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Via Helena Cobban over at Just World News, I found this enlightening huffpost piece by Max Blumenthal.  Accompanied by producer Thomas Shoemaker, Blumenthal attended the July 16 conference of Christians United For Israel and began asking folks there how they felt about Jews and the End Times.   Along the way he scored interviews with Tom Delay and Israeli mouthbreather Dore Gold, asked a loaded question of Hagee himself, and got footage of Lyin' Joe praising his ideological confrere Rick Santorum.  By the end of the ten-minute flash video, Max and his pal are being shown the door of the conference by beefy off-duty DC police hired as security by the Christian Zionist whackjobs.

Details of this and more goodies on the flip...

Here are some of the highlight's from Cobban's post:

The "vox pop" discussions with CUFI members in the hotel lobby are really revealing... Also, the extremely scary parts where you see a large roomful of people swaying and dancing-- one even doing a cheerleading-type hop-- with Israeli and US flags clasped to their breasts... And we see two uniformed soldiers, one in US camo and the other in Israeli camo and a prayer shawl, come up to the front and salute each other. Religion, ecstasy, and militarism all tied up together in one big package.

I believe that use of a US forces uniform in such a context is actually illegal?

....I think it's been the case for a while now that the Christian Zionists-- who have very, very long roots in this country-- have been a stronger base of support for Israel here than the Jewish-American Zionists. And of course, given that the beliefs of many of these Evangelical Zionists are that at the time of "Armageddon" all the Jews will either become converted to Christianity or get consumed by fire, there are many Jewish Americans who are still fairly wary about the Evangelicals' strong support for Israel.

The game plan for these Evangelicals (as also laid out lovingly in their extremely well-selling though in practice almost unreadable novels about "the End Time") is that first, the Jewish people all need to be "ingathered" into Israel, and then soon after there will be "Armageddon" and the "Second Coming." And along the way there, there'll be great fighting against "Babylon" (or Baghdad) and perhaps even some nuclear war...

Blumenthal himself describes the video this way:

On July 16, I attended Christians United for Israel's annual Washington-Israel Summit. Founded by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee, CUFI has added the grassroots muscle of the Christian right to the already potent Israel lobby. Hagee and his minions have forged close ties with the Bush White House and members of Congress from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to Sen. John McCain. In its call for a unilateral military attack on Iran and the expansion of Israeli territory, CUFI has found unwavering encouragement from traditional pro-Israel groups like AIPAC and elements of the Israeli government.

But CUFI has an ulterior agenda: its support for Israel derives from the belief of Hagee and his flock that Jesus will return to Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon and cleanse the earth of evil. In the end, all the non-believers - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, mainline Christians, etc. - must convert or suffer the torture of eternal damnation. Over a dozen CUFI members eagerly revealed to me their excitement at the prospect of Armageddon occurring tomorrow. Among the rapture ready was Republican Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. None of this seemed to matter to Lieberman, who delivered a long sermon hailing Hagee as nothing less than a modern-day Moses. Lieberman went on to describe Hagee's flock as "even greater than the multitude Moses commanded."

Neither Cobban nor Blumenthal mention the fifteen seconds or so clip of his interview with Likudnik ideologue Dore Gold, present at the CUFI conference.  Blumenthal asked Gold if he was concerned about CUFI's eschatology -- that ingathering of the Jews both mentioned as a necessary prelude to Armageddon. Gold responded (my transcription):

All religions have eschatology.  The question is whether somebody believes they can move the clock of eschatology forward by themselves.  The only one who says that is Mahmoud Amadenijad, the president of Iran.

In other words, instead of answering the question Gold preferred to blame an Islamist scapegoat.

I found Cobban's post on Blumenthal while taking a spin through the Arabist blogosphere this morning looking for some decent analysis on the resignation last week of Mohammed Dahlan as the head of security for the Palestinian National Authority, but unfortunately I still can't find anything that even addresses the internal splits in Fatah as a possible factor leading up to Abbas's decision to reform the security services.  In addition to the CUFI piece, I got a bunch more interesting stuff.  For example, Charles Levinson had a post up yesterday headlined "World opinion shifting in favor of Hamas" which includes this passage:

the conclusion is not that Hamas is some angelic and misunderstood organization that deserves a warm fuzzy embrace by the international community. All those calling for engagement with Hamas understand that 1) the Palestinians can make no political progress toward new elections, a legitimate government, consensus on peace talks with Israel, etc, without some kind of agreement between Hamas and Fatah; 2) no peace process is possible without Hamas having a stake in the process; and 3) the best way to empower those voices inside Hamas who are truly moderate and inclined to compromise is through dialog and engagement.

Levinson also throws a telling jab at the rightwing critics that infest his blog:

The angry reactionary sorts who often comment on this blog seem to think that the above argument is akin to an unreserved endorsement for all Hamas stands for. Quite the opposite, it is simply a sober analysis of which tactics are most likely to achieve the West’s desired strategic aims.

And he cites a report by the Centre for European Policy Studies Nathalie Tocci entitled "What Went Wrong? The Impact of Western Policies towards Hamas and Hizbollah" and which details how the policies pursued to date seem to have contributed to an actual strenghthening of both Islamist organizations.

Finally, McClatchy has a report on the wire today on Hamas's new public relations campaign touting the "Gaza Riviera."  Here's the real good news the McClatchy reporter found:

Using a mix of military force and political persuasion, Hamas has succeeded in creating a sense of safety in the Gaza Strip. But many Palestinians don't believe this quiet will last very long.

Attacks on Internet cafes have come to a halt. For the time being, rival Gaza Strip families have stopped taking up arms to resolve their disputes. And fears of renewed factional fighting between disciplined Hamas forces and demoralized Fatah fighters are virtually nil.

Before we get too excited, however, there are still real problems:

But Hamas hasn't reined in Islamic Jihad and other militant groups, which regularly fire rudimentary Qassam rockets at southern Israeli towns and could provoke an Israeli invasion. Israel routinely responds by launching air strikes on Palestinian militants.

The Hamas "safe streets" marketing campaign also obscures intractable problems facing the group as it tries to use its impoverished base in Gaza to establish itself as a key player in the new Middle East.

Hundreds of Gaza Strip police officers, judges and soldiers loyal to Abbas refuse to work for Hamas. Israel allows almost nothing but critical food and medical supplies across its border with Gaza, creating a shortage of everything from cigarettes to concrete mix. Major Gaza Strip factories, unable to get raw material in and finished goods out, have been shuttered.

Short term security is good for the people in Gaza.  What they really need, however, is a long term political solution that will for the first time allow them the possibility of peace and prosperity.  End Times-inspired isolationism won't do it for them.  An honest peace process, one which allows a voice to all the parties in the conflict, is the only thing that will.

Update:  via Avenging Angel in comments, the New York Times is reporting in today's editions that a group of 34 evangelical leaders have written Bush calling for the creation and recognition of a Palestinian state:

On Friday, these leaders sent a letter to President Bush saying that both Israelis and Palestinians have "legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine," and that they support the creation of a Palestinian state "that includes the vast majority of the West Bank...."

They say that being a friend to Jews and to Israel "does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted." The letter adds, "Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed violence and injustice against each other."

"This group is in no way anti-Israel, and we make it very clear we’re committed to the security of Israel," said Ronald J. Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, which often takes liberal positions on issues. "But we want a solution that is viable. Obviously there would have to be compromises."

Originally posted to litho on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 11:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (15+ / 0-)

    for all us kossacks who are proud to be "left behind..."

    The notion that not talking to people is somehow punishment to them is ridiculous. Barack Obama, July 23, 2007

    by litho on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 10:58:34 AM PDT

  •  Lieberman's a Benedict To His Nation... (6+ / 0-)

    betraying his faith shouldn't be that much of a stretch...

    Is It Time To Impeach Yet??? Just Checking...

    by TheManWithNoPoint on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 11:06:41 AM PDT

    •  What exactly are you suggesting? That this (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      livosh1, JPhurst, MBNYC, blueness, Eric S

      Jewish fellow has some kind of dual loyalty? I'm not by any stretch a Lieberman supporter but could you explain how he is a traitor?

      "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." ~ Diderot

      by Bouwerie Boy on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 12:11:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cool the Jets, BB... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, Bouwerie Boy, Terra Mystica

        I'm saying Lieberman is a sell-out, both to his country, from his obvious treachery in the Senate, and to his faith, if he's licking John Hagee's boots...

        John Hagee don't like Jews...

        If Lieberman's giving him props...that's all I'm saying...

        You surprise me today, Bouwerie of all people should know by now I have no bias against the Jewish people...and "dual loyalty" is an American term, by the way...and I'm not American...

        Again, you surprise me today...

        Is It Time To Impeach Yet??? Just Checking...

        by TheManWithNoPoint on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 02:50:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hagee likes Jews (0+ / 0-)

          He believes that no Christian can be an anti-Semite. He meets with Israeli leaders, he supports a more radical Zionism than most Israelis. In a recent sermon he held up his bible, saying to the congregation that their scripture is a book "written entirely by Jews."

          I'm not saying his policies are good for Israel or Jews in the long run, but "Hagee don't like Jews" is certainly untrue.

          •  John Hagee (to me) is a Flaming Christo-fascist (7+ / 0-)

            whose only use for the Jewish people is to assist in elevating Christians to the side of Jesus Christ when the tribulations arrive...

            He thinks Jews are hell-bound...

            Just sayin' own opinion...

            Is It Time To Impeach Yet??? Just Checking...

            by TheManWithNoPoint on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03:32:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Christo-fascist (3+ / 0-)

              I hope this is just a play on words, from the over-used "Islamofascist." That word when used on Wingnut web sites never inspires me to think better of the writers there.

              Several points, at least according to Hagee:

              1. Christians alive today will never see the tribulations. The tribs are for Christians who are saved after the rapture.
              1. Christians don't need any help in being elevated. They just go up in the air like pigs at a Pink Floyd concert.
              1. Jews are not hell-bound, but will by and large be saved after the rapture. They are God's favorite people, even more favorite than Christians.

              Y'all need to watch more TBN.

          •  These are not the words of a man who (4+ / 0-)

            loves Jews:

            It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility only to serve the one true God Jehovah that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.

            Rather, it is classic anti-Judaism steeped in the words of the Gospel, upon which modern anti-Semitism is based.

            What, in Christian eyes, represents our "disobedience and rebellion"?  Our "disobedience" was our failure to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and our "rebellion" was nailing him to a Roman cross.

            We can only redeem ourselves by becoming Christian, in his eyes, that is by committing a form of ritual suicide.

            Hagee is a radical anti-Semite.

            The notion that not talking to people is somehow punishment to them is ridiculous. Barack Obama, July 23, 2007

            by litho on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03:38:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Disobedience and rebellion (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Well, there are plenty of incidents of disobedience and rebellion that he could be talking about. I doubt he's talking about the crucifiction. Canaan is clearly a reference to the time of Moses, not the time of Jesus.

              Look, I don't like the guy. He's one of the wackiest, along with Jack van Impe, Rod Parsley, Paul Crouch, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, and the guy from the Museum of Creation Evidence. But let's not tar him with more brushes than he deserves. He gets covered from head to foot already.

              •  This statement here (4+ / 0-)

                seems typical to me of the consensus view of New Testament scholars:

                Because Christianity was a strain of Judaism that emerged prior to the disastrous war with Rome (66-70 CE), the New Testament, which is largely a collection of Jewish writings, contains the marks of intra-Jewish religious conflict both before and after, but especially after the Roman war. For example, the Matthaean image of the Pharisees as legalistic, hypocritical, thieving, impious, fanatical and murderous (Matt. 23) - an image much exploited by later antisemites - obviously reflects the angry state of Jewish-Christian relations in the post-war era when the Pharisees (the apparent ancestors of rabbinic Judaism) and the (Jewish) Christians confronted each other following the national disaster. Similarly, the Johannine image of the Jews as the children of the devil (John 8:44f) - also much exploited by later antisemites - reflects the final stage in the deterioration of these relations, as well as the rivalries of the diaspora and a nasty local situation in Ephesus, the probable site of the gospel. However, the anti-Judaism of the New Testament is still, for the most part (Luke-Acts is the important exception), a Jewish anti-Judaism, i.e., a sectarian rhetoric rooted in the polemical battles of antiquity, and in the identity-crisis of the apostolic church.

                Unfortunately, the residue of these battles became the foundation of what historians call the Adversus Judaeos tradition of the post-New Testament church: Christian theological anti-Judaism. It was the second layer of the snowball. When ex-pagans rather than Jews began to write Christian theology, they changed the intra-Jewish argument into a gentile-Jewish one. This was not a change for the better. The ethnocentric pride of the gentiles, infused into the new religion, had an alienating effect: what Jules Isaac called a teaching of contempt developed, the result of which was the famous image of the deicidal, carnal and accursed Jew, so familiar in Western folklore. Each subsequent age added more layers. I cannot review the history of antisemitism in a single lecture, but I will summarize some of its highlights.

                While we can't call the gospels themselves "anti-semitic," they have been used in overtly anti-semitic ways at least since the Crusades.  Hagee taps into old, old currents of Jew-hating, and his coded language is not hard to decipher for those who share his preconceptions.

                The notion that not talking to people is somehow punishment to them is ridiculous. Barack Obama, July 23, 2007

                by litho on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 05:50:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agree to disagree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JPhurst, blueness

                  I know that a lot of people use the NT in their anti-semetism. I just think if you've sat through, as I have, hours of John Hagee extolling the miracles that God performed in the 20th century to create and protect the state of Israel and the return of Jews to Israel, you might think differently. He even raised money to allow Jews to return to Israel from the former Soviet Union.

                  Hagee gets a lot of flack for his support of Israel and Jews. The evangelicals who actually do think that Jews are going to hell criticize him for his stand. Here is such a criticism.

                  I stole this quote from Wikipedia:

                  "Anyone who makes the life of Jewish people difficult or grievous, as did the Pharaoh, as did Hitler, will be cursed by God." - keynote address to AIPAC, (March 12, 2007)

                  I've heard similar statements in his sermons.

                  I don't think it's a good idea to run US foreign policy by listening to Christian Zionists. But to call the most well-known of this group an anti-semite is just wrong. Call him misinformed about the Palastinians, call him irresponsible in calling for complete annexation of land to Israel, call him dangerous for his prediction that Israel will launch a nuclear attach against Damascus. But he's not an anti-semite.

                  If you disagree, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

                  •  Sorry, but I'll need to read it from Hagee (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    himself, and in context.

                    His statement to AIPAC you quote is fully consistent with Christian supersessionism, as is the quotation from his book Blumenthal cited in the video.

                    The notion that not talking to people is somehow punishment to them is ridiculous. Barack Obama, July 23, 2007

                    by litho on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 03:56:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  From the same book by Hagee: (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      litho, sofia, blueness

                        How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God uppon his rebellious chosen people."

                      Troutfishing has done an excellent diary series about anti-Semitism among Christian Zionists, including Hagee.  Among the most outrageous statements troutfishing finds is Hagee crediting Nazis as agents of God, God's Hunters, for driving Jews to Israel:

                      The Prophet Jeremiah... paints a vivid picture of the human agents God intended to use to bring the Jewish people back to Israel:
                      'But now I will send for many fisherman', declares the Lord', 'and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.'

                      I believe this indicates the positive comes before the negative.....

                      First, God sent the fisherman to Israel. These were the Zionists, men like Theodore Herzl who called for the Jews of Europe and the World to come to Palestine and establish the Jewish state. The Jews were encouraged to escape while there was still time....

                      [Then] God sent the hunters. The hunter is one who pursues his target with force and fear. No one could see the horror of the Holocaust coming, but the force and fear of Hitler's Nazis drive the Jewish people back to the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have-Israel.... I am stricken with awe and wonder at his boundless love for Israel and the Jewish people...( "Jerusalem Countdown", paperback edition, pages 132 and 133 )

                      "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

                      by Rusty Pipes on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 09:17:06 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Ok. No offense meant. Thanks (4+ / 0-)

          for the the reply :-)

          "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." ~ Diderot

          by Bouwerie Boy on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03:27:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Evangelical Civil War over Palestinian State (8+ / 0-)

    It looks like Joe's allies at CUFI have a new fight on their hands.

    Sunday's New York Times reports a new fissure within the American evangelical movement. Already increasingly at loggedheads over global warming, evangelicals may be witnessing a new schism over the issue of a Palestinian state. And that means Pastor John Hagee and his end-of-times friends at Christians United for Israel (CUFI) are not happy.

    For the details, see:
    "Evangelical Civil War over a Palestinian State."

  •  Indistinguishable From Most Radical Islamists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Noah in NY, anotherdemocrat

    The advocate vioent overthrow of the government and wholesale slaughter of of their neighbors. Their ultimate goal is to infiltrate the army and touch off a nuclear war to trigger the rapture. They want a Xtian version of Sharia law, their own alternate history, their own media obsessed with ginnned up secular oppression with Fox substituting for Al Jazeera , Xtian madrassas, stonings and beheadings, closing the universities, and putting the clergy in charge of the government. They are intimately involved in dometic terrorism. The US government is making the same mistake as Pakistan by accomodating them.

  •  Joe Lieberman, a heartbeat from the Presidency. (5+ / 0-)

    Not a comforting thought.

    •  I thought of thanking God for that not happening, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Noah in NY, Terra Mystica

      and then I remembered who is one heartbeat from the presidency at the moment.

      Katrina was America's Chernobyl.

      by lysias on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03:52:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Joe's not a bad guy. (0+ / 0-)

      I bet you voted for Gore, which would have made Joe VP had the election not been rigged.  Now you hate Lieberman?  He has a very liberal voting record, and still votes with the Democrats on almost anything.  

      •  The senator's positions on the occupation (0+ / 0-)

        of Iraq and his enthusiasm for an attack on Iran more than negate his liberal stance on other matters.  If he were indeed President, I believe we would have already launched a nuclear attack of Iran.

        •  You can be anti-war, but... (0+ / 0-)

          if being for the Iraq war is where you draw the line, then you can't in good conscience vote for Hillary, or most other Democrats.

          As far as Iran, you have to acknowledge that they are a real threat.  You don't have to support war with them, but they are killing U.S. troops in Iraq, they openly threaten the U.S. (the "Great Satan") and they promise genocide against our allies.  Our next Democrat President will have to deal with Iran, and in the future you may be wishing that Iran was confronted before they had nuclear weapons (and that is what Lieberman is advocating now).  

  •  Both sides are conning the other (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Noah in NY, Eric S, Terra Mystica

    Hagee and his followers are trying to make the end times events happen by supporting Israel. Israel is gathering money, weapons and political support by supporting the sequence of events of the end times. They know exactly what Hagee's reaction will be when they tell him they intend to rebuild the temple. I think each side knows the other is intending a con, they just don't care.

  •  As I've been trying to say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arielle, MBNYC, Eric S

    Joe Lieberman is a lying, friggin' asshole.  Every religion has them.  

    And I notice that in the three diaries about Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, not a single mention that he's Jewish, and that his Jewish beliefs are part of what led him to blow the whistle on Guantanamo.  For the real story, please read here.

    "I hate Illinois Nazis" - Jake

    by dfb1968 on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 12:07:29 PM PDT

  •  Of course not. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    livosh1, Doughnutman, Eric S

    Hundreds of Gaza Strip police officers, judges and soldiers loyal to Abbas refuse to work for Hamas.

    That's a natural and normal reaction to the Hamas coup, one would imagine. Of course loyal servants of the state won't cooperate or assist those who have overthrown it; and after all, Fatah is the majority party in Gaza, even if their adherents have been pre-empted by almost Bush-like tactics of violence from exercising their rights of free political expression.

    Once terrorists, it appears, always terrorists.

    We shall crush our enemies under the cruel heel of our basic goddamned f--king competence. -Hunter

    by MBNYC on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 12:14:24 PM PDT

    •  What's natural and normal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is for civil servants to want their paychecks.  Abbas has threatened to fire civil servants who cooperate with Hamas in Gaza in any way.

      "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

      by Rusty Pipes on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 09:25:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In recent light of stars such as Tom Cruise being (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Noah in NY, Terra Mystica

    called for his extreme religious views.

    I think the question now becomes what is religion? What is cultism?

    Germany, and Chanc. Merkel have already obviously tackled this question in thier own country-and have set guidelines for acceptable definition of each.
    Perhaps this is a discussion needed in this country-badly.

    Hagee is just one example of religious extremism or cultism.
    Here's a definition according to Oxford:

    cultism-a system of religious worship.
           excessive worship of a person or thing.

    religion-a system of faith or worship
            a belief in a God or worship of a GOD.

    which leads to the definition of
    worship:reverence and respect paid to a God.

    I'd say Hagee has taken his own interpretation and religious zealotry to fit into his own personal beliefs. He takes certain quotes from the Bible to
    back him up-rather than taking the entire contecxt of the Bible- or what has traditionally been handed down through the ages. Just like David Korresh of Waco-Hagee is also an extremist.  A dangerous path for his followers. This is a man who is out for his own gain, is prepared to protect his own beliefs through his paranoia of hiring police who are part of his church. Why is the regular police not there to monitor his activity. Private security-as the ones seen in the video-add to the extremist perception.It's apalling to me to see Leiberman grandstanding for his own ego-driven political purposes. When these 2 meet-it is a recipe for disaster and should be a warning to all of us-to take the same actions that Germany has-by booting them out of the country. If Hagee wants his Armageddon-let him take his followers to Israel. i can't imagine that the people of Israel are to keen on seeing their own country blown up becasue some whackjob says Jesus is coming. History from the Bible also tells us-God works when He is good and ready to-no man like Hagee is going to force God to do anything.I am of the belief that our future has already been lain out with the "big bang"-so we can't change it-unless there is interference from angels or prophets to guide. The Bible is full of examples of this.People like Hagee telling his followers that God has spoken to him is ridiculous.
    Even in the Bible, when Jesus spoke gather followers; there was something special about him-to convince people to listen to him in the first place. Those examples were not fearmongering or treachery. Why and how men who claim to be following Gods' orders would not be driven to violence or trickery-those would be called frauds.
    hagees followers need to call him out on why he thinks he's been chosen. Just becasue we have freedom of religion in this country-does not mean every Tom, Dick, or George can claim to speak for God. Even Moses had other witnesses to miracles , just as Jesus did- that gave them credibility to be doing the work of God for a noble goal for humanity.
    What do Hagee and Lieberman have?

    •  What is a cult? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Noah in NY, Eric S

      You can read Lifton's classic criteria for cults at

      It's a long way to go from real cults that harm their followers to Hagee and company, but there is a continuum from cult to non-cult, so it can be subjective.

      A word about motives. I don't think Hagee or his followers really believe they can make the end times come faster than God wants. That would be human hubris that they would denounce. I think they may see themselves as being called by God to act in a particular way so that the end times come at a time that God always wanted it to. Is there a practical difference? Probably not, but an important one if you want to discuss these things intelligently with evangelicals.

      Israeli officials have no interest in seeing Israel destroyed, but they don't see that money, arms and political support from the US makes that any more likely. If they can trade private meetings with evangelical ministers for money and arms, they will. If they can show building plans for a new temple and receive political favor, they will.

      Here's an article from WorldNet Daily today. Israeli officials use such efforts to tease evangelicals that the end is near, as if they needed any encouragement in that direction. They must know they can play dumb about New Testament prophesies and garner support. Evangelicals must know that Israeli officials are telling them what they want to hear, but see these signs as a fulfilment of prophesy regardless of the motives of the Israelis.

      •  that's the other thing I don't get either. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Terra Mystica

        If Hagee and Lieberman want thier Rapture-why is Israel making a deal with the US for arms? Why aren't they telling Iran to bring it on? Why aren't they just letting events unfold and having faith in God that they'll be taken care of?

        This seems to be exactly what they want-yet their actions tell a differrnt story. One that is useing it's followers to manipulate-but if these same followers stopped and thought about it-they'd realize the ridiculousness of it.

        •  Right - U.S. policy in the region is not (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, Noah in NY, Terra Mystica

          guided by religion. It's guided by what is percieved to be in the interests of those in power, and a rational analysis of the best way to achieve them. Religion comes in as a way of appealing to voters, and things like that, but it is by no means a guiding force behind foreign policy.

        •  Bringing the end sooner (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, Noah in NY, Eric S

          As I said above, Hagee doesn't want the rapture sooner. He wants the rapture when God wants it, which he thinks is soon, and by supporting Israel he is doing God's work and bringing it at God's intended time. For Hagee, the rapture will remove Christians right after Armageddon, so he won't be here to see the destruction anyway. He wants arms for Israel because he believes the bible instructs him to support Israel. I don't have a link to Hagee's site, but in TV sermons I've seen him quote Genesis 12:3, God speaking to Amraham.

          And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

          By the way, it's not just Iran that he thinks will attack Israel. The "King of the North", or Russia, will lead a broad coalition of Muslim countries against Israel.

          Lieberman supports Israel. I would hope he isn't part of the effort to garner support for Israel by hinting about end times circumstances. It's not out of the question, I guess, since Mossad and other Israeli agencies make extensive use of non-Israeli Jews in a variety of roles. I would very much doubt that he has any belief in the rapture. He wants arms for Israel for the same reason anybody wants arms - to fight an win wars. Even better, to deter somebody who wants to fight a war with you.

    •  Just curious (0+ / 0-)

      Within the context of your definitions, where do you place Buddhism?

  •  Difference from belief and forcing outcome (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As a Jew I have to say I don't really worry about people who believe in the Rapture.  All religions have things like end time prophecies.  I am worried about people trying to force their particular end time prophecy but supporting Israel does not exactly rise to that level. After reading and watching the video I don't see these people as actively trying to force the end time although many admitted to wanting it to come.

    Lieberman likes these people for their support for Israel and frankly I am fine with that also.  Support for Israel has never been based on party lines.  Although I think there are people who would love nothing more then to turn the issue into a Red vs Blue one but that simply hasn't happend and I doubt it will.  Just looking at the DailyKos you can see that support for Israel is not linked to any particular political affiliation.

    "Israel is the Jew among nations." - Golda Meir

    by hadees on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 01:52:45 PM PDT

    •  Hagee will not cause Armageddon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Noah in NY

      No, Hagee and the evangelicals will not cause Armageddon. This is why the Israeli government encourages them. The Christian Zionists do have the effect of conflating any criticism of Israeli policies with anti-semitism.

    •  Well, you're right that it isn't a partisan issue (6+ / 0-)

      "support for Israel" (whatever that means) cuts across party lines. The problem here, I think, is not to do with partisanship and it's not even to do with the fact that a group of people who are, in their core beliefs, quite barmy appears to have significant political influence over an issue as important as this. Although it's not an exactly desirable state of affairs, it remains the case that U.S. policy in the region is not based on religion, but on rational strategy based on the perceived self-interest of the ruling class.

      The real problem is actually the reverse: the fact that these people have these irrational beliefs means that they are vulnerable to manipulation. People can be persuaded to support policies that are extremely harmful and immoral by way of appealing to their religious beliefs. And that is a problem, because the only way policy towards the region will improve is if popular opinion forces it to.

  •  I have seen.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Rusty Pipes, Noah in NY

    ..Blumenthal's video, linked to a bit earlier at As'ad Abu Khalil's blog. Needless to say I found it frightening, and quite bizarre.  Growing up in NYC -- I've never been exposed to Christian fundamentalism, and although of course I've heard of the rapturists, had never seen them in action. Their bigotry toward Muslims is chilling; I wonder what percentage of the US population they represent.

    Thanks for the diary.

  •  Blumenthal is becoming a good filmaker in the MM (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Rusty Pipes, sofia

    vein.  He got an accurate glimpse of a very conflicted group of people.

    Wish he could have gotten to ask Lieberman some questions.  Given the context of the film, his speaking at this convention was what I think of when I hear the term "self-hating jew."  Given the passage Blumenthal read from Hagee's book forcefully reiterating the tired old "Christ-killers who must be punished" sentiment, Lieberman's apperance and words of praise were shocking.

    Glad to hear that the NYT is noticing that evangelicals are not monolithic on this issue, though.

  •  Gee.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I'm so touched that all of a sudden the diarist cares so much about anti-semites out there.

    Most Christians who support Israel support it for the same common sense and rational reasons most other people do.  Using the term "Christian Zionist" to smear any evangelical supporter of Israel as someone waiting for the second coming is highly misleading.  But then again, that's the m.o. of the Israel bashing crowd.

  •  Thanks for the diary, litho! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As Blumenthal notes in his article and troutfishing has stated many times, CUFI is strongly pushing for war with Iran.  As is evident from your quote of Dore Gold, CUFI is in line with others in the Israel Lobby who are demonizing Iran and advocating for military action.  CUFI advocates this step specifically because it wants to speed up the End Times: Hagee preaches that a war against Iran, even a Nuclear War, would be positive for Born Again Christians, because it would set in motion a series of events that would lead to Armaggedon.  As troutfishing notes, they are not just waiting for the Apocalypse, they are lobbying for it.

    "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

    by Rusty Pipes on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 11:17:17 AM PDT

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