A prominent evangelical leader with close ties to the former Trump administration excoriated members of the parties seeking to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, comparing them to “rabid dogs” who wish to “crucify” the country’s longest serving prime minister.
In a blog post on the Times of Israel news site, pastor Mike Evans, the founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, compared the recent Israeli election to a “political striptease show” and accused members of the anti-Netanyahu bloc of working to “destroy everything we evangelicals have sacrificed our lives to build.”
“I will use every bit of my energy and power to destroy them before they destroy the nation,” Evans pledged, claiming that while God had chosen Netanyahu, he had not “heard God choose any of these fools.”
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“It’s an election to crucify a man they hate, and they’re willing to destroy the nation to do it,” he continued, threatening to mobilize “millions of evangelicals to join me in the fight.”
Evans also appeared to blame Jews for the Holocaust, stating that he understood “German Jews were busy insulting each other, drunk on the wine of pride. They did not see the smoke of Auschwitz rising because they were more German than they were Jews.”
“If I didn’t know better, I would think these delusional striptease politicians were on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s payroll and the mad mullahs of Tehran’s payroll who want to divide the State of Israel. Your commander-in-chief, flawed Benjamin Netanyahu, just won a war with Gaza and did not sacrifice the lives of your soldiers. And for that you cry, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’”
Prior to writing his blog post, Evans — who had served as a member of Trump’s unofficial group of evangelical advisers and was responsible for erecting over 200 billboards across Israel declaring “Trump make Israel great”— wrote an open letter to Prime minister-designate Naftali Bennett in which he accused the Yamina party chairman of being “a disgusting disappointment.”
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“You betrayed the very principles that a generation gave their blood for and died for,” Evans accused. “You want to be in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood and Leftists. God have mercy on your soul. You are a pathetic bitter little man, so obsessed with destroying Netanyahu that you're willing to damage the State of Israel for your worthless cause.”
"Blaming Jews for their own suffering, casting it as part of God’s Providential plan, is a trope that can already be found in Christian Zionism decades before the Holocaust, and it’s come up before among the kind of contemporary Christian Zionists that Trump surrounded himself with as president," Chrissy Stroop, historian and co-editor of Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church, told Haaretz on Sunday.
"As someone who grew up evangelical and was taught to view Israel as a place for the fulfillment of Christian prophecy, but who is now an atheist, I’ve long been aware of Christian Zionism’s erasure of actual Jewish experience," she added.
"Evans’s spectacular meltdown in which he blames Israel for not pursuing the politics that he, as a Christian, believes is God’s will for it, makes that erasure obvious. That he put it out there along with antisemitic comments blaming German Jews for the Holocaust only serves to punctuate the perniciousness of Christian Zionism, which is not remotely about Jewish or Israeli self-determination."
Evans’ comments are “despicable” and “antisemitic,” Colette Avital, chairwoman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, told Haaretz on Sunday.
“Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves? What on earth is that? This is beyond antisemitism, it’s incitement now.”
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center had a slightly different take, “As tempting as it is to call Mike Evans' incoherent, inappropriate, and totally inaccurate rant as ‘antisemitic,’ that is not the case,” Zuroff said.
“His comments about German Jews in relation to the Shoah are offensive, incorrect and have no basis in fact, but that does not make them antisemitic. Evans is simply a poor loser, who cannot accept the results of the last election, and wants to let everyone know that he intends to fight against them, and those responsible for unseating his favorite politician PM Netanyahu.”
Rev. Johnnie Moore, who also served on Trump’s evangelical advisory board, also condemned Evans’ remarks, telling the evangelical AllIsrael.com website that it was “unwise for American Evangelicals to meddle in internal, Israeli politics beyond praising the power of Israel’s democracy and if Evangelicals do it anyhow then they should be circumspect and respectful.”
“Even though most Evangelical leaders have enjoyed a tremendous friendship with Netanyahu which will continue, their friendship with Israel transcends the machinations of Israel’s politics and its political parties,” he asserted.
Last month, Evans’ Jerusalem Prayer Group Facebook page, which had 77 million followers, was shut down for violating the social media giant’s content guidelines.
Speaking with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Evans said that he was a victim of “an organized attempt by radical Islamic organizations” to take down the page by posting “over a million comments on our site” and then lodging complaints against them.
Last year, Evans sued Pastor Jentezen Franklin, another member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, accusing him of improperly disposing of funds the pair had raised to aid Holocaust survivors.