The Tea Party’s Emerging Zionist Face
From sounding warnings about ‘terror babies’ to deploring human sympathy for ‘underdogs,’ the Tea Party lurches into Zionist ideology
By Richard Edmondson for Veterans Today
When the Tea Party appeared as a national phenomenon early in 2009, the chief preoccupation was with domestic matters, its disparate groups and members rallying around such traditionally conservative concerns as big government, “socialized medicine,” and the like. There was a strong populist streak (or at least that’s how the media portrayed it), and outrage was expressed over Obama’s multi-billion dollar stimulus package, along with genuinely-felt sentiments, put forth here and there, that Washington was “bailing out Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.” Concerns over foreign policy, the nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seemed to take a backseat, and certainly there were few, if any, calls for a new war in Iran or solidifying relations with the state of Israel.
By mid 2010, however, this had changed dramatically. On July 21, several Capitol Hill Republicans, including Michelle Bachman of Minnesota and Louis Gohmert of Texas, held a press conference announcing formation of a Congressional Tea Party Caucus, and almost immediately thereafter caucus members sponsored a resolution “explicitly endorsing Israel’s right to strike Iran’s nuclear program,” as one report put it. Now the TP appears on the brink of an even further lurch into Zionist ideology in the form of a soon-to-be-released book, Underdogma, currently being hailed as “the first great Tea Party book.” The author is Michael Prell, a member of the Tea Party Patriots (TPP), and the book has been endorsed by Bachman, Zionist neocons Daniel Pipes and Frank Gaffney, as well as by TPP cofounder and national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin. Additional praise has also been garnered from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who lauds Prell for explaining “how the Left masks anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiment behind the American tradition of rooting for the underdog and how we can fight back against their rhetoric by reviving the American spirit of our founding fathers that transformed us from the ‘underdog’ to the greatest country on earth.”
Underdogma’s subtitle is “How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power,” and if that’s not explicit enough for you, Prell outlines his basic thesis in a series of articles that can be found here. “From Christ’s blessed meek to Eli Manning to rock-throwing Palestinians; people tend to side with the little guy,” he writes. (1) Sympathy for the underdog is part of the American character, stemming, in Prell’s view, from our “formative experiences” in childhood upon finding ourselves under the power of teachers, parents, school-yard bullies, etc. These childhood experiences give rise later in life to a “reflexive belief” that those in the world with little or no power “are automatically deemed virtuous and noble,” while persons or entities with larger or greater power “are to be scorned—simply because they have more power.” (2) The name he gives to this axiom is “underdogma.” While the ability to feel sympathy for the oppressed would, for many of us, seem among humanity’s more noble traits, in Prell’s view it’s in reality “the polar opposite of the American spirit.” And furthermore, he assures us, this tendency poses a manifest threat to the nation.
Given the Palestinians are perhaps the world’s premiere underdogs at present, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out whose political goals are being advanced here. But for those TP members not especially apt at connecting dots, Prell obligingly spells out, at least in his essays, whose side he’s on. Here he defines “Islamists” as our “sworn enemies,” (3) while at the same time harshly berating Obama for his attempts at stopping Israeli settlement building (attempts which, of course, were pathetically weak and ultimately unsuccessful). “Why is it that when Israelis build homes in Israel, they invite scorn from President Obama, and when Palestinians build homes—or even rockets—they find themselves with Barack Obama’s unwavering support?” Prell asks disingenuously. (4)
A Short History
Much like WikiLeaks, the TP has had lavish amounts of mainstream media publicity heaped upon it, literally saturation-levels of coverage, which have turned the words “tea party” into a household word in America. To such an extent has this been the case, it’s almost hard to believe now that a mere two years ago the movement didn’t even exist. The TP’s birth can be traced back to February 19, 2009 and an on-air tirade by CNBC business editor Rick Santelli, although some sources credit blogger Keli Carender with having actually organized the first tea-party-like protests earlier that same month in Seattle. In either event, the cause of concern, for both Santelli and Carender, was Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package. While Carender seems to have had some reservations over bank bailouts, for Santelli the main affront clearly was the expending of taxpayer dollars to help beleaguered homeowners, whom he referred to as “losers,” avoid foreclosure. In his rant, delivered from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli accused the government of “promoting bad behavior” and went on to confide to CNBC viewers, “We’re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July.”
It didn’t take quite until July, however, for the first official “tea party” to be held. On February 27 protests sprung up in at least eight states plus the District of Columbia, while on April 15—tax day—events in multiple cities, from California to Massachusetts, drew tens of thousands or perhaps more. Things continued to simmer throughout the year, with a series of “Obamacare” protests spiking especially in the month of August. Then in February of 2010, the TP held its first national convention, in Nashville, with Sarah Palin delivering the keynote address while wearing an American/Israeli flag pin. “America is ready for another revolution and you’re a part of this,” she told the cheering crowd.
Molding a public image
On February 27, 2010, the New York Times featured a story on blogger Carender, the occasion being the anniversary of the first multi-state TP protests of a year earlier. “You would probably not think of her as the Tea Party type,” said the Times, describing the Seattle math teacher as a member of the Young Republicans although one who “has a pierced nose, performs improv on the weekends, and lives here (Seattle) in a neighborhood with more Mexican grocers than coffeehouses.” (5) The story includes a photo of Carender being interviewed by the media, as well as a quote from TPP national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin, who, in the Times words viewed, the young woman as…
an unlikely avatar of the movement but an ideal one. She puts a fresh, idealistic face on a movement often dismissed as a bunch of angry extremists.
“She’s not your typical conservative,” she (Martin) said. “She’s an actress. She’s got a nose ring. I think it’s the thing that’s so amazing about our movement.” (6)
It seems to be part of an overall effort to reshape and remold the TP’s image into something more inclusive, something beyond the stereotypical white-conservative demographic. This effort was on display at the July 21 Capitol Hill press conference, an event which included both black and Hispanic faces and was reported by Fox News as having shown off “the racial and ethnic diversity of the movement,” (7) and it was also evident in a response by the National Tea Party Federation (NTPF) to accusations of racism leveled by the NAACP. “The…(NTPF) today flatly rejected the NAACP’s unfounded accusations that condemn ‘racist elements’ in the tea party movement,” the group said in a July 14 statement. A separate statement issued the same day quoted a number of black conservatives, such as Frantz Kebreau of the NAACPC (“National Association for the Advancement of Conservative People of all Colors”), speaking in the TP’s defense. (8)
The accusations of racism stemmed from racial epithets that were allegedly hurled at Congressional Black Caucus members passing by a TP “Code Red Healthcare Rally” at the capitol in March. In an April letter to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the NTPF stated its view that “racism and hate speech have no place in civil political discourse and debate,” and promised swift action should any TP member be found to have engaged in such. On July 17 it seemed to make good on its promise when it voted to expel the Tea Party Express as one of its member organizations over racist remarks attributed to member Mark Williams. (9) Williams, one of the leaders in the Ground Zero mosque protests, reportedly posted on his blog a satirical letter praising slavery, a missive supposed to have been written by “Colored People” and sent to President Abraham Lincoln. Williams is also said to have called Obama an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug” and referred to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who supported the mosque construction, as “a Jewish Uncle Tom who would have turned rat on Anne Frank.” (10)
Like the NTPF and the newly-formed TP Congressional Caucus, Prell, too, seems to be doing a bit of outreach to a more broad-minded, enlightened audience. In what appears to be an appeal to the gay community, he reports in one of his essays that Palestinians “outlaw and execute homosexuals,” (11) then turns around, in a separate article, with an appeal to mainstream Christians wherein he discusses efforts to “eliminate Christmas from America’s town squares.” (12) How successful all this will be remains to be seen. It does seem to be a bit of a delicate high wire act, made all the more complicated by the fact that so far membership of the TP Congressional Caucus is entirely Republican (see the complete list here), although given the wind in the TP’s sails provided by the mainstream media, it would probably be unwise to dismiss these rebranding efforts as futile or unlikely.
Dick Armey and Freedom Works
Besides the aforementioned caucus members, another “leading voice of the Tea Party movement” is former House majority leader Dick Armey, who in 1994 helped Gingrich draft the “Contract with America.” Since leaving the House, Armey has worked as a consultant and currently heads the organization Freedom Works, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit which, according to its website, “recruits, educates, trains, and mobilizes millions of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.” Whether the claim of “millions” is reliable or not, there does indeed seem to be a training program of some sort, as the New York Times story on Carender reported:
Ms. Carender’s first rally drew only 120 people. A week later, she had 300, and six weeks later, 1,200 people gathered for a Tax Day Tea Party. Last month, she was among about 60 Tea Party leaders flown to Washington to be trained in election activism by Freedom Works, the conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House Republican leader. (13)
In addition to running his apparently well-funded nonprofit, Armey is also the author, along with Matt Kibbe, of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, described by one reviewer on Amazon as a “perfect recruiting tool.” The book was released in August 2010, however, in 2002, when he was still in Congress, Armey issued a somewhat different manifesto—not in defense of liberty, but of Israel. On May 1 that year (May Day ironically) Armey, in an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, essentially called for what would amount to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. “I am content to have Israel occupy that land that it now occupies and to have those people who have been aggressors against Israel retired to some other arena, and I would be happy to have them make a home. I would be happy to have all of these Arab nations that have been so hell bent to drive Israel out of the Middle East to get together, find some land and make a home for the Palestinians. I think it can be done,” he said. Matthews’ response was somewhat combative (see here for a transcript of the exchange), as he pointed out that what Armey was advocating was sharply at variance with official U.S. policy. Somewhat combative was about as far as it went, however. Matthews evidently did not view the remarks offensive enough to warrant charging his guest with racism, although we can imagine the reaction might have been different had Armey called for the expulsion of Jews rather than Palestinians. Not only would the congressman have been excoriated on Hardball, he likely would have gone on to suffer a Helen Thomas-like fate in his public life.
In June of 2002, roughly a month after Armey’s comments on Hardball, Israel began construction on the wall which today, the world over, has become an iconic symbol of twenty-first century apartheid. (14) No word on whether Armey has been disavowed or repudiated by the NTPF.
Louie Gohmert and ‘terror babies’
Texas Republican Congressman and TP Caucus member Louis Gohmert made a splash last summer when he began touting the theory that Muslim women were entering the U.S. for the purpose of having babies—thereby gaining citizenship status for their offspring. The babies, as the theory goes, would then grow up, undergo terrorist training, and return to America for the purpose of carrying out attacks. “It is happening, it is happening, it is happening,” Gohmert proclaimed in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, though without offering evidence.
“Where? Give me some evidence. Tell me one person, one terror baby that’s been born. Can you tell me?” responded Cooper.
“The explosions will not happen for 10, 15, 20 years, and then you will be one of those blips. I’m not comparable to Winston Churchill, but the detractors like you are comparable to his detractors,” Gohmert replied angrily, comparing Cooper to Jon Stewart and accusing him of having “fun” at his expense. (15)
The interview is thought to have been discrediting to Gohmert, particularly in light of comments by Janet Napolitano and a former FBI official denying existence of evidence pointing to “terror baby” plots against America. Nonetheless, Gohmert still remains a popular figure. A poll of TP participants in December found 70 percent supporting him over Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to head up the Republican Study Committee. (16) Despite TP support, however, the House leadership gave the job to Jordan—possibly out of concerns over Gohmert’s mental stability. As Erik Erickson wrote on RedState.com, “I like Louie Gohmert, but between he and Jim Jordan, I trust Jim to be a fully competent conservative trench fighter who will never go off the reservation about terror babies in embarrassing fashion—let alone be asked about it.” (17)
Wars and rumors of wars
Quite clearly Gohmert, along with Williams and the Tea Party Express, are idiosyncrasies of the movement that some would probably just as soon sweep under the rug. By contrast, however, the Tea Party Patriots is one of the more image-savvy TP groups around, its national coordinator, Jenny Beth Martin, last year being included among the 2010 Time 100, a list of “people who most affect our world” published each year by Time Magazine. “Every revolution needs icons,” Time wrote in its tribute to Martin. “The Tea Party movement may have mushroomed because of its reluctance to anoint a leader, but leaders have emerged nonetheless. In February 2009, Jenny Beth Martin was one of about 20 people who took part in the original conference call (convened via Twitter hashtag) in response to Rick Santelli’s now famous rant. Her commitment to building the burgeoning movement has made her one of its breakout stars.” (18)
On its website, the TPP defines fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets as its “core values.” What the organization’s official position on relations with Israel might be, or even the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are largely a matter of conjecture, however. Martin did not respond to requests for comments for this article. Her TPP compatriot, however, does seem to have a distinct soft spot in his heart for the Zionist state. Prell’s book is not scheduled for release until February 1 (a release presumably being timed to take advantage of the TP’s second anniversary), so any conclusive summary of its subject matter would have to wait until then. However, in an essay entitled “Why Palestinians?”, posted November 13, 2010, Prell confides it was precisely the struggle between Israel and Palestine which led him to a five year investigation of the “belief system” he now calls “underdogma.” It is a confession prefaced initially with a series of rhetorical questions—questions Prell loads with a number of emotional triggers:
Is there something about the culture, beliefs, or actions of Palestinians that resonates deep within the heart of President Obama? Is it the fact that Palestinians incite hatred and violence toward other cultures, calling them “descendants of monkeys and pigs”? Or is it because their school curricula and TV cartoons teach children to kill innocent people, leading 72% of school-aged Palestinians to say they aspire to be martyrs? Or is it the fact that they outlaw and execute homosexuals? Or is it the fact that they subjugate women and then “honor kill” them for the “dishonor” of being raped?
Why would anyone support anyone who does such things? And why have millions of people around the world—from university campuses to the United Nations to the White House—joined together to make “Palestinians the largest per capita recipients of international development assistance in the world”? (19)
After posing his prosecutorial questions, Prell then goes on to reveal, “Five years ago, I set out to answer these questions. What I discovered was a belief system that has implications far beyond East Jerusalem.” Indeed. Prell’s animosity doesn’t stop with the Palestinians, but makes a horizontal trajectory outward seemingly to include the entire Muslim world, or at any rate “radical Islamists.”
What is the common thread? Reflexive opposition to power and automatic support for the underdog—even when those underdogs fly planes into buildings, bury homosexuals up to their necks and stone them to death…and use child suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians. (20)
Underdogma, he says, is an “axis of power” that has transcended traditional divides between right and left, one that can be detected even outside the political realm—in areas such as sports, or the public trials and tribulations of celebrities. But the main threat of this dangerous “belief system” is its ability to shape people’s political ideologies:
Underdogma is all around us. It is at play in virtually every corner of our lives. And, while the Western world increasingly exalts the meek and apologizes for its own power, the self-described enemies of the West—radical Islamists—are operating under a fundamentally different and structurally more potent belief system.
Our sworn enemies operate under no such delusions. To the Islamists; (sic) strength and power are lauded, while any sign of weakness is not simply frowned upon—it is considered an open provocation for violent attack…
What they know, and what we must learn, is that the West’s empathy for the underdog—leading some in the West to tolerate, excuse and even celebrate the violent actions of Islamic terrorists—is viewed by these Islamists as despicable weakness and clear justification—and even provocation—for violent jihad against the very underdogmatists who stand up for them. (21)
It’s probably a safe bet that the only “despicable weakness” in America, as perceived by vast numbers of people in the Middle East, is its weakness in standing up to the Israeli lobby. Nonetheless, Prell goes on to conclude that America “was founded on a pioneer spirit of achievement and a belief in American Exceptionalism (sic),” and he issues a warning that “further thralldom to underdogma is suicidal” and that “compassion should never involve self-destruction.” (22)
Interestingly, Prell’s bio, as listed on the website of his publisher, BenBella Books, cites connections to the current prime minister of Israel among others. “Michael Prell has written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and hundreds of politicians on three continents. His specialty is starting, shifting, and amplifying national debates,” reads the bio, which additionally goes on to mention the author’s previous work with the Dalai Lama, the global Chinese dissident community, “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach, and the Jewish Values Network. He also apparently is a winner of the “Pollie Award” given out each year by the American Association of Political Consultants—a prize described as “the Academy Award of political advertising.”
While we may not know Martin’s views on war in the Middle East, we do know her thoughts on her Patriot-compatriot’s forthcoming book since they are given on the TPP website: “Underdogma,” she says, “is the first great Tea Party book. All Tea Party Patriots should read Underdogma.” As for Dick Armey, whatever he is teaching the “millions” of young conservative activists taking his “training” courses, one may probably safely conclude it’s not peace with Muslims. And what of Carender? Like other TPers, the young Seattle woman, who blogs under the name “Liberty Belle,” seems to be a partisan supporter of Israel. Last June, after the Helen Thomas controversy erupted, Liberty Belle’s blog featured a post entitled, “Disgusting: Jew-hater of the day, Helen Thomas.” The post included the embedded video of Thomas’ exchange with the New York rabbi that resulted in her resignation from United Press International. Underneath it, Liberty Belle comments, “I might have to make this a daily feature if all the Jew-hating Americans keep showing their true colors so openly. It’s time to call these people out and let them know their hatred is not welcome in the United States of America.” (23)
Liberty Belle also includes on her blogroll a link to Front Page Magazine, the hawkish website edited by David Horowitz, which spotlights a section called “Jihad Watch.” And for Horowitz, apparently the esteem is mutual. FPM recently named the TP its “Person of the Year,” a tribute in which it asserted that the movement has “wrought tremendous change over the political landscape” and has revitalized “the American zeitgeist.” It also informs us that “the rancid reaction of the Left to the Tea Party is well known and not worth treatment here.” What is provided, however, are some statistics about TP members that are perhaps important to note:
Members are predominately Republican voters, many of whom are disaffected and work largely outside the GOP establishment. Only 54% of TP supporters had a favorable view of the Republican Party, according to an April 2010 New York Times/CBS News poll. Polls consistently show the movement’s single greatest unifying principle is fiscal conservatism, including a desire for a smaller government and a concern over the federal deficit. Social issues are mixed and far less uniform. According to the same poll, slightly more people favored civil unions for homosexuals compared to those who believed gay couples should receive no legal recognition (41% to 40%) and 45% are pro-choice (believing abortion should be available, but with restrictions), while only 35% believe abortion should not be available. (24)
There are probably any number of ways to interpret these stats, though one way could be that more than half of the American Right lies even farther out on the political spectrum than the standard Republican Party line. At the same time, however, the figures on views towards gay marriage could well suggest that Prell’s presumed efforts to reach out to that segment of American society are not without some reasonable chances of success.
Conclusion to part 1
While Americans are justifiably upset at the current state of affairs in their country, a great deal of confusion reigns as to the exact nature of the problems, their causes, and potential solutions. This is not coincidental. Such pervasive confusion exists largely thanks to the mainstream media, whose role, as ever, is to keep the populace frightened and misinformed, this while setting up straw man villains and carefully concealing where the true centers of power lie. If the TP is to be viewed as a media creation, which for the most part it seems to be, the question would then occur as to what purpose. What was its intended function? At the outset, as people grew captivated by the hoopla, its main role seemed to be taking the anger in America—which at the moment is very deep, very palpable, and near pandemic proportions—along with the perennial desire for change, and channeling these vertiginous emotions into a relatively safe, sandbox-type outlet. At some point, however, the ends began to evolve and mutate…as ends often do in the presence of human creativity. Currently as the clock seemingly ticks towards 2 a.m.—as the rhetoric heats up and the storm clouds gather over the Persian Gulf yet again—the “party,” as it were, appears to have taken a more sinister direction, with an advocacy of war becoming one of its defining characteristics.
Richard Edmondson is the author of The Memoirs of Saint John: No Greater Love, available on Amazon. Visit his website at www.memoirsofsaintjohn.com. He also maintains a blog at www.leftwing-christian.net.
- Michael Prell, “America’s enduring love for underdogs,” American Thinker, Feb. 6, 2008, http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/02/americas_enduring_love_for_und.html
- Prell, “Underdogma,” American Thinker, Dec. 14, 2007, http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/12/underdogma.html
- Prell, “Why Palestinians?” American Thinker, Nov. 13, 2010, http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/why_palestinians.html
- Kate Zernike, “An unlikely activist who got to the tea party early,” New York Times, Feb. 27, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28keli.html?_r=2
- “Congressional Tea Party Caucus kicks off with a display of racial unity,” Fox News, July 21, 2010, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/21/tea-party-caucus-kicks-racial-unity/
- National Tea Party Federation website, “press room” page, http://www.thenationalteapartyfederation.com/press_room.html
10. Helen Kennedy, “Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams kicked out over ‘colored people’ letter,’” New York Daily News, July 18, 2010, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/07/18/2010-07-18_tea_party_express_leader_mark_williams_expelled_over_colored_people_letter.html
11. Prell, “Underdogma,” http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/12/underdogma.html
12. Michael Prell, “Merry Christmas,” The Daily Caller, Dec. 7, 2010, http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/07/merry-christmas/#ixzz17SuAlIdD
13. Zernike, “Unlikely Activist…” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28keli.html?_r=2
14. PalestineHistory.com, http://www.palestinehistory.com/issues/wall/wallfacts.htm
16. Stephanie Mencimer, “Louie ‘Terror Babies’ Gohmert: Tea Party pick for House leadership,” Mother Jones, Dec. 8, 2010. http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/louie-gohmert-tea-party-republican-study-committee
17. Erik Erickson, “Just say no to Louie Gohmert’s write-in bid,” Red State, Dec. 1, 2010, http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/12/01/just-say-no-to-louie-gohmerts-write-in-bid/
18. “Jenny Beth Martin,” Time, April 29, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1984685_1984864_1985462,00.html
19. Prell, “Why Palestinians?” http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/why_palestinians.html
20. Prell, “Underdogma,” http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/12/underdogma.html
23. Redistributing Knowledge blog site, http://redistributingknowledge.blogspot.com/2010/06/disgusting-jew-hater-of-day-helen.html
24. Front Page Magazine, Dec. 31, 2010, http://frontpagemag.com/2010/12/31/frontpages-person-of-the-year-the-tea-party-movement/