By Joseph Puder
March 19, 2013
Last week Jerusalem witnessed the convergence of 80 Christian leaders from 20 countries and five continents. They came to Israel to express their solidarity with the Jewish state and its Jewish people. The occasion was the fourth bi-annual leadership forum of Christians for Israel; a non-denominational Christian organization that was established in the Netherlands in the 1970s and has grown in numbers to the hundreds of thousands. Issuing “A call to repentance, a word of hope,” their statement declared that God has not terminated his everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, and that the Church has definitely not replaced Israel as God’s covenant people. “The return of the Jewish people to the land is a wonderful sign of hope – it proves that God is faithful to His word, and that He is preparing all things for the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.”
By way of contrast, “progressive” Christians influenced by “Liberation Theology” and tainted by a Marxist worldview have mobilized on behalf of the Palestinians (not Syrian Muslim children being murdered by Muslims or Coptic Christians being persecuted in Egypt) and against “Zionist” Israel, a code-word for Jews.
If one wishes to understand “progressive” Christianity’s vile anti-Semitism, consider this; of all the evil in the world including the ongoing human butchery of civilians in Syria, the persecution of Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and the Palestinian territories, slavery in Arab Muslim Sudan and Saudi Arabia, religious intolerance in Pakistan, and gross human rights violations in China, Russia, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, what do the Quakers, the Church of England Christian Aid, the Church of Scotland-Methodist Church, and an assortment of mainline Protestant churches chose to boycott? Products produced in the Jewish “settlements” of Judea and Samaria.
To add insult to injury, mainline Protestant church leaders and theologians released a statement last June titled “A Call to Action: A U.S. Response to Kairos Palestine.” This biased, one-sided document stated:
We begin with a confession of sin to Palestinians in the State of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the diaspora and in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. As U.S. Christians, we bear responsibility for failing to say “Enough!” when our nation’s ally, the State of Israel, violates international law. Our government has financed Israel’s unjust policies and has shielded its government from criticism by the international community. At the outset of the current U.S. administration, our government led Palestinians to believe that, at last we would pursue a political solution based on justice. But the “peace process” has continued to be no more than a means for the ongoing colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the imprisonment of Gaza and the continuation of the structures of oppression.
For starters, one should question what international law Israel has violated with regards to the Palestinians. UNSC Resolution 242 of 1967 calls for peace in exchange for territories (albeit not all territories captured by Israel in 1967. Gush Etzion was Jewish territory conquered by Jordan in the 1948 War of Independence as was the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter). Lord Caradon, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN and a key drafter of Resolution 242 said, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967. That is why we [the members of the UNSC] didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (1978-1984) and International law professor, Yehuda Blum, asserted in a June 11, 1979 speech in Washington, D.C.:
A corollary of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to its Land is the right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael, including Judea and Samaria which are an integral part of Eretz Yisrael. Jews are not foreigners anywhere in the Land of Israel. Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria just because he is a Jew is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the “Judenrein” policies of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay.
Blum observed that:
The right of Jews to settle in the Land of Israel was also recognized in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which stressed the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and… the grounds for reconstituting – I repeat – reconstituting “their national home in that country.” The Mandatory Power was also entrusted with the duty to encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
The Call to Action by the mainline Protestant churches does not mention Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza or the Hamas terror campaign against Israel, nor Hamas’s Islamic intolerance and its rejection of peace with Israel or recognition of its right to exist as a Jewish State.
Adam Gregerman, writing for Religious Dispatches, pointed out:
In their advocacy for the Palestinian cause, however, the Kairos USA authors have rolled back the clock. In its critique of Israeli policies, the statement troublingly undermines these positive Christian views and takes a zero-sum attitude toward the conflict. Out of a desire to support the Palestinians, they jeopardize these remarkable interreligious gains by issuing one-sided indictments and by failing to honor Jewish religious and historical perspectives.
The authors of Kairos USA dismiss G-d’s covenant with the Jewish people and His promise of the land to the Jews, saying that there is no “theology of entitlement” for what they consider modern Israel. Yet, they evaluate the State of Israel and its policies according to religious criteria.
The Kairos USA authors maintain that the situation in Israel and Palestine “is not a struggle among religions.” They must not have read the Hamas Charter or the Palestinian Covenant because both consider the State of Israel “Islamic Wakf” or Islamic endowment land, where only Muslims can reign.
The willful failure of progressive Christians to see the Muslim world and the Palestinian leadership as motivated by a triumphalist Islamic ethos, which is intolerant towards the religious and political rights of Christians and Jews (dhimmis, or subjected people as seen by conquering Islam), and parenthetically ignores Palestinian terrorism and unwillingness to recognize or make peace with the Jewish State, reveals their deep seated prejudice, if not their latent anti-Semitism.
The Christians for Israel message of love and their biblical quest for peace in Jerusalem are uplifting. It constitutes an antithesis to the hostility displayed by the so-called progressive Christians and authors of the Kairos USA towards the Jewish state. This enmity is not accidental. Rather, it is borne out of the progressive Christians’ contempt for Jewish particularism, which is manifested in the State of Israel.