In a time of intense, existential, history-defying drama the world over, perhaps it should not be surprising to hear the appalling things said by a “Christian pastor” about Jews in his “TruNews” web broadcast.
But it must always be jarring and horrifying.
Rick Wiles is the founder of TruNews and pastor of non-denominational Flowing Streams Church in Vero Beach, Florida. In a 21 November webcast, since removed from the (now suspended) TruNews channel by YouTube, Wiles insisted that the impeachment effort against President Trump is a “Jew coup.” As if to emphasize his point and drive it home more vigorously, he went on to say it is a “coup led by Jews.”
Elder of Ziyon picked up on the webcast and a video clip of it from Right Wing Watch highlighting its worst segments. (See Elder of Ziyon’s tweet stream as well for several tweets with the Twitter user accounts for high-profile reporters and officials in the White House — where, as discussed below, TruNews has had media access.)
Unreal antisemitism from Rick Wiles at" TruNews"as he calls the Trump impeachment process a "Jew Coup" and says Jews will take over the country and "kill millions of Christians." pic.twitter.com/Ib29EmGCxW
— Elder Of Ziyon ҉ (@elderofziyon) November 27, 2019
The full 21 November video is still available at the TruNews website, which readers can easily find for themselves. I’m not providing a link to it, because I don’t want this webpage associated with the TruNews site.
In it, Wiles imparts his theory about a “Jew coup” being behind the impeachment effort mounted against Trump by House Democrats.
He says, for example: “That’s the way the Jews work; they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.”
But it gets “better.” Times of Israel has passages in the tweeted video clip transcribed:
“This ‘impeach Trump’ movement is a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast because this thing is moving now toward a vote in the House and then a trial in the Senate. We could have a trial before Christmas,” Wiles said, predicting a civil war within a month.
“People are going to be forced, possibly by this Christmas, to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States,” he added before telling viewers that they have been “taken over by a Jewish cabal, a Bolshevik revolution.”
“There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”
The use of anti-Semitic tropes here is cartoonishly awful. It’s so over the top it’s hard to believe you’re actually hearing it.
Wiles can’t seem to stop saying the same thing, over and over. “We have until Christmas to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States. We have weeks to stop it. That’s why I’m speaking out. That’s why I’m putting everything on the line, saying this is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States.”
The point of bringing this to your attention, however, is not just the spectacular nature of the anti-Semitism. It’s that TruNews has been treated as a legitimate news organization and given White House press credentials. On 5 September, Right Wing Watch cited multiple instances of TruNews participation in credentialed press events, and quoted Wiles’s co-host for the TruNews broadcasts, “Doc” Burkhart, as follows:
“Our credentials have not been revoked,” added co-host Doc Burkhart. “We’ve not been removed. Don’t believe any of that.”
“We turn down more White House invitations; we don’t go to all of them because we just don’t have the funding and the manpower to go to every single event that the White House invites us to,” Wiles added. “We are very appreciative that the White House invites us to these things.”
Times of Israel noted occasions on which TruNews has actually posed questions at administration events:
Representatives of TruNews have in the past been granted access to White House press conferences, and put questions to the president.
Last year, Trump specifically called on a representative from the site, who asked a question about the “great peace deal,” between Israel and the Palestinians.
In March, the US president’s son Donald Trump Jr. gave an interview to TruNews at a rally, the Washington Post reported. A spokesperson for the president’s son said the interview was unplanned, but the Trump campaign did not respond to a query from the Washington Post as to whether TruNews was granted press credentials to the event.
This is disturbing. It’s not disturbing because Trump himself, or any member of his family, has shown signs of anti-Semitism. They haven’t.
But it’s disturbing because TruNews seems to be treated as a legitimate news organization in spite of a lengthy trail of astonishingly egregious anti-Semitic bias. Jewish Journal has a list of offenses from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):
- Saying Jews are part of the “synagogue of Satan.”
- Alleging that “Israel took out John Kennedy.”
- Accusing Israelis and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner of attempting to “completely exterminate the Palestinian people.”
- Saying that Zionists are attempting to take “over the world in the Last Days and [persecute] the body of Christ and makes war against the saints…. And it’s not Muslims that are going to kill us. It’s the Jews.”
- Calling Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, “Kabbalah-practicing evil woman whispering evil things in the ear of her father.”
Mediaite cites an allegation by Wiles about “Jewish kill teams”:
Wiles has always been an anti-Semite, he has upped his bigoted rhetoric in recent weeks, pushing a conspiracy about Jewish “kill teams” orchestrating mass shootings in America and that the “Zionist movement” is trying to carry out a mass gun confiscation so they can slaughter Christians.
Comments like these are grotesque. Christian blogger Dexter Van Zile has also documented anti-Semitism from Wiles during his participation in “Christ at the Checkpoint” conferences organized by the Bethlehem Bible College and the Holy Land Trust.
Would real Christian peacemakers give Rick Wiles press credentials for a conference in the city of Christ's birth?
— Dexter Van Zile (@dextervanzile) December 2, 2019
During first show at CATC2018, Rick Wiles declared, "If Jesus Christ walked the streets of Jerusalem today, they would crucify him! They would crucify him!"
— Dexter Van Zile (@dextervanzile) November 28, 2019
Christ at the Checkpoint has unfortunately been friendly to blatant anti-Semites for some time. But that’s why the U.S. taxpayer shouldn’t fund organizations associated with it (see my 2014 article, linked above, when the group in question was a left-wing organization being funded during Obama’s tenure). And the White House shouldn’t offer press access to Rick Wiles or TruNews either.
If an outfit like Stormfront wanted media credentials at the White House, we can confidently assume that would be a non-starter. I can’t imagine “white supremacist” Richard Spencer getting credentialed either, or any media mouthpiece associated with him.
The same should apply to TruNews. Wiles and his followers have the constitutional right to express their viewpoint. They shouldn’t be forcibly silenced (although YouTube, Facebook, etc. are under no obligation to host their posts).
But allowing them to participate in White House press events has the effect of seeming to mainstream and gloss over their outsize anti-Semitism. The American people have the right to expect certain standards for press qualification and disqualification, when it comes to White House access (or access to Congress, for that matter). Hatred of Jews, as openly and repeatedly expressed by Wiles, is disqualifying. His conspiracist rants about Jews, moreover, can validly be seen as incitement, not just suggesting but insisting — falsely — that Jews are conspiring to attack American people and American institutions.
We were reminded just on Monday that the Trump team pays attention to the attitude and intentions of news organizations in its decisions about press access. The Trump campaign (as opposed to the White House) decided to revoke credentials for announced presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s news organization, after the Bloomberg editors said they would not be doing critical, investigative coverage of Democratic candidates, but would pursue such coverage of Trump on the campaign trail.
The Trump campaign is revoking press credentials for Bloomberg News employees in response to its "troubling and wrong" decision to not investigate 2020 Dems. https://t.co/6BKxowHBzx
— CNBC Politics (@CNBCPolitics) December 2, 2019
That looks like a fair decision by Trump’s team. Trump is under no obligation to admit any organization for inherently one-sided news coverage.
He’s also under no obligation to admit TruNews for any purpose. If the Trump media team didn’t know before about Wiles’s track record, it has to know now. The importance of repudiating anti-Semitism is the overriding factor here. It cannot be treated as if it is not a dangerous problem. Such anti-Semitism as Rick Wiles’s – deeply embedded, reflexive, seemingly lacking in the most minimal self-awareness – is always dangerous. It is not domesticable under any circumstances, and it needs to be excluded outright from participation in the events of the U.S. federal government.