An afternoon in the Jerusalem studio of GOD TV, the Christian Zionist ethnic cleansing network (updated/corrected)

I chat with Klaas, a GOD TV producer, inside the network's Jerusalem studio

I chat with Klaas, a GOD TV producer, inside the network's Jerusalem studio

Update/correction: A miscommunication with Jill Kestler-D’Amours, who interviewed Samia Al-Touri in Arabic with me present, resulted in my misquoting Al-Touri. Because I thought Kestler-D’Amours was summarizing Al-Touri’s comments, I attributed them to him. In fact, she was speaking for herself in reference to his comments. So I have corrected the post and updated with Al-Touri’s remarks.

I spent a part of this afternoon in the green room of a Russian news bureau in Jerusalem. While waiting for my friend Joseph Dana to appear on Russia TV to discuss the Palestine Papers, I looked out the window at a panoramic view of Jerusalem. In the foreground was the Mamilla cemetery, once the home to the graves of prominent Palestinian families like the Khalidis, and now the desecrated future site of the Simon Wiesenthal Foudation’s ironically named “Center for Human Dignity,” which was approved by the Jerusalem municipality.

Now Joseph was on. “What the papers provide us with is the ultimate confirmation that Israel is not a viable partner for peace and does not support an equitable two state solution,” he said. “Israel is content with the status quo, which means a permanent state of war and the deadly reality of occupation it established in 1967.”

On our way out, I noticed that the studio of GOD TV, the evangelical End Times network, were right next door. GOD TV is the key funder of the Jewish National Fund’s plan to plant a million trees directly over the site of the Bedouin village Al-Arakib, a scheme that has resulted in ten demolitions of the village and untold damage to its residents. I knocked on the door of GOD TV’s studio and a tall, lanky producer appeared. He told me he was from the Netherlands and introduced himself as Klaas. I asked if his network was funding the JNF’s plan to plant a forest that would permanently displace Al-Arakib, forcing its residents’ transfer to the Indian reservation style development town of Rahat.

He told me that while they are planting a million trees to beautify the land for the Second Coming of Christ, he knew nothing about Al-Arakib. “The JNF hasn’t told us anything about that and we certainly wouldn’t be a part of anything that would do what you described,” he said. Then he demanded I support my claims with evidence.

Klaas allowed me to go online on one of GOD TV’s computers to show him my video of the demolition of Al-Arakib. Unfortunately, Google and YouTube were blocked by a search filter on all of the network’s computers. Either a wave of porn watching and chronic masturbation has swept through GOD TV a la AIPAC in the Steve Rosen era, or they are restricted from accessing outside information like North Koreans. Or both. I left Klaas with an article by Neve Gordon about his network’s collaboration with the JNF.

As I was leaving, Klaas suddenly grew argumentative. “An Israeli friend who lives in the Negev told me the Bedouins have to be removed because they steal everything,” he said. “That’s their way of life — theft.”

I asked if he ever spoken to a Bedouin or gone to the Negev to see the situation for himself. He said he hadn’t. I then asked if he had ever met a Palestinian Christian. While our conversation took place, GOD TV was broadcasting a “report” on the Hebron massacre of 1929 which featured black and white footage of Arab men jumping around with swords in a frenzied manner interspersed with interviews with settlers.

“I noticed in Holland a lot of people said they were Christian but they didn’t even go to church, so I realized that they were not really Christians. I mean, what kind of Christians are these Palestinians?” Klaas said. He seemed to be suggesting that anyone who was not born-again was not an authentic Christian.

I told him that most of the Palestinian Christians are Orthodox, and that some are direct descendants of the Apostles. I explained that the Christians of Bethlehem have been physically assaulted by Israeli troops for attempting to celebrate Palm Sunday in Jerusalem, that Christians in Gaza are blocked by Israel from celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem, and that the mayor of Nazareth Illit banned the public display of Christmas trees this year because he considered them “provocative.” “You can freely walk where Jesus walked because you’re an international,” I told Klaas, “but what if you were a Palestinian?”

He seemed disturbed by what I had just told him. “They really banned Christmas trees in Nazareth?” he asked. “Yeah, it was widely reported,” I replied. He paused, then came back at me: “Well, I’m not going to just stand here and believe what you say. If you approach the situation in one way, then you can fit everything into your point of view.”

I responded that that was exactly what GOD TV was doing with its broadcasts. He said, “Yeah, well you have to remember that we are a pro-Zionist network.” Then he added, “I’m happy to talk to you, but you’re not going to convince me.”

A Day In Kangaroo Court

Youth from Al-Arakib and Rahat demonstrate outside the Beersheva courthouse

Youth from Al-Arakib and Rahat demonstrate outside the Beersheva courthouse

Yesterday, I took a bus to Beersheva with a group of Israeli activists and the Bedouin residents of Al-Arakib and Rahat. The city’s courthouse was our destination. Inside, lawyers for Al-Arakib were contesting the JNF’s plan to plant a forest on their land. Deeds of ownership were presented proving the rights of the residents to remain in Al-Arakib. “This is our land and our grandfather’s land,” a 24-year-old resident of Rahat named Mohammed Abu Hamid, told me. “They have already taken so much from us. If they take everything, where else can we be?”

Gadi Algazi, a professor and activist who was arrested during the 10th demolition of the village, an episode in which Israeli police fired rubber bullets, told me that the plaintiffs are expected to lose. “We have a supposedly independent judge but the court system is completely stacked against the Bedouins,” Algazi said. “They almost always lose these cases. But this is one of the last chances to stop the JNF so they invested heavily in the case.”

Were it not for the wave of sustained activism against the JNF’s plans, the people of Al Arakib would have already been swept away like dust — like so many of the Bedouin tribes who were expelled to Gaza in ’48 and after. The court cases and demonstrations have at least postponed their cruel fate. But the demolitions and attendant violence have taken their toll.

Samia Al-Touri, a resident of Al-Arakib who has served as a key link to international and Jewish Israeli activists, said that six young members of the village were injured by rubber bullets during the last demolition. Jill Kestler-D’Amours, an activist and reporter who has spent extensive time in Al-Arakib, told me that many children from the village are suffering from bedwetting, nightmares and general trauma. Some fear returning to Al-Arakib so much they have already been resettled in Rahat — a quiet transfer.

Today I learned that Al-Arakib has lost its case in the Beersheva court. The JNF and GOD TV’s plans will move ahead. In a few minutes, Al Jazeera will air a special report on Palestine Papers detailing Israeli proposals to transfer large numbers of Palestinian Israelis into the West Bank, showing how the state uses its own non-Jewish citizens as bargaining chips. To anyone who has visited an unrecognized village like Al-Arakib, this revelation would not come as a surprise.

Below is a translated portion of Al-Touri’s interview conducted by Kestler-D’Amours and witnessed by me:

A week ago in the early morning, Israelis came from the Jewish National Fund. They didn’t give us time to wake our children up or take things out of the house. They demolished the houses and destroyed the water inside the house. This was the 10th demolition in al-Araqib and after this they began to plow everything. What they demolished they plowed. Big cars, about 40 cars or more. Then they wanted to plant trees in the land, and when the tractors came in they were confronted by the people of al-Araqib who tried to stop them.

They shot rubber bullets at us, and injured the youth and we had six injured the first days, many were prevented to go to hospitals. Also about five were arrested. After that, they came again to plant trees and then the lawyer stopped them from doing this by a court order.

That day there was demolitions, 7 people were injured, women were shot at. A child of 13-years-old was injured. People were arrested. 5 were arrested who were from al-Araqib, and 4 Israeli Jews were arrested from those in solidarity with us and who protect our cause. This is what happened in the past few days.

This is a decisive court [hearing], and we want to tell them to leave. We lost trust in these courts and this is why many of us are here today. This is a decisive court session and we want them to return our rights. We have all the necessary documents that prove that this land is ours and that we inherited it from our ancestors. For this, we came to tell this state stop demolitions, stop destroying, stop damaging our land in al-Araqib. We don’t want you to plant trees in our land, we want to build it again for us and our children, like any other citizens of the country.

15 thoughts on “An afternoon in the Jerusalem studio of GOD TV, the Christian Zionist ethnic cleansing network (updated/corrected)

  1. richards1052

    Max: I’m the tiniest bit disappointed in your ingenuity. I thought you were going to inveigle yourself into a God TV on air interview a la O’Keefe & all those Breitbart a-holes. Just kidding.

    Good work though undermining his own prejudices.

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  5. walt kovacs

    look at how terrible the fascist government of israel is

    despite max’s incessant attacks on the state…they keep allowing him back in

    hey max…when are you going to reveal your funding sources

    your book didnt sell well enough to allow you to be independently wealthy…you dont have a day job…and youtube vids dont bring in that great of an income (unless you are a piano playing cat)

  6. Rose

    Another classic case of Walt’s inability to read (or to be more accurate, his conscious attempt to mislead and fabricate facts)

    Dear Walt, click on the “about” page and you’ll know where he gets his money from.

    You, dear Zionist troll, are the one who should reveal his funding sources. Which Zionist organization is paying you to keep reading and posting (like a maniac) in a blog you hate? I’m sure they pay really well.

    And how many people use this pseudonym (which is taken from this right wing comic book: and what other pseudonyms do you use for other similar blogs?

    Who are the “watchmen” Walt?

    Anyway, it’s nice to see you are so completely out of things to say in defence of your Zionist state you are now left with nothing but to insinuate things about the blogger.

  7. walt kovacs

    hey rose,

    since you seem too cheap to go out and purchase what has been listed as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, maybe i should send you a copy…so you can stop the ceaseless wikipedia references….maybe then you will figure out why i use kovacs as a nic….you nit

    and no…the about page says nothing about where max’s funding comes from

    and you are a genius rose…why dont you do some triangulation and figure out what other blogs i post on

  8. DICKERSON3870

    Nice report on G_D TV, Max. But did you happen to notice whether Klaas was drooling copiously or perhaps even ‘foaming at the mouth’?
    “They come from another world. Spawned in the light years of space. Unleashed to take over the bodies and souls of the people…”
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Official Trailer [1956] (VIDEO, 02:20) –

  9. Arabi

    “and no…the about page says nothing about where max’s funding comes from”

    It’s none of your F—ing business where Max’s funding is coming from. If the general public is not paying for it, they have no right to know.

    Max is not obliged to release any financial information to anyone, least of all, to a hasbarabot, who trolls internet sites for a living, and gets paid by his bar-bouncing paymaster. It’s time you get a life!.

  10. Rose

    Another proof that there is more than one Zionist troll using the Walt Kovacs name (and that they seriously lack reading and comprehension skills).

    You already accused me of not reading that disgusting novel and I already told you I link to that page because it gives the best online synopsis of a book that only unmedicated right-wing nut-cases like you would love. Here is a link to that conversation:

    If there was a free e-version of it I would have linked to it so that people would know how much of a psycho you and your organisation are.

    Please read the responses that your partner posts before you respond. You two (or three) seriously lack coordination!!

  11. walt kovacs

    “You already accused me of not reading that disgusting novel ”

    well now youve done it

    gonna send your post to allan moore….he will sick his snake god on you….you heathen

    however, had you indeed ever read the book, you would not only not referred to it as “disgusting:”, but you definitely wouldnt have linked to the wiki page about it….you would have easily been able to discuss rorshach


  12. andrew r

    Rose, I don’t think Watchmen is right-wing so much as a coldwar satire/ethics drama. It has some disingenuous notions, but my fiction doesn’t have to agree with my view of the real world, it just has to be interesting.

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  14. Rose

    Andrew, I find several of the aspects of Watchmen pretty disturbing and the world view of the book right leaning (and Rorschach/Walter Kovacs was not a hero at all but rather a psychopath with destructive tendencies) but I guess I would agree with your reading of the book as a cold war satire. Ironically people like Walt here take the book so literally, love Walter Kovacs the most, and keep quoting lines that are supposed to make the original character look like a psycho, but hey, by now we all know he has (they have) serious reading comprehension problems…

    Anyway, Walt is hired to hammer one point home, that Max is a self-hating Jew who says nothing but lies, so I enjoy hammering one point home (which, unlike his, is actually true), that Walt is a hired Zionist troll who chose a psycho comic book character to name himself after.

  15. gd

    Great work Max, given it was completely unexpected, you were focused and garnered needed information. Grateful.

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