August 23 – 2011

Caspari Center Media Review – August 23, 2011

During the week covered by this review, we received 9 articles on the following subjects:

Christian Zionism
Christian sites

This week’s review focused on various recent reactions to Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionism

Ma’ariv, August 14; Jerusalem Post, August, 16, 22 (x 2); Haaretz, August 18, 19; Zman Yerushalayim, August 8, 2011

Under the headline “Rick Perry is longtime friend of Israel – and Jesus,” Ron Kampeas in the Jerusalem Post (August 16) commented that: “To some conservative Jews, Texas Gov. Rick Perry would make an excellent presidential candidate. He’s been to Israel more than any other candidate in the field and has said he loves it … But other Jewish conservatives seeking the anti-Obama candidate look at the three-term governor and see something arresting: He believes he’s on a mission from God. Perry has nonplussed longtime Jewish supporters by claiming that he has been ‘called’ to the presidency and by hosting a prayer rally this month that appealed to Jesus to save America … Perry, a devout Methodist, was attracted to Israel from the launch of his career. One of his first acts after being elected agriculture commissioner in 1991 was to create the Texas-Israel Exchange, which promoted information and research sharing. In a 2009 interview with The Jerusalem Post, when as governor he led a delegation to Israel, Perry – who at about the same time flirted with Texas secessionist rhetoric – said the alliance was a natural one. ‘When I was here for the first time some 18 years ago and I was touring the country, the comparison between Masada and the Alamo was not lost on me,’ he told the Post. ‘I mean, we’re talking about two groups of people who were willing to give up their lives for freedom and liberty’ … Perry’s declaration last month that the presidency is ‘what I’ve been called to’ sent a shudder through some among the conservative Jewish establishment. This month it was Perry’s leadership in organizing the massive Houston prayer rally, dubbed The Response, and his insistence that ‘we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles’ that led some Jewish conservatives to go on the record with their discomfiture. ‘My response to The Response: No, thanks,’ wrote Jacob Sullum, a syndicated columnist. ‘My people have managed without Jesus for thousands of years. Why start now?’”

The remainder of these articles related to Glenn Beck’s scheduled “Restoring Courage” rally in Jerusalem. Mina Fenton is including this event in her “Crusade” against missionaries in Israel (Zman Yerushalayim, August 19), Haaretz (August 18) noting similar concerns amongst the Jewish community, while the Jerusalem Post (August 18) noted that Arab MKs are warning that the rally could ignite tensions: “Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage rally at the Southern Wall excavations site next Wednesday could spark a conflagration of violence in Jerusalem, Arab Knesset members and activists warned Wednesday. The Jerusalem mass rally will be the central event of the American broadcaster’s three-night attempt to demonstrate to Israel and the world that the Jewish state does not stand alone. There will also be a rally for Christian leaders Sunday in Caesarea and a Holocaust-related event on Monday. ‘There are enough racists in Israel without importing them from the US; Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei said. ‘The lessons from Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount apparently haven’t been learned. This event isn’t for building coexistence, but to spark fires in a sensitive location ahead of the United Nations vote on a Palestinian state in September. There is a danger that the event will lead to people being harmed, and the police should have prevented it,’ Barakei added. MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) called Beck ‘a bizarre, conservative, neo-fascist comedian who is motivated by a hatred of Islam.’ Tibi accused MK Danny Danon (Likud), who is involved in Beck’s event, of ‘dancing to Beck’s flute-playing and rejoicing to every outrageous word against Arabs and Muslim.’ Arab activists in east Jerusalem criticized Beck’s decision to hold the rally so close to a tense area. ‘There is a message [in the location] – especially to come to the City of David, that’s close to Al-Aksa and other Muslim holy sites and the Western Wall – it says a lot,’ said Murad Shafa, a member of the Popular Committee of Al-Bustan, one of the neighborhoods in Silwan. ‘I don’t know him, but I know one thing: this area belongs to all the religions.’ Shafa expressed concern the event would attempt to erase parts of the historical narrative that hold that the site is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. ‘Why are we the smallest people? Is their god bigger than ours?’ he asked. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, Beck advised his critics to watch the event before casting judgment. He said that when he held his Restoring Honor event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, last August, people said he would desecrate the site with what they thought would be a right-wing political rally, but it ended up being nothing of the kind. ‘[Israeli control over] Jerusalem is the best thing that has happened in many people’s lives among Arabs I’ve met, even though they won’t say it on camera,’ Beck said. ‘They are protected, safe and able to live without violence. Israel has done an amazing job of adhering to love thy neighbor – and even love thine enemy. ‘It’s hard when people are trying to kill you to protect their rights. Jerusalem is an example of coexistence working. You can’t deny truth,’ Beck said.” Most recently, a right-wing activist also joined the protest: “Beck has been welcomed warmly by the Israeli Right until Sunday, when hawkish Likud activist Moshe Feiglin denounced him in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. Feiglin objected to the Christian broadcaster holding his Restoring Courage rally so close to Judaism’s holy site. ‘Glenn Beck should do such an event in his court, not mine,’ Feiglin said. ‘Besides territorial sovereignty, there is also a concept of spiritual sovereignty. When he holds his event so close to the Temple Mount, he is supporting us physically but undermining us spiritually.’ Feiglin noted that Beck was purposely holding his event close to the site where, according to the New Testament, Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers where Jews on pilgrimage to Jerusalem redeemed funds for sacrifices that would be made in the Temple. He said this was problematic, because the incident has been a source for anti-Semitism for centuries. ‘This created the image of Jews as pursuers of money and Christian anti-Semitism that led to rivers of Jewish blood,’ Feiglin said” (Jerusalem Post, August 22).

At the rally, Beck stated: ‘“I’ve spent the last few years trying to find solutions for what is happening in the world,’ he said on the backdrop of the pillars of the grand stage. ‘While there may not be a political solution, the good news is the God of Abraham ain’t running for office,’ he said to loud applause. ‘Be not afraid, know who he is, know his face, know that he is a God of covenants and miracles. We are leaving the age of man-made miracles of spacecraft, and we are entering the age of the miracles of God’ … One Jew not afraid of contemporary Christian love is Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Efrat’s chief rabbi, who is active in Jewish-Christian dialogue. ‘He is the reason I had hope, because he reached back and didn’t question, just heard love and that is good enough for him,’ Beck said of Riskin, who was instrumental in making Beck believe he could pull off the event” (Jerusalem Post, August 22).



Christian Sites

Gal Gefen -Yavneh, August 14, 2011

This brief note was devoted to the baptismal site at Dagania.


Chadshotei – HaSharon, August 12, 2011

This piece related to the archaeological findings discovered on the eve of Tisha B’Av (see last week’s Review).