Josephus in §5 of Antiquities Of The Jews, Book XV, Chapter XI: “this was encompassed by a stone wall for a partition, with an inscription, which forbade any foreigner to go in under pain of death.”. The actual examples discovered by archaeologists so far do not contain any exceptions for US Congressional sightseers.

  2. dbroncos
    April 13, 2014, 12:39 pm

    “I mention this, because during my tenure at Mondoweiss, when I tried to point out just how important the evangelical demographic is, some element of the counterargument seemed to contain a weird element of Jewish egotism. Jews had to be the pivotal element.”

    If AIPAC and the Jewish Zionist billionaires and and millionaires who expect reciprocity for their campaign contributions were to stop giving, US support for Israel would collapse in a hurry. Christian Evangelicals don’t have the clout. They’ve spent 40 years trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, put the nativity scene back in our elementary
    schoolsl, etc.. and they’ve failed. Evangelicals are powerful but they’re a distant second to the Jewish institutional power behind US support for Israel. When was the last time an American President, half of congress and most Presidential hopefuls attended The National Prayer Breakfast for Israel? Have we ever seen an Evangelical leader convene a “primary” like the one we just saw in Las Vegas?

  3. justicewillprevail
    April 13, 2014, 1:08 pm

    One might wonder whose interests these congressmen think they represent? Because it certainly doesn’t look like the voters if Ohio and Virginia, but rather right wing extremists in Israel, whose money they gladly accept. In many other countries they call this sort of behaviour corruption.It’s certainly not democracy as we knew it.

    • bilal a
      April 13, 2014, 1:30 pm

      Evangelicals represent a very large minority in the US electorate and US military, and they hate Muslims, which is reason enough for them to support ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

      Andrew Sullivan points out that these people have been manipulated by partisans:

      “My phrase “a non-Christian manipulator of Christianity” is an attack on Kristol’s cynicism, not his Jewishness. I agree wholeheartedly with Wieseltier that, “if Kristol is wrong about Obama, it is not because Kristol is a Jew.” It is because he is a cynic about faith, and a ruthless partisan indifferent to the truth when it cannot be harnessed to the wielding of power. My post was a protest against the manipulation of faith for partisan purposes. It would apply to anyone outside a faith who has decided to use and manipulate another’s faith for his own political purposes.”
      http://www.newrepublic.com/article/correspondence-andrew-sullivan-responds-weeks-diarist

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 13, 2014, 4:20 pm

        Elliot Abrams is very open about the need for Israel and its supporters to use Christian evangelicals to achieve certain goals.
        In a documentary on U.K. television ten or so years ago, he mentioned that in order for Israel to reach a specific goal, they would need the help of the Christian evangelicals.

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 13, 2014, 5:30 pm

      I think our congressmen should be subjected to yearly psych evaluations to certify their sanity. At the same time, they should be required to take the standardized IQ test and score 65 or (hopefully) higher. Absolutely no curve grading! No “bonus points” for home schooling or under any other circumstances! Not even for wounded vets!
      All staff of the House and Senate should be trained to recognize psychopathic symptoms.

      • G. Seauton
        April 14, 2014, 1:01 am

        “At the same time, they should be required to take the standardized IQ test and score 65 or (hopefully) higher.”
        — Dickerson

        Get serious, Dickerson. I think the Congress is filled with idiots, too. But they all score at least higher than 65.

        Well, maybe with the exception of Gohmert …

      • piotr
        April 14, 2014, 9:23 am

        IQ does not measure common sense and related mental skills.

        I guess that if it would help getting support in elections, some politicians would gladly tour ruins of an Aztec pyramid and commiserate with their cultist guides that they cannot restore human sacrifices. As Americans, we are all members of common Aztec-Christian civilization after all. The Jewish cultists of Temple Institute want animal sacrifices and a full theocracy, so it is not that different. But if it does not hurt being re-elected, why not?

      • LeaNder
        April 14, 2014, 10:16 am

        Hilarious, both Dickerson and piotr.

        But Dickerson, I made short excursion into the field of “the psychopath” recently. And what troubles me most is one of its core definitions, or core registered human handicaps, if you like. It’s supposed to be experiencing no emotions. Now, I can tell you that one female analyst once forced me through near hell with these constantly repeeted questions: What do you feel? What did you feel then?

        Now what do normal persons feel versus the non-feeling psychopath? I do experience empathy but not as a default either. It seems to be connected with basics of my personality, it needs roots. And I surely never killed someone, thus I cannot tell you, if, at that point I felt nothing. But I guess, it could happen if my anger, which is about the only thing I have no trouble experiencing, was all I felt at that point. Seems for the time needed it could easily trump empathy. At least theoretically, I am not a violent person though.

        The Wisdom of Psychopaths. Historically only criminals were analyzed and the history and texts that were developed and revised are based on that field of study.

        But now it seems, at least a dissident declaresPsychopathy may well be the ideal ingredient for certain careers.

        One of the authors of this book is one of the top experts on the issue, and the guy that developed the basic tests. I have to admit, that I found not only this book enormously boring and only followed the fictive account of the Psychopath in the Workplace: Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work to the end. But then, much of what they wrote was more or less familiar even “the snake” and not really a revelation. But there obviously is a huge demand in information about how to discover the psychopath at work or in the house next door. ;)

  4. DICKERSON3870
    April 13, 2014, 3:43 pm

    RE: “The Temple Institute promotes Jewish prophecies of ‘the reestablishment of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem’. Johnson later commented in the Jewish Tribune, on ‘how little real religious freedom and liberty the people of Israel have over the very land that they are supposed to be the owners of’.” ~ Phil Weiss and Colin Wright

    MY COMMENT: These people might well be crazy, but they also mean business. All Hail the Queen “perfect red heifer”!*

    * SEE: “Pastor Strangelove”, by Sarah Posner, American Prospect, 05/21/06

    [EXCERPTS] . . . Besides his million-dollar compensation package, [John] Hagee has a portfolio of other ventures, including a cattle ranch in south Texas that may have religious significance. Many evangelicals believe that the arrival of a “perfect red heifer” will signal the end times. In the Old Testament, burning a red heifer and sprinkling its ashes is described as a purification ritual for priests entering the temple. Ultra-orthodox Jews believe that the birth of a modern perfect red heifer will herald the arrival of the messiah, leading to a confrontation with Muslims over the Temple Mount, where Jews believe the Temple will be rebuilt. Some evangelicals likewise regard the red heifer as a harbinger of the ultimate showdown at the Temple Mount, which they believe will be the site of the Second Coming. And they believe that time is near.
    To many other observers, the advent of the red heifer threatens to provoke a violent struggle for control of the Temple Mount, with worldwide repercussions. In the late 1990s, a group of unidentified Texas ranchers reportedly bred a perfect red heifer, which generated excitement in evangelical circles until the animal sprouted some black hairs.
    Six years ago, the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust paid more than $5.5 million for a 7,600-acre ranch in Brackettville, Texas, where cattle are raised in a venture with the Texas Israel Agricultural Research Foundation, a nonprofit outfit operated by the pastor. . . Earl [David Earl, Hagee’s lobbyist] said that Hagee wants to share information to improve the production of livestock, particularly cattle, with an Israeli research project, but otherwise claimed to be unsure of the particulars. Dr. Scott Farhart, an obstetrician and trustee of the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust (and an elder at Hagee’s church), did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the director of the ranch. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://prospect.org/article/pastor-strangelove

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “New Price Tag Attack Demands Muslims Vacate Dome of Rock in Order to Rebuild Temple”, by Richard Silverstein, Tuikun Olam, 4/12/14

      [EXCERPT] Yesterday, two enterprising fellows committed a price tag attack on the Temple Mount, where they hung flyers demanding Muslims vacate the premises during the Passover holidays so Jews might do some Passover housecleaning…like rebuilding the Temple and making the traditional animal sacrifices offered during the days of the ancient Temple. The flyer said:

      You [Muslims] are hereby requested to vacate the Temple Mount…pursuant to preparations for the construction of the Holy Temple, renewal of animal sacrifices and the act of the Passover sacrifice.

      We thank you for your cooperation,

      The Jewish People

      Part of the background for this is that a radical settler group publicly announced that it had begun training priests to perform these sacrifices:

      On April 10…hundreds of Jews will gather…[to] start learning the Jewish laws of Passover. Rabbis and experts…[from] the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem, the leading body preparing for the establishment of the third temple, will teach the audience the laws of the Passover sacrifice…[A] ritual slaughterer…will teach the audience about the unique elements of the slaughter of the Passover sacrifice. After the lessons, the real thing will start: the simulation of the Passover sacrifice.

      …The ceremony on Thursday will be, in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lingo, “practice with live fire.” Slaughtering lambs, sprinkling their blood on the altar by priests dressed in kosher priestly garments and roasting the lambs, with their heads, legs and innards. Just as God intended.

      This isn’t the first time that the “Association of Temple Organizations” will hold this activity, but this year the practice drill and re-enactment of the Passover sacrifice will be carried out by the students of the school for priests, Nezer Ha-kodesh, which started operating this year. The priest school intends to train the hundreds of priests that would be needed to work at the third temple; many Jews endeavor for its establishment in Israel today. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/04/12/new-price-tag-attack-demands-muslims-vacate-dome-of-rock-in-order-to-rebuild-temple/

      • MHughes976
        April 13, 2014, 4:12 pm

        But it’s all talk, isn’t it? Who would be High Priest with access to the Holy of Holies? Who, even more interestingly, would be King?

      • seafoid
        April 13, 2014, 4:23 pm

        The Holy of Holies today would have to be money.
        There is something deeply depressing about faith in red heifers in 2014.

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 13, 2014, 4:38 pm

        “THE JEWISH NATION-STATE”℠ OF ISRAEL® IS PROUD AS PUNCH TO INTRODUCE:

        ■ Lord High Priest Moshe Feiglin
        (Ably assisted by the Right Reverend John C. Hagee)

        ■ His Royal Majesty, King Irving Moskowitz
        (By appointment of G_d, the oldest monarchy on earth!)

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 13, 2014, 5:01 pm

        “THE JEWISH NATION STATE”℠ OF ISRAEL® IS PROUD TO INTRODUCE:

        ■ The Holy of Holies, Lord High Priest Moshe Feiglin
        Ably Assisted by the Right Reverend John C. Hagee, Keeper of The Perfect Red Heifer

        ■ His Royal Majesty of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, King Irving Moskowitz
        By Appointment of G_d, The Oldest Kingdom on Earth!™

      • john_manyjars
        April 14, 2014, 8:04 am

        “But it’s all talk, isn’t it? Who would be High Priest with access to the Holy of Holies? Who, even more interestingly, would be King?”

        The French guy, Belloch, from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’? I can see it now…

        These xtian loonies are rather disturbing.

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 13, 2014, 6:56 pm

        RE: “As Kate noted here the other day, Ma’an reported that two Republican congressmen toured the Temple Mount in February along with rightwing Israel Jews who covet the site.” ~ Phil Weiss and Colin Wright

        MY COMMENT: It is urgent that Jerusalem be made an international city to save it from being irreparably damaged by these depraved Republican congressmen, their delusional Israeli compatriots and the countless billionaires suffering bouts of Jerusalem syndrome that result in grandiose, messianic visions of “urban renewal” dancing in their heads!

      • yesspam
        April 15, 2014, 2:33 am

        Why did they not go to Mt Gerizim where they can see the Samaritans carry out this sacrifice every year?

  5. a blah chick
    April 13, 2014, 4:27 pm

    “I personally think they’ve given up enough,” he said. “They’ve been squeezed out of their land; the holy sites are being controlled by outsiders.”

    He’s talking about the Palestinians, right?

  6. just
    April 13, 2014, 4:28 pm

    So what do these buffoons and goons think about this?

    “Christians: Israel violates Palestinian religious freedoms each Easter
    BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — A group of Christians from East Jerusalem on Sunday said that Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian mobility resulted in violations of religious freedoms. The statement, signed “Palestinian Christian Organizations in Occupied East Jerusalem,” complained that Christians are often denied access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the Easter holidays. Each Easter, checkpoints are erected “at the Gates and in the alley, thus preventing the worshipers from free access to the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the vicinity of the Christian Quarter.” Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian Christians are a part of larger strategy of Judaization in Jerusalem, the statement said. “The restrictive measures constitute grave violation on the freedom of worship, and amount to discrimination against Christians because the occupation authorities want to negate Christian presence and create the impression of a Jewish-only city.” Both Christians and Muslims are often “unable to worship freely and to be with their families and friends” during religious holidays because of Israel’s actions, the statement went on to note. The organizations called on Christians to make attempts to attend Easter celebrations in Jerusalem despite the countless restrictions.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/restrictions-palestinian-christian.html

  7. tree
    April 13, 2014, 7:08 pm

    I’ve got a more general question about Colin. I wrote to him in October of 2012 because suddenly his comments stopped appearing. I asked him if he had been banned from Mondoweiss and he responded that “apparently” he had been banned. Can Colin comment here now? I don’t always agree with his comments, but he was a thoughtful contributor to the discussions here and his return would be welcomed, at least by me.

    • G. Seauton
      April 14, 2014, 1:12 am

      Good question. I was wondering the same thing.

      • G. Seauton
        April 14, 2014, 1:14 am

        Could there at least be a public statement on this website listing people who are banned? That might seem over the top, but if you’re going to ban people, why should it be secret?

  8. Kathleen
    April 13, 2014, 10:06 pm

    Who paid for these trips? I know there have been other congress folks who have taken paid for trips in recent years to Israel. I thought all of that hanky panky was supposed to come to a halt after the Bob Ney debacle?

    Does your Congressperson represent you – or Israel?
    Medea Benjamin on August 9, 2011
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/08/does-your-congressperson-represent-you-or-israel.html
    “Instead, this August one out of every five representatives will be taking a junket to Israel, compliments of an affiliate of the Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) but still clocked in on the taxpayer’s dime.”

  9. Kathleen
    April 13, 2014, 10:16 pm

    “Worse, while many or even most Jews support Israel, what they broadly seem to want is a ‘nice’ Israel – one that is democratic, doesn’t shoot children, etc.”

    Really? Sure no push from “most Jews” to accurately have our MSM report about Palestinian children’s deaths. In fact no push at all

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stat/children.html

    Study of NPR’s Coverage of Deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/study-of-nprs-coverage-of-deaths-in-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

  10. surewin
    April 13, 2014, 10:45 pm

    “The evangelicals are different. For a variety of reasons, the worse Israel behaves, the better it is fulfilling their needs.”

    What are those reasons? I’m not implying an opinion here, just asking.

  11. Kathleen
    April 13, 2014, 10:46 pm

    Have you seen this interview with Netanyahu and Bill Maher. Maher goes along with Netanyahu’s picture of Iran. Netanyahu says Iran has “nuclear weapons” and Maher does not object in fact says Netanyahu is right.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvXfnulloZM

  12. Shuki
    April 14, 2014, 3:17 am

    The reflexive instinct of the Palestinians to decry the attempted “attack on the Mosque” anytime a non-muslim goes on the Temple Mount has become so ingrained. I don’t even think they stop for a moment to consider how pathetic it sounds… All they know or care about is that the age-old battle cry of ‘the al aqsa is under attack’ really stirs up the masses.

    +++
    “the ‘congressmen’s participation in such criminal incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque without being questioned by their own government indicates collusion with settler gangs whose aim is to hurt the al-Aqsa Mosque.'”
    +++

    Yes, the Congressmen were going to ‘hurt’ the mosque. How so? By using it as a backdrop for their pictures? By soiling it with their presence? Merely taking a ‘walkabout’ is now a ‘criminal incursion’? These are the wing nuts that you expect Israel to sign a peace treaty with? It is the Israeli’s that have an ‘apartheid’ state that discriminates based on religions affiliation when the mere presence of a ‘infidel’ on the Temple Mount is a crime and an attack?

    Thank you for publishing this story and exposing the depths of the hypocrisy and lunacy in the anti-Israeli industry. It really is a shame that Moshe Dayan allowed the arabs to maintain any authority over the Temple Mount in 1967… one of many well- intentioned but ill-conceived concessions made by Israel with an eye towards peace.

    • walktallhangloose
      April 14, 2014, 4:31 pm

      What people are complaining about is not that the congressman visited the site, but the company they are keeping and the remarks they made. The people they went with plan to destroy the mosque and rebuild a new Temple. It is not surprising that Palestinians and others object to this. By the way, Muslims do not regard Christians and Jews as infidels.

  13. Daniel Rich
    April 14, 2014, 7:22 am

    Q: Why are two Republican congressmen doing a walkabout on the Temple Mount?

    R: In the hope the walls come tumblin’ down…, like back in Jericho…

  14. MahaneYehude1
    April 14, 2014, 9:26 am

    To all MW readers,

    From Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel, I wish to all of you Happy and Kosher Passover Freedom Festival!!!

    May this Passover marks the beginning of our real freedom, Inshallah!!!

    Regards
    Mahane
    Jerusalem, Israel

  15. walktallhangloose
    April 14, 2014, 9:47 am

    “The Jewish people own the property, but they don’t control the property.”…Johnson says: “I personally think they’ve given up enough,” he said. “They’ve been squeezed out of their land; the holy sites are being controlled by outsiders.”

    One: the “Jewish people” do not constitute a legal entity capable of ownership of land and property, or of sovereignty over territory. If he means the State of Israel, it does not represent the “Jewish people” because (a) the majority of Jewish people are not citizens of Israel, and (b) Israel has both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens, who, in theory at least, are considered to be equal.

    Two: the Holy Sites are outside both the declared sovereign borders of Israel (the Partition Plan lines) and also the de facto borders of Israel (the 1949 Armistice lines). They are in the territory of Palestine. It is the non-Jewish Palestinians who have been squeezed out of their land, by the Jewish Israelis.

    Three: the book “Remembering and Imagining Palestine” by Haim Gerber traces the Palestinian national identity back to the time of the Crusades, with a primary component being their role as guardians of the Holy Places.

    The following quotation from the King-Crane report of 1919 is apposite:

    With the best possible intentions, it may be doubted whether the Jews could possibly seem to either Christians or Moslems proper guardians of the holy places, or custodians of the Holy Land as a whole. The reason is this: the places which are most sacred to Christians-those having to do with Jesus-and which are also sacred to Moslems, are not only not sacred to Jews, but abhorrent to them. It is simply impossible, under those circumstances, for Moslems and Christians to feel satisfied to have these places in Jewish hands, or under the custody of Jews. There are still other places about which Moslems must have the same feeling. In fact, from this point of view, the Moslems, just because the sacred places of all three religions are sacred to them, have made very naturally much more satisfactory custodians of the holy places than the Jews could be.

  16. German Lefty
    April 14, 2014, 11:01 am

    OT: Not sure if someone else has mentioned this before, but a Palestinian could become the next mayor of Berlin.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-meteoric-political-rise-ofmpalestinian-immigrant-raed-saleh-a-963384.html

  17. PilgrimSoul
    April 14, 2014, 3:17 pm

    I’ve had exactly the same problem as Colin in trying to explain the dangers of right-wing evangelical Christians in the Republican party. The attitude of many activist Jews is that the Israel Lobby is entirely Jewish, and we’re just kidding ourselves to worry about the evangelicals. What they don’t understand is the deadly nature of evangelical Christian support for Israel–the evangelicals really want a religious war, because they either think that it will trigger Armageddon, thereby bringing about the return of Jesus, or simply think that religious war against Islam is the major task of evangelical Christians today. Their support for these insane ideas doesn’t express itself through advocacy–to them it’s simply self-evident that Christians should be killing Muslims, especially Palestinian ones, so it doesn’t require advocacy–but through electoral politics.

    The first thing Republicans elected to office in Wash DC do is to start getting bundled money from AIPAC, after which they will vote for anything AIPAC tells them to, thereupon posturing themselves as great friends of that mysterious entity known as “the Jews.” There’s a lot more of them eager to grovel for the Likud handout than there are pro-Likud Jews in the legislative branch of government. For the evangelicals it’s win-win, because they get votes AND money. Again, there’s many, many more of them in the legislative branch than Jews.

    Forget the horse manure about the Religious Right being dead. It’s the most dynamic part of the coalition that supports the Republican party in the heartland, and will be for a long time. Uncritical support for the Likudniks is a big part of their program, with all the implicit and explicit Islamophobia that position implies.

    And there’s another angle that activists, whether Jews or non-Jews, simply don’t get at all. That is the assault on the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock (al-haram ash Sharif) and the whole Temple Mount area. Groups of rightwing settlers have been staging mass incursions and various kinds of walk-abouts in growing numbers for the last two years, along with closing down or attacking many Mosques in the occupied Palestinian territories. The rightwing fanatics say they want the right to pray on the Temple Mount, but what they really want is to have control of it, after which they wish to tear it down and build the Jewish Second Temple. (They have a whole truckload of crazy beliefs about why they wish to do this, and I’m leaving out most of the crazy details, but the point is, they want to tear down the Al Aqsa Mosque for religious reasons.)

    They’re dead serious about this, and are willing to give their lives to get it done. The Europeans are well aware of the dangers of this insane and fanatical plan, which is why it was the centerpiece of a recent secret report circulated in Europe. Netanyahu won’t stop it because he needs the support of the national-religious Jews and other rightwing elements.

    Activists generally don’t understand the incredible danger of the assault on Al Aqsa because they tend to be rationalists who aren’t particularly religious, and who find it very difficult to take religious fanaticism seriously. They don’t think that way, and find it very hard to imagine how religious fanatics could possible have these ideas. They should try a little harder, and so should Mondoweiss. Think about it: tearing down Al Aqsa Mosque will be the quickest way to get to what the Likudniks and the neo-cons have always wanted, which is religious war throughout the 21st century, and the concomitant growth of an unapologetic and very open US “counter-terrorist” strategy–i.e., a very open, very self-righteous, very violent form of US imperialism in which collateral damage against civilians will be rationalized by many Americans as part of God’s plan.

    When I say religious war, I mean widespread terrorism directed against American Embassies and other targets, and eventually attacks on targets on US soil; but it could also take the form of land wars which will seem territorial in nature, but which–like the Wars of Spanish Succession in the 18th and 19th centuries–really have a religious meaning and are driven by religious ideas and emotions.

    The right-wing fanatics in Israel keep harping on the idea that the Temple Mount is the most holy place in Judaism. All Muslim scholars agree that Al Aqsa is the third most holy site in Islam. That’s the detonator, all ready to go, ready to create religious war. It should be obvious that religious war, even low-intensity religious war, is a scourge of mankind. But that’s what the neo-cons have always wanted, and the Likudniks are looking carefully at ways they can improve their position by going along with it.

    Israel is driven by religious nationalism at present. The whole point of religious nationalism is to humiliate and torment perceived enemies. The fanatics in Israel have found a way to cause the maximum amount of pain, frustration and horror among the world’s Muslims, who would be forced to watch helplessly while their holy site is torn down. The Israeli fanatics seek control of the Temple Mount area first, then they will mainstream the idea of tearing Al Aqsa down, destroying it to build the Second Temple. Then, if there are no countervailing forces that can stop them, they will keep trying to do it until they succeed. The US will make excuses at every point, and even support it financially.

    And their main support for this madness will come from our very own US Congress, and all those nice Republicans with evangelical Christians in their districts. If you don’t believe that, just try going to my home state of Kansas, where I was raised; get out of the college towns and talk to the people in the heartland, especially the Republicans, of which there are a great many. You will find that a solid majority among them–not a plurality, but a majority–are ready for religious war, especially because so many of them think it will bring about the Second Coming of Jesus. The national-religious fanatics are trying to hijack Judaism in Jerusalem, but evangelical Christianity in the US heartland has already been hijacked by religious fanatics.

  18. charleston
    April 16, 2014, 5:40 pm

    why not?

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