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July 24, 2009

Christians Gather to Influence Middle East Policy

More than 4,000 people attended John Hagee's Night to Honor Israel dinner in Washington D.C. earlier this week, according to Erick Stakelbeck's report for CBN news. Speakers at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event included Senator Joseph Lieberman, Fred Barnes, Gary Bauer, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (via satellite).

This year, CUFI delegates will ask their representatives on the hill to support Israel by respecting the government's decisions, and to support further legislative sanctions against Iran. Another topic of concern to CUFI and its pro-Israel members is America's foreign policy toward Israel undergo under the new administration. Hagee told Dan Gilgoff:

I have some concerns about President Obama's approach to peacemaking. He may believe that by securing concessions from Israel he will get leverage with which to win reciprocal concessions from the Arabs down the road. Yet I do not believe that the history of Arab-Israeli peacemaking to date supports this view.

Conservative Christian organizations that are pro-Israel might wield the political pressure Netanyahu is counting on in ongoing Middle East peace negotiations, Time reports:

Netanyahu will get strong political support within Israel for standing up to Washington on Jerusalem (as he has done by resisting pressure for a settlement freeze), and he expects that the more symbolically powerful issue of the Holy City will win him support in the U.S. from Jewish leaders and Christian conservatives. In introducing Netanyahu via a video link at the annual conference of his Christians United for Israel group, arch-conservative Pastor John Hagee promised the support of 50 million Christians for "Israel's sovereign right to grow and develop the settlements of Israel as you see fit and not yield to the pressure of the United States government."

The problem facing Obama is that pressing for a two-state solution has put him at odds with a reluctant Israeli government that has now chosen the emotive issue of Jerusalem as the test of how far he's willing to go.

Other Christian leaders have taken a different approach to supporting Israel. A 2007 letter to President Bush signed by 34 Evangelical leaders took a different approach to Middle East peace by expressing support of a two-state solution and stated that "both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine."

Comments

The CUFI jugernaut that opposes peace is truly scary. These folks are largely brainwashed by a completely one-sided... and close-minded... presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you attend one of their "Stand by Israel" events or others... you won't hear much about Jesus's teachings or anything about Palestine/Palestinians except blanket categorizations of Arabs as terrorists. Palestinian, even Palestinian Christian, suffering is invisible. Thus, Christian Zionists bear false witness against their neighbors. Further, they abandon Christ's teachings, engaging in hate and almost literally abandoninng their Palestinian neighbors on the Jericho road. Real Christians need to challenge this racism within the church.

Jews are very cool, extremists are not. Israel as a "Jewish state" represents the Jewish people, but their image suffers because of the outside support for their extremist minority within. Israel has recognized borders and the full support of the international community within those borders. However, all settlements outside of those borders are in contempt of international law. Rejection of these laws based on ones religion, is an extremist view.

Before diving back into the current state of conflict... Imagine yourself living under British occupation just after the fall of the Ottoman empire as the 'West' divides up the Middle East. Watching the new immigrants flood in and begin staking their claims to the land, carrying with them maps of the entire mandate of Palestine and the idea that they are in a land without people, for a people without land. The occupation continues, hostility spreads and suddenly after thousands of years, trusted neighbors have become suspected enemies. A second world war breaks out, rages on, and fades away. Both immigrants and refugees flood in staking their claims, the British finally leave, but not before recognizing the immigrants claim. The wars break out, rage on, and fade way, but the occupation never ends. How can the world continue to ignore the fact that we have people who have lived in a constant state of conflict and occupation since WWI?

A nation of people, the Edomites, utterly condemned by the major writing prophets, 'became Jews' just over a century before the birth of Christ. According to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived just after the time of Christ, 'They (Edom) were hereafter no other than Jews' (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, XIII ix 1; XV vii 9). Yahweh the God of Israel, 'hated Esau (Edom)', a people 'against whom he has indignation forever' (Malachi 1:2-4).

Ezekiel refers to Idumea (Edom, also referred to as Mount Seir) as taking possession of the land and heritage of Israel and Judah (Ezekiel 35:10, 11, 15; 36:2, 5). The Herodian dynasty at the time of Christ were Edomites, testifying to the takeover and the word 'Jew' had almost become synonymous with these evil people. Jesus said to the Jews 'Because you are not sheep of my flock you do not believe' (John 10:24-27) and 'I was only sent to the lost sheep of the House of (true) Israel' (Matthew 15:25). Jesus was not a Jew, a word that in the NT meant 'Judean, Edomite, person of Judea' - He was a Galilean. In the book of Revelations Jesus refers to those 'who say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan' (2:9, 3:9). These usurpers have infiltrated modern Christian society and taken control, as foul-mouthed anti-Christian Hollywood, the Neocons behind the catastrophic Iraq war and the total hypocrisy of the 'liberal', 'anti-racist', pro-sodomy, pro-Israeli media have proved.

Every thinking person, including those who participate in the Christians United for Israel group, hopes and prays for a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been very clear on his support for such a solution.

The issue is, most Palestinian and Arab leaders start their "solution" ideas from a particular ideological foundation: that the Jewish people have no historic rights to the land of Israel, and their only basis for claiming it was as reparations after the Holocaust (which they claim never happened).

Personally, the CUFI side of this discussion is one I'd stay on...

how did he cause the critic to get cancer? did he throw something on him?

ah right, understand you now... one of those things :-).

and yet we wonder why people are turned off from christianity

Contrary to what was written by David Matos on
July 24, 09, the Christians do NOT oppose peace with the Arabs. Indeed, the TRUTH of the matter is that the Arabs HAVE indeed been offered a state of their own time in and again. The Arabs have REJECTED each and every offer! They simply do not WANT Israel to exist. AS far as "engaging in hate" Israeli's there were so startled to learn that not all Christians were Catholic as I am, and that we had no intention of converting them. Indeed, we are to bless Israel as St. Paul says. God has NOT abandoned Israel.
( Clearly, Israel and the Church are 2 entities in this context.) I suggest that Mr Matos and company come and see what is "engaged" and what is not.


Scot, playing the "blame the Arabs" racism game is hardly Christian, and I would like to say, Exhibit A in your one-sided warped view of the conflict... you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge the Palestinians.

As as for joshMshep, who likewise is playing the "blame the Arabs" game but at least can say Palestinian, I'd like to know exactly how Mr. Netanyahu supports a two-state solution, without sharing Jerusalem or even freezing settlements let alone removing them to allow a two-state solutions.

As for CUFI supporting a two-state solution, it doesn't and further lobbies against putting any pressure on Israel to make peace. Lastly, how can "at thinking person" support peace when you ignore the suffering and violence inflicted by one side on the other. If you read anything CUFI you'll quickly find out that "only Israelis are victims" when in reality Israeli violence grossly eclipses Palestinian violence. If you approach the conflict in an even-handed way and recognize suffering on both sides, you will quickly see that Israel is as much a perpetrator as a victim, oftentimes even more so the perpetrator.