25-Year `Shotgun Marriage' of Israel's
Likud and U.S. Fundamentalists Exposed
by Scott Thompson and Jeffrey Steinberg
The Jerusalem Report magazine, on Nov. 18, published a lengthy opinion column by Gershom Gorenberg, assailing those in Israel who are promoting an alliance with American "Christian fundamentalists," like Rev. Pat Robertson and Rev. Jerry Falwell. Gorenberg warned that "conservative evangelicals' 'love' for Israel is rooted in their theology.... It sees Jews as spiritually blind for rejecting Jesus. But it also regards Israel's existence as heralding the end of days—when Jews will die or at last convert and Jesus will return."
Gorenberg singled out Jerusalem's Jabotinskyite Mayor Ehud Olmert and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein as two of the biggest promoters of the wedding of the Israeli radical right with the American Christian fundamentalists. Olmert has established a series of new organizations, many of which serve as pipelines of Christian Zionist cash into the Jerusalem Likud party apparatus. The One Jerusalem organization, the New Jerusalem Foundation, and the Jerusalem Prayer Team are but three of the outfits that Olmert has personally sponsored, since being elected as the Mayor of the city. Olmert's local Jerusalem booster in all these efforts is Rabbi Eckstein, who worked for decades for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL), before establishing the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in the 1980s.
The issue of this pipeline of dirty money into the radical right in Israel is a particularly pressing one now, with elections to the Knesset (parliament) scheduled for Jan. 28, 2003. In a recent discussion with an American journalist, Gorenberg confirmed that the so-called "philanthropies" provide a vehicle for illegal flows of foreign money into electoral campaigns. Donors to the charities are often "tapped" to provide additional funds to candidates for office. Gorenberg reported that, while the practice is illegal in Israel, it is as common as the sale of bootlegged booze in Chicago at the height of Prohibition. No "good guy" can be elected to office in Israel without dipping into the trough of foreign cash, he lamented.
Jerusalem Prayer Team, Keyes, and Moonies
In his Jerusalem Report piece, Gorenberg zeroed in on the Jerusalem Prayer Team, whose leading members include Robertson, Rev. Mike Evans, and Tim LaHaye, author of the bestselling "Left Behind" novels about life on Earth after the Rapture, in which the Jews are subject to a new Holocaust or convert to Christianity. According to Gorenberg, "Evans' book Jerusalem Betrayed asserts that an apocalypse is near, in which rivers of blood will flow in Israel—and urges readers to pray for that to happen."
In return for opening the doors of Jerusalem to this gang of heretics, Olmert has been lucratively rewarded. On Oct. 15, 2002, according to Gorenberg's account, Olmert appeared at a fundraising dinner for Jerusalem in San Diego, organized by the Mission Valley Christian Fellowship. Olmert walked away with $500,000 from the $1,000 a plate dinner. On the same U.S. tour, Olmert had first showed up in Washington for a Christian Coalition revival meeting at the Convention Center, which culminated with a "Christian Solidarity With Israel" rally, addressed by Olmert, Robertson, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), Rep. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and former Ambassador Alan Keyes. Keyes' presence at the Robertson rally was of particular significance, given that he has been deeply involved, for years, in the Reverend Moon Unification Church apparatus, which, as EIR has recently exposed, is the leading dirty-money channel for the entire worldwide radical rightist network—including the Jabotinskyites in Israel.
Gorenberg concluded his essay with a warning: "I reached Zvi Raviv, director general of the New Jerusalem Foundation by phone in San Diego. He said he'd come back to town to heal the rift between the Jewish community and the church. Listening to him, I had to respect his dedication to Jerusalem's welfare. But when he said, 'As far as is known to me, Pat Robertson doesn't have a controversial connotation today,' I also had to conclude there's more he needs to know. And there's more that Ehud Olmert, or for that matter some American Jewish leaders, need to consider than the immediate payoff before they appear on the same stages or sign on the same ads as the Christian Right. This romance wasn't made in heaven."
Marriage, Likud Style
The marriage was, indeed, not made in heaven. But it is rapidly approaching a 25th anniversary.
From the moment that the Likud party government took power in Israel in 1977, a top priority of the Jabotinskyites was the forging of a long-term strategic partnership with leading Christian fundamentalists in America, who were profiled as susceptible to a rabidly pro-Israel theology. In 1978, the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs sponsored the publication of a book, American Fundamentalism and Israel: The Relation of Fundamentalist Churches to Zionism and the State of Israel, by Yona Malachy. The book was an in-depth profile of four major Christian fundamentalist denominations in America—the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostalists, and the Premillennial Dispensationalists (the Darbyites).
It is unclear whether Malachy, who is since deceased, was aware that he was producing the profile study that would help launch a nearly 25-year alliance between the most fanatical of the right-wing Greater Israel proponents—the followers of Vladimir Jabotinsky, whom Israel's founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion denounced as "Vladimir Hitler"—and a collection of American fundamentalist Christians, whose own theology promoted the extermination of the Jews. Malachy clearly documented the ideology of the Darbyites, quoting from John Walvoord, who founded their Dallas Theological Seminary in 1924, and, in 1962, wrote in his book, Israel in Prophecy, that "it seems that Israel is to be the special object of Satanic hatred." After "Jacob's Troubles" (i.e., Armageddon, or, in Darbyite lingo, the war of Gog and Magog), "only 144,000 Jews will survive.... Heart-rending as it may be to contemplate, the people of Israel who are returning to their ancient land, are placing themselves within the vortex of this future whirlwind which will destroy the majority of those living in the land of Palestine." The Malachy project had the backing of the newly installed Likud government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, which, soon after the book's publication, invited Rev. Jerry Falwell to Israel, for the first of many visits. Some leading figures in the Zionist wing of the American establishment helped underwrite the Malachy effort. Funding for the study came from the Jacob Blaustein Fund for American Studies, one of the 50 largest tax-exempt foundations in the U.S.A. The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation is a major funder of the Tannenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, which lists, among its corporate sponsors: Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, the liquor business founded and owned by the organized crime-rooted Bronfman family; and Soros Fund Management of mega-speculator George Soros.
After a series of visits to Israel in 1979 and 1980, Jerry Falwell became a leading proponent of the political alliance between the Israeli radical right and the American Christian fundies. In gratitude for his pledge to work for permanent Israeli annexation of "Judea, Samaria, and Galilee" (i.e., the West Bank) and the rebuilding of the Third Temple of Solomon on Jerusalem's Temple Mount—where two of the holiest sites in Islam now stand—Falwell received a "gift" of a Lear jet from the Begin government. Harry Zvi Hurwitz, who today heads the Begin Center in Jerusalem, defended the early Begin-Falwell love affair, on the grounds that Begin had told him back in 1981, that Israel "did not have too many friends."
'Christian' Blessing for Beirut Massacres
In 1981, two Begin emissaries, Joseph Churba and Rabbi David Z. Ben-Ami, arranged a series of meetings between the Israeli Prime Minister and leading American Christian fundamentalists. According to Rabbi Ben-Ami, who is today the head of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based American Forum for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, he and Churba interviewed Falwell, Rev. Pat Robertson, and Terry Riesenhoover, head of the American Temple Mount Foundation, and set up meetings with the three Christian Zionists and Prime Minister Begin. During the same visit to the United States, Begin held a separate meeting with 20 Christian evangelicals in Texas, hosted by Pentecostalist Rev. Mike Evans, who runs the Mike Evans Ministry in Euless, Texas.
The same year, Begin made the first of numerous appearances at the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. He had helped launch this Christian Zionist outpost by giving the former Chilean Embassy building in Jerusalem to a group of European and American evangelicals, led by Jan Willem van der Hoeven, a wartime Dutch Nazi collaborator (see EIR Nov. 15, 2002, "The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and Its Terrorist Connections"). At one Christian Embassy event in Jerusalem, Begin addressed an audience of 1,000 evangelicals at the Diplomat Hotel in Jerusalem.
In September 1982, when then-Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon sent tanks into Lebanon and orchestrated the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps, Begin arranged for Falwell to lead a delegation of American Christian evangelicals to the front line. Again, Hurwitz, Begin's liaison to the Christian Zionists, defended the decision, as necessary to offset the "bad propaganda" that the massacres had generated in the United States and Europe.
The entire initiative between Begin and the Christian Zionists had the full blessing of Rabbi Eckstein and the ADL. In 1983, Eckstein left his ADL post and formed the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in Chicago. But Rabbi Ben-Ami confirmed in recent interviews that the early 1980s effort to wed the Likud to the Falwell "Christian" apparatus in America was boosted by Eckstein, who continues to be a pivotal player today—based in Jerusalem. Eckstein himself confirmed that he launched the marriage between America's Christian Zionists and the Likud in the late 1970s, while Jimmy Carter was still President, arranging some of the very first visits by American evangelicals to the Holy Land. In the 1980s, Eckstein directed "Operation Brainstorm," which involved a series of visits to Israel by leading "Christian Broadcasters." By 1985, the Christian Broadcasters—the televangelists who ran scores of television and radio ministries all over the Southern and Western states of America—had launched the annual prayer breakfast for Israel in Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Eckstein confirmed that, by the late 1980s, he had forged a deep alliance with Pat Robertson and the director of Robertson's Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed. Today, Eckstein and Reed co-chair the "Stand Up for Israel" front. It mobilizes the American evangelical apparatus to support the expansionist policies of the most radical Likudniks and other even more extremist parties in Israel, like the Moledet party, which advocates the annexation and "ethnic cleansing" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip of all Palestinians.
In 2000, Eckstein moved permanently to Israel, although he still retains many ties to the American evangelicals. In 1994, he played a pivotal role in founding another Christian Zionist front, the National Unity Coalition for Israel (NUCI), which brings together the most right-wing elements of the Jewish community in the United States and the Falwell-Robertson-Evans evangelical networks. The founder of NUCI is Esther Levins of Kansas City, Missouri. Levins claims that NUCI consists of more than 200 Jewish and evangelical groups—all united behind the idea of the permanent annexation of the West Bank and Gaza, to form a Biblical "Greater Israel."
Until his appointment as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy in the current Bush Administration, Douglas Feith served as director of NUCI.
Blackmailing the President
EIR exclusively revealed that NUCI organized a July 31, 2001 meeting of leading American Likudniks and Christian Zionists at the White House, with President Bush's official liaison to the religious communities, Tim Goeglin. Goeglin got his White House post courtesy of Gary Bauer, who is one of the leading figures in the Christian Zionist network. The NUCI delegation included representatives of Falwell, Robertson, Rev. Elwood McQuaid, Rev. Ed McAteer, Zionist Organization of America head Morton Klein, and Americans for a Safe Israel head Herb Zweibon. The group openly threatened to stage an evangelical revolt against President Bush, unless he threw his support 100% behind Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and his serial war crimes against the Palestinians. Incredibly, the delegation had lunch at the Israeli Embassy just prior to the White House session, where they strategized with the Israeli Ambassador.
Several weeks later, NUCI staged an event at the National Press Club in Washington, which distributed excerpts from Samuel Huntington's book The Clash of Civilizations, promoting a war to the death between the West and the Islamic and Confucian civilizations—a new Thirty Years religious war, to be launched in the heartland of Eurasia; and propaganda films by Steven Emerson attacking the Muslim community in the United States as terrorists. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) made a guest appearance at the NUCI event, along with Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for National Security, which was the successor organization to Joseph Churba's International Security Council following Churba's death in 1996.
The Oct. 14-15, 2002 Christian Coalition "rally for Israel" in Washington, attended by Jerusalem Mayor Olmert, signalled that the White House blackmail paid off. President Bush sent official greetings to the rally, which featured a host of speakers denouncing the idea of any kind of Palestinian state in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. This, though officially, the Bush Administration is the first American administration to formally endorse the idea of a "two-state solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict. As the rally was occurring, the White House was vetting a six-page policy paper, drawing out a "road-map" for the creation of a fully sovereign Palestinian state by the end of 2005. This was soundly denounced by several of the rally speakers:
- Olmert: "As you all know, we are in the middle of a very vicious and brutal war which is waged by Yasser Arafat and his gang against innocent people in the heart of our city."
- Pat Robertson: "We should not ask Israel to withdraw from the so-called occupied territories, we should stand by them and fight. Jerusalem is the eternal, indivisible capital of the state of Israel and it must not be divided."
- Rep. Tom DeLay, the new House Majority Whip: "The dangers confronting Israel are enormous. I saw it for myself. I've been to Masada. I've toured Judea and Samaria. I've walked the streets of Jerusalem and I've stood on the Golan Heights.... And you know what? I didn't see any occupied territory. What I saw was Israel."
- Knesset Member Benny Alon, of the racist Moledet party, read from the Book of Numbers: "When you [Moses and the Jews] have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you must drive all the inhabitants of the country before you.... If you do not drive the inhabitants of the country before you, then those you have spared will be barbs in yours eyes and thorns in your side."
An Election Fix?
Sources in Israel confirm that "Likud Prince" Olmert, who recently endorsed Ariel Sharon's bid for the Likud chairmanship in the Nov. 28 primaries—in return for a senior cabinet post—has spent almost half his time in the United States in the past year, harvesting cash for the Israeli right wing. On June 10, 2002, Olmert spoke in Irving, Texas at a Jerusalem Prayer Summit, along with Robertson, Evans, and Tim LaHaye.
As far back as April 9, 2000, the Jerusalem Post had reported that Olmert's New Jerusalem Foundation had failed to register as a charity in Israel, a violation of the law. Opposition members of the Jerusalem City Council told the Jerusalem Post that they "fear the Mayor has been using it ... to raise funds for his own political needs." The same article reported that Olmert claimed that the New Jerusalem Foundation had raised $4.5 million, which was deposited in "city banks." He did not specify how the funds were being spent, other than to admit that there were 80 projects being bankrolled by the donations, all of which come from outside of Israel.
Indeed, the New Jerusalem Foundation has been registered with the American Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, since December 1999! The U.S. organization is registered in the State of New Hampshire, but has no address in the United States, no offices, and no governing board. All the money flows directly to the offices of Olmert's front groups in Jerusalem.
Are these "Jerusalem" charities actually pipelines for cash from the United States into the Likud? There is strong evidence to suggest precisely that. On Jan. 9, 2001, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel's State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg had accused the Likud of violating Israel's campaign finance laws, by staging nominally charitable rallies linked to a certain "party or candidate." Goldberg was reacting to a rally in Jerusalem the previous day—sponsored by Olmert's One Jerusalem Fund. Speakers, besides the Mayor, included; Natan Sharansky, who would soon become a cabinet minister in the Sharon government; Ron Lauder, heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune, then-President of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, and a major financial backer of Sharon; and Yehiel Leiter, the director of One Jerusalem and the former spokesman for the Yesha Council, the governing body of the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. The event was ostensibly a rally in support of the settlers, and was wholly bankrolled by funds from overseas. But the event was really a flagrant campaign rally for Sharon, who was elected Prime Minister less than a month later.
The Jerusalem Post coverage of the January 2001 event also highlighted another unregistered Israeli "charity" linked to the radical right—the One Israel Fund. Also a registered as a 501(c)3 charity in the United States, the One Israel Fund raises tax-exempt money in America, earmarked for the purchase of bulletproof vests and other "life-saving" equipment for the Jewish settlers.
Show Me the Mooney
Sources in Israel and Washington have recently confirmed to EIR that the Sharon apparatus is on an all-out drive to line up tens of millions of dollars in foreign funds, to bolster the Likud election campaign. A U.S. source confirmed that the entire Christian Zionist apparatus is prepared to pull out all the stops for a Likud victory—particularly since the Nov. 19 Labor Party primary elected Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna (Reserves), the current Mayor of Haifa, as the party chairman and lead candidate in the Jan. 28 elections. Mitzna has vowed to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority within a year of his election, or unilaterally withdraw all Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and almost all of the West Bank, effecting a "peace through separation." He would shut down the Jewish settlements wherever the Israeli Defense Forces was pulled out.
Clearly this flies in the face of the Greater Israel Biblical fanaticism of the Christian Zionists in America and the Jabotinskyites in Israel. Will the Likud attempt to steal the elections through a massive infusion of illegal cash from their deep pockets in America?
This raises another vital question, posed in EIR on Nov. 15: Will Unification Church—"Moonie"—money be used to heist the Israeli elections for Sharon or Netanyahu? Continuing investigations by an EIR investigative team have confirmed that the Unification Church and its vast global network of front companies, money-laundering facilities, and "charitable" fronts, have been lurking in the background and foreground of the Jabotinskyite-Darbyite alliance from the very outset.
It was Moonies who arranged the 1981 Israel-fundamentalist link-up in the first place. Joseph Churba and Rabbi David Ben-Ami—the two emissaries of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who arranged the very first meetings in America between Begin, Falwell, Robertson, and Riesenhoover—were both on the Moonie payroll, at the time that they did the advance work for the Israeli leader. Churba's International Security Council was a Moonie front, part of the CAUSA International operation of Moon's controller, Col. Bo Hi Pak. Likewise for Rabbi Ben-Ami's American Forum for Jewish Christian Cooperation. Ben-Ami has been a regular on the Moon front-group circuit, since no later than his 1981 efforts on behalf of Begin. As recently as Sept. 14, 2002, Rabbi Ben-Ami was a prominent speaker at the Moonie sponsored "Muslim-Christian Interfaith Ceremony for Healing and Reconciliation," a Rev. Sun Myung Moon mass wedding at the Manhattan Center in New York City, "commemorating the anniversary of 9/11."
On July 3, 2002, Rabbi Ben-Ami was a featured participant in the "Stand For Family, Save the Nation, Save the Next Generation" event at the Sheraton National Hotel in Washington, sponsored by the Moonie Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP). The continuing links between the Moonies, with their nearly bottomless flow of offshore dirty money, and the radical right wing in Israel, run far deeper than the Ben-Ami and earlier Churba ties. The entire Christian Zionist apparatus—from Falwell, to Bauer, to LaHaye—is now a subsidiary of the Moon financial empire, dating back to the late 1980s bailout of Richard Viguerie, and the 1994 takeover by Moon of the entire Falwell televangelist and "Christian education" empire.
The IIFWP sponsored a conference in Córdoba, Spain from Aug. 19-22, 1999, on "Jewish-Muslim Encounters." Among the speakers was Col. Yigal Carmon, whom the Moonie handouts described as "President, The Middle East Media Research Institute, Former Advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister." Indeed, Carmon is a former military-civilian governor of the West Bank territories under then-Defense Minister Sharon, a career Israeli Army Intelligence officer, and an intimate collaborator of Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Meyrav Wurmser, and ex-FBI Deputy Director Oliver "Buck" Revell. Carmon's MEMRI is a propaganda front for Israeli intelligence, which distributes translations of selective, inflammatory material from the Arab media, to the U.S. Congress, Executive branch, and the media.