After researching this post and watching the video transcribed below, I don’t know whether to cry or scream at the grievous injustices done to Israel’s Bedouin in the name of the Jewish people (the Jewish National Fund) and Christians the world over (GOD-TV).
The Israeli government is hoping the seventh time is the charm in their efforts to eradicate the Israeli Bedouin village of Al-Araqib. That’s how many times they’re destroyed it only to have its inhabitants return and rebuild it once more. In fact, the steadfastness of these indigenous residents of the Negev reminds me of the Biblical Prophets exhorting the Jews to cling to their Land no matter what evil befalls them.
Now, Israeli State thieves have come upon a new scam to make the destruction of the place more thorough and long-lasting. They’ve enlisted the Jewish National Fund, whose forests have already disappeared hundreds of former Israeli Palestinian villages uprooted during the Nakba. JNF together with the Israel Lands Administration which claims the Bedouin land on behalf of the State, brought their bulldozers to plant a new forest that will cover the ground on which Al-Araqib stands. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, JNF’s partner in this crimes is even more astonishing: the Christian Zionist evangelical GOD-TV.
Neve Gordon just wrote about this in The Nation and suggested I do further research and publish on this tragedy. I also commend the activism of the Negev Coexistence Forum, which is fighting the good fight on behalf of Al Araqib’s rightful residents.
Those who read this blog know I wrote several posts on the destruction of the village a few weeks ago by thousands of Israeli Border Police along with armored vehicles. The devastation of this place, which has been the residents’ home for generations, and going back much earlier than the creation of the State in 1948, is worse than a tragedy. It is truly an evil deed hatched by a nation calling itself a Jewish state, thus deprecating, even figuratively disappearing its non-Jewish citizens.
Now, Israel feels it needs to add a final exclamation point to its efforts to wipe out Al Araqib. It will no longer need to demolish the village every few weeks once a forest grows and subsumes any civilization that once existed there. It will be like the thick Central American jungle blotting out the Mayan ruins to the naked eye centuries after the magnificent cities were emptied of their inhabitants by flood, fire or other disaster.
Planting a forest on the site of a Palestinian Israeli village is a tried and true tactic used by the early Israeli state to eradicate remnants of Palestinian civilization lost to the Nakba, when 750,000 Israeli Palestinians were expelled just before and during what is commonly known as the War of Independence. Today’s Zionist JNF/ILA apparatchiks seem to think the same ploy will work in the Negev. But it won’t and can’t because the whole world (or least this blog and its readers) is watching. When the world watches evil unfold it cannot take hold as firmly and deeply. We know where evil lies and we can uproot it at a future time. We will not forget Al Araqib nor those who violently wiped away its existence. The evil they do will follow them; or at least we will.
If anyone needed evidence of the fact that the nationalists extremists running this Israeli government have made unholy alliance with Christian Zionist extremists, there can be no better example than this. This sign proudly erected a few hundred feet from where Al Araqib lies boasts not only that GOD-TV is partnering with the JNF is destroying a Bedouin community–it has the chutzpah to quote Isaiah. This brilliant prophet committed to justice and morality is being exploited to whitewash pure evil. It would make the man who proclaimed these words cry out in his anger and his shame:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
What do you mean by beating my people to pieces, and grinding the faces of the poor?
He looked for judgement, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
When you see images of the young, green saplings planted by JNF juxtapose this image with the following news of the devastation the Israeli government wrought in 2004 on these same fields when they were planted and harvested by the native Bedouin:
…The authorities stepped up the pressure on the Araqib to leave by spraying powerful herbicides on their crops, making the young shoots shrivel and die in the following weeks. It was the third time the Araqib’s crops had been sprayed in the past two years by a government agency, the Israel Lands Authority.
“This time we hurriedly took what crops we could for feed,” says Abu Darim. “We made the mistake of giving them to our animals. Nearly 400 of the sheep miscarried.”
The recent campaign of crop-spraying by the authorities – more than 6000 acres have been destroyed over a wide area of the Negev in the last two years – is not the only weapon being used by the state.
Over the past 12 months, there has also been a wave of house demolitions, making nearly 2000 bedouin homeless. At least three mosques have also been destroyed.
It seems the good Christian folk at GOD-TV don’t want just anyone making the desert bloom. They want only Jews to do so. Bedouin are the wrong sort of people for them.
If you read the GOD-TV site, you’ll find the convenient and miraculous discovery of an ancient Christian monastery in an internal Israeli settlement dubbed Givot Bar:
While clearing land as part of Israel’s project to reclaim the desert as suitable residential ground, a buried ‘world’ was unveiled. This historical gem has revealed buildings and artifacts from an ancient Christian community who lived in the Holy Land over 1500 years ago! This location is where some of the first Christian gathered to worship God. At Givot Bar in the Negev stands an old Farmhouse and Byzantine Church building – from as early as the 6th Century. Historical artifacts like an ancient wine-press and water cistern also point to a lifestyle of centuries gone by.
Such a “discovery” mirrors similar archaeological finds at digs in Silwan and other Arab communities which the far right settlement movement wishes to expel for political purposes to establish Jewish presence and supremacy. This is the use of history and archaeology to settle political disputes. Similary, Givot Bar is nothing more than an internal Israeli settlement meant to displace not Palestinians as in the West Bank, but indigenous Israeli Bedouin, citizens of the State of Israel.
Cook notes that the Al Araqib destruction is part of a larger government effort to consolidate Bedouin in large central population centers so that Jewish settlements can take their place:
…A government plan, personally approved a year ago by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and backed by $200 million, [will] force the rural Bedouin off their lands and into a handful of urban reservations the state is building for them.
…The stakes are high. The government wants the huge land reservoir of the Negev – two-thirds of Israel’s total territory -for Jewish immigration over the coming decades, and possibly for settlers evacuated from the West Bank and Gaza if peace ever arrives.
In 2002 the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) announced plans to start building settlements to bring 350,000 Jewish immigrants to the Galilee and the Negev the first time the WZO has funded settlements outside the occupied Palestinian territories in 26 years.
…If the Bedouin can be forced out of their villages, their place will be taken by 14 exclusive Jewish settlements and dozens more private farmsteads, modelled on Sharon’s own huge agricultural estate in the Negev, known as Sycamore Ranch.
This phenomenon provides proof that the Israeli Occupation isn’t the only injustice perpetrated by the State, but that Israel citizens too suffer. The expulsion of the Bedouin is a contemporary iteration of the Nakba meant to reinforce the supremacy of Israel’s Jewish citizens.
Who has the JNF made common cause with? GOD-TV, a group which in 2009 gave JNF $500,000 for this forest (IRS 990 pdf) as preparation for Jesus’ return. This is precisely how the project is described in the group’s IRS 990 form:
“The grant to the Jewish National Fund was to plant trees in Israel, to participate in dressing the Holy Land for the return of Jesus.”
In other words, world Jewry is embracing a group which is aiding evangelical radicals in their goal of bringing about the Second Coming of Jesus. Is this why we collected coins in our blue JNF pushkes in Hebrew school lo those many years ago?
Now, let’s read excerpts of the transcript of the following video that GOD-TV’s owner-host Rory Alec (legal name, Rory A. Stephen) made on the site of Al Araqib, all the while never mentioning a word about this eradicated Bedouin village on whose lands he stood:
[Camera pans over hills of Al Araqib as Rory Alec comes into view. Superimposed on his image is a full-frame Israeli flag waving as he addresses the camera]
It’s quite amazing Precious One how the Lord has led us as a ministry, GOD-TV, to connect with this land, this land that God loves so much.
…[Alec gives a summary of Jewish history refracted through evangelical theology ending with the expulsion of Jews from their land]. And then the prophets describe something extraordinary, how God will bring His people back to what has become a barren land. In 1948, we see something extraordinary in the history of the nations of the earth, where a majority of the United Nations agree after much prayer, and of course the prophecy is fulfilled and the land is reborn in a day. The nation in May 1948.
Here we are in the Negev [Alec turns to look at the surrounding landscape] and something the Lord put in my spirit, an instruction from God which was, “Rory and Wendy,” (we’re the God TV family) “prepare the land for the return of my Son.” And my spirit jumped and I said “Father in heaven, how do we do that?” And the Lord said to us, and this was three or four years ago, “Plant a million trees.”
I believe that’s what I heard the spirit of God, in a still small voice, say to us. And we shared that with you and I remember…we said for every gift…you’d send in, we would thank you for your gift by representing you and your family with this little tree, with a little sapling. Well, welcome to the God TV Forest and Bo this is amazing. [Rory, reading Isaiah 41:18 from JNF’s God TV Forest sign], “I will turn the deserts into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”
This is the beginning of, my goodness, right across Israel, how many trees have we planted so far?…
Bo Sander: So far we have planted in the ground about a half a million trees, half a million trees…
You know, Saints (addressing television audience), the extraordinary thing is the Lord put it in our spirits that we should plant a million trees to prepare the land for the return of his Son, and I tell you Jesus is coming back soon! This ministry is about a billion souls, and you and I will be fired up and stirred up to go out and share Jesus…He’s coming back and the Lord is saying to us, the God TV family, prepare the land and this is the land that needs preparing. This is the desert, brother!
Bo: It is wonderful and you know, this is where his people [Jews returning to Israel] are going to stay when they come. And the Scripture also says…that the desert needs to grow and develop, because His people are coming back. This is aliyah and the Jewish people are coming back to the land, and they need to have a place to stay and to live. And this is part of the development of the land, and this is scripture being fulfilled.
Rory: In front of us…And I know some of you are skeptical about Israel. Not everything the government of Israel does is correct, but you and I have been instructed by God Almighty to stand in the gap, to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, so to speak, to intercede and to pray for. And God does declare in his Word, his sovereign unchangeable Word, that he who blesses Abraham, he who blesses the seed of Abraham, he who blesses the land that God has promised and given, he who blesses the Jewish people – Israel and Judah – God will bless them, irrespective of what the Israelites or the Israelis are doing. We are praying for salvation, we are praying for blessing. But you and I have been instructed, as the body of Yeshua, to stand in the gap, and intercede that the divine will of God takes place in this nation, this miraculous nation…
Bo: I just want to emphasize what you and our viewers at GOD-TV have done here in Israel. It’s so appreciated. And the government here, the Jewish National Fund, Land of Promise, the Givot Bar village here, all of them are super-excited about what is happening here. How we can come in and support them and help them in this very difficult time. It’s just so wonderful to see.
Rory: You and I are bringing life in all its forms…you and I are fulfilling a prophecy that was declared by Hosiah and Ezechiel and Hez…literally the whole shebang. We are being obedient in the hands of the Lord. We are His hands, His heart, His…we’re preparing the land by His spirit…
Everyone who gives a red cent to this outfit should know that it is displacing the legitimate, indigenous inhabitants of this land, the Bedouin. And lest donors not care, let’s point out to the Internal Revenue Service that GOD-TV’s 501c3 entity, the Angel Christian Television Trust, Inc., gives the heksher of the U.S. government to these evangelical fanatic efforts to root out Israeli inhabitants of this land. That means that once again the Obama administration is allowing U.S. non profits to undermine express U.S. policy toward Israel through supporting the violent supplanting of Israel’s inhabitants by a forest. Speaking about donations, Angel Christian TV’s 2009 990 notes that Rory and his wife Wendy earned approximately $450,000 that year. Flogging Jesus in the Holy Land is nice work if you can get it.
Lest this transcript hasn’t shocked you enough, let’s tell you a bit more about GOD-TV and its fanatical bedfellows. Some of the most popular stars of this evangelical media enterprise are Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Copeland, founders of the Prosperity Gospel movement, who in 2007 were under investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley for using their non-profit status to “shield their lavish lifestyle.”
According to Rachel Tabachnick, one of the closest students of evangelical theology, GOD-TV embraces not just Dispensationalist theology, which is a more quiescent form of evangelism, but a far more aggressive and radical evangelism:
God TV does feature Dispensationalists, but the network also promotes another more aggressive and more virulent End Times theology that is becoming dominant in Christian Zionist activism. This is what is sometimes known as “End Times warriors.” This is NOT Dispensationalism – it is worse. Dispensationalism is passive to some extent because believers have to wait for the “Rapture”…for the End Times horrors to begin…In the End Times theology to which I was referring, there is no waiting for the Rapture and humans have the mandate to advance the End Times.
God TV features New Apostolic leaders who call themselves “apostles and prophets,” and who reject Dispensationalism…It does not yet have a convenient label, but is a mid-Tribulation or post-Tribulation premillennialism…a form of “Dominion” theology that requires Christians to take supremacy over the earth before Jesus can return…
This helps to explain how Christian Zionist leaders like John Hagee are getting away with claiming that their End Times prophecy is benign and Jewish leaders shouldn’t be concerned. In the Dispensational timeline the reign of the Antichrist, apocalyptic battles, suffering of the Jews, and other horrors of the Tribulation period don’t begin until after the born again believers are “Raptured” or snatched from the earth. They have to wait…for this divine intervention. Jewish leaders who embrace Hagee say that they don’t believe this will ever take place, so there’s nothing to worry about. No Rapture, no Tribulation, no problem. But most of John Hagee’s CUFI leaders and hosts are no longer Dispensational! They have made the transition to the more aggressive theology in which believers can…advance the prophetic clock.
In this rapidly growing Dominionist theology, born again believers…fight the Antichrist and evil instead of watching from the grandstands of heaven…Many Charismatic evangelicals are being taught to forget about being Raptured and prepare to fight…This is one of the factors creating the current hysteria in the U.S. about the Antichrist and his one-world government and why conspiracy theories are so rampant. (Christian Identity and associated white supremacist groups have always rejected the Rapture and taught that they must prepare to fight.)
Rory and Wendy Alec, like most leading religious broadcasters are Charismatics. In the Charismatic stream of evangelicalism, this…embrace of Dominionism is taking place at an incredible rate, taught largely by leaders calling themselves “apostles and prophets.” Wendy Alec is a self-proclaimed prophet and she features apostles like Mike Bickle on GOD-TV regularly. Bickle leads a movement called the International House of Prayer (IHOP) to train young people to be the End Times warriors who will be endowed with supernatural powers to purge the earth of evil (and convert Jews) and bring about Jesus’ return. IHOP’s “Israel Mandate” is part of a coordinated international effort to support Messianic Jewish ministries. Unconverted Jews are viewed as blocking the Christian 1000-year utopia from taking place. Christians United for Israel (CUFI) director Robert Stearns works with the “Israel Mandate” and is also co-founder of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem which has a similar agenda.
…God TV is…deeply immersed in apocalyptic narratives merged with “New World Order” conspiracy theories. Each year they run a series that last a couple of months called Apocalypse and the End Times featuring leading bible prophecy experts and conspiracy theorists claiming that the globe is under attack by a cabal of demonic forces/global elites…[It constitutes] “New World Order” conspiracy theories being marketed as prophecy. In short…1930s-style paranoid conspiracy theories with underlying anti-Semitic themes are being marketed internationally as End Times prophecy. GOD-TV is careful with their treatment of Jews and do not overtly include Jews in the demonic Illuminati/Masonic conspiracy, although Jews are clearly the target historically in these narratives, and almost all of these end times prophecy experts teach that the termination of Judaism is necessary prior to the Millennial Kingdom on earth.
This is the source of much of the fear and hysteria in our society about a one-world government, one-world currency, imminent loss of American sovereignty to the U.N. or foreign troops, Federal Reserve conspiracy theory, imprisoning Christian patriots in concentration camps, etc.
The Apocalypse and the End Times series has featured End Times prophecy experts including:
-Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series with over 65 million copies sold
-Mike Bickle, (see above). Lou Engle, who heads the anti-abortion, anti-gay “The Call” is also based at IHOP Kansas City with Bickle.
-Grant Jeffrey, End Times prophecy writer/New World Order conspiracy theorist, author of the “documentary” Shadow Government: How the Global Elite Plan to Destroy Your Democracy and Your Freedom. Jeffrey was lead speaker along with Karl Rove at event in Toronto that was intended to parallel the G-20 Summit, hosted by Canada’s CUFI director.
-Chuck Missler, merges end times prophecy with alien/UFO conspiracies
God TV televised the revival of Todd Bentley held in Florida in the summer of 2008 which included kicking and head butting severely-ill people to expel the demons during faith healing ceremonies. Bentley claimed that the revival was healing people from all over the world as well as reviving dead people. He is a heavily-tattooed former sex offender who has been embraced by the “apostles” as having special powers.
God TV televises “The Call” events of Lou Engle. These are virulently anti-abortion and anti-gay but also stress proselytizing Israeli Jews.
Rory Alec’s wife, Wendy Alec, calls herself a “Prophet Evangelist.” She writes a Christian fantasy series called the Chronicle of Brothers, which chronicles Lucifer’s fall from heaven and his campaign to contaminate the DNA of humanity. It is heavily influenced by New World Order “theology” and conspiracy theories, which can be read in this passage which takes place on September 10, 2001 in front of the Council of the 13 Illuminati led by the Jesuit priest, Lorcan De Molay, who is contemplating the horrors of the following day:
“He surveyed the men seated before him. The Council of Thirteen, the highest orders of the Committee of 300, the Black Nobility of Venice. The Supreme Mother Council of the of the thirty-third-degree masons of the Scottish Rite.
He scanned the faces of the chairman of the Club of Rome, the Federal Reserve, the Bilderberger Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Bohemian Grove, the Lucius Trust, his gaze finally resting on the Frater Superior and Grand Tribunal of the Ordo Templi Orienti.
The Grand Masters of the Illuminati.
The secret Illuminati who controlled the American government.
Who controlled every government of the Eastern and Western world.
Who in turn were controlled by him.
Lorcan De Molay.”
When the Jewish National Fund and Israeli government lie down with dogs like this is there any doubt they’ll get up with fleas??? You make your bed, you lie in it.
Thank you to Rachel Tabachnik for helping transcribe the video and her research on GOD-TV.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.