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Mike Pompeo and Israel: How Evangelical Politicians Affect American Foreign Policy

mike pompeo

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—who once suggested that his boss, then-President Donald Trump, may have been sent by “God” to save Israel—waxed biblical again this week in defense of Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid regime in Palestine.

Interviewed by Julia Macfarlane and Richard Dearlove for an episode of the “One Decision” podcast that aired Wednesday, Pompeo—a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate who also previously served in Congress and as CIA director—denied that Israel is even occupying Palestine.

Mcfarlane noted that as secretary of state, Pompeo “undid the Hansel memo that called Jewish settlements in the West Bank against international law,” a U.S. position that had been in place since 1978.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international law affirmed by numerous United Nations bodies, both Israel’s 52-year occupation and ongoing settler colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal.

Pompeo—who played a leading role in negotiating the historic Abraham Accords between Israel and multiple Arab dictatorships—countered that Israel “is not an occupying nation.”

“As an evangelical Christian,” he asserted, “I am convinced from my reading of the Bible” that “this land… is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.”

“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” added Pompeo—who refused to say whether he supported a so-called two-state solution to the crisis caused by Israel’s occupation, apartheid, and ongoing usurpation of Palestinian land.

According to a 2017 survey by LifeWay Research, a Christian polling group, 80% of U.S. evangelicals believe the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, largely through terrorism and ethnic cleansing, was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy that would hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Around two-thirds of respondents said that the Bible says “God” gave Israel to the Jews, while more than half said Israel is important for fulfilling biblical prophecy.

Many evangelicals believe that Jews must rule Israel in order for Christ to return, but once he does nonbelievers including most Jews will be wiped out. Knowing this, numerous Jews and others have decried what has been called the “unholy alliance” linking Christian and Jewish Zionists.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    Mike Pompeo will (probably) never be president. He’s too closely allied with Trump for a general election, and the act of running will also cause him to be rejected by Trump. But having this rigidly Christian man in power is only bad news. I think he’d cause even more problems than Trump, who is amoral which means he can accidentally do the right thing if his narcissism is flattered. Pompeo is only interested in his fellow Christians gaining control. And I fear it is happening, and can’t be stopped.

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    Growing up as an evangelical Christian, I bought the notion that Israel was God’s chosen land for the Jews, so OF COURSE they should retake that land. If the Palestinians residing there didn’t like it, they should leave because they’re on land designated to the Jews. Also, I remember my grandfather saying that the “nomadic Arabs” never developed the land like the Jews did anyway – that it was the returning Jews that actually were successful in farming and developing industry there, while all the Arabs did was herd goats and camel’s and live in tents. I had no idea that this whole narrative was a lie, and it didn’t affect me anyway so I didn’t give much thought to it after I left evangelicalism. Then I met Amy and her family. Amy is a good friend, a backbone of our community, volunteering in the school and the town recreation and basically being there helping everyone who needs a hand. Amy’s door was always open – literally unlocked – for anyone who needed to drop by for a chat or whatever. Amy never wanted attention or credit for doing the things that helped others.

    Amy is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who worked really hard to establish a good life for their family and who established a charitable foundation to provide education for Palestinian students. A few years ago they were named Arab-Americans of the Year for their charitable work. Amy, her brother, and some of the adult grandchildren also work with the foundation to raise money for education. Amy’s parents are absolute sweethearts.

    It’s because of Amy that I learned how Palestinians are treated in Palestine. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea. When Amy and her family traveled to Palestine to visit family, their US passports have saved them numerous times as they were randomly checked on the streets of Tel Aviv or Ramallah. Her children have spoken of being questioned by Israeli police on the street and fumbling to pull out their precious US passports so they’ll be promptly let pass. They’ve spoken of the conditions their relatives live in and how they try to give relatives money in hopes of improving some aspects of their lives.

    If it weren’t for Amy, I may have never examined my assumptions about Israel and Palestine. And for that, I am ashamed.

    So f$%& off, evangelicals. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  3. Avatar
    Barbara L. Jackson

    This is one of those cases where land has been ruled over many groups in history. Obviously, Jews came back to Palestine after the holocaust to find a safe home for themselves. However they have screwed up by treating Palestinians like many European colonists treated indigenous people in the lands they colonized.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Barbara–I was thinking of that. What right does any American or Israeli leader have to claim any land as “theirs?” For that matter, what people or group of people has any “right” to any land, as most currently-occupied lands have been occupied by different groups of people throughout history?

    Races and nations are nothing but social and political constructs.

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    Brocken This is an article I read several years ago. It was written by an Arab-American veteran who is originally from Palestine. He was describing an attack by a group known as either the “hilltop youth by supporters of violent and militant Zionism or as Hilltop Jews by Arabs who have been victims of the predatory attacks by these young hoodlums . In the incident this veteran was relating, these Hilltop Jews once made the mistake of attacking an Arab village that was prepared to fight back. It did not go well with the intruders and they had to be rescued by Palestinian security forces. I apologize for the vulgar headline relating this incident.

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    Yulya Sevelova

    Pompeo is one pompous idiot !! America doesn’t need that foul mouthed, foul tempered thug in office ever again. In any fashion. Funny thing about the Arab- Jew thing, they ARE relatives. The media doesn’t go into this much. Of course,this is Abraham’s fault, and his wife Sarah. Most of have heard the legend, I don’t need to go into it. If America could have helped with Arab Spring and other democracy movements,things could have been much better today. Lately I’ve been looking at how the Euphrates river has dried up. I hate thinking about the implications of THAT one !

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    MJ Lisbeth

    There may be no being as amoral as Donald Trump or anyone as duplicitous as Mitch McConnell. But for sheer vulgarity, without a trace of irony or self-consciousness , it’s pretty hard to beat Mike Pompeo.

    He, Mark Esper and several other high-ranking officials were part of the “West Point Mafia” that graduated from the US Military Academy in 1986. (Pompeo does not let anyone forget that he graduated first in that class.) Anyone who enters the Academy takes this oath: “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate any among us who does.”

    The first lie anyone in their position told themselves, and the world, is that they were serving their country when, in fact, they were serving Donald Trump. Pompeo even boasted about breaking his Cadet oath.

    Oh, and if you want a good example of his thuggishness—a necessary trait for serving Donald Trump—look at his behavior during and after his interview with National Public Radio’s Mary Louise Kelly:

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    As an Evangelical Christian, Pompeo is deluded into believing that the survival of Israel is NECESSARY to bringing about the Second Coming of Christ. Therefore, without giving a hoot about what Israel actually does, Evangelicals give their money to support Israel’s survival against all comers. He is a dangerous fool.

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    Pompeo came out of the House of Representatives, and is yet another bane of a booney district (other examples would be Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Jim Jordon, though there are others including mine) . Using the Bible as a tool for modern foreign policy is very dangerous. He is yet another unqualified Trump appointee.

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    Instead of Fox news spending so much time covering the Murdaugh murder trial in South Carolina, they should be focusing more on the unrest in the Middle East. There is a pretty good chance that the conflict between extreme right-wing Israelis and the Palestinian Arab population could erupt into a full scale war. Such a conflict could draw in other Muslim nations in the Middle East who would not be happy about the aggression by Religious Zionists against their co-religionists.

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