The July 25 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, as well as the July 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, hosted self-identified "Middle East analyst" Michael Evans to discuss the current conflict in the Middle East. Evans's chief experience appears to be in the area of biblical prophecy.
Loading the player leg...
On the July 25 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews moderated a discussion featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton and self-identified "Middle East analyst" Michael D. Evans on the current conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah. During the discussion, Evans attacked "the pimp media leftists in Haifa [Israel]" for "wearing their flak jackets" and reporting on the violence when they "aren't even out in the war." Similarly, on the July 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Mike Jerrick interviewed Evans, who attacked "these characters in Haifa" for "trying to dumb down the American people by not telling the truth" and "trying to blame" civilian casualties in Lebanon "on the Israelis." Although Jerrick introduced Evans as "a Middle East analyst," Evans's chief experience appears to be in the area of biblical prophecy.
Matthews introduced Evans as the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team -- a religious organization that invites potential members to "be a part of prophecy" by "pray[ing] for the peace of Jerusalem." The group's self-described mission is "[t]o guard, defend and protect the Jewish people, and the Eretz Yisrael [the land of Israel] until Israel is secure, and until the redeemer comes to Zion."
The Jerusalem Prayer Team is endorsed by religious right luminaries, such as Tim LaHaye, co-author of the popular Left Behind series of books depicting life on Earth after the Rapture; Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder and chairman of the Moral Majority Coalition, and Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Recently, the group started a petition asking Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski to ban "Jerusalem WorldPride," a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender event scheduled to take place in Jerusalem August 6-12. The petition urges Lupolianski to "oppose this abomination" and prevent Jerusalem from being "desecrated by homosexuals, and the lifestyle they represent."
Evans also heads the Evans Institute of Middle East Studies (EIMES) and Mike Evans Ministries. A Media Matters for America review of these organizations' websites revealed no mentions of any employees or officers other than Evans himself. The Jerusalem Prayer Team website lists Mike Evans Ministries as a "partner" organization, and the Jerusalem Prayer Team and EIMES can be contacted through the same toll-free phone number.
Evans has authored several books, including The American Prophecies: Ancient Scriptures Reveal Our Nation's Future (Warner Faith, August 2004). In the book, he writes:
The Rapture is the church's day of greatest hope. We need to see it as such and prepare for it. But we also need to know that it will not be the same for those not caught up in the Rapture. I don't doubt that if you are reading this book, you have probably also read the book Left Behind or seen the movie. However, as devastating as the authors of that series portrayed that day, I don't believe they even got close.
Think for a minute: How many people died on September 11? Roughly three thousand. Remember for a moment the painful chaos and mayhem of that day. Remember what it did to our economy, our confidence to fly in an airplane, our confidence to walk down the street, and the thousands of other ways that it touched our lives. Now imagine for a moment sixty-five million Americans vanishing in the twinkling of an eye -- people flying planes, driving cars, steering ships, driving trains and subways, manning nuclear power stations and nuclear silos, navigating submarines filled with nuclear missiles, and so on.
How many times more is sixty-five million than three thousand? More than twenty thousand times...
Yes this is my hope. Not that the terrorists get us, nor even that we side with Israel in the final battle (though I would greatly prefer that to option one!), but that God gets us -- all of us. That revival streaks across America and on the final day, so many of us go that there is not enough of America left to fight over. [pp. 256-57, emphasis original]
Evans's other books include Beyond Iraq: The Next Move -- Ancient Prophecy and Modern Day Conspiracy Collide (Whitestone, May 2003) and Jerusalem Betrayed (W Publishing Group, March 1997), the latter of which invites readers to "[s]tep through a prophetic time machine and listen to the whispers from the White House to the Kremlin, from the Royal Palace in Madrid to secret meetings just hours before the death of [Israeli prime minister] Yitzhak Rabin in the King David Hotel ... all for one purpose, Jerusalem's final betrayal."
Evans also co-authored a novel with Robert Wise -- The Jerusalem Scroll (Thomas Nelson Publishers, May 1999) -- depicting "attempts by terror-master, Osama bin Laden, to purchase atomic weapons from the Russian Mafia, to be unleashed on New York City and Los Angeles."
Additionally, Evans writes on Middle East issues for conservative website WorldNetDaily.com. In an April 1, 2005, WorldNetDaily.com article, Evans unequivocally predicted that President Bush would "surely" "take out Iran's nuclear reactors, or allow Israel to do so ... before April Fools' Day 2006." In a May 13, 2005, article, Evans repeatedly referred to the Palestinians as "Philistines," and compared then-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to "Samson," who he said was "picked by God to free the people of Israel from the Philistines." In the same article, Evans dubbed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "Condelilah Rice" and decried her efforts to persuade Sharon to abandon Israeli settlements in Gaza, which, Evans wrote, were part of a "land promised to Israel by God as an everlasting inheritance."
EVANS: [M]y mother and father in law were die-hard Democrats, and I was praying that God would deliver them. But they're godly people -- very godly people. I just don't know what happened to them. They felt the same about me.
Although Matthews claimed that "we haven't had you [Evans] on [Hardball] before," Evans previously appeared* on the June 17, 2003, edition of Hardball, guest-hosted by political and social commentator Mike Barnicle. During an exchange in which Evans repeatedly asserted that the "Roadmap for Peace" in Israel and Palestine was "[s]ugar-coated Sinai" -- presumably a reference to Israel's 1979-1982 withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula -- Barnicle asked Evans: "Are you drunk?"
Evans later appeared to suggest that Israel either bribed or was bribed by the United States and the United Kingdom with "a $10 billion check" as part of a "quid pro quo" that set the stage for the Iraq war.
*Media Matters' search of the Nexis database of MSNBC transcripts: hardball and (mike evans or michael evans or michael d. evans)
From the June 17, 2003, edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
BARNICLE: Now that we have achieved victory in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein is overthrown, what's next for the future of that country and the entire Middle East region? Michael Evans is the author of the best-selling book, Beyond Iraq. Mr. Evans, from looking at your book, from reading your book, and from hearing you speak occasionally, it would appear to me that you think that the road map to peace that's on the table now is potentially lethal to the future of Israel. Is that an accurate assessment?
EVANS: Sugar-coated Sinai.
BARNICLE: What's that?
EVANS: Sugar-coated Sinai.
BARNICLE: What does that mean?
EVANS: Yes, indeed.
BARNICLE: Oh, OK.
EVANS: It means that the road map --
BARNICLE: Are you drunk?
EVANS: -- is feeding terrorism, not fighting it.
BARNICLE: So --
EVANS: It is feeding it, not fighting it.
BARNICLE: How is it feeding it? How is the road map to peace that's on the boards right now -- you've got the president of the United States actively involved in trying to come up with the cease fire, along with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], trying to get Hamas to the table. Trying to get Israel to come to the table. What is wrong with that? What other prospects for peace exist?
EVANS: Everyone who is the problem wasn't dealt with. The people that were brought there were summit leaders. And what did they do? These are the ministers of misinformation who projected us as the Khmer Rouge in Baghdad as the killing fields. These people don't want democracy in their countries. They play the game with us. They are moving money into that area. The Europeans are doing the same thing, feeding Hamas, exploiting terrorism. We are not dealing with the "T" word. It's not the "P" word, it's the "T" word. It's not the Palestinians, it is terrorism. We are not dealing with it.
BARNICLE: We're not dealing with it at all? Afghanistan wasn't dealing with it? The road map to peace -- going into Iraq wasn't dealing with it? We are not dealing with terrorism?
EVANS: Absolutely. Absolutely. We dealt with it wonderfully. The president dealt with it fabulously in Afghanistan, in Iraq. But what did we do? When we went into the summit -- we went into the summit, and we said to Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria, Iran, we said we have a road map.
And what do they care about a road map? And by the way, this was never the U.S. road map. That's not true. This road map was drafted by the United Nations in April of 2002, and the U.N. -- and then it went to the State Department. It's not Bush's road map and it's not the U.S. road map. It's the road map by Russia, the U.N., and the E.U. They were not our friends in Afghanistan or Iraq, and they surely are not our friends at this present time. It's about terrorism.
BARNICLE: So, what you're saying is that this particular president, who went to the United Nations on a couple of occasions and really stuck it to them, this particular president, who apparently alienated the French and the Germans in the initial inception of the war in Iraq, is now going along with everyone on this phony baloney road map to peace?
EVANS: He cut a deal with [British prime minister] Tony Blair before the war ever started that there would be a quid pro quo after the war, and Israel would pay the appeasement price. There was a $10 billion check held up to the state of Israel. And right now, it's a very serious mess. And this mess has to be --
BARNICLE: So, prime minister Sharon is complicit? I mean, basically, he's going along with this just for money?
EVANS: Listen. Listen. The state of Israel is in a bad shape economically. Do you think the state of Israel asked for this? They didn't ask for this.
BARNICLE: Michael Evans, sorry to cut you off, but thank you very much. We're running out of time.
From the July 25 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: How does the continued violence in Iraq make President Bush look right now, and should the Iraqi prime minister be allowed to criticize Israel and still get the treat of addressing the U.S. Congress tomorrow? The Reverend Al Sharpton is president of the National Action Network, and Michael Evans is the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. He just got back from the Middle East. Let me go to Reverend Sharpton. You know, I started this show by asking the question rather pointedly whether we've created a Frankenstein's monster over there in Iraq and Iran. Before the war that we led against Saddam Hussein, Iraq and Iran were checking each other in terms of power, they had an eight-year war. We knocked out the Iraqi resistance to the Shia majority in Iraq, and now you have a Shia crescent, which extends from Baghdad to Tehran. And now as we've seen with Hezbollah, down to what looks to be a possible takeover of Beirut by -- by the Shia. Have we created a Frankenstein's monster by fighting the war in Iraq?
SHARPTON: I think that if we were going to fight any war on an honest level and not for things that ended up not being true, Iran certainly would have strategically been more in line with those that hold their point of view. I'm not one that would have wanted war in either, but I certainly don't see the rationale that we did in Iraq. The weapons were not there, but even more so now, you now have Iran, which is a greater threat, you have Iraq, where we are actually debating on whether the prime minister of Iraq, a nation that we promised democracy, has the right to free speech. So in many ways, not only have we created a Frankenstein, we're reaping a lot of what we sowed, which is why a lot of us didn't want us to sow it in the first place, because when you reap it, you might not like what you planted.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask the same question to Michael.
EVANS: Well, that's ridiculous. Number one, Iran is the proxy to this whole thing. The Hezbollah was founded by Khomeini. The Hezbollah is an Iran proxy. The majority of troops that are being killed in Iraq, according to Moshe Ya'alon, the former chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force, told me the IED, improvised explosive devices, are coming in from Iran. Now, also the terrorists are coming in through Iraq -- Lebanon through Syria. Iran has got its fingers in this whole mess and this prime minister is a Shia prime minister. No, he shouldn't be addressing the joint session of Congress. This is a war. This is about moral clarity. And by the way, nation-building is not the reason we were there. OK. We screwed up the nation-building. Let's forget about nation-building. This is a war. We've got a 9-1-1 crisis on our hands, and if we don't wake up and see it as it is and not condemn Israel when they've absorbed 2,000 terrorist Hezbollah attacks -- and I was there, I was on the northern border, and these poor people are in bunkers, and they're dying. This is tragic. We ought to have the moral clarity to stand up and say the right thing and do the right thing and especially Mr. Sharpton, the preacher.
MATTHEWS: Well let me ask you -- OK, go ahead.
SHARPTON: I'm not sure that we're on the same show, because I think what you said really agreed with Chris's point. If you're saying Iran is there, and his fingers is in everything, then are you saying that we were wrong to go to at Iraq and not Iran? I mean, maybe I missed Chris's opening. I think what you said validated it.
EVANS: No, no, no. That's like getting twelve hundred missiles in Harlem and then not wanting to deal with the Ku Klux Klan. Listen, the bottom line -- the bottom line here is that we are fighting a war. If you're going to fight a war, you have to have a military base. Now, I don't want to have a military base in Harlem or Brooklyn. I want a military base in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and I want to look squarely in the face of a country that wants to go nuclear, and these nutcases believe they're on a mission from God to kill Jews and kill Christians. They hate the infidels. This is serious stuff.
MATTHEWS: Are you on a mission from God, sir?
MATTHEWS: Yes, you.
EVANS: Listen, Chris, I just came --
MATTHEWS: I'm just asking an open question. Do you believe that you have a mission from God to say what you're saying right now?
EVANS: No, I don't have a mission from God to say what I'm saying. Here's what I believe. I just came from the home of a precious woman who has only been married nine months. Her husband was taken by hostages just around the time, coincidentally, that the president was drawing the line in the sand on the G-8 Summit, trying to get Iran to back down. This poor woman was preparing a meal for her husband. The guy is gone. The parents haven't even seen the kid. I wept with his precious parents. It's tragic what these Israelis are facing. This is a heartbreaking situation. When you see the -- when you see what -- it's the same stuff, Chris, that the suicide bombers use that they're putting in the missiles. And by the way, why are the civilians being killed? Because they're using them. They're using the homes, and they're using them -- same way Saddam Hussein-and the pimp media leftists in Haifa, wearing their flak jackets, aren't even out in the war, trying to make it --
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, sir, those kind of phrases are useless, and let me just tell you something.
MATTHEWS: If you do sympathize with human life and death, and I hope we all do on this show -- 50,000 people were killed so far in Iraq in that war. That was a war of choice, and we've got to debate these policies, and we've got to debate who's right and who's wrong. And that's what do you in a democracy. And to refer to the "pimp media," you can do that. It's a free country.
EVANS: Not -- not the pimp media. Chris, I'm not talking about all of the media.
MATTHEWS: But I don't have to respect people that use phrases like that. Let me ask you a question.
EVANS: I'm not referring --
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to a bigger question. Do you believe that the Iraq war was good for the United States?
MATTHEWS: We're back with the Reverend Al Sharpton and Michael Evans. Mr. Evans, we haven't had you on before, so take a minute. I'm not going to get in your way. I'll take that unusual step of giving you some air time, and then, Reverend Sharpton, jump in. Why do you think -- or do you -- that we should deny Maliki the chance to speak to the Congress because of his words lately?
EVANS: Chris, I've been on before. I was on with Mike. But -- but the holy grail of understanding is we've got to maintain moral clarity. Now, to maintain moral clarity, we've got to say "No, he cannot speak." He cannot speak because he just condemned a democracy, an ally who was attacked by terrorists and is trying to defend its democracy. These people want to kill them. We've got to maintain moral clarity. He should not speak, and the American people need to scream their heads off, no. Listen, this guy wants amnesty -- he wants amnesty for Iraqis -- and by the way, a lot of them are not Iraqis, they're terrorists that have come into Middle East -- that kill Americans. We have got to stand up and say, "No, listen, you're the prime minister of Iraq, that's nice, we're happy for you, but this is America, and we're going to maintain moral clarity."
From the July 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
JERRICK: Syria says it will push to stop the battle between Israel and Hezbollah under certain conditions and certain circumstances. So is the country the key to claiming the conflict? Mike Evans is a Middle East analyst who has been meeting with Israeli leaders over the past week. He joins us from Jerusalem. And Mike, real quickly here, what do you think about this: Condoleezza Rice stopping in Lebanon before she goes on to Israel. What kind of a diplomatic statement is that?
EVANS: If Condoleezza Rice wins and stops this -- and makes the cease-fire, then Al Qaeda wins. Then Iran wins. Hezbollah is an arm of Iran, and so is in Syria.
JERRICK: So, it seems to always come back to Syria and Iran, everybody says, ok, they're calling the shots on this thing. But then you have the Saudis at the White House yesterday saying come on, let's start breaking this thing up, let's get a ceasefire. If we don't go and talk to Syria because we believe they're -- it's a state that sponsors terrorism, so we don't negotiate with terrorists -- who can we call on? Could it be Egypt or Saudi Arabia themselves to meet with Syria?
EVANS: Well, maybe -- maybe we could talk to Osama. Listen, listen, Syria -- Moshe Ya'alon, the former chief of staff of the state of Israel, told me that the IED, the improvised explosive devices, are coming from Iran, and the Syrians and the Iranians are the number one reason our troops are dying, not the Iraqi insurgents. Iran has two arms -- Syria is one, and Hezbollah is the other.
JERRICK: Ok, Mike. Then let's try to get -- put some wedge between Iran and Syria. I mean, they only came together back in the early '80s because of the Iran-Iraq war. They have different ideologies, and they have a history of mistrust, certainly, between the two states. So how can we get a wedge between 'em?
EVANS: We get a wedge between 'em by letting Israel fight the war on terrorism. No American president in the last 30 years has let Israel fight the kind of war that George Bush fought in Afghanistan on terrorism. This nation is fighting a war, and this war hasn't been won yet. If this war is stopped right now, then Hezbollah and Iran wins. Ahmadinejad in Iran will be laughing his head off and spinning his nuclear centrifuges and is a screwdriver away from getting his bombs in two years' time. We cannot stop this war. Israel's gotta fight a war.
JERRICK: So, we'll expand on that statement just a little bit more, Mike. What is the message that President Ahmadinejad of Iran is getting watching Condoleezza Rice land in Lebanon?
EVANS: He's laughing his head off, because Condoleezza Rice is in a terrorist-harboring state, a terrorist-funding state, a terrorist-aiding state. Listen, the Lebanese Army is Shia, they're pro-Hezbollah. You're not going to use the Lebanese Army to defend the borders. It's nuts. Neither will the Arabs, you're not gonna get Egypt or Syria -- any of the Arab countries, even the moderates aren't coming in here. They only way you're going to get it is they're going to have to fight this war with moral clarity, the same way our president's done, and God bless our president for standing up to these terrorists. These are the same as Al Qaeda that hit us on 9-1-1. Israel's had 2,000 missile attacks upon their their nation. And these -- and these and these -- I don't want to say the word, but these -- I don't want to say the word, Mike -- these characters in Haifa, these characters in Haifa are trying to dumb down the American people by not telling the truth. Hezbollah is using people as human shields to get them killed, and instead of telling that, they're trying to blame it on the Israelis. It's a sick, sick thing to do to these precious Israeli people and the beloved democracy that's fighting the same war that we're fighting.
JERRICK: There's so many people who say the reason the Lebanese army doesn't go up there to the border and take care of things themselves, they're weak. But also I -- you gotta believe that a lot of these Lebanese soldiers would not fight Hezbollah.
MIKE: No, they are Hezbollah. Listen, listen, what happened to the Israeli ship? Hezbollah was compliant with it. Hezbollah is an arm of Iran. We're being tested by Ahmadinejad. He's testing us for resolve. If Ahmadinejad sees us stop the Israelis from fighting the war on terrorism -- they haven't won it at all yet -- it's a war. Oliver North will tell you about wars. If Ahmadinejad sees the U.S. intervening and stopping the war, this guy is going is going to get more emboldened than he's ever been. Remember, this guy is going for nuclear weapons, and he's not joking.
JERRICK: Mike Evans, thank you very much, from Jerusalem. Wanted to have him on because he is, as you can tell, quite emotional about this. He met with government officials in Israel over the last couple of days, also met with the family of one of the kidnapped soldiers. So, wanted to get his take on it and it's interesting.