In announcing the push for recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian
state, Palestinian Authority President Abbas told the UN General Assembly in
September: “I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine,
the land of divine messages, and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be
upon him, and the birthplace of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, to speak on
behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say,
after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the
Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.”
cleansing of Abraham, Moses and Isaiah from the Holy Land’s history on the
center stage of the diplomatic world was no oversight.
It was part of the
broader global strategy to delegitimize Israel that also seeks to decouple
Christian support from the Jewish state Abbas refuses to recognize. In this
campaign, extreme Palestinian political ambitions are often cloaked in
While attacks against Israel sometimes seem unrelated,
they really operate in concert: the obsession of the World Council of Churches
with demonizing Israel, the UNESCO vote on Palestine, the international Boycott,
Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. “All streams flow to the sea,”
Ecclesiastes teaches. Today, that sea is a domain where “experts” at UNESCO can
rebrand Rachel’s Tomb as a mosque.
Pro-Palestinian advocacy groups,
European NGOs, labor unions, academics and church groups all converge on the
same point: Israel is a pariah state, whose birth was a post-colonialism
mistake, and whose continued existence is a moral sin.
conservative Christians – Israel’s most important allies – are increasingly
targeted for conversion from Christian Zionism to Christian
One of the most troubling purveyors of this stealth
theo-terrorism lies within sight of Jerusalem. In 2010, Palestinian Christians
convened the Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference under the aegis of the
Bethlehem Bible College, aimed specifically at Evangelicals. CATC repudiated
Christian Zionism as a false teaching, an erroneous misreading and manipulation
One of the architects was Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, who
denies that he is an anti-Semite but hangs out with Holocaust revisionists and
whose trip to Tehran included a defense of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial. Other
CATC participants, however, came from churches and schools completely identified
with the traditional Evangelical mainstream.
Evangelicals who came with
an open-minded commitment to hear both sides heard Mitri Raheb, a pastor of the
Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem deny the connection between
modern Jews and those of the Bible.
“I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test
between David... and Jesus... and Mitri, born just across the street from where
Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you
put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu
comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle
Ages.... I always loved to say that most probably one of my grand, grand, grand,
grandmas used to babysit for Jesus.”
No one stormed out in protest.
Rather to the contrary: Some participants, like Lynne Hybels (who is married to
the head of the Willow Creek network of 13,000 Evangelical congregations),
returned to the US as committed workers for the Palestinian cause.
LIST of 2012 CATC conference participants includes names of those who used to be
firm and unequivocal supporters of Israel. Among the scheduled speakers is the
president of the World Evangelical Alliance, Sang-Bok David Kim. The WEA is the
parent group of the National Association of Evangelicals, the largest
Evangelical network in the US.
The “affirmations” representing the
beliefs of the organizers have already been published. They include the
supplanting of Christian Zionism with a supersessionist understanding of
Scripture that leaves no room for Jews. In other words, all Scriptural covenants
with the Jewish people, as well as its religious dignity, have been replaced and
While most Christians have always believed that the New
Testament fulfilled the Hebrew Scripture, many Evangelicals found room for a
continued relationship between Jews, Divine promises, and even the physical Land
With no one apparently noticing, that nuance is being
Another affirmation deals with Jewish Zionism.
Zionism is a political movement created to meet the aspirations of Jews around
the world who longed for a homeland,” it begins, quickly growing ugly: “It has
become ethnocentric, privileging one people at the expense of
So, Zionism wasn’t always equal to racism, but it is today,
according to CATC’s organizers. The UN’s debunked “Zionism is Racism” has been
reborn in theological garb, absorbed and preached by some who a few years ago
were among Israel’s greatest allies.
Now is the time for concerned Jews
to reach out to their Evangelical friends and expose the Palestinian assault on
the lovers of Zion of two faiths – before another alliance is drowned in a sea
The writers are, respectively, the dean and director of
interfaith relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.