‘Til Kingdom Come is a documentary that shows why evangelicals and right-wing Israelis have gotten in bed with each other.
This documentary may be short but it puts the spotlight on rural communities in Kentucky among others. If it makes you uncomfortable, then the film is doing its job. There are a number of Orthodox Jews in America and Israel that welcome evangelical support for Israel. The thing is that evangelicals are not supporting Israel for the same reason as Jews. They want to bring about what has been referred to as Armageddon, the rapture, or the end of days.
There’s an entire segment here on moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Even though there is Jewish support for having the embassy in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, many presidents held off because of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. For something that is supposed to be a secular event, why were there so many Christian clergy on hand? Let alone John Hagee speaking at the opening–Hagee spoke with rhetoric that certainly makes Jews feel uncomfortable! Evangelicals look at it as a Christian prophecy. Palestinians looked at it as an act of war. As a matter of fact, there were 58 Palestinans killed and over 2,700 injured during mass protests.
Evangelicals don’t even bother to look at the overall conflict. They are focusing more on getting all Jews back to Israel than have any discussion about human rights. There is a lot of debate over settlements and the legality of them Cleveland native Sondra Oster Baraz, the founder of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities and a settler herself, was fired up about the settler movement upon moving to Israel. Oh yeah, she’s Jews. Why do right-wing Jews choose to make for strange bedfellows with evangelicals? I don’t get it. It gets worse than that when you realize hard-line extremist settlers are meeting with members of Congress. How are we supposed to find a pathway to peace?
Israel has written off progressive American Jews according to Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. All you need to do is see the rhetoric spoken online from right-wing Orthodox Jews. It’s as if they’ve decided to adopt all the behaviors that are representative of Trumpists. Meanwhile, Baraz turns to people like John Hagee to drum up support for Israeli settlements because American Jews are generally left of center. Organizations like Christians United for Israel should make Jews uncomfortable. But because they support Israel, right-wing Jews in the US and Israeli will look the other way.
Lara Friedman gets straight to the point when she says: “It’s understandable of Israelis to seek allies. It’s a question though of who you decide to align with and what it says about you. It’s the irony of our times that there are great friends of the Jewish people who can be seen as anti-Semitic.”
Asked about Pastor William Bingham’s comments in a church, Yael Eckstein mentions being triggered whenever JC is intertwined into Hebrew Bible teachings. William Bingham is asked about what will happen to Jews when the end times come. Again, evangelicals and Jews have two very different viewpoints here. There is really no way to reconcile these views.
Binghamtown Baptist Church Pastor Boyd Bingham IV speaks of Trump’s appeal in his community. He mentions feeling like being looked down by people in larger cities and affluent areas. Bingham visits Israel later on in the film where he also meets with Munther Isaac, a pastor at the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. Isaac and Bingham have clear disagreements. I kid you not–Bingham says this point blank to the camera when Isaac isn’t around:
“I didn’t want to say this to him and hurt his feelings–there is no such thing as a Palestinian. That’s not evangelicalism. That’s not Donald Trump. That’s not Boyd Bingham. That’s not Bibi Netanyahu. That’s facts of history. His interpretation of the scripture is theological anti-Semitism. My mind won’t be changed on that.”
I want to stress this that these are his words and this will clearly spark some sort of discussion.
Right before the fade out, ‘Til Kingdom Come reaches super uncomfortable territory. A question is asked off camera: “Pastor, some would argue that this cooperation between Jews and evangelical Christians has a certain level of hypocrisy. Don’t you think so?” During this tangent of a rant from Pastor William Bingham, he uses the phrase, “you blind stupid Jewish people.” It doesn’t matter what he says after that to be honest. Whether he is being sarcastic or not, the use of that phrasing alone can be viewed as anti-Semitic.
As a Jewish person, I get rather uncomfortable when right-wing Orthodox Jews get in bed with Evangelicals. Evangelicals want Jews back in Israel for one reason only: the second coming. This is the only thing that explains their support of Israel. Jews should overwhelmingly reject evangelical support because of the prophecy obsession. I don’t know how ANY Jew could be comfortable with evangelical support. Even after watching this film, it’s even more uncomfortable knowing that there are Jews–Israeli or otherwise–with no problem accepting their support. They have no problem accepting support from anti-Semites. If this doesn’t make you sick, nothing will.
Trump policies will not lead to peace. Moving the American embassy to Israel will not lead to peace. Whether the Biden-Harris administration will be different, I don’t know. What I do know is this: the progressive left wing in Israel will be out of power for decades to come without substantial change.
Evangelicals and right-wing Jews make for strange bedfellows and ‘Til Kingdom Come shows why people should be uncomfortable.
DIRECTOR: Maya Zinshtein
SCREENWRITER: Mark Monroe
FEATURING: Sondra Oster Baraz, William Bingham III, William “Boyd” Bingham IV, Yossi Dagan, Yael Eckstein, Yechiel Eckstein, Lara Friedman, John Hagee, Munther Isaac, Johnnie Moore, Barak Ravid, Thomasa Risner, Pat Robertson