web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Israel Loses An Important Friend


Media-Monitor-logo

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died this week at age 73, was one of those figures who constantly attract the media’s scorn. It comes with the territory when you’re either a biblical literalist, a political conservative, or someone not shy about taking a sword to liberalism’s sacred cows. Falwell fit all those categories, making him a three-time loser to journalists whose taste in religious leaders runs more along the lines of a Desmond Tutu or a William Sloane Coffin.

While much of what had been said about Falwell was unfair or even untrue (the 1980 remark by Baptist bigwig Bailey Smith that “God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew” was for years afterward erroneously attributed to Falwell by Jules Witcover, Jack Germond and other liberal reporters), there’s no denying he had a habit of giving his opponents the rope with which they happily attempted to hang him.

A prime example of Falwell’s foot-in-mouth disease came in January 1999, when his remarks concerning the Antichrist spoken of in the New Testament touched off a mini-brouhaha, particularly in Jewish media circles.

While the Christian Bible makes no reference to the ethnic background or nationality of this anticipated false messiah, there are those – Falwell apparently was among them – who believe that by definition he will have to be a Jew, in order to be a perfect counterfeit of the Jewish Jesus.

While it can be argued that such a belief is not, in and of itself, anti-Semitic, the imagery conveyed is uncomfortably close to that of the centuries-old Christian (particularly Roman Catholic) portrayal of the Jew as the literal embodiment of Satan. However unwittingly, Falwell was guilty of dredging up some dangerous old symbolism.

It wasn’t the first time Falwell had exhibited a certain carelessness with his remarks about Jews; once – during a sermon on the sin of anti-Semitism! – he told his congregants, “I know a few of you here today don’t like Jews. And I know why. He can make more money accidentally than you can on purpose.”

An innocuous statement in a Jackie Mason monologue, perhaps, but something less than amusing when coming from a church pulpit.

Falwell burst onto the national stage in 1979 with his formation of the Moral Majority, an organization dedicated to scaling back the excesses of post-1960’s America and restoring a more traditional social order.

Scorned by urban sophisticates, the Moral Majority nevertheless became part of a national conservative wave that in 1980 swept the ineffectual Jimmy Carter out of Washington and brought Ronald Reagan into the White House.

The pastor of a large church in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell offered a sober contrast to many of the other media-savvy evangelists who came to fame in the 1980’s. Unlike Pat Robertson, Falwell never claimed the ability to change the course of hurricanes or make cancerous tumors disappear.

And unlike Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, James Robison (who once told an audience that “an anti-Semite is someone who hates Jews more than he’s supposed to”) and other television preachers who eventually had their moral and ethical shortcomings exposed, Falwell managed to keep his nose clean and reputation intact.

Falwell also distinguished himself with his all-out support for the state of Israel. While older well-known evangelists like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and Rex Humbard were equally pro-Israel, they rarely raised the issue.

It was Falwell who made Israel a personal cause, injecting himself into the debate over U.S. foreign policy in an unprecedented manner. When Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in June 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin spoke with President Reagan only after he’d first made a phone call to Falwell, asking him to “explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombing.”

Falwell, whose feelings for Israel were reflected in oft-repeated statements such as “To stand against Israel is to stand against God” and “God has raised up America for the protection of the Jews,” honored Begin’s request with his customary gusto, outdoing even many Jewish leaders in his defense of Israel’s action. (That same year, Begin ignored protests by liberal Jewish groups and presented Falwell with the Jabotinsky Award.)

Though Falwell dissolved the Moral Majority in 1989 and went on to devote much of his time and energy to his Lynchburg-based Liberty University, he remained politically outspoken, drawing widespread criticism for suggesting just days after 9/11 that the attacks were at least in part provoked by feminists, abortionists, gays, and organizations like the ACLU – a statement for which he subsequently apologized.

And to the end of his life he was steadfast as ever in his support for Israel.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel Loses An Important Friend”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russia Steps Up in U.S.-led Nuclear Talks with Iran
Latest Indepth Stories
President Obama

Sources say seemingly irreconcilable differences between the 2 main parties, Washington and Tehran.

Seder at the White House. The one without the kippa is President Obama.

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

peace in our time iran

Those who suggest further capitulation to Iran are wrongly harming the interests of the West.

Haneen Zoabi (L) and Basel Ghattas (R), Arab members of Israel's parliament, both participated in flotillas attempting to break Israel's legal naval blockade of the Gaza strip.

Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l

Though intimately acquainted with mankind’s darkest side, he never lost his faith&love in God or man

Front-Page-051515

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/israel-loses-an-important-friend/2007/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: