Avid supporter of Israel condemns Evangelicals who call for Palestinian State.
By GARY L. BAUER
Are American Evangelicals abandoning Israel? You might think so if you saw press reports about a recent letter sent to President Bush and signed by a dozen liberal Evangelical leaders. The letter demanded that the president put more pressure on Israel to make further concessions and to speed up the creation of a Palestinian State. Among the signers were Ronald S. Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Tony Campolo, who is president and founder of the Evangelical Association for Promotion of Education. They and the other signers should be ashamed of themselves.
The letter they wrote is a prime example of moral blindness in the dispute between democratic Israel and its enemies. The Sider/Campolo letter reaches the highest levels of obscenity in what it didn't say. Nowhere in their letter do these moral leaders condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas, Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad against Israel. The most they could bring themselves to write is Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed violence and injustice against each other. Really? What Israeli 'injustice' could possibly excuse the ongoing terror campaign that has sent hundreds of Palestinian homicide bombers into Israel to blow up women and children in restaurants, shopping centers, on buses and in synagogues?
How could religious leaders write a letter demanding a Palestinian State without writing one word about the culture of death in Gaza and the West Bank that teaches young Palestinians to please Allah by killing Jews? How could they ignore Hamas' demands that Israel cease to exist and the Jews be driven into the sea? Why did this letter to President Bush completely ignore the repeated threats by President Ahmadinejad of Iran to 'wipe Israel off the map'? And how did these 'Christian' leaders justify calling for a Palestinian State when it is clear that no Jew could be a full, protected, free citizen in such a state?
But take heart, my friends. The evidence is overwhelming that Campolo, Sider and the other signers do not speak for most Americans and certainly do not speak for most Christians. In fact the American public, as evidenced in every recent national poll, is strongly pro-Israel. A recent Quinnipiac University poll asking Americans to rate 17 countries on a 'friend versus foe' 1-100 index gave Israel the third-highest mean rating, with 65.9. And conservative Christians support Israel by even larger margins than the public at large.
None-the-less, the letter could do great damage. Our friends in Israel may be confused by the press reports and wrongly conclude that their most loyal Christian supporters have abandoned them. And the White House might be deceived into thinking that the letter signals that most Christians want the State Department to pressure Israel to make more concessions to Middle Eastern murderers and thugs who won't be satisfied until Israel ceases to exist.
I am pleased to report that Pastor John Hagee and I along with dozens of other Evangelical leaders in Christians United For Israel sent a follow-up letter to the White House reminding President Bush that the overwhelming majority of Evangelical Christians supports Israel and is committed to fighting anti-Semitism.
Gary L. Bauer works in Washington D.C. as president of American Values, a Christian organization dedicated to moral government and family values.
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