The dawn of a new calendar year may have begun, but there are few rays of
sunshine on the diplomatic horizon, as pressure continues to mount on the Jewish
In recent weeks, various South American countries have conferred
recognition on an independent “Palestine,” in effect prejudging the outcome of
any future negotiations.
And the Palestinians are once again threatening
to take unilateral measures toward statehood, raising the possibility of going
directly to the UN Security Council for backing.
Meanwhile, the drumbeat
in the mainstream media to twist Israel’s arm grows louder by the day. In its
cover story, The Economist called on Washington to utilize its “tough love” to
help Israel “overcome its settler movement and make the deal,” as if Palestinian
obstructionism had nothing to do with the lack of progress.
unaware that British Mandatory rule came to an end in 1948, the venerable weekly
then declared that “it is time for the world to agree on a settlement and impose
it on the feuding parties,” as though they are impetuous children who need to be
sent to their rooms.
However infuriating such haughtiness may be, Israel
and its supporters cannot ignore the trend that is gaining steam in various
quarters. Voices calling for a solution to be forced upon us from the outside
are growing brasher by the day. And it is only a matter of time before certain
quarters of the international community seek to coerce us to make
life-threatening concessions that would endanger our very existence.
CRITICAL times such as this, run-of-themill diplomacy just won’t do. Generating
a few press releases, writing a couple of op-eds and mobilizing Jewish
organizations won’t be enough to turn the tide that is heading straight for our
Instead, we need to reach deep into our arsenal and harness one
of the most powerful, and underutilized, weapons at our disposal: faithbased
diplomacy. For far too long, we have relied solely on military, geopolitical and
historical arguments when making our case abroad.
Hesitant or even
ashamed to invoke our biblical right to this land, many of our spokesmen and
diplomats have failed to deploy the moral and theological arguments which are
the underpinning of our very presence here.
And just look where that has
The fact is that our largest, best-organized and most powerful
friends – namely US Evangelical Christians – stand by us not because of some UN
resolution from 1947, but because of what God promised Abraham more than 3,700
years ago. And that is why we need to start quoting Genesis far more often than
the League of Nations or the Balfour Declaration.
diplomacy is not just a question of terminology or which points we should be
making. It is also a matter of emphasis, of where we focus our efforts to
develop friendships and deepen understanding.
And that is why it is all
the more essential to be cultivating faith-based Christian support, both in the
US and elsewhere. Because unlike fair-weather friends, whose backing depends on
fluid and constantly-shifting political or economic interests, Bible-believing
Christians stand with us out of solid belief. Their friendship is like steel –
highly durable and resistant to breakage.
Thankfully, various Jewish and
Christian groups are stepping in where the government has failed to act. The
Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, for example, is building an extensive network
of international parliamentary caucuses which mobilize support and coordinate
various pro-Israel activities. From the US to Japan to the European Union, it
has forged sister caucuses around the world.
Christian organizations in
America are also leading the charge. Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for
Israel has built a nationwide grassroots movement that reaches more people and
decision-makers than any communiqué from the Foreign Ministry ever
Its annual Washington summit attracts thousands of pro-Israel
Christians from across the country and sends a strong signal to the corridors of
power on Capitol Hill.
Christian broadcasters are also on the frontlines
in the battle for public opinion, explaining Israel’s case and countering the
bias of much of the press.
Founded 50 years ago this week, the Christian
Broadcasting Network has provided a steady and sturdy voice of support, standing
with us through thick and thin. It and other veteran broadcasters, such as Hal
Lindsey, literally reach millions of viewers, defending Israel with vim and
And then there is the Rev. Robert Stearns of Eagles’ Wings, whose
regional conferences, internship programs and annual “Day of Prayer for the
Peace of Jerusalem” are marshalling huge numbers of people to stand with
Locally, organizations with an international reach, such as the
International Christian Embassy, Bridges for Peace and Christian Friends of
Israel, bring thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world, while also
providing aid and support to the country’s needy and new immigrants. Another
group, Christians for Israel International, publishes a regular newspaper called
Israel and Christians Today that has more than 200,000 subscribers.
more than ever, we need to rally our “Christian base” in America and elsewhere.
A few simple steps, such as organizing a Prime Minister’s Conference for
Christian Leadership, developing the equivalent of a Birthright program for
young churchgoers and establishing “Israel prayer battalions” would serve to
reinforce this critical bond.
We should also appoint a roving ambassador
whose responsibility would be to fortify and strengthen relations with
Christians in America. This should not be an honorary title, but a position with
real substance and meaning, manned by a person of faith and not just another
With the world increasingly breathing down our neck,
it is time that we embrace faith-based diplomacy, and not shy away from it in
the heat of debate. As proud Jews who have returned to our land by divine right,
we need not be embarrassed to assert our claim to our patrimony by relying on
the Book of Books.
Nor should we fear that in doing so, we will stand
alone. As recent years have shown, there will be millions of Christians ready to
stand with us.