Timing is everything, as they say. On Sunday morning before dawn vandals attacked the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, leaving a hodgepodge of vile as well as threatening graffiti plastered on its walls. The attack came on the eve of a conference in L.A.–a conference organized, ironically, to teach evangelical Christians in America “the facts about the assault on Christian support for Israel.”
Yes, you read that right–not the facts about the assault on “Christians in Israel,” but on “Christian support for Israel.”
Organized by the pro-Israel CAMERA organization, the event is scheduled to take place today, January 18, in Los Angeles, and one of its speakers is Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of an organization called Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.
As part of her work with PJTN, Cardoza-Moore hosts a weekly TV show called “Focus on Israel,”and currently she is in the midst of a drive to get states to adopt resolutions condemning the BDS movement. The PJTN website refers to BDS as “an anti-Semitic movement” aimed not only at Israel but “ultimately the Jewish people.”
Cardoza-Moore obviously has a deep reverence for the Jewish people, so I really have to wonder–I really do–what she would think about the attack upon the Dormition Abbey and especially about some of the graffiti messages scrawled by the vandals:
“Death to Christians, enemies of Israel.”
“The revenge is coming very soon.”
“Send Christians to hell.”
“Idols will be extirpated.”
“The revenge of the children of Israel is on its way.”
“May his name and memory be erased, the bastard.”
That last one, perhaps the vilest of all, is a reference to Jesus. The Talmud portrays the Virgin Mary as a whore and depicts Jesus as the bastard offspring from her alleged union with a Roman soldier, and the part about erasing his “name and memory” is from a Judaic curse known as yimakh shemo, which I discussed in a post put up yesterday.
A statement released by the Dormition Abbey, as reported by YNet News, includes the following:
The inscriptions are not only against Jesus the Messiah, but also call to slaughter the Christians and send them to hell! How long will these acts of vandalism continue?
This is the area of our convent, which until today is not monitored by police cameras, although this has been promised to us in the summer of 2013 by the Israeli security authorities after the cars of the monastery were badly damaged and several hate graffiti were discovered.
Israeli officials, including Benjamin Netanyahu, have rushed to condemn the assault on the church, but the incident comes just one week after an attack upon a Christian cemetery west of Jerusalem in which dozens of crosses were destroyed.
Moreover, this isn’t even the first time that this particular church has been hit. In February of last year arsonists set fire to parts of the Dormition Abbey and spray painted the words “Jesus is the son of a whore” and “redemption of Zion”…while in 2013 several cars at the abbey, as the statement above alludes, were also vandalized.
The Jerusalem Post, in its report on this latest attack, includes a quote from Ayman Odeh, an Arab member of the Israeli Knessett.
“In Jerusalem members of the clergy have been harassed for years, but lately this phenomenon has become worse, more common and more violent,” said Odeh, who went on and described the present Israeli government as “leading the hatred and approving, with a wink, the continuation of the hate crimes against the Arab minority in the state.”
Christian Zionists are fond of portraying Israel as a place where Christians are welcomed and protected and where freedom of religion is regarded as sacrosanct, but actually this is a very misleading picture, and that is probably putting it mildly.
During the week before Christmas, Jewish settler leader Benzi Gopstein published an op-ed piece on a Hebrew website in which he referred to Christians as “blood sucking vampires.” Gopstein is head of Israel’s Lehava organization, a movement which strictly opposes Jewish assimilation and intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews.
I published two articles on Gopstein’s anti-Christian tirade here and here, and I also put up a post on him last summer, see here, after he called for churches to be banned in Israel. In his pre-Christmas rant, Gopstein expressed contempt for the Christian holiday of Christmas, and he also issued a clarion call to his fellow Israeli Jews: “Let us remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood!”
Gopstein, by the way, isn’t the only Israeli who hates Christmas. A couple of years ago, Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, issued a ban on Christmas trees. “Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish,” the mayor said. “As long as I hold office no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.”
How much of all of this anti-Christian sentiment in Israel is Cardoza-Moore aware of? Hard to say. My guess is that were she presented with this information she would either block it completely out of her mind or try to rationalize it in some way. That’s human nature, I guess. Avoid cognitive dissonance at all cost.
According to the PJTN website, Cardoza-Moore “has devoted her life to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and the State of Israel,” and the organization seems preoccupied, to the point of obsession, with the subject of anti-Semitism. There are videos on anti-Semitism as well as a page on Leveraging Our Assets Against Anti-Semitism, and then there is the Mission Statement which proclaims:
We challenge those who engage in anti-Semitic and unbiblical teachings with the hope of educating them on their responsibilities as Christians to uphold the protection and welfare of our Jewish brethren. We are Christians educating and calling this generation to protect and defend God’s Chosen People and the land of Israel.
Perhaps interestingly, there is nothing mentioned about Jesus in the Mission Statement. Not much mention of him on this video either:
Repeated airstrikes on civilians, home demolitions, building walls that hem people in and separate farmers from their lands–the gospels aren’t exactly full of stories of Jesus advocating these things. But of course, the Old Testament would take a much more friendly view of it all.
If Cardoza-Moore feels so strongly it is her life mission to “protect and defend God’s Chosen People and the land of Israel,” I can’t for the life of me figure out why she doesn’t simply convert to Judaism.
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”