Friday, May 18, 2012

Mike Evans' dirty politics

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 8:39 AM

I do not know how many TV stations in America ran Mike Evans' one-and-a-half-hour propaganda program, presented here the weekend before the N.C. primary on WBTV. It was a clear demonstration of the extreme alliance between right-wing Christians in America and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. Never mind that these same Christian zealots envision the ultimate liquidation of Jews in Israel!

Seldom have I seen such a hyper mixture of religion and politics as this laced-with-fiction attack upon the White House and President Obama. The only comparable schtick in my memory - about which I wrote an op-ed for the Charlotte Observer when I was on the faculty of Davidson College - was Billy Graham's effusive Coliseum salute to Richard Nixon (and vice versa) repeatedly shown on the same WBTV station, when President Nixon visited Charlotte late in his first term - October 15, 1971 - during the Vietnam War. Graham: "Many times I have gone to the President and proposed a course of action against his enemies; and he has said to me: 'No, Billy, that would be wrong.' At that moment, he was the preacher, and I was the sinner!" (sic)

While pedaling his book, "Cursed: The Conspiracy to Divide Jerusalem" - $50 for the book and a petition protesting the putative division to be delivered to Obama by the author; $100 for the book, petition, and a miniature shofar; $1000 for book, petition, and a large Yemeni shofar with inlaid silver - Evans urged viewers to pledge to fight the division of Jerusalem in the same way they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States! (Talk about dual citizenship.) He constantly attacked the "Liberal Left" Obama administration for "selling us out" by being willing to countenance a two-state solution [also favored by some Israeli political leaders] to peace in Palestine that could involve divided control of Jerusalem - with a future Palestinian government defined as a "22nd Islamic state." If America "touches prophecy" - Jerusalem - God's curse would fall on America.

Without explanation, Evans charged that Obama is "blackmailing Israel over the Iran crisis" (repetitive images of Ahmadinejad were shown on the screen). Apparently, Evans believes that Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria will be used in a trade in order to keep Iran from going nuclear!

"The Obama administration seems to be treating Israel as a property to be bartered - or perhaps more accurately - to be betrayed for the sake of expediency," he said.

But no such connection to Iran has been made in any official discussions of a future settlement in the Middle East. And it is preposterous to lin k an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to the results of international economic sanctions - or a pre-emptive military attack - in checking oil power Iran's production of enriched uranium. Incidentally, several prominent intelligence and military leaders in Israel have publicly come out against a military strike.

There were several photos of Evans meeting with members of the Knesset and other conservative Israeli politicians. In "live" footage of an intervew, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu twice appeared to thank American Christian friends of Israel for support in preserving Jerusalem, in the context of a program openly and repetitively critical of President Obama. This is yet one more example of the Israeli leader interfering in American domestic politics, to an extent that equals if not surpasses what the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Israeli lobby in Washington commonly do.

It was never clear in the Evans broadcast what concrete 2012 event - say in Israel's politics later this year, or in the stalled Middle East peace negotiations, or in the American presidential campaign - prompted the urgent, paranoid tone of the speaker. But overall it could easily be seen as an election year pitch to conservative Christians to oppose Obama.

It made me think of the old WBTV.

(This editorial has been revised.)

William E. Jackson Jr. is a former official of the State Department, served in the Executive Office of the President under President John Kennedy in 1963, taught government and politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College, was the executive director of President Carter's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and has served as a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution and the Fulbright Institute of International Relations. He lives in Davidson.

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