WHERE ARE MOST JEWS?
Why Christian conservatives are Israel's ambassadors
Jordan Sekulow - WashingtonPost.com, October 21st, 2010
I am writing this blog on a flight from Washington, DC to Amsterdam. I can hear you now, “Someone from the religious right traveling to Amsterdam? It can't be – that bastion of European tolerance isn't a proper destination for a man from the religious right.” To quote Freddy Mercury, it's “no pleasure cruise.”
There are a team of lawyers traveling with me from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), where I work. Yes, the ACLJ is the Dr. Pat Robertson founded legal organization whose goal is to be the conservative counter to the ACLU. At this point you must be wondering what on earth is the ACLJ doing in the Netherlands?
Although we'll be landing in Amsterdam shortly, The Hague, home of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is our final destination in the Netherlands. We are traveling to The Hague to defend Israel's position regarding Palestinian statehood as it relates to the ICC's jurisdiction over acts committed during the 2008 Gaza War. This trip, traveling in defense of the Jewish State, inspired me to write a brief explanation of why Christian conservatives – those who embrace social conservative, constitutional conservative, and Tea Party labels – are devoted to the State of Israel.
Some observers conclude that the Christian right's support of Israel is biblical. The Bible teaches us that “those who bless” Israel will “be blessed.” Time after time, this is an attempt to scare Israelis away from the Christian right. I do not want to take away from the deep spiritual significance of Israel in the hearts of Christians. Yet, to say that religious belief is the sole reason Christian conservatives support Israel is inaccurate. This is not about converting the Jewish people or the end times.
When Sarah Palin met Israeli President Shimon Peres she told him, “the only flag at my office is an Israeli flag and I want you to know and I want Israelis to know that I am a friend.” Pastor John Hagee told the thousands gathered at Christians United for Israel's annual Washington, DC event that, “Israel's enemies are our enemies; Israel's fight is our fight. If a line has to be drawn, then let it be drawn around both of us: Christians and Jews, Americans and Israelis.”
America's love for Israel is so strong that politicians on the left and right go out of their way to offer verbal support for Israel. President Obama has said that, “The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel's security.” Despite these comments, Republican Congressman Mike Pence, an evangelical, noted, “What has become painfully obvious to many Americans is that this administration has become the most anti-Israel administration in American history.”
The Christian right stands with Israel because Israel stands for the same values we cherish so deeply – democracy, freedom, and sovereignty. Israel is not only America's most important ally in the Middle East; it is our greatest ally in the world. Does this mean Israel, its politicians, or its military leaders are perfect? Of course, they are not. We criticize Israel in the same way that we criticize our own country, constructively. That being said, we do not meddle in the domestic politics of Israel. We trust that the Israeli people can and will make the best decisions for their country.
So long as Israel seeks our assistance and support, Christian conservatives – organizations, politicians, lawyers, and grassroots activists – will continue to vocally support the Jewish State. We do not do this because some Christians believe in a future spiritual Armageddon. We are committed to Israel because Israel, a fellow democracy, has asked for our help.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said, “The Evangelical community in the United States is a very prominent and crucial component of the United States-Israel relationship. It is a component that has proven vital to Israel's security and well-being in the course of Israel's existence over the last six decades.” Congressman Eric Cantor called Israel, “America's steady ally – our only reliable ally – and one true friend in the Middle East.” Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Danny Danon recently told me in an interview that evangelical support “is essential for Israel.”
When the ACLJ appears in defense of Israel's position at the International Criminal Court, we are standing, not as attorneys for the Christian right, but as defenders of one of the world's greatest functioning democracies.
The people of Israel know that their single largest group of supporters, based on raw numbers, is the evangelical movement in the United States and abroad. We are proud to serve as Ambassadors of Israel so long as Israel requests our service.
I have one question for non-evangelicals. When will you join us?