When the Vatican recognized
a self-proclaimed "State of Palestine" on June 22, 2015, it not only
defied international law -- there is no such state to recognize -- it
acted immorally in religious terms.
In July, the Holy See praised
the controversial nuclear deal between Iran and several Western states
and said it viewed the agreement in "a positive light." According to the
Catholic News Agency
Bishop Oscar Cantu of New Mexico stated, applying a logic that defies
understanding, that "Iran's hostility to its neighbors in the Middle
East is all the more reason for the international agreement on its
nuclear program." The agreement will allow Iran to acquire as many
nuclear bombs as it likes after ten years, or sooner, plus the
intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them to America.
Pope Francis rightly declares himself to be a man of peace, a
religious pontiff and statesman dedicated to an end to violence
everywhere on the globe, especially in the Middle East and North Africa,
where fanaticism and slaughter are almost ubiquitous.
But why, then, would the Vatican, a city-state ruled by the Pope,
give recognition to a would-be state that for over 67 years has been
dominated by war and terrorism? The would-be state is also, according to
a 2014 Anti-Defamation League poll
the most anti-Semitic in the world, with a political consensus that
calls for the killing or expulsion of Jews. In current Palestinian
theory, this slaughter would lead to the eradication of Israel and its
replacement by an irredentist "State of Palestine," which, in its turn,
would quickly be transformed into a fundamentalist jihad state.
To be fair, Pope Francis himself has said
(in an e-mail to Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman) that
"Whoever does not recognize the Jewish People and the State of Israel
falls in anti-Semitism." But given that the Palestinians refuse to
recognize Israel or the rights of the Jewish people, recognizing a state
of Palestine seems a contradictory gesture.
By making this badly-thought-out choice, the Vatican simply
encourages the Palestinians in their conviction that their tactics of
violence, rejection of peace offers (however generous), and
glorification of terrorists and suicide bombers across their towns and
villages is, regardless of all morality and prudent policy, the right
course of action. And if morality is at stake, it will also enthuse them
to continue with the clutter of lies about Jews, hate videos,
myth-making, hate preaching, false historicism, and the use of school
textbooks and TV shows that teach children to despise Jews as "sons of
apes and pigs." Is that what the Vatican really wants? Is that a goal
remotely in keeping with the wishes of Pope Francis?
According to Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, the Vatican has been
engaged in a deliberate coldness towards Israel since the emergence of
Zionism at the end of the 19th
century and the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. He has advanced this argument
at length in his 2013 study The Vatican Against Israel: J'Accuse
In a short article dated July 3, 2015, Meotti expands this argument. He
does so by pointing out the shocking disparity in what so many churches
do by focussing on Israel instead of acting to defend their own
coreligionists in the Middle East.
Christianity is dying in Syria and Iraq. Christian
churches are demolished, Christian crosses are burned and replaced with
flags of the Islamic State, Christian houses are destroyed, entire
Christian communities are displaced, Christian children are massacred,
and everything is done in plain sight. Islamists proclaim on a daily
basis that they will not stop until Christianity is wiped off the face
of the earth.
So are the world Christian bodies denouncing the Islamic forces for
the ethnic cleansing, genocide and historic demographic-religious
revolution their brethren is [sic] suffering? No. Christians these days
are busy targeting the Israeli Jews.
The Pope, who should represent the voice of one billion Catholics
around the world, was not busy these days in writing an encyclical
against the Islamic persecution of Christians. No, the Catholic Church
was very busy in signing a historic agreement with the "State of
Palestine," a non-existent entity which, if it (God forbid) should be
created, would be the first state after the Nazi Germany to officially
ban the Jews and expel the remnant of its Christians.
We should pause here to ask why the Catholic Church has moved in this
direction. It is, in part, a legacy of its centuries-old anti-Semitism,
something that existed officially until the Second Vatican Council
between 1962 and 1965, specified in Pope Paul VI's encyclical Nostra Aetate
beginning in article 4 with the words, "As the sacred synod searches
into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually
ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock." Unofficially,
however, that underlying anti-Semitism continues, and nowhere more
visibly than in the modern Catholic embrace of Marxist, socialist,
postmodernist and other theories and -- crucially -- praxis, the putting
into action of philosophical, theological or ideological ideas.
Although a concept with a long history in philosophy, praxis in the modern period has a particular association with Marxist thought
This strand, which has a marked influence on the Church even at the
highest levels, is rooted in the beliefs of Liberation Theology, an
approach to Christian practice that emerged in Latin America after the
1950s and has since spread worldwide. In its essential principles,
Liberation Theology is rooted in genuine Christian belief, linked to the
message of Jesus in his sermon known as the Beatitudes. It is "an
interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor...
an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes
of the poor".
In Latin America and some other places, however, this "option for the
poor" embraced support for "liberation" movements, even violent ones.
It is this that has led many Catholics to support the Palestinians in
their struggle not just for "liberation" from Israeli so-called
"occupation" but for the replacement of Israel by a wider Palestinian
state -- one that is being eyed for a new "occupation" by terrorists
such as Hamas and ISIS.
Today, there are many forms of Liberation Theology, from Brazilian to
Black to Feminist. There is even a Palestinian version supported by
many Palestinian Christians and by pro-Palestinians abroad. Many
Liberation theologians seem to have been deeply influenced by Marxist
and socialist theory, and for this reason the Church originally rejected
it. Over the years, however, there has been a growing shift towards
similar approaches. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, formerly of the Romanian
secret police, has claimed
(with perhaps some exaggeration) that Liberation Theology was created
by the Soviet Union, specifically by the KGB, meaning that it was part
of a wider campaign to undermine the capitalist system in the West.
Western "fellow travellers" who unwittingly furthered Soviet policies in
Europe and North America were to be joined by unwitting theologians and
If that is correct, it has certainly left a mark. Christian Communist
Liberation Theology dates back as far as the work of Father Thomas J. Hagerty
, a priest from New Mexico and a co-founder of Industrial Workers of the World in the late 19th
and early twentieth centuries. It continues down to the present day. A more focussed version of this is the movement known as Christians on the Left
(since 2013), formerly the Christian Socialist Movement from the 1960s.
Non-denominational, it is allied to the British Labour Party's left, is
politically active, and seeks to "change the system" in order to make
society more open to socialist political approaches.
Within the Catholic Church, a shift has taken place. Apparently
recognizing that many of the goals of priests and laymen involved in
work for social justice, help for the poor, assistance for minorities,
freedom for slaves, and liberation for the oppressed are entirely above
reproach, the Vatican has come to accept the nobly well-intended -- but
often sorely misrepresented -- vision of supporting the poor that it had
previously, and often perceptively, condemned.
The first sign of this came after 1971, during the reign of Pope Paul
VI, who had previously rejected Marxist commitment to work in the world
to alleviate suffering through political action. His views softened and
he moved the Church in a less conservative direction.
After him, Popes John Paul II, Benedict, and the current Pope, Francis I, came to the position that the Catholic concept of solidarity
(in which believers must value all human beings as individuals) was
close to the Marxist idea of putting theory into social practice. This
change is expressed clearly by Professor Edward Martin and Mateo Pimentel
The Catholic Church advocates worker participation and
contribution in economic matters as a solution to poverty, worker
alienation, and exploitation. Such is the case in Marxist and socialist
praxis. In this development, Marxist theory and analysis has become a
significant part of the Church's critiques of social and economic
relationships and its support of human rights, in identifying the causes
of poverty and injustice.
To the extent that this alignment of Marxism and Catholic tradition
truly does effect the alleviation of suffering, it can only be
commended. But sometimes radical political views about poverty that are
misrepresented and badly implemented can lead well-meaning Christians
-- Catholic or not -- into adopting political views that might be less
commendable and even lead to injustice.
Foremost in this hijacking of values is the way in which so many
Christian churches and NGOs have been led to prioritize hatred for
Israel and support for Palestinian "resistance." In doing so, they act
under many illusions created by the Palestinians and their socialist and
communist (and often Jew-hating) allies, who prey on the hearts and
consciences of people of faith: That Israel is an "apartheid state,"
that Israeli settlements in Judaea and Samaria are illegal under
international law, that Israeli occupation of the West Bank is illegal,
that Israel deliberately commits war crimes against the Palestinians,
and much more. If any of these allegations were true, a Christian
response would be wholly understandable. But Christians, like many
others, often choose to accept whatever lies the enemies of Israel churn
out, without using scepticism, cross-checking information or even
exercising common sense.
At an anti-Israel Christian conference some years ago, a
representative of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme spoke
eloquently for half an hour about the evils of Israeli checkpoints and
the damage they did (in an "apartheid" way, of course) to Palestinian
victims. It did not once occur to her that there might have been quite a
different reason for the presence of checkpoints: the extent to which
Palestinians in the past (and even now) have crossed into Israel to blow
up innocent Jews and Arabs, shoot them, or knife them. Having
experienced many checkpoints in Northern Ireland during the Troubles
there, it seemed blindingly obvious to me why Israel would want to
protect its citizens in this way. And it should have been obvious to a
Christian of good will to see that the prevention of death and injury is
more important than the minor inconvenience of waiting in a queue. Yet
it was not obvious at all.
Odeh Kassis, co-author and general coordinator of the World Council of
Churches (WCC) Kairos Palestine initiative, former head of the WCC's
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, and Special
Adviser to the WCC's General Secretary, is pictured above giving an
interview to Al-Manar TV, the official TV channel of Lebanon's Hezbollah
terrorist organization. (Photo source: Kairos Palestine)
If we pass on from Catholicism to other Christian churches,
organizations and NGOs, there seem to be a great many that constantly
berate Israel and defend the Palestinians, whatever either side says or
One might safely assume that Jesus would never have approved of
Palestinian anti-Semitism, the preaching of bilious hatred, or the
infliction of violence on innocent followers of the community to which
he himself and his mother belonged, not to mention the believers who
Many Christians have transformed themselves into deeply biased
political activists, as much influenced by the anger of Marxist theory
as by the teachings of the Gospels. Others, like the movement Sabeel
work at the theological level, stripping Jews of their rights as a
people whose identity is derived from a belief in God, a community of
people, many of whom believe they have been invested with a deep
responsibility to perform tikkun olam
the "repairing of the world." In other words, Jews are single out for
abuse despite the fact they were the earliest exponents of social action
in the real world, not the next. There is a high level of hypocrisy
when Christians who work to repair the world in their way condemn the
actions of Israel, a country that has visibly improved the lives of
The view of Christians like Sabeel, who are motivated by the outdated theological doctrine of supersessionism
(that the Jews are no longer a people of God and have been replaced in
God's eyes by the Christians) is troubling, yet their message chimes
with the views of their fellow believers in many places. Beneath that
theological façade, however, unfortunately lurks a very real body of
incipient or actual anti-Semitism.
The modern period has seen this concern for social activism grow, especially among younger evangelicals.
One well-known evangelical is former US president Jimmy Carter, whose
support for the Palestinian cause has been well documented. His 2006
book Peace Not Apartheid
has been widely applauded
by Palestinians, but deeply criticized by the former head of the Carter
Center, Kenneth Starr, who resigned because of the book's countless
factual errors and lies that he lamented Carter refused to correct. The
book was also strongly criticized by Abraham Foxman of the
Anti-Defamation League (in The Deadliest Lies
chapter 5) and others. Carter states that the Palestinians should only
end "the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international
laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by
Israel" -- in contravention of the Oslo Accords, in which both parties
agreed to negotiate a peace.
That a serious Christian can place political agreement with an
intransigent enemy before the simple morality of calling for an
immediate end to terrorism beggars belief. Yet Carter is not alone.
Christian political activists work for the most part through NGOs,
covering their views and actions under the allure of goodwill to all men
or a vocation of reconciliation. To the extent that they want peace,
they are to be congratulated. But all too often, the sorry truth seems
to be that their choice is to subvert a fair and just peace by
advocating the "Palestinian solution" -- namely, the use of violent and
potentially genocidal methods to defeat, expel and ideally slaughter the
Jews. This gives cause for the gravest concern.
Not only that, but the views of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and possibly a
majority of Palestinians (and certainly their leadership) are based on
strict adherence to Islamic shari'a law, which maintains that any
territory, once conquered, must belong to the Islamic political
theocracy in perpetuity. Any such territory, if it should escape from
Muslim hegemony (as happened in Spain, Portugal and India) must be
brought back within the fold by subterfuge or, if necessary, violence --
a plan that will inevitably lead to disastrous consequences for
Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims.
How thoroughly ironic is it then, that Christians who support
Palestinian irredentism thereby endorse the application of a legal
system that claims to have superseded all others, especially the
judicial norms of Christian countries.
Adherence to shari'a norms also constitutes a slap in the face to
modern international law, to the principles of the Enlightenment, and to
the Christian ethics of tolerance, fairness, and the pursuit of truth.
According to the Dutch scholar Rudolph Peters, the Islamic version of
international law is based entirely on the existing laws governing
jihad: whatever is inside shari'a law is legal, whatever is outside
shari'a law is not. If another legal system (national or international)
contradicts shari'a rulings, then it is deemed illegal. Hence, UN
resolutions, the mandate system of the League of Nations, and any number
of treaties are regarded as invalid by radicals in Hamas, Islamic
Jihad, ISIS, al-Qaeda and other organizations. Why would Christian
churches, in their pursuit of peace, want to endorse that? No doubt they
will say they do not, even as they turn the other cheek to the
terrorists who now are slaughtering and enslaving Christians across the
Ironically, those who support the Palestinians do support shari'a law
-- by default -- as Hamas and other Palestinian groups cite jihad as
their reason for being. According to Article 13 of the Hamas Charter
(the Mithaq Harakat al-Islamiyya al-Filastiniyya
), for instance, "there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except through jihad" (la hall li'l-qadiyya al-filastiniyya illa bi'l-jihad
More than that, overt Christian support for Islamic intolerance and
war constitutes an outright denial of their own scriptures. Regardless
of what the Qur'an really says, many devout Muslims, including
Palestinians, consider the Old and New Testaments to have been
misinterpreted or, at worst, falsified by Jews and Christians. More than
that, this doctrine (known as tahrif
) has allowed Palestinian preachers and intellectuals to overturn the entire narrative of the Tanakh
the Jewish Bible. They do this by claiming that they themselves are the
real descendants of an ancient Palestine, dating back many thousands or
even tens of thousands of years. The corollary is that there was never
any Jewish presence there at all, no land of Israel, no people of
Israel. They maintain
there was never a first or second Jewish Temple, that other Jewish shrines -- such as the Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah
in Hebron -- are really Muslim shrines, and that the prophesied return
of the Jews to the Holy Land is false. Now, to be frank, this
contradicts many verses in the Qur'an and other early Islamic writings
as much as it flies in the face of all sound historical texts and
archaeological evidence. Even a ten-year-old child can see clearly just
how falsified the Palestinian narrative of its origins is.
There seems to be no let-up in Christian-inspired actions against
Israel. On June 30 this year, the United Church of Christ (UCC), a
socially liberal million-strong protestant denomination in the United
States, voted 508 to 124 in favour of divestment and boycott
with 38 abstentions. It was one of two resolutions on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict debated by the church. The resolution that
called the actions of Israel, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
"acts of apartheid," received 51% of the vote, but it failed to reach
the two-thirds majority it needed to be passed. Had it been passed, the
UCC would have been the first American church to describe Israeli
behaviour as apartheid.
According to Jerusalem Post
columnist Max Samarov
"during the UCC conference, when a dissenting speaker lamented that the
UCC 'did not allow' mainstream Jews and Israelis to have a voice at the
table, few voters seemed to care. In a defining moment, UCC officials
rejected an amendment calling on the church to listen to Israeli
perspectives and encourage cooperation between Israelis and
Palestinians." Clearly, a search for truth and an openness to dialogue
form no part of the UCC's agenda, which remains opposed to any
initiatives outside their rigidly enforced political dogma. And all this
in the United States, a country built on democratic standards.
This vote was in keeping with two earlier resolutions against Israel,
such as one that called for Israel to tear down its anti-terror
security barrier with the West Bank -- but without asking the
Palestinians to cease their terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. That
a Christian church should call for an act that would result in dozens
and eventually hundreds of murders of innocent Israelis leaves anyone
with a sense of conscience aghast.
Writing for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Dexter Van Zile remarks that
"Not only did the UCC's 2015 General Synod fail to speak
up about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the violence
and ideology of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah in its resolutions, it
did not offer up any official condemnation of ISIS and Boko Haram, two
groups that have engaged in horrific crimes against humanity on two
different continents – often specifically targeting Christians. The
General Synod also failed to condemn the Syrian government, which has
repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own citizens in that
country's civil war.
"The conclusion is inescapable: As a body, the UCC's General Synod is
irrationally obsessed with Israel and indifferent to Arab and Muslim
misdeeds, no matter how outrageous and horrific. Misdeeds perpetrated by
Arabs and Muslims simply do not offend the sensibilities of the UCC's
deliberative body with the same force as Israel's efforts to defend
itself from terrorism. This distorted focus immeasurably harms Muslim
and Christian victims of Islamist aggression who warrant world attention
In 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved a resolution
to divest from three companies that supplied Israel with equipment used
in the West Bank, the resolution passed without due application to the
actual legal status of the territory administered by Israel.
In May 2015, another Protestant evangelical and Pentecostal movement sponsored a Global Congress in Jerusalem. Empowered 21
is a worldwide organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which claims to
represent 640,000 believers. This organization, which has grandiose
plans to evangelize every person on earth by 2033 (an objective not only
beyond its means but flatly impossible in any Muslim country)
nevertheless seeks to play a role in world affairs. Its chief problem
lies in its collaboration with Palestinian Christian leaders who
demonize Jews, delegitimize Israel, and present a supersessionist
theology. It sponsors
two of the most important anti-Israel Christian groups in the region, the Bethlehem Bible College
and the Christ at the Checkpoint
conferences. These conferences perpetuate the doctrine that Jews are an
obstacle to God's purpose in the world. They present a version of
replacement theology couched in Palestinian terms, claiming that Jesus
and the first Christians (in Jerusalem
were not Jews but the ancestors of today's Palestinians, regarded as
the indigenous inhabitants of the land and the only people with a right
It is important to note that the General Synod of the UCC (referred to above) invited
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem,
to deliver a sermon at a service held the night before the votes on
Israel. According to a report by CAMERA:
"During his talk, Raheb wrote the Jewish people out of
their scriptures and out of the Land of Israel itself, repeatedly
referring to the people of ancient Israel as 'the Palestinians' or the
'people of Palestine.' He did, however, use the word Israel in reference
to the 'occupation'. Raheb's ugly effort to write the Jews out of the
Bible is contrary to the spirit and letter of a resolution passed by the
UCC's 1987 General Synod which condemned replacement theology (which it
referred to as 'supersessionism'), but that did not stop delegates from
giving the pastor a standing ovation."
It has been argued
that anti-Zionism within many churches is "a symptom of the death throes of mainline Protestantism."
"All of the denominations that have gone into the camp of
advocacy for divestment, divestment and sanctions are losing members at
a catastrophic pace. For example: the United Methodist Church,
Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church have all lost around 30%
of their membership over the last couple of decades.... Within the whole
body of Christian[s] in our part of the world [the U.S.] these
Liberal-Protestant denominations are losing membership by very large
factors, while those denominations that have stood apart from the WCC
[World Council of Churches] have been gaining in membership, by
approximately the same factors."
This may, in part, explain why the mainline churches have moved to
the radical left on several issues, including support of the
Palestinians, in an effort to win back members from a population that is
generally more liberal than, say, fifty years ago. But it does not
explain why so many evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, as we
have seen, share this anti-Zionism while being, for the most part, more
conservative in their social views. Nor should it diminish our awareness
of the role churches and other bodies linked to the WCC still play in
promoting BDS and generally propagating a pro-Palestinian narrative that
plays into calls for the abolition of Israel and the expulsion or
genocide of the Jewish population there.
Under the influence of Christian Aid
a World Council of Churches affiliate with a marked socialist agenda,
many churches in Britain are also engaged in boycott, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) activities.
According to Chana Shapira
, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Christian Aid works to influence public opinion and
policy with a two-pronged approach of Israel-delegitimization and
funding of far-left pro-Palestinian organizations. It also works with
the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine
(EAPPI), a project of the World Council of Churches that recruits
volunteers to participate in on-site propaganda tours, and then work as
activists back home. In very loose terms, Christian Aid provides funding
and EAPPI provides personnel.
Pro-Palestinian positions are advanced while there is a complete
absence of any representation of moderate Israeli viewpoints. Errors of
omission are frequent. 'Israeli' statements generally appear as
anonymous, unverifiable remarks allegedly made by Israelis who defame
Israel and the IDF.
Christian Aid's biased agenda is supported by WCC member churches.
Although it is not clear that these in fact represent the majority views
of church members, this is the policy view adhered to by the clerical
elites. The volume of material condemning Israel's policies
overwhelmingly dwarfs the few official statements supporting Israel's
right to exist.
Shapira's lengthy and fully referenced article is essential reading
for anyone seeking to understand the impact of Christian Aid in the UK,
where it is supported by a government agency, the Department for
International Development, and a group of 41 churches. She provides a
detailed breakdown of major UK churches, Anglicans, Methodists and
others, and their work with Christian Aid's agenda. Outside the UK,
Christian Aid supports Marxist and socialist political NGOs such as
B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence, a stance that contradicts the
organization's stated aims of relieving poverty.
Depressing as this all is, there are glimmers of hope in unexpected
places. In Israel, a multi-party group within parliament formed the
Knesset Christian Allies Caucus in order to strengthen cooperation
between Christians in general and the state of Israel. Its mission statement
reads as follows:
The mission of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is to
build direct lines of communication cooperation and coordination between
the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world. We strive to
establish relationships between the members of Knesset and leaders of
Churches, Christian organizations and political representatives
throughout the globe.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus has attracted an increasingly
diverse and growing number of Christian leaders globally. The Caucus
works with Christians who support Israel alongside those who are
undecided on their position towards Israel. Many Christians recognize
that their belief in the Bible connects them to the land and the people
of Israel. On this basis, we work together to achieve our goals.
Also in Israel, the Christian Empowerment Council
, headed by Father Gabriel Naddaf
a controversial Greek Orthodox priest from the Aramean community, works
hard to integrate Christian Arabs into Israeli society, encouraging
enrolment in the Israel Defense Force through a separate organization,
the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, for which he is the spiritual
leader. Naddaf has written feelingly
about the opposition to his work among many Arab Christians and
Palestinians, opposition that has led to death threats, his
excommunication, and constant harassment. Isolated though he may be, he
has brought large numbers of young Christian Arabs to join the IDF and
integrate fully into Israeli life.
In the United States Christians United for Israel
, a large lobbying group, has been described by the Washington Post
as "America's largest and most dependable pro-Israel group." Pulitzer
Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer has said, "I do not know of
an organization in the world more important to Israel than CUFI."
According to CUFI
with a membership of two million, it has "driven hundreds of thousands
of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in
cities and towns across the country, garnered more than 1.2 million
Facebook fans, brought 304 leading pastors to Israel on 12 Pastors
Leadership Tours, has trained more 2,500 students on how best to stand
with Israel, presently has recognized college chapters on 140 campuses
as well as an active presence at an additional 163 universities."
CUFI has now opened a branch
the United Kingdom, where it has started to work along similar lines,
but with a smaller following. It follows in the footsteps of a much
older UK organization, Christian Friends of Israel
(CFI), a non-denominational body with activists across the country. CFI also has branches throughout the world, and has had a centre in Jerusalem
since 1985. Over the past year, Nigel Goodrich, a Christian pastor in
Scotland, has successfully created some seven Friends of Israel groups
in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, and elsewhere, and has
organized large conferences attended mainly by Christians but also Jews,
who are acting solidly with him and his following. This author has
lectured at his conferences in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and can affirm the
genuine enthusiasm and love of Israel displayed by the audiences.
Inspired by Goodrich's example, Glasgow Friends of Israel now runs a
weekly stall in Buchanan Street, where the vicious anti-Israel Scottish
Palestine Solidarity Campaign have held sway for many years.
Clearly, there is a new momentum within some Christian churches that
presents a serious challenge to those denominations that are
anti-Zionist. Where organizations such as Christian Aid seem more
motivated by political considerations and adaptations of Marxist
philosophy, these new supporters of Israel appear to be inspired by a
love for the Bible and the rights it offers to Israel and its people,
It is too early to say, but a shift seems to be taking place. As
Christians in the West become more and more aware of the slaughter and
expulsion of Christians in the Middle East, and the ongoing war of
Muslim extremists against them, many have started to realize that the
enemy they now face is the same enemy the Jews have been facing for
centuries, especially since the establishment of the State of Israel in
There may yet come a time when Christians opposed to Israel
understand that its abolition would mean the end of any protection for
their fellow believers across the region and a dramatic clampdown on
Christian freedom across the Muslim world.
Dr. Denis MacEoin formerly lectured in the Religious Studies Department at Newcastle University.
Philip Berryman, Liberation Theology: Essential Facts about the Revolutionary Movement in Latin America–and Beyond
, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, (1987), p. 4.
"In a 2000 Princeton University survey, nearly two-thirds of U.S.
evangelicals considered themselves liberal or (especially) moderate
rather than conservative. In another survey in 2009, 35 percent of
evangelicals were Democrats, 34 percent Republicans, and the rest
independents. Many views of evangelicals defy stereotypes; for example,
in 2008, 60 percent of evangelicals felt that the government should help
the poor more." From "The Evangelical Left in History and Today
" by Craig S. Keener, Huffington Post, April 19, 2012.