By Robert Weitzel
Safa Abu Saif, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl, was visiting a friend’s apartment when the bullet fired from an Israeli rifle slammed into her chest, punching a gaping exit wound in her back. No ambulance could reach her because of the fighting. Safa died in her father’s arms three hours after being shot.
Danielle Shafi, a 5-year-old Israeli girl, was killed by the bullet fired from a Palestinian rifle as her mother combed her hair in the child’s upstairs bedroom. Drenched in the blood of her wound, Danielle slowly stopped breathing and died in her mother’s arms minutes after being shot.
According to a United Nation’s report, 971 Palestinian and Israeli children were killed between September 2000—the beginning of the second intifada—and July 2007. Of those destroyed children, 854 were Palestinian. The intifada and the dying continue.
Safa and Danielle are two of the children whose lives the evangelical political action committee, Christians United for Israel, are willing to sacrifice on the alter of their fundamentalist eschatology in the hope of bringing about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Pastor John Hagee, televangelist to 99 million viewers and pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, established the CUFI in 2005 following the publication of his book, “The Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World.” Hagee envisions CUFI as the Christian version the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby whose political clout has a significant influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
The late Molly Ivins, a Texas political commentator and author, described Hagee as a “pre-millennial dispensationalist, whose theology focuses on selected apocalyptic passages of the Book of Revelation.” In 1998, Hagee teamed up with Christian filmmakers to produce, “Vanished in the Twinkling of an Eye,” a docudrama about the tribulations following the Rapture.
Despite Pastor Hagee’s obvious interest in eschatology, he insists that CUFI’s support for Israel has nothing to do with end time prophecy. But in an unguarded moment in the intimate confines of his 50,000 sq. ft. multimedia chapel, Hagee set the truth free, “The judgment of the nations is going to happen as soon as Christ returns to earth. As soon as he sets up his throne on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he’s going to rule the world with a rod of iron. That means he’s going to make the ACLU do what he wants them to . . .. We will live by the law of god, and no other law.”
The problem with Hagee’s version of the truth is the fact that the Temple Mount is Islam’s third most sacred site, upon which sits the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the oldest extant Islamic structure in the world.
According to Judaism, the Mount is where the final Third Temple will be rebuilt before the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Unfortunately for CUFI, the Second Coming of Jesus is on hold until the temple’s completion, and that cannot happen until Islam is destroyed—Hagee’s holy grail.
Predictably then, the good pastor opposes any peace plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supports Israel’s persecution and “imprisonment” of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and advocates pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Iran. John Hagee lives, and CUFI exists, to light the fires of the Apocalypse using Israel as the match.
To get a candid look at CUFI and its members, journalist Max Blumenthal took his cameras to the CUFI’s Washington-Israel Summit held last July in the nation’s capital.
His video, “Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour” opens with Blumenthal cornering disgraced former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay and asking him how important the Second Coming is in his support of Israel. The “Hammer” replied, “Obviously, it is what I live for. Really, I hope it comes tomorrow. Obviously, we need to be connected to Israel to enjoy the Second Coming of Christ.”
Blumenthal mingled with the 4,500 CUFI rank and file attending the Summit and asked their opinion on Armageddon and the identity of the Antichrist:
Q. “Are you looking forward to Armageddon?”
A. “I’m looking forward to Armageddon and the cleansing of the earth.”
Q. “Who is the Antichrist?”
A. “He will be a man of peace. So he will be one who has promoted peace for many years. The one who forces Israel into a peace treaty with the Arabs is the Beast.”
A. “Another reason that we support Israel is that we have a common enemy, the Muslims. We are fighting what is behind the Muslim people, which is Satan. Satan is actually the one who is trying to destroy the human race.”
After asking Pastor Hagee the “wrong” question during a Summit news conference, Blumenthal and his crew were escorted out of the building by off-duty police officers.
John Hagee is not without fawning friends in Washington. Presidential hopeful John McCain made a campaign stop at the Summit and admitted to the audience that, “It’s very hard trying to do the Lord’s work in the city of Satan . . .” House Minority Whip Roy Blunt followed McCain to the podium and assured the faithful that “This is a mission, this is a vision that I believe is a vision for God’s time.” Senator Joe Lieberman was there and described Pastor Hagee as an "Ish Elokim," a man of God.
Never one to be left out of a well-attended Christian Right convocation, President Bush sent his best wishes, "I appreciate CUFI members . . . for your passion and dedication to enhancing the relationship between the United States and Israel. Your efforts set a shining example for others . . .”
Cultivating his friendship with the man who believes the U.S. will be in Iraq for the next one hundred years, Pastor Hagee endorsed—and hugged—John McCain for president at a news conference held at the Cornerstone Church. Senator McCain graciously accepted, saying, “I’m very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement today,” When asked about Hagee’s extensive writings on Armageddon, McCain responded that “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.’’
Considering the above, the following should not need to be said. Pastor Hagee’s right-wing Jewish allies will do well to consider that after Islam is destroyed and the Temple rebuilt and Jesus comes and raptures all “true believers,” all non-believers—including Jews—will be hunted down and converted or destroyed . . . that is, those few who survived the nuclear holocaust that was prayed for and schemed for by the “Ish Elokim” and the CUFI.
In the meanwhile, Palestinian and Israeli children will continue to die singularly or in small groups by the bullets and the bombs and the fire send their way on the wings of CUFI’s prayerful machinations.
-Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com; contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org