Reaching out to Christian supporters of Israel in
Asia, a group of conservative Israeli thinkers and the
Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus are holding a
conference in Singapore on Monday, in an
effort to bolster the increasing alliance between Jews
and Christians against Islamic extremism.
The meeting, the 'Jerusalem Summit Asia,' comes a day
after Pope Benedict XVI said that he was "deeply
sorry" about the angry Muslim reaction to his quoting
a 14th Century Byzantine Christian Emperor who had
lambasted the Prophet Muhammad's teaching to spread
the faith by violence as "evil and inhuman," and
follows an unprecedented public tiff between the Latin
Patriarch of Jerusalem and Evangelical Christian
leaders in the Holy Land over their hardcore support
for the State of Israel.
The Singapore conference, which follows two previous
such Asian gatherings in Manila and Seoul over the
last three years, aims to draw support for Israel by
reaching out to church activists, businessmen and
academia who identify with the Jewish State based on
shared Biblical beliefs, and is part of a burgeoning
campaign to cement ties between Israel and millions of
Christian supporters around the world, the majority
of whom are Evangelicals.
"This is an alliance of those who share moral values
of Biblical civilization and who view radical Islam as
a new incarnation of fascism and communism," said
Dmitry Radyshevsky, the executive-director of the
Jerusalem Summit, a right-wing Jerusalem-based NGO,
which debuted in the city three years ago.
Radyshevsky, a Harvard Divinity School graduate, noted
that the Pope's controversial comments could be
indicative of a changing attitude among Catholics
"from top to bottom" regarding radical Islam, and
voiced the hope that Catholics will no longer
"abstain" in a "clash of values" between Western
civilization and radical Islam.
"There is a tremendous historical importance that
people will see that Hitlerism of today is neither
German nor Christian but radical Islam," said acting
caucus head, MK Benny Elon (National Union-National
Religious Party) who as a former tourism minister
spearheaded Israel's relations with the Christian
"That the Pope, who is a German Christian is warning
over the dangers of Islamic extremism is a very
important development, which should open the eyes of
people around the world over what enemy we face," he
said, adding that with the danger of an Iranian
nuclear weapon the world had to stop acting
The venue of such a summit in strategically-placed
Singapore, which is nestled between Malaysia to the
north and Indonesia to the south, has proven to be a
difficult exercise in non-governmental diplomacy, with
both the government and some church leaders uneasy
about forming such a direct and open alliance with
Even before the Pope's remarks about Islam, a top
official of the Anglican Church in Singapore went a
step further, cautioning against any church
involvement with Israel.
"In today's society, liberal means being politically
correct," said Marisa Albert, Executive-Director of
the Jerusalem Summit Asia, who heads the 'Jerusalem
East Gate Foundation,' a Jerusalem-based Asian
Evangelical Christian organization.
"People know Israel according to what they see in the
media, and people respond to Israel on the premise of
what will keep them safe from terror and what will not
ruffle the status quo, with no understanding of
historical footing and the right of Israel as a
nation," she said.
"If the Bible can be misinterpreted, what more the
news which just comes and goes."
Clearly eager to steer clear of any controversy
regarding Islam, in a country with a small but largely
moderate Muslim population, even the Pope's comments
were buried in the inside pages of the English
newspapers here, which have been dominated by the
meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank being held in Singapore this week.
Singapore, which is predominantly Buddhist but has a
15% Muslim minority and about an equal number of
Christians, has long maintained good if covert
relations with Israel dating back to the country's
independence in 1965 when Israel played a pivotal and
long kept secret role in helping establish Singapore's
The government even ensures that the head of city's
tiny Jewish community holds regular interfaith
meetings with his Muslim counterpart, while the head
of the parliament in Singapore who is Muslim visited
Israel earlier this year.
The importance of holding such a rare overtly
pro-Israel event in Singapore, which is billed as the
'Wall Street of Asia,'and 'the crossroads of the East
and West' with its unique makeup of Chinese Malays and
Indians, was not lost on conference organizers.
"Singapore is a battleground country in our efforts to
mobilize support for Israel and promote
Judeo-Christian values in Asia," said Josh Reinstein,
director of the Knesset's 'Christian Allies Caucus,'
the increasingly-influential cross-party parliamentary
lobby that works with Christian supporters of Israel
around the world.
"Because of its geographic location, many would have
shied away from having such an event in this part of
the world, whereas we see it as a profound
opportunity," he said.
"Singapore was established here like a little Israel
in a sea of Muslim nations," said conference
participant Christine Darg of the London-based
Exploits Ministry, who has been heavily involved in
missionary work in the Muslim world.
Meanwhile, several parliamentary lobbies of Christian
supporters that work with Israel are expected to be
established soon in the Philippines, Finland, South
Korea and Canada, following the lead of the US
The unprecedented remarks by the Latin Patriarch of
Jerusalem last month, in which he said that
Evangelical Christians were leading the world to
Armageddon, served to highlight the two opposing camps
in the Christian world, and the deep divide between
avid Christian supporters of Israel on the one hand,
lead by the Evangelicals, and Christian supporters of
the Palestinians on the other, a schism which has only
deepened over the last decade as the formers' ties
with Israel began to warm.
The conference, which aims to call attention to the plight of the prosecution of Christians in both Asia and the Palestinian territories, will also focus on the "gender discrimination" of women in the radical Islamic world, said Dr. Martin Sherman of Tel Aviv
The Jerusalem Summit, which debuted in Jerusalem three years ago, is funded by the private Michael Cherney foundation.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>