We’re not alone out there. We in Christians United for Israel are not the only Christians who are weighing in on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Increasingly, anti-Israel Christians are raising their voices and flexing their muscles.
This week, for example, the third Christ at the Checkpoint conference is being held at the Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem. Christians from around the world have gathered at Jesus’ birthplace for five days of anti-Israel lectures, films and tours. Most of the speakers are blaming the Arab-Israeli conflict on Israel and Israel alone. They condemn Israel’s “occupation” without ever mentioning Israel’s repeated sacrifices for peace. As missiles rain down on southern Israel, they bemoan the “horrors” of Israeli checkpoints without ever once mentioning the Palestinian terror that necessitates them. And many are reviving replacement theology — that idea that God has rejected the Jewish people and broken His covenants with them.
The fact that so many Christians are so actively working to undermine Israel should be a wake up call to all of us. We need to redouble our efforts! The enemies of Israel are no longer overseas or even outside of our church walls. They are right here at home, in our communities and even in our churches.
We who support Israel need not fear. We have the truth on our side. But if we don’t teach the truth and speak the truth, we can be drowned out by the lies. Now is not a time for despair. Now is a time for action.
Dozens of rockets as well as mortar rounds were fired from the Gaza Strip Wednesday at southern Israeli towns. Hours later the IDF fired tank shells at what it termed “terror targets” in the Strip.
Israeli reports put the number of rockets at over 60, and Islamic Jihad, which took responsibility for the attack, said it had fired 90 rockets at Israel. The organization said in a statement that it had launched an ongoing “military operation,” which it termed “Breaking the Silence.”
No Israeli casualties were initially reported in the largest attack from the Strip since Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012.
Most of the rockets fell in open areas, though one rocket landed in the center of Sderot. In all, damage was reported in two impact sites. Read more at The Times of Israel.
The U.S., U.K., and Dutch governments are helping to fund a conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint,” which attempts to sway Evangelical Christian opinion against Israel and whose themes have anti-Semitic undertones, according to a new report issued by the Jerusalem-based watchdog group NGO Monitor.
The report titled “Christ at the Checkpoint: How the U.S., U.K. and Dutch Governments Enable Religious Strife and Foment Mideast Conflict,” first obtained by JNS.org, examines how the American and European governments are directly and indirectly funding the conference.
“Direct and indirect funding to the organizers of Christ at the Checkpoint is mystifying and deeply concerning to us,” said Yitzhak Santis, Chief Programs Officer and “BDS in the Pews” Project Director at NGO Monitor.
Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) is a biennial event held in Bethlehem, organized by the Bethlehem Bible College and the Holy Land Trust. First launched in 2010, the conference was again held in 2012, and another conference is being held from March 10-14, 2014. The stated goal of CATC is “To challenge Evangelicals to take responsibility to help resolve the conflicts in Israel-Palestine by engaging with the teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God,” according to the conference website. Read more.
A mere decade ago, Christian Zionism was seen as an emerging force in American politics. As if out of nowhere, a block of fifty to one hundred million friends of Israel were poised to enter the national debate and safeguard the U.S.-Israel relationship for generations to come. Evangelical love for Israel appeared so solid that the only debate within the Jewish community was whether or not to “accept” it.
How quickly things change. The days of taking evangelical support for Israel for granted are over. As they are increasingly confronted with an evangelical-friendly, anti-Israel narrative, more and more of these Christians are turning against the Jewish state.
There is troubling precedent for such an about-face. At one time—prior to the 1967 war— the mainline Protestant denominations were among Israel’s most reliable American supporters. Israel’s opponents, therefore, targeted these denominations with mainline-friendly, anti-Israel messages. There are still many mainline Protestants who support Israel today. But to the extent the mainline denominations act corporately in connection with the Jewish state, it is to divest from it. And it is from Israel—not Iran—that they seek to divest.
In a similar fashion, Palestinian Christians and their American sympathizers are successfully promoting a narrative aimed at reaching the rising generation of evangelicals and turning them against Israel. As a result, more leaders of this generation are moving toward neutrality in the conflict while others are becoming outspoken critics of Israel. Questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for the millennials to demonstrate their Christian compassion and political independence. In short, this population is in play. Read more at The Middle East Quarterly