16 Oct 2012 (All day)
Mainline church leaders who systematically demonize the Israeli security forces while whitewashing the record of those committed to her destruction do little to promote true peace in the Middle East says the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) – the world’s leading Jerusalem-based evangelical ministry.
The comments by the ICEJ’s USA Director, Susan Michael, were made in response to a letter written to the US Congress by fifteen mainline church leaders alleging human rights violations by Israeli troops and calling for an investigation of American military aid to the country.
“They would do us all a service if they would begin to address the real issues of the day like the endemic persecution of Christians in the Muslim world, the atrocities of the Syrian government against their own citizens and the threat to global peace and stability posed by a nuclear-armed Iran,” countered Michael in response to the October 5th letter by leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the National Council of Churches.
The letter which was issued late in the day on the eve of the Sabbath in the midst of the Jewish holiday season of Sukkot, prompted angry and articulate responses from Jewish leaders, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Rabbis (RA). It also led to the cancellation of an annual Christian-Jewish leaders’ summit which was to have been held October 22-23 in New York. The so-called Jewish-Christian Roundtable was launched in 2004 in the wake of liberal Protestant movements to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
“The timing couldn’t have been worse,” says Michael who has been actively involved in promoting greater dialogue between the Jewish and Christian communities in the US for over thirty years. “The whole point of the New York meeting was to ease the tension with these denominations. But what this letter revealed was that many of their leaders never had any intention of abandoning their one-side Israel-bashing agenda, no matter how factually inaccurate and counterproductive it has proven to be.”
“Millions of Christians in these mainline churches do not support this type of ongoing demonization of the Jewish state, especially by church leaders who refuse to acknowledge the ongoing rocket-fire and terrorist attacks being carried out against ordinary Israelis on a daily basis,” Michael continued. “It is time that those who claim to represent the cause of Christ take stances that may actually help peace rather than simply condemning Israel for her efforts to defend her civilians.”
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is headquartered in the Israeli capital, with branch offices and representatives in some 70 nations, and a reach into more than 125 nations around the world. Its primary mandate is to serve as a “ministry of comfort” to Israel and the Jewish People worldwide, as a means for Christians to finally redress the lingering grievances which the Jewish people have against us due to the tragic history of Christian anti-Semitism.
For more background on this issue see: Dexter Van Zile, ‘Mainline American Christian “Peacemakers” against Israel’ November 5, 2009, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
See also: ICEJ Response to 'Open Letter' to American Christian Zionists, October 2011
For Media Inquiries Contact:
Michael Hines –Media Director, ICEJ USA