Jesus Recruited for ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Forest

God-TV Helps Israel Oust Bedouin

Half a million trees planted over the past 18 months on the ancestral lands of Bedouin tribes in Israel’s Negev region were bought by a controversial Christian evangelical television channel that calls itself God-TV.

A sign posted a few kilometres north of Beersheba, the Negev’s main city, announces plans to plant a total of a million trees over a large area of desert that has already been designated “God-TV Forest”.

The Jewish National Fund, an international non-profit organisation in charge of forestation and developing Jewish settlements in Israel, received $500,000 from God-TV to plant some of the trees, according to the channel’s filings to US tax authorities last year.

A coalition of Jewish and Bedouin human rights groups have denounced the project, accusing God-TV and the JNF of teaming up to force the Bedouin out of the area to make way for Jewish-only communities.

No one from God-TV was available for comment, but in a video posted on its website, Rory Alec, the channel’s co-founder, said he had begun fundraising for the forest after receiving “an instruction from God” a few years ago. He said God had told him: “Prepare the land for the return of my Son.”

Standing next to the “God-TV Forest” sign, Alec thanked thousands of viewers for making donations to “sow a seed for God”, adding: “I tell you Jesus is coming back soon!”

Part of the forest has been planted on land claimed by the Aturi tribe, whose village, al-Araqib, is nearby.

Al-Araqib has been demolished eight times in recent months by the Israeli police as officials increase the pressure on the 350 inhabitants to move to Rahat, an under-funded, government-planned township nearby.

Earlier this year, Joe Stork, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, criticised the repeated attempts by Israeli authorities to eradicate the village and displace its residents.

“Tearing down an entire village and leaving its inhabitants homeless without exhausting all other options for settling long-standing land claims is outrageous,” he said.

Human Rights Watch and other international human rights groups have criticised Israel for harsh measures taken against the people of al-Araqib and the other 90,000 Bedouin who live in Negev villages that the Israel refuses to recognise. They accuse the government of trying to pre-empt a court case moving through Israeli courts aimed at settling the Bedouin ownership claims.

God-TV’s involvement in the dispute has prompted fresh concern.

Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, said the JNF, which has semi-governmental status in Israel, had set a “dangerous precedent” in accepting money from God-TV.

“The Israeli authorities are playing with fire,” he said. “This dispute between the Israeli government and the Bedouin is a long one that until now focused on the question of land rights. But the involvement of extremist Christian groups like God-TV is likely to turn this into a religious confrontation, and that will be much harder to resolve.”

The JNF did not respond to questions about its involvement with God-TV or the Negev forest.

Gordon said it was particularly worrying that Alec was using the language of Biblical prophecy in justifying his decision to finance the forest.

The channel, which has become one of the most popular global evangelical stations since its founding in Britain 15 years ago, claims a potential audience of up to a half-billion viewers, including 20 million in the United States.

Stephen Sizer, a British vicar and prominent critic of Christian Zionist groups, described God-TV as part of an evangelical movement that believes Israel’s establishment and expansion are bringing nearer the “end times” – or the moment when, according to Christians, Jesus will return for the second time.

Its followers, he added, believed that, by dispossessing Palestinians of their land and replacing them with Jews, Jesus’s return could be expedited.

Funding aliyah [Jewish immigration] and planting trees in the desert may look innocuous but it’s actually their way to side with the Israeli right’s hardline policies towards the Palestinian population.

Sizer said there was increasing co-operation between Israeli institutions and Christian evangelical groups, which have begun basing their operations in Israel.

God-TV has proclaimed itself the only television channel to broadcast globally from Jerusalem, following its relocation there from the UK in 2007.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the head of the Union of Reform Judaism in the US, has repeatedly called on Israel to sever contacts with Christian Zionist and evangelical groups, describing them as opposed to “territorial compromise under any and all circumstances”.

God-TV has close ties to Christians United for Israel (Cufi), an umbrella group founded in 2006 by John Hagee, a Texan pastor, that lobbies on behalf of Israel in Congress.

Hagee, a frequent preacher on the TV channel, has regularly courted controversy with comments seen as anti-Semitic. Most notoriously, in a sermon in the late 1990s, he called Adolf Hitler “a hunter” who carried out God’s plan for the Jews to return to Israel by leaving them “no place to hide” in Europe.

Cufi and the other evangelical groups have lobbied strenuously in Washington on behalf of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and for Israeli control over the holy sites in East Jerusalem, said Sizer.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has been especially keen to seek out support from Christian evangelical groups, according to Shalom Goldman, a professor at Atlanta’s Emory University, who recently published a book on the Christian Zionist movement.

Last year Cufi announced a $38 million marketing drive to bring more Christian tourists to Israel, including the establishment of a “task force on global Christian relations” jointly overseen by Hagee and Netanyahu.

Haia Noach, the director of the Negev Coexistence Forum, which campaigns for Bedouin rights, said her organisation feared more of God-TV’s trees would be planted on Bedouin lands in the coming weeks. A depot has recently been established close to al-Araqib to store four bulldozers.

“The villagers refuse to abandon al-Araqib, even though it has been destroyed many times. But once a forest is planted there, there will be no chance to go back,” she said.

She said she feared the goal was to build Jewish communities on Bedouin land. She cited the case of Givat Bar, which was secretly established by the government on part of al-Araqib’s lands in 2003.

Repeated letters to the JNF for information about their forestation programme had gone unanswered, she said.

Awad Abu Freih, a community leader at al-Araqib, said the house demolitions and forest-planting were only the latest measures by the government to remove the villagers.

Repeated destruction of al-Araqib’s crops by spraying them with herbicides was ruled illegal by Israel’s Supreme Court in 2004.

Efforts to move 90,000 Bedouin off their lands close to Beersheba have been intensifying since 2003, when the Israeli government announced plans to move them into a handful of townships.

The Bedouin have resisted, complaining that the official communities are little more than urban reservations that languish at the bottom of the country’s social and economic tables.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on December 28th, 2010 at 7:39am #

    Complete Krazees and very nasty indeed. The station is operated out of Jerusalem. I should imagine that ‘GOD’ and the Alecs are doing very nicely out of the operation but sadly the dispossessed Bedouin people, like the Palestinians, are not.


  2. Ismail Zayid said on December 28th, 2010 at 8:14am #

    We have been told that God promised his “Chosen People” land which did not belong to them. Now, we see that a group of extremist evangelical Christian Zionists are using God in their God TV to provide the JNF with money to plant trees at the site of the demolished Bedouin village, al-Araqib, as part of the classic Zionist programme. The JNF has special expertise in planting trees at the site of demolished villages, as in the infamy called “Canada Park”, built on the site of the demolished three villages, Imwas [Emmaus], Yalu and Beit Nuba [my home town]. These three villages were demolished in June, 1967, on the direct orders of Yitzhak Rabin,the then Chief of Staff of the Israeli army. These acts are war crimes and does God’s name need to be involved in such war crimes, besides the JNF continuing to function as a registered charity, in many countries, including Canada?

  3. Liberte said on December 28th, 2010 at 8:20am #

    The Church(tm) is as much a zog as the US or most other countries. If it weren’t so zog’able it would have suffered the same fate as the Caliphate. Its zog’ability has made it useful.

    No price is too high to extend the goyim nap time.

  4. MichaelKenny said on December 28th, 2010 at 8:45am #

    According to Wikipedia, the channel was set up in the UK in 1995 by Roy Alec and his wife, South Africans, and now broadcasts from Jerusalem. I have never heard of it, nor heard anybody, or any media outlet, speak of it, so it’s European audience cannot be that great. That would fit with the fact that evangelicals are few and far between in Europe and that the Catholics, the Orthodox and the mainstream Protestants are either not supporters of Israel at all or much less fervent supporters than the evangelicals. That difference between the make-up of American and European Christianity is central to the different relationship Europe has with Israel.

  5. bozh said on December 28th, 2010 at 9:06am #

    however, in the eyes of most talmudim, even these ‘helpful’ christians wld be deemed goyim.

    let’s face the fact that no cult ever gladhands another. in case of protestant and catholic cults of n. ireland, orthodox and catholic cults of croatia and serbia, and orthodox and muslim cults of bosnia-kosovo and serbia, it was more like hell on earth.

    muslim cult in america does not get along with numerous christian cults there. and the reason american ruling class allows muslims to come to america is because it wants to cut dwn on powers of some of the christian cults.
    having all these cults fearing, hating, etc., one another, allows the ruling class to rule as they please! tnx

  6. Liberte said on December 28th, 2010 at 9:34am #


    What “muslim cult in america does not get along with numerous christian cults there”? Who funds that “muslim cult” who funds those “christian cults.”

    I have the feeling the only “fearing, hating” between those two “cults” is muslims fearing how stupid christians can be to allow hijacking/zoging for several sad, violent and confusing centuries.

    I think if muslims had a choice between wiping out christians or getting christians to act like christians I think they would choose the latter even after previously mentioned centuries of meddling and murdering. At least those true muslim “cults” would; those that arent zog’afied.

    But let’s not call them cults. That takes away from what they really are: deep, philosophical, peaceful and natural understandings of god and the universe. Only the zogification of state, church and media has convinced us they were anything other than that.

    Nukes, famines, and who knows what else are good zog weapons, but the best weapon is hegemony.

  7. mary said on December 28th, 2010 at 9:51am #

    Mr Kenny is always in denial when it come to Europe. He obviously cannot read.

    The same Wikipedia page he quoted says:

    UK & Europe: The GOD Channel can be watched via satellite in the UK on Sky channel 580, and Freesat channel 694.[23] It can also be seen on cable on Virgin Media channel 249 as well as WightCable and Smallworld Cable. Some European networks carry GOD TV in their satellite/cable television packages in Belgium, France,[24] Germany,[25] Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. The channel is also available through P2PTV service Zattoo.

  8. mary said on December 28th, 2010 at 9:57am #

    Whatever the audience size in Europe or elsewhere (massive according to this link), there is no escaping the fact that it is a Zionist outfit and that it is creating a forest over the remains of Occupied villages, just like Canada Park.


  9. bozh said on December 28th, 2010 at 12:34pm #

    i know of no cult that even tolerates any other let alone gladhands it! imo, they shld be viewed as sciences.
    however, using an entirely different mode of thinking, evaluating, concluding, etc.

    thus, viewed as scientific, they cannot run to god for protection from those who look what such practitioners say or do!
    they cannot [to me, anyway] say: this is god’s domain and it is forbidden for anyone to enter it save the clerisy.

    all cults start evaluating from nescience. they simply rename it god’s will.
    using the new label as proof thereof!

    so do scientists! they start evaluating first of all by godgiven 5 senses most of us have. cults use none!
    we all theorize but only after using our senses. a long time ago a shepherd, upon seeing a willow twig, theorized that he cld make the twig hollow, punch a hole in it and blow air thru it.
    and music was born! if he never ever saw a twig, he cld have never ever made a musical instrument.
    he never ever heard of any god or priest!

    so, nescience 1, the orthodox one is not nescience 2, the catholic one.
    knowledge, however, must be viewed as knowledge at a point of time; thus, forever changing.

    cultish knowledge never changes! or changes under enormous pressure from scientific discoveries.

    even an ancient hebrew or a shemite had noted that knowledge changes when he wrote: sufficient onto the day is rigor there of.
    did he mean to say that knowledge at one point of time is not and cannot be knowledge at another point of time?
    but it takes only a perfunctory look to discover for self that it is so!

    this cannot satisfied know-it-alls: priests, ulema, monks, gurus, rabbinate and other such thinkers! i wonder why? tnx

  10. Liberte said on December 28th, 2010 at 1:25pm #

    Each day that passes demonstrates further the encroachment of the cult of millennial science. This cult, armed with the scientific method – a good method – establishes laws for the highest bidder – a bad method. In the best of cases the quest for scientific truth – a noble quest – will leave aeons of humans, barring extinction, void of the bulk of understanding of the universe.

    Then perhaps is there no place for meditation? Perhaps no place to document meditative discoveries? You posit religion is all founded on charlatanry but I do not think so; that parasitic exploitation comes later. I think it starts with meditation.

    This is a deep issue and it ties directly in to the author’s desire to write this article and I suspect title it as he did. There is much discussion about “the psuedo-Left” at this sight but little analysis of how “the psuedo” infiltrated “the Left.” A good place to start would be to ask what is “the Left?”

    If your answer to that question is marxism and atheism then I believe you have discovered the entry point of the “psuedos” infiltration. I believe Jacksonianism was among the earliest forms of national American leftward democractic ideals. Jacksonians were neither marxist, nor atheist.

    If your answer to that question is social justice than I believe you have discovered one entry point of the “psuedo-right” infiltration. The US-right, if representing some atavistic foundational nationalism, must recognize the American revolution WAS a social justice issue.

    The abstract point I am barely making is that when you remove zionism from the equation, current understandings of left and right largely fade away. So perhaps authors who write for a leftward audience articles titled “Jesus Recruited for ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Forest” – blithely associating a liberating and meditative ideology with its current parasitic exploitation – should spend at least one sentence recognizing the near paradoxical absurdity of the current exploitation written about. No one would even know who Jesus was if he hadn’t spoken up for Palestinians against Zionists.

  11. bozh said on December 28th, 2010 at 1:58pm #

    u lost me the moment u called using five senses god, god-nature, or nature endowned us, a “cult”.

    meaning to say that, say, catholicism and looking [smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching] are cults?
    my hearing is not that good! but is it a cult? so believing in angels, spirits, gods. devils and touching a redhot element are all cults.
    why don’t u wrestle with an angry grizzly momma and then call it– if u survived– a name? such as the event being a cult? tnx

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 28th, 2010 at 2:10pm #

    Don, the authorities here, in response to the moronic gibberish that dominates public life in this benighted country, manifest in the imbecile argument that record, utterly unprecedented, floods prove that anthropogenic global warming is a ‘myth’ (for the denialist vermin, everything proves ‘global warming is a myth’, absolutely everything)put it all down to La Nina and ‘climate variability’. The words climate change’ or ‘climate disruption’ are studiously ignored, as is the recorded increase in atmospheric water vapour and the clear predictions of most models that this would lead to increased precipitation events of increased severity. The governmental meteorological organs have, I believe, clearly been ‘got at’, another suicidal denialist victory.
    As for the Zionazis, bulldozing the untermenschen and spraying their crops with poisons, and allied with the insane vermin of Christian Zionism, there is a delicious sting in this sick tale. The Christian Zionists actually despise the Jews, because the End Times they hope to precipitate will, in their evil eschatology, lead to the obliteration of the Jews, amongst others. And the Zionazis, as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef made plain, despise all the goyim and hold them in contempt. They are the two most evil groups imaginable, deserve each other, and one might hope that they both get their desserts, but not with much confidence. In any case, as Don bangs on about, greater forces are about to render all these evil machinations irrelevant.

  13. Liberte said on December 28th, 2010 at 4:02pm #

    all supremacists think their cult is the best bozh

  14. Rehmat said on December 28th, 2010 at 6:30pm #

    Jesus has been kicked around by both the Zionist Jews and the Zionist Christians as along as he serves Israeli interests. However, the pro-Israel Jews have shown at the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “Hide/Seek”, what they really think of Jesus.