Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Christian Allies

From JPost, August 17, 2009, by Isi Leibler:

...At a time when much of global public opinion views Israel through the distorted lenses of Arab and anti-Semitic defamation, millions of Evangelical [Christian]s have emerged as our most devoted supporters.

....Evangelical support for Israel is not matched by other Christian denominations. Many Protestant churches have in fact transformed their antipathy toward Israel into hatred. The Catholic Church made enormous progress identifying the evil of anti-Semitism, but due to a combination of realpolitik and an unwillingness to swallow the bitter theological pill of recognizing Jewish statehood, it is still far from evenhanded in relation to the Arab-Israel conflict.

...The principal reason for Evangelical support is that unlike other Christian groups, they reject replacement theology, which teaches that God forsook the Jews for having rejected Jesus. They respect Judaism as the foundation of Christianity and believe that the Jews will always remain God's chosen people. They believe that the Jewish claim to Israel is based on the biblical promise from God. ...

...Evangelicals also believe that when God told Abraham that those who bless the "Children of Israel" will also be blessed (Genesis 12:3) this meant that God would bless Christians who love the Jewish people and support the State of Israel....

...These feelings nurtured the early 19th century Christian Zionists and subsequently motivated people like Lord Balfour, who authored the Balfour Declaration; Orde Wingate, who helped create the Hagana; Rev John Stanley Grauel, the hero on board the Exodus, who disclosed what happened in a firsthand report which had a crucial impact on the UN Special Committee on Palestine; writers like Pierre van Paassen, who promoted the Zionist cause; and many others.

EVANGELICALS' SUPPORT for the Jewish state today manifests itself primarily by advocacy for Israel. However, they insist that they will never publicly "pressure or oppose policies adopted by Israel's democratically elected government."

Evangelical political clout with the Democratic administration is considerably weaker than it was under president George W. Bush. Nevertheless, with more than 60 million adherents, they still represent one of the most powerful political forces in the United States. They recently formed a Christian counterpart to AIPAC to lobby congressmen and canvass against legislation hostile to Israel.

Many rank-and-file church-goers donate generously to projects designed to strengthen Israel. For example, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews initiated by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein today represents the largest single donor to the Jewish Agency and was among those who contributed seed money to launch Nefesh B'Nefesh.

The 50 dedicated representatives of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which has branches in 80 nations, spearhead the noble Christian Zionist presence in the Holy Land. They publish and broadcast information about Israel to the world. From generous contributions from members, they fund substantial social programs including assistance to integrate immigrants and support for former Gush Katif residents. They actively promote missions to Israel and host major pilgrim tours. They now represent one of the most dynamic sources of Israeli tourism.

Although most Israelis and Jews now appreciate the enormous value of Evangelical support, some liberal Jews continue to criticize the relationship, and ill-informed Orthodox Jews persist in mistakenly perceiving all Evangelicals as missionaries. It is axiomatic that we differ with Evangelicals over theology. But an alliance based on specific goals does not oblige both parties to adopt each other's approach on broader issues....

...I am proud to be associated with Evangelicals on various projects to promote Israel. I also enjoy being able to discuss political issues with people who still recognize the existence of good and evil instead of dealing with mind-numbing postmodernism and the moral equivalency that one continuously encounters with confused liberals.

The alliance with the Evangelicals represents one of the few bright lights in an otherwise dismal political environment. Indeed, were there more Evangelicals in Protestant/Catholic Europe, the prevailing hostility against Israel in that region might yet be substantially modified.

As an observant Jew, I appreciate their support and hope that they will be blessed for their friendship.
Post a Comment