Israelis and foreign nationals participate in the Jerusalem March, an annual pro-Israel procession that takes place in the city during Sukkot, in Jerusalem, in October.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Christians supporters of Israel can not assume the UK will back the Jewish state forever, rather that support has to be renewed time and time again, a top communications manager said.
European Coalition for Israel (ECI) Brussels Representative Ruth Isaac said that those who were looking to blame the British government should realize that the biggest hurdle is not to gather support for Israel, but to make that support heard.
“It is not our enemies that we need to worry about but rather the passivity and fear among many Christians who support Israel in their hearts but do not dare to express this support publicly,” she said over the weekend at the European Coalition for Israel’s second annual ECI National Conference in London, titled “Britain, Europe and Israel – after Brexit.”
Many Christian pro-Israel supporters had hoped for a new golden age in support for Israel as the British government prepares to leave the EU, but many were disappointed that British foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel had not aligned with the pro-Israel stance of the new US administration but rather stayed consistent with the line of the European Union.
Nonetheless, the British government’s failure to back the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a case of it giving in to the media slander, a top journalist said.
“This is not a sign of strength but of weakness and appeasement,” Simon Barrett of Revelation TV said.
Earlier last week, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson joined other EU foreign ministers in Brussels in pleading with US President Donald Trump to keep the Iran nuclear agreement. Britain was not part of the group of 65 nations that rejected the UN General Assembly resolution on December 21, which condemned the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and on Friday, Trump canceled his visit to London next month, an additional sign of the tensions between London and Washington.
At the conference, members of the Christian pro-Israel group and experts spoke about challenges and opportunities facing Israel today after Brexit, and how the Christians can become more effective friends of Israel in their respective nations and in the international arena.
When faced with differing views, the citizenry must confront their governments to stand up for their morals and not just bow to international pressure. One of the goals of the ECI seminar was to encourage Christian believers to be proactive friends of Israel with a responsibility to call their political leaders to account when they act contrary to their promises.
“Our support for Israel is just as important outside of the four walls of the church as inside them,” said ECI founding director Tomas Sandell. “But in order to win the battle for the minds and hearts of people we need to know the history of Israel and its legal foundations,” he added, indicating that the world can expect a major clash of historical narratives as the State of Israel turns 70 this year.
Despite the bleak outlook for 2018, Director for UN Affairs Dr. Gregory Lafitte showed in his presentation how international support for Israel is growing at the United Nations. When the Palestinians were given observer state status at the UN in November 2012, 55 states objected to the decision by either abstaining, voting against or not being present during the vote. When the General Assembly voted to condemn the American recognition on Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel in December, 10 more nations chose to oppose this resolution.
British Pastor Alistair Scott was just as optimistic.
“Although the UK is preparing itself for a Brexit, the commitment to stand with Israel together with Christians from other parts of Europe remains rock solid,” he said.
While many pro-Israel events in London have been hijacked by pro-Palestinians activists in recent years, security has become a major issue, but ECI decided nevertheless to openly publicize the address of the venue before the event. According to some this was a breach of security but Sandell defended the decision by saying that “when we start to give in to fear in an open democracy and hide from the public we have lost the battle.”sign up to our newsletter