Its time for Jews to embrace our Christian supporters

By Ted Belman

In the aftermath of Hagee bringing the House Down at the AIPAC conference, JPOST editorialized about Christians for Israel

I disagree with the following sentiments which it set out.

    Understandably, offers of Christian assistance will continue to be met with a considerable degree of wariness.

    History aside, Jews and evangelical Christians are perhaps the ultimate “Odd Couple” — culturally, religiously, politically and even geographically.

    If all these obstacles are not enough, there is also Jewish concern regarding Christian motives, concern that necessitates careful consideration in building relationships.

    First, there is the suspicion that evangelicals, as their name implies, are out to convert Jews. Second, that their support is colored by doctrines of “rapture” and the apocalypse, in which a catastrophic global war plays an important part.

    Jews and evangelicals will never agree on many issues, but the one on which they do agree is of overwhelming importance.

    It is natural, given history, that Jews are wary even of a hand outstretched in friendship, and caution is justified.

First of all which Jews is he speaking for. Certainly not right-wing Jews. Probably left wing Jews who are anti-religious be it either the Christian or the Jewish variety.

There is no downside. There is no need to look a gift horse in the mouth or to bite the hand that feeds you. Any support they give should be welcomed and encouraged. Israel ‘s enemies today are the liberal churches and liberal Jews, not the evangelicals.

The evangelicals have a long history of supporting Israel and the negative aspects of missionizing that some practice is infinitesimal in comparison with the good they do.


March 17, 2007 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. With an Evangelical background, I believe the Jews should remain wary of the Evangelical’s motives; therefore, the Jews should educate themselves better. I believe in Jewish education and believe Christians should contribute to it. I believe the burden of goodwill is on the Christian, and Hagee acknowledged this eloquently and specifically. As Randy pointed out, reciprocity is not required by the giver who has no ulterior motive. Actually, the Christian could never repay what the Jew has already given to him, namely the knowledge of Hashem. Look at the moribund Christianity in Europe if you want to see what happens when Christians don’t support G-d’s chosen people. Love and support of Israel is the Christian’s sine qua non of obedience to and love of the G-d of Israel.

  2. Let us turn this problem inside out. I consider evangelical support for Jews and Israel an indication that many among them are searching for a more rational basis for their own beliefs. I recall a discussion with Joram Haber, zichrono l’vracha, a prolific philosopher. He said simply that no rational person can believe in a god he can see or touch. Either God is transcendental or He is not God. If you can define Him, you have limited Him. He expressed this sentiment in such an off-handed manner that it put everything in perspective for me. One need not fight bloody battles for such a view, since the fight itself is a misunderstanding of God. The only thing we can do is shape our individual and national behavior to conform with our vision of a transcendental God who wants us to choose life. That is why Jews have so many commandments and so very few beliefs.

    Of course, that is why when Jews give up “observance,” they are left with little and so search other places to fill the void. That is a human predicament. Anything will do when there is nothing.

  3. “I suppose many Jews are waiting for the second shoe to drop, i.e. asking how long this feeling of good will may last.”

    There is concern among Jews who understand and accept the support of Evangelicals that the continual attacks and rejection of Christian advocates by those Jews who want no part with them may drive them away.

    Likewise, there is also concern over recent organization and attempts by the left in the US to split Evangelicals from conservatism and from Israel. Behind this attempt are both groups and individuals who claim to Christian and are involved in a funded and concentrated effort to break or weaken the effectiveness of Evangelical power base and undermine them as a political bloc on their support for Israel and on domestic and social issues in general.

    American Liberals realize that Evangelicals are the cornerstone that have kept them from completing construction of their work in turning the USA into leftist socialist society more akin to the Europeans.

    In an attempt to counter the Christian right there has been a recent surge in expenditures and the creation of “progressive Evangelical” organizations to attack the underpinnings of Christian morals, values, and beliefs.

    Ed Lasky of THE AMERICAN THINKER in his recent article ‘Splitting the Evangelicals from Israel’ exposes some of those behind this effort – of little surprise is Jimmy Carter who joined with Bill Clinton to build what they term a “robust coalition” to serve as a counterweight to the conservative Evangelicals.

    I can confidently say that spite of these things there will remain a core of Evangelicals that will be unmoved. They will reject “progressive Christianity” and the slight of some Jews will not deter them from their support for Israel and the Jewish people – The rejection by some Jews is seen as the proper context for the time when “turning the other cheek” is appropriate in the understanding of Jewish history in diaspora.

    Besides, the command to to pray for Israel and bless the Jewish people is not followed by a verse with a caveat. Support is unconditional, what the Jewish people do with it is there choice for there is nothing in scripture that says goodwill must be accepted as a condition of giving it – Either way, by rendering good for good or good for evil, Christians will have fulfilled their obligation by remaining steadfast in their love towards the Jewish people.

    The bottom-line is that, as there are Muslims who are devoted to destroying Israel and who will never be swayed otherwise, there is a counterweight of Evangelical types who are every bit as devoted in their love towards Israel.

  4. The JP article reporting on Hagee’s speech to AIPAC was reported in an postive fashion. Noting as fact that some Jews still have suspicions with the motives of some Christians as regards their seeming support for Israel, did not detract from the postive sentiments in that editorial.

    The article quoted the following that Hagee was heard to say on an earlier occasion:

    “What is going to happen when Jesus comes back?” Hagee said, touching on the second sensitive point. “I say to my rabbi friends: ‘You don’t believe it; I do believe it. When we’re standing in Jerusalem, and the Messiah is coming down the street, one of us is going to have a major theological adjustment to make. But until that time, let’s walk together in support of Israel and in defense of the Jewish people.”

    AIPAC’s overwhelming appreciation for Hagee’s words, as well as other Jews who on other occasions have spoken so highly of Hagee tells me that Hagee expressed the absolutely correct sentiment in his foregoing quoted words and that AIPAC and many Jews have taken his hand and share his view.

  5. What the JPOST doesn’t realize is that there are literally millions of Christian-Americans who support Israel — Christians of many denominations. Average people, in other words.

  6. Richard L Rubenstein, Prof Emeritus, wrote:

    Evangelical Christians do not frighten me with their apocalyptic Messianism. I was a professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee for 25 years and many of my doctoral students were Evangelical Christians. I also have an STM from Harvard Divinity School. I know the Evangelicals want to help me to see the “light” but my response is that I will be the first to convert if and when Christ returns in glory.

    In the meantime, I will cooperate with any Christians who share our interests in the present age. Both Judaism and Christianity in their present forms are based on an interim ethic. The Church became necessary when the early disciples of Jesus were disappointed in their expectation of his imminent return and the completion of the work of salvation. All Jewish ethics are interim between the period from the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE to its final restoration and the renewal of the Temple sacrifices. To use a German phrase, neither Jews nor Christians live in the Endzeit, so it is senseless to refuse to work with Evangelicals or others on the basis of their hopes and expectations of Endzeit.

  7. I was at the AIPAC Conference. Hagee’s speech was electrifying. He made it clear that the Evangelicals are not interested in converting the Jews. He apologized on behalf of all Christians in America for not doing enough to prevent or halt the Holocaust. He apologized to the Jewish People on behalf of Christians for anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. He made the point that 50 million Evangelicals in America are all ardent supporters and defenders of the Jews and Israel. He also said that there could be no Christianity if there were no Jews and that his religion would have no meaning if Judaism did not exist now.

    My friends, I fear the Moslems and their liberal friends here and in Europe infinitely more than the Evangelicals. They are the strongest allies that we have in the world today! Had we had such support in the 1930’s perhaps those six million wouldn’t have all perished.

    An important word should also be said about AIPAC as well. It is the most important single organization devoted to preserving the Jewish People here and in Israel and should have the support of all Jews in the USA!

  8. Dr Fred Leder writes

    The AIPAC speech is a land mark in Jewish-Christian relations. The Jewish right has unconditionally accepted the Evangelical Christian support as have most Israelis. The Jewish left can’t break away from decades of suspicion, most of it well founded. When you grow up in a mixed society and have experience Christian anti-Semitism, experienced self righteous Christians discussing the “new covenant” and the “new Jerusalem” and have been snubbed by stylish Christians who don’t need any Jews, thank you, it’s difficult to shrug off all the old defenses and accept these people as people of good will. I remember when Oral Roberts, who became one of Israel’s best friends, used to speak of the new children of the covenant replacing those who pretend to be the children of Israel.

    Having said all that, and having grown up with the prejudices and the defense mechanisms, I believe the Christian right is our single best defense in the entire world. Only Jews who deny the threat from militant Islam could deny that. I suppose many Jews are waiting for the second shoe to drop, i.e. asking how long this feeling of good will may last.

  9. Yes – it’s time to see things as they are, not through some violently (and often paranoically) distorted prism.

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