Correcting Myths About Christian Zionism (Again)
Mon, 08/02/2010

The Jewish Week published an editorial, “Rev. Hagee’s Group Revisited” (July 23), “revisiting” the impact of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). While we applaud the editors’ decision to acknowledge that CUFI is not a front for covertly converting Jews, there was one major problem with the editorial: Despite what readers may have been led to believe, the paper has not actually visited CUFI in some time.

In fact, the editorial was written in the past tense, but was published online on July 20, before the major events at our 2010 Washington Summit had even occurred. With a minimum amount of research, or even one substantive phone call to CUFI in the past 12 months, the paper would have easily received answers to the “unanswered questions” its editors claim CUFI needs to address. The first question deals with the concern expressed by some in the Jewish community that Christian Zionism is motivated by Christian eschatology. This is completely untrue. Christian Zionism is not connected to Christian eschatology. Had The Jewish Week researched the issue, it would have found CUFI executive director David Brog, Pastor John Hagee and I have all addressed this issue in the past. Eric Fingerhut then writing for JTA covered the root of this question shortly after CUFI’s 2009 Washington Summit:

“As for the allegation that Christian support for Israel is all part of an eschatology having to do with the Second Coming, I’ve talked to enough Christian Zionists over the past few years to believe that for the vast majority of them, their support for the Jewish state is genuinely motivated by Genesis’s admonition that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people, as well as their respect for Judaism as a foundation for Christianity or even their general beliefs about U.S. foreign policy.”

There is indeed a faith that generally holds that human beings can speed the coming of the Messiah, and that this time period will be centered on events in Israel. That faith is called Judaism. While Christians adopted most Jewish eschatological concepts (including that ultimately God delivers Israel from her enemies) pre-millennialist dispensationalist Christians — including Pastor John Hagee and the bulk of Christian Zionists — interpret a line in the Christian Bible, Matthew 24:36, to mean that humans are utterly powerless to hasten the ‘end of days.’

Thus while Christian Zionists, like many Jewish Zionists, do believe that the birth of the State of Israel is biblically prophesized, their beliefs about the “end of days” cannot be a motivation for supporting Israel. Since they believe they cannot hasten the “end of days” this cannot be a motivation for their Zionism. The second question the paper raises is “Will CUFI’s support remain steadfast if and when Israel’s citizens choose to elect a government that wants to pursue land-for-peace negotiations more actively?” The problem with the question is that CUFI existed during the prime ministership of Ehud Olmert, and never during that time asked the U.S. government to pressure Israel to cease efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, or tell Jerusalem that if Israel moved forward, CUFI would abandon the Jewish state. In fact, the opposite occurred, when CUFI leaders met with Olmert in 2008, the group reaffirmed their steadfast support for the government and people of Israel.

CUFI’s position is that while our membership may have a variety of opinions on Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, and Pastor Hagee has never hidden his skepticism for the land-for-peace formula in the present context, the people of Israel, through their democratically elected government, have the right to make these decisions for themselves. As Pastor Hagee wrote in his May 2010 op-ed on the website of The Forward, “We have never, and will never, oppose Israeli efforts to advance peace. Our involvement in the peace process will continue to be restricted to defending Israel’s right to make decisions free of international interference or pressure — including U.S. pressure.”

Further, at CUFI’s most recent Washington Summit, Israel’s amassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, discussed plans for a demilitarized Palestinian state. Not only did the crowd receive him warmly, they gave him a series of standing ovations. Had The Jewish Week conducted basic research, devoted more than one hour in the past two years to meeting with CUFI leaders, or sent a journalist to cover our conference since 2008, these questions would have been answered. Ari Morgenstern is the spokesman for Christians United for Israel.

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"Israel has NO better friends than evangelical Christians!" I would disagree that blanket statement; however, I would say that Israel has no better friends than MANY of the evangelical Christians. It's impossible to speak for 50 million people, and it's wrong to try to do it. One aspect that is a problem that many evangelical Christians have a very strong allegiance and dedication to the United States. And that's fine. However, the US, as far as the gov't goes, does not necessarily see Israel in that same way, whether the it's Democratic- or Republican-controlled. I have seen many articles, and spoken with many different evangelical Christians and evangelical Christians organizations who do, in fact, openly support the creation of a "Palestinian" state in the midst of Israel. That comes from the humanism aspect, in respect for the alleged "Palestinian" people. However, Scripture does not support that stance in any way. I'm not saying that there are not Christians who don't support Israel; I'm just saying you can't make a blanket statement that 50 million people believe the same way. It just isn't true. And the facts prove it. That said, I do know of many Christians that do support Israel, and will stand with her in spite of what the US does, including risking facing jail for their stance (which I will guarantee you most will not). A few years ago when the US was applying great pressure against Israel, Israel was wondering where the "50 million" evangelical Christians were. I just want to make sure that Israel keeps her eyes open and does not have a false hope that these millions of people will be coming to her rescue. And Scripture backs that up also. It's individuals who provide support; but ultimately, it is God who does it anyway.
As I noted in my ZEEK article published yesterday, most CUFI leaders including John Hagee are independent charismatics and are much more proactive in their theology than previous generations of fundamentalist dispensationalists. If separatism and political passiveness had continued among fundamentalists, most Jews would have never heard of Jerry Falwell or the Religious Right. It is important to note that some of the CUFI leaders and host churches are not dispensationalists. They teach that believers will remain on earth during the Tribulation, apocalyptic wars, and rule of the anti-Christ. Hagee does still teach a pre-Tribulation rapture but the sermons and other media of charismatic Christian Zionists, including Hagee’s, clearly conflict with the claims that they don’t believe they can impact the prophetic timeline. I can’t debate the fine points of eschatology in this space, but my ZEEK articles, an article at The Public Eye titled “The New Christian Zionism and the Jews,” as well as the articles in the special focus box on Christian Zionism at Talk To Action, go into greater detail about the Christian Zionist obsession with Jews and the end times. Hagee is not representative of all, or even most evangelicals, many of whom would be completely unfamiliar with the blend of end times prophecy and grand conspiracy theories that he preaches from the pulpit. Lastly, the evidence is irrefutable that CUFI leaders and other Christian Zionists solicit support for Messianic ministries and aggressive Christian missionary programs in Israel.  One small ministry that has distributed 2.5 million dollars of aid to Israeli Messianics is openly endorsed by Hagee and other CUFI directors. Another CUFI director publishes calls for U.S. churches to provide support for Messianic ministries in a leading evangelical journal.  I would still call this proselytizing, even if it does not take place at CUFI events.
Ms. Tabachnik is a classic Jewish liberal. It bothers her that people believe in God and the bible. Basically that God gave the land to the people of Israel. Hence people that believe that make her extremely comfortable. I would venture to say that she is way more comfortable with the BDS crowd. She seems to think that if Jesus does not appear Christian evangelicals are going to replay kristallnacht and the pograms. Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Jeremiah Wright, Hezbollah, A Saudi financed mosque at ground zero run by a Hamas apologist who wrote a book about advancing Islam in America. That she is fine with. Because at heart she feels guilty. About what, you would have to ask her. Having pride in her heritage. Not so much.
The article is about a particular organization and their beliefs. Can you find Christians with a variety of beliefs? YES. Can you find Jews with a variety of beliefs? YES. And the same could be said about almost any group of people. If you will check with most evangelical Christians, you will find they truly do believe in the promise given to Abraham and believe that we should be supporting Israel. Most evangelical Christians are horrified with the funding for "security police" and ardently oppose such actions. However it may appear to the rest of the world, our government is not controlled by evangelical Christians. I'm not member of CUFI, in fact I hadn't heard of it. I am however one who prays for the peace of Jerusalem and believes that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people and curse those who curse the Jewish people. I believe this - even though we disagree about the Messiah. Please do not cut us off. Israel has NO better friends than evangelical Christians!
Actually the writer makes too broad of a statement: "[looking to hasten the end of days] ... cannot be a motivation for their Zionism". This is not true for ALL Christians, as the writer claims. In fact, this is the EXACT reason that many Christians DO support Israel. However, there are some Christians that DO support Israel without any other motives or expectations, but it has been my experience over 18 years that they are by no means the majority. And there are some leaders in the Christian community that will be honest enough to admit it. I can assure you, from personal experience, someone's (a Christian's) involvement in supporting Israel does not in any way mean that that person does it without any motive or expectation of the coming end of days. Also, the "warm reception" the Israeli ambassador received regarding a "demilitarized Palestinian state" shows people are so willing to overlook the obvious in matters related to Israel. These Christian's own country funds, equips, and trains a terrorist army, which its gov't chooses to call a "security police". I believe that is what many nations first called their military. Even General Dayton, who has trained the "security troops" has publicly stated that they may turn on Israel at any time (and they have already). What exactly is the difference between a "security police" and a "standing military"? They would never support terrorists in their own country doing this. People are too willing to be fooled ...
As I noted in my ZEEK article published today, most CUFI leaders including John Hagee are independent charismatics and are much more proactive in their theology than previous generations of fundamentalist dispensationalists. If political passiveness had continued to be the case with fundamentalists, most Jews would have never heard of Jerry Falwell or the Religious Right.   It is important to note that some of the CUFI leaders and host churches are not dispensationalists.  They teach that believers will remain on earth during the Tribulation, apocalyptic wars, and rule of the anti-Christ. Hagee still teaches a pre-Tribulation rapture but the books, sermons, and other media of charismatic Christian Zionists, including Hagee’s, clearly conflict with the claims that they don’t believe they can impact the timeline.  I can’t debate the fine points of eschatology in this space but my ZEEK articles, an article at The Public Eye titled “The New Christian Zionism and the Jews,” as well as the articles in the special focus box on Christian Zionism at www.Talk2action.org, go into greater detail on the Christian Zionist obsession with Jews and the end times. Lastly, the evidence is irrefutable that CUFI directors and other Christian Zionists solicit support for Messianic ministries and aggressive Christian missionary programs in Israel. One small ministry has distributed 2.5 million dollars of aid to Israeli Messianics and is openly endorsed by Hagee and other CUFI directors.  Another CUFI director publishes calls for U.S. churches to provide support for Messianic ministries in a leading evangelical journal.  I would still call this proselytizing, even if it does not take place at CUFI events.

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