web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 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
Shira Banki, 16, z'l
PM Offers Condolences to Family of 16-yr-old Gay Pride Parade Victim
Latest Indepth Stories
lahore

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

Eishet Chayil

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Inside of the home burned in the Prce Tag attack in the village of Duma.

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Assemblymember Bichotte speaking in the New York State Assembly.

The bills I’m proud to have sponsored are less controversial, more responsive to yeshiva and parochial school parents, and were gaining traction in the Assembly until the negative campaign began…

Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l

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

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.”

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: