Jesus’ disciples lose faith in Israel
This posting has these items on Israel, Palestine and evangelical and other Christians:
1) Jewish Forward: Israel’s Grip on Evangelical Christians Loosens, Nathan Guttman surveys the change;
2) The Blaze: Are American Evangelicals Fracturing When It Comes to Support for Israel?, picked up the change in January but in the end reassures us that Protestants remain Israel fans;
3) Tkun Olam: Israeli Foreign Ministry Targets Palestinian Evangelical Conference Attendees, Richard Silverstein attacks Israel’s hypocrisy in criticising Christian pro-Palestinian use of religion for political purposes;
4) Christianity TodayEvangelicals Defend ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ from Israeli Critics;
5) Notes and links, including on Christ at the Checkpoint and Telos;
Evangelical Christians from the U.S. participate in Sukkot festivities in Jerusalem. Photo by Getty images.
Israel’s Grip on Evangelical Christians Loosens
Younger Generation Open to Palestinian Side of Conflict
By Nathan Guttman, Jewish Forward
March 11, 2014
Support for Israel is weakening among evangelical Christians, prompting a new struggle for the hearts and minds of younger members of America’s largest pro-Israel demographic group.
While hard numbers are not available, evangelical leaders on both sides of the divide on Israel agree that members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state; many are seeking some form of evenhandedness when approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“What is happening is that the hard line of Christian Zionists was not successfully passed forward to the next generation, because it was based on theological themes that are now being questioned by younger evangelicals,” said David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta.
The grip of Christian Zionists over young evangelicals has been loosening for several years, according to observers within the community. But in recent weeks, the leading evangelical pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, has set off alarm bells in articles and interviews decrying the inroads made by pro-Palestinian activists into the evangelical community. CUFI’s leaders are calling for a new strategy to block them.
“The only way of solving a problem is when people know about it,” said, CUFI’s executive director, David Brog, who has been leading the effort to win back millennial evangelicals. “This is the best way to rally our troops.”
Brog penned a lengthy article, published in the spring edition of Middle East Quarterly*, in which he detailed what he views as a growing phenomenon and the reasons behind it. Titled “The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?” the article laments that “questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for millennials to demonstrate Christian compassion and bona fides.” Brog argues that younger evangelicals are now “in play” and their support for Israel can no longer be taken for granted.
This conclusion is based primarily on gut feelings and anecdotal data. In June 2011, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey among evangelical leaders convened in Cape Town, South Africa, for the third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization. The findings indicated lower support for Israel than previously believed. A majority of American evangelical leaders (49%) expressed neutrality when asked if they sympathize more with Israelis or with Palestinians. Thirty percent expressed support for Israelis, 13% for the Palestinians.
The survey polled only leaders who participated in this international conference and did not offer insight into the views of rank-and-file evangelicals. But it highlighted the fact that only a minority within the evangelical leadership today hold strong pro-Israel views when it comes to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and attendant conflict with the Palestinians.
Still, Christian Zionism is by far the largest organized voice on Middle East issues among evangelicals. CUFI, led by the Rev. John Hagee, founder of Cornerstone Church, in San Antonio, has 1.6 million registered supporters and a staff of 25 full-time employees. With an operating budget of more than $7 million, CUFI organizes dozens of pro-Israel events throughout the country and an annual Washington conference that brings together evangelical activists and politicians.
CUFI’s leaders are now trying to mobilize funders and supporters to confront the shift among younger members of their community. The challenge they face is made up of individuals, campus activists and professors, small organizations and even documentary films that depict Israel as encroaching on Christian freedom of faith in the Holy Land.
On university campuses, pro-Palestinian Christians have seen some success in the face of CUFI’s more established 120-chapter campus operation. Activists in Illinois’s Wheaton College, a leading Christian school, protested a planned CUFI event on campus in 2009; in Tulsa, Okla., Oral Roberts University has appointed a harsh critic of Israel to its board of trustees, and at Bethel University, in Minnesota, President Jay Barnes visited Israel and the Palestinian territories on a trip that changed participants’ views on the conflict. Barnes’s wife, Barbara Barnes, published a poem after the trip, in which she wrote: “Apartheid has become a way of life. I believe God mourns.”
American evangelicals sympathetic to the Palestinians are also bringing co-religionists to Israel and the West Bank for tours and conferences. This week, Bethlehem Bible College and the Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust are hosting their third “Christ at the Checkpoint” ** conference. Speakers at the gathering, which presents a Palestinian perspective on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank for Christians, include Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Gaza physician who worked closely with both Arabs and Israeli Jews until his three daughters were killed in their home by Israeli tank fire during the 2008 Gaza military campaign; William Wilson, the president of Oral Roberts University.; and Gary Burge, a theology professor at Wheaton College and author of the book, “Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians.”
The conference’s 12-point “manifesto” strongly condemns “all forms of violence” and warns against the “stereotyping of all faith forms that betray God’s commandment to love our neighbors and enemies.” It also rejects “any exclusive claim to the land of the Bible in the name of God” and states that “racial ethnicity alone does not guarantee the benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant.”
For some on Christian college campuses, the appeal of pro-Palestinian views may be part of a general trend among young evangelicals to question the conservative ways of their parents’ generation. Some students are pursuing a theological understanding of their religion that is more progressive on social issues. Polls conducted in recent years indicate that young white evangelicals are less conservative on issues of same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception. They are also less aligned with the Republican Party. This same trend of political diversification may be taking place on international issues.
CUFI’s concern, as voiced by Brog in his article, is about the younger generation of evangelical leaders; unlike such figures as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, they are not vocal about the issue of Israel. He describes the new generation of evangelical opinion makers as a “largely well-coiffed and fashionably dressed bunch dedicated to marketing Christianity to a skeptical generation by making it cool, compassionate, and less overtly political.”
One of the organizations gaining the most attention on this issue is the Telos Group***, a Washington-based not-for-profit set up five years ago that describes itself as “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-American, and pro-peace.” In an interview on Glenn Beck’s “TheBlaze TV,” Brog singled out Telos, saying: “This is not your parents’ anti-Israel group. These guys are savvy, these guys are smart.”
Telos, which focuses a significant part of its work on faith communities, has to date taken 43 groups on tours of Israel and the Palestinian territories. President and co-founder Gregory Khalil said the group intentionally engages with a variety of Israelis and Palestinians on their trips. “I actually think David Brog could learn a lot about Israel if he would join one of our trips,” Khalil said, arguing that Brog mischaracterized the work of Telos.
But while the budding debate in the evangelical world over Israel is real, its proportions may be overstated. “We’re a tiny organization,” Khalil said of his group, which has only two staff members. Other publications and groups cited by CUFI as pro-Palestinian are also much smaller than CUFI’s own pro-Israel operation.
CUFI is not waiting for them to grow larger. In January, at a Jewish fundraising event,, the group presented its plan to take two groups a year of young evangelical opinion leaders to Israel. “We need to use the same tool to fight back,” CUFI declared in its pitch for Jewish donor support. The group is also launching speaking tours on campuses, and intends to invest in videos and social media activity that will monitor Christian influencers and “confront them when they cross the line.”
The glaring precedent that pro-Israel evangelicals cite to justify their approach is the path taken by the mainline Protestant churches. In the past, many were sympathetic to Israel, or at worst neutral. But some have since become a stronghold of pro-Palestinian views in the American Christian world. A few groups, such as the Presbyterians, have been leading the way in calls for divestment and boycott against Israel.
But Gushee argued that evangelicals are unlikely to take this path. The mainline Protestant churches today may be aggressively anti-Israel, he said, but the shift among evangelicals “is not from pro-Israel to anti-Israel, but from pro-Israel to a more balanced approach.”
Contact Nathan Guttman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nathanguttman
Are American Evangelicals Fracturing When It Comes to Support for Israel?
By Billy Hallowell, The Blaze*
January 20, 2014
American evangelicals have traditionally had a close and friendly relationship with Israel. While this dynamic continues, there appears to be a splintering of sorts going on, as some factions are becoming increasingly critical of the Jewish state.
BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins recently covered the issue, noting that some figures who have traditionally been aligned with conservative Christianity have been working in a quiet manner to form alliances that would push “evangelical Christians away from decades of growing loyalty to Israel and toward increased solidarity with the Palestinians.”
With these activists and organizations coming together to push for what they call a more fair-minded discussion, some conservatives are warning that the Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian approach to the Middle East crisis is haphazard.
Pastor John Hagee, senior preacher at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, appeared on Glenn Beck’s television show Monday to discuss the complex issue. Both Hagee and Brog, strong defenders of the Jewish state, argue that it is essential for Christians to continue supporting Israel.
Brog also recently told Coppins that Palestinian Christians have become well-versed in using language that resonates with American evangelicals — language that is helping combat the traditional view among right-of-center evangelicals that Palestinians deserve sympathy and support.
He’s hoping that those who support Israel will correct the record, specifically before more young evangelicals begin embracing ideals that cast the Jewish state in a more negative light.
“This effort is being led by Palestinian Christians who, while not always evangelicals, are quite adept at using evangelical language and imagery in their effort to blame Israel and Israel alone for Palestinian suffering,” Brog said. “The movement has gotten louder because they have more money to spend. So we’re seeing more anti-Israel Christian films, speakers, and conferences. It’s very much grasstops, not grassroots.”
Hagee shares these views. In his latest book “Four Blood Moons,” he argued that there are numerous reasons why believers must support the Middle Eastern country.
First, he noted that the Bible says that those who bless Israel will also be blessed by God. Genesis 12:3 reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
And in Psalm 122:6, believers are also instructed to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Additionally, Isaiah 62:1,6 references being “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem.”
These arguments among others, though, obviously aren’t shared by progressive evangelicals and critics who argue that Israel has played a detrimental role in the Middle Eastern crisis and that support must also be given to Palestinians who, in these critics’ view, have been victims, to some degree, of Israeli aggression.
Critics like Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, a Christian group that facilitates speeches and discussions on faith issues, believes that there needs to be an honest discussion about Iranian-Palestinian affairs.
“The evangelical community has only heard one narrative on this issue. Part of the responsibility we have is to make sure they hear the rest of it,” he told Coppins.
And Lyons isn’t alone. Many others are asking for Christians to take a more fair-minded look at both sides of the debate.
Consider Lynne Hybels co-founded Willow Creek Church in Illinois with her husband Bill. As First Things noted last month, Hybels has made the case that evangelical Christians should be supportive of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
“I believe it is possible to be truly pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian at the same time,” she recently wrote on her blog, though critics like Institute on Religion & Democracy President Mark Tooley note that Hybels and others like her are well-intentioned, yet naive in how they plan to find a solution to the matter.
In the end, regardless of the debate, Pew found in October that the vast majority of Protestants — 64 percent to be exact — still believe “God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people.” So regardless of any split in ideals, the majority of Protestant Christians still see Israel in an elevated and important spiritual light.
By Richard Silverstein, Tikum Olam
March 12, 2014
Yesterday [March 11], the Christ at the Checkpoint conference began in Bethlehem. It brought together evangelical Christians from around the world who are supportive of the Palestinian Christian community. As you know, Israel believed it had the evangelical movement sown up via pastors like John Hagee and his group, Christians United for Israel. That’s why the Israeli foreign ministry reacted with fury at the well-attended Bethlehem conference.
I’ve read many disturbing statements from Israeli ministries, which alarmed and discouraged me. But the MFA’s naked, vitriolic threat chilled me to the bones. Here is the right-wing Israel Today, which happily published the MFA’s bullying:
[The MFA] regards the CatC [Christ at the Checkpoint] conference as a serious long-term threat to Israel’s security.
…An MFA official said that…the event “is particularly problematic, because it is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership – an extremely important audience to us.
The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”
…Government officials are concerned that…CatC…serves, even if unintentionally, to encourage violence and stir up even more radical Islamic terror.
…The government of Israel has made it clear that those who participate in this type of religious manipulation to incitement are marked, both figuratively, and as a focus of further action on the part of the authorities in Jerusalem.
Even if you partially discount the breathlessly pro-Israel wannabe journalistic tone, the notion that devout Christian adherents of non-violence would pose a serious long-term threat to Israel is almost pathologically delusional. That they should be blamed as accomplices to acts of radical Muslim terror is yet another preposterous claim. By making such nutty statements, the foreign ministry shows itself to be more suited to running a nuthouse than the foreign policy of a 21st century democratic nation.
Imagine in this day and age, a so-called democracy thinks it can use bare-knuckle tactics to intimidate its purported enemies. It’s shocking. But not so very shocking when you consider the foreign ministry is run by Israel’s leading Islamophobe, Avigdor Lieberman. The latter continues to call the few Israeli Palestinian MKs supporters of Palestinian terror.
While there may be some in the world who would be scared off by such tactics, I would think that most who attended would be well-schooled in them and not easily intimidated.
I wanted to explore critically the foreign ministry’s claim that these particular evangelicals are exploiting religion “in the service of political interests.” This is a false characterization of pro-Palestinian evangelicals. First, many of them aren’t anti-Israel at all. But they are deeply sympathetic to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians. As fellow Christians, they feel the same sense of connection that we Jews feel toward fellow Jews in need. The only political element in their support of Palestinian Christians is their conviction that political sovereignty would protect and empower Palestinians Christians and allow them to lead normal lives. This is a far cry from exploiting religion for the sake of political gain.
But the greatest hypocrisy here is the MFA’s refusal to recognize that this is precisely what it and the Israel Lobby do in their embarrassing romance with American Christian Zionist evangelicals like Hagee. Israel refuses to recognize the anti-Semitic tropes in Hagee’s apocalyptic theology that blames Holocaust victims for their own murder; and predicts the demise of huge portions of world Jewry in the Armageddon that will lead to Jesus’ Second Coming. Hagee’s embrace of Jews is cynical because Israel is nothing more than a useful tool that will be discarded when End Times come.
The Jewish Press produced this image after the former president announced he would help a missionary organization convert Jews to Christianity on Nov. 14 when he speaks at a fundraiser in Irving, Texas for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI). The Dallas-based group’s goal is to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah in order to bring about the second coming of Christ and “restore” Israel. From Policy Mic
The Israeli government’s embrace of the evangelical movement also is cynical because no Israel Jew agrees with its theology. American Jews are even more suspicious of evangelicals and their adoration for Israel. There is essentially no common ground between Israel and the Christian groups except mutual convenience. Israel has lost the support of the mainstream Christian churches, and it increasingly loses support among young American Jews. So evangelicals, with their considerable political power, are a useful substitute for all that Israel has lost and is losing in other spheres.
A perfect example of this cynical manipulation by the Israel Lobby is its embrace of young evangelicals like Chloe Valdary, who recently enjoyed an all expenses paid trip to the Aipac national conference, where she was photographed with StandWithUs’ local self-described “gay Arab Jew,” Hen Mazzig. Valdary has been adopted by Lobby groups like CAMERA and StandWithUs. The former has showered her campus group, Allies for Israel, with $6,000 per year. Three different Lobby groups have paid her way on Israel junkets.
In return, Valdary acts the attack dog by viciously assaulting Jewish academics and activists like Prof. Judith Butler, who she called “a vile anti-Semite.” She even implied that she was a Nazi in a broadside in Seth Klarman’s Times of Israel. Valdary accused Israeli military refusers Maya Wind and Eran Efrati of being filled with “psychopathic self-abhorrence.”
Valdary claims to work for African-American minister, Dumisani Washington and a group called the Institute for Black Solidarity With Israel. Washington is a disciple of Hagee’s and prominently features CUFI on his website. Last week, Washington published a defense of Valdary in which he twice published the lie that I am an “anti-Zionist” (once in the headline). The Daily Caller, which published his screed, has ignored my demand that it correct the headline and remove the falsehood.
Chloé Simone Valdary @cvaldary
@Muslims_USA @richards1052 @shekissesfrogs
You are proving my point. No one actually BELIEVES the few people who claim earth is 4k yrs old..
3:55 AM – 11 Mar 2014
As an aside, in a Twitter thread last night, Valdary denied a critical tenet of evangelical Christianity’s literal reading of the Bible by denying the Creationist claim that the world is 4,000 years old. It makes you wonder whether she’s being properly schooled in evangelical theology by the CUFI crowd.
So when the Israeli foreign ministry carps about Christians exploiting religion for the sake of partisan politics and warns that such acts stain people with infamy, they ought to look in the mirror before they speak. Israel is entirely the guilty party in this matter. Its exploitation of Christian evangelicals (and their willing collaboration) is shameful.
By Timothy C.Morgan, Christianity Today
Update March 12, 2014
Evangelical leaders of this week’s Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference defended their four-day event against a chorus of critics who allege the gathering has an anti-Israel political agenda.
About 700 people are in Bethlehem to take part in the third CATC, which addresses the role of Christian peacemaking in the
Before the event opened, Israel Today, a media outlet, queried Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding its perspective on the event. Yigal Palmor, MFA chief press aide, said in a statement, “Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”
This prompted CATC leaders to deny the authenticity of the statement, which Israel Today editors later defended.
Earlier today, CATC delegates and speakers met privately with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MFA officials told these leaders that Palmor’s comments were genuine, but they said “he spoke in a personal capacity.”
“We were saddened by the comments of Mr. Palmor,” Munther Isaac, assistant dean at Bethlehem Bible College and CATC director, said in email remarks to CT. “It is unfortunate that an Israeli official would consider a conference that aims to provide a platform for international and local evangelical leaders and theologians to discuss the Palestinian Israeli conflict as ‘political propaganda.’
“The conference manifesto makes it clear that we are committed to the kingdom of God and the values of the kingdom of God. It also underlines our commitment to peacemaking and reconciliation and our rejection of violence.
“At the same time, we are Palestinian evangelicals, and we believe that we have a perspective that needs to be heard. The comments of Mr. Palmor seem as an attempt to silence us and to intimidate evangelicals from engaging with us and listening to our perspective.”
The conference is occurring during fresh turmoil in the Middle East. Earlier this week, an Israeli airstrike along the Gaza-Israel border killed three armed Palestinians who had been firing on Israeli soldiers. Then this afternoon [March 12], more than 30 rockets were launched from inside Gaza across the border into southern Israel. Israel responded with artillery fire. This was the largest cross-border exchange since November 2012.
Other critics of CATC are coming from within Israel’s Messianic Jewish community (see below) as well as outside groups, such as NGO Monitor and its BDS in the Pews program, which issued a seven-page analysis associating CATC with the so-called Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement (BDS). The report claims, “CATC seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within evangelical Christian churches, while simultaneously reviving theological anti-Semitic themes such as replacement theology.”
CATC leaders say they reject allegations of anti-Semitism. Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College, said in a preconference video that the purpose of the CATC conference is to address the questions, “Where is God in all of this? How would Christ deal [with issues] on both sides of the checkpoint? Part of it is bringing hope to the Palestinians here and the church here. The voice of the church does not get heard. We are about reconciliation and God’s peace.”
The conference ends on March 14.
Notes and links
* The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?: The Jewish State’s International Standing, by David Brog, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2014
** Israeli Gov’t: Christ at the Checkpoint is Problematic, Israel Today, March 9th
FIRST PARAGRAPS ONLY
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a last-minute statement suggesting Christians steer clear of the “Christ at the Checkpoint” (CatC) conference that opens tomorrow (Monday) in Palestinian-held Bethlehem. The statement, which came in response to an investigative inquiry by Israel Today, regards the CatC conference as a serious long-term threat to Israel’s security.
In a personal correspondence with Israel Today, an MFA official said that “unfortunately, we well know about the [Christ at the Checkpoint] conference,” explaining that for the Israeli government, the event “is particularly problematic, because it is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership – an extremely important audience to us.”……
Christ at the checkpoint website
ConferenceThe third Christ at the Checkpoint conference will take place in Bethlehem in March 10-14, 2014. The conference will be organized by Bethlehem Bible College, and will follow the success of the first conference in 2010, and the second one in 2012. The theme of the conference will be “Christ at the Checkpoint III – Your Kingdom Come”, which is based on the Lord’s prayer.
So why are we doing a third conference? This is a question we asked ourselves as we were assessing the last conference and considering and planning the one in 2014. To begin with, the occupation, the wall, the checkpoint, and the conflict with its many aspects are still there! We cannot ignore our reality. Our call as Christians is to be peacemakers and to lovingly challenge all forms of injustice. Today it seems that the conflict is still far from being solved. In fact, over the last few years the situation has deteriorated. In the last year we have witnessed the Gaza war, severe economical struggles of the Palestinian National Authority, expansion of settlements, the Palestinian UN bid, and the continual deadlock of the peace process.
The situation in the wider Middle East is no different. The bloodshed continues in Syria, with no light in the horizon. Iraq and Egypt are in turmoil, and it is evident that the new “democratic” reality did not produce the hoped-for stability and freedom Arabs longed for, and in many cases Arab Christians are suffering as a result.
The level of hatred and animosity is also on the rise, and this, probably more than anything, is one of the biggest hinderances for peace and stability in Palestine/Israel and the Middle East. Radical and racist voices are becoming louder and louder, and we are in a desperate need of a new paradigm of hope, acceptance, and love. Sami Awad says it best:
For anything to move forward in the Holy Land, a relationship of trust and respect must be established between the peoples. Peace is not just negotiated agreements between politicians. Peace is the process of building trust and respect between the peoples of the land. To be able to see each other with new eyes. To be able to really understand who the “other” is. To appreciate them—their culture, their heritage, the narrative that they bring to the table. Trust and respect are the foundations.
It is with all of this in mind that we will meet at the checkpoint again in 2014. Christ at the Checkpoint is our attempt as Palestinian Christians to bring Jesus into our context, which we defined using the symbol of the checkpoint. We want to ask:
What would Christ say and do if he were to stand in front of a checkpoint today?
What would his message be to the Palestinian crossing the checkpoint? And to the Israeli solder who is stopping him?
What is the Christian calling in the midst of this reality?
We have chosen the phrase from the Lord’s Prayer “Your Kingdom Come” as the theme of the coming conference. The Christ at the Checkpoint manifesto begins with: “The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.”
Therefore, we also want to ask:
How would the kingdom of God look like, today and now, in Palestine/Israel?
How should the teachings of Jesus shape our thinking, attitude and action regarding the conference?
What would ‘kingdom acts’ look like today?
The mission of Christ at the Checkpoint is, therefore, to Challenge Evangelicals To Take Responsibility To Help Resolve the Conflicts in Israel-Palestine By Engaging With the Teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God.
We invite you to join us in March 10-14, 2014 in Bethlehem as we pray, worship, study scripture and seek together to bring the reality of the kingdom of God on earth.
We hope to see you in Bethlehem in 2014!
WHO WE ARE
In ancient Greek, the word “telos” describes a unique purpose or goal that is rooted in a fundamental principle, towards which all intentions and energies are singularly focused. Ours is the freedom, security, and dignity of every human being in the Holy Land.
In spite of the current situation, we believe the key to Middle East peace is a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We further believe that such a solution will never be achieved without strong, bi-partisan encouragement and assistance from the United States.
Unfortunately, while Americans of faith – and especially American evangelicals – are among the most influential stakeholders in the region, most have never met either an Israeli or a Palestinian or seriously encountered both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. On the contrary, important segments of the American faith community persistently advocate for one-sided solutions to the conflict and educate the next generation about it in complete isolation from the peoples and present realities of the region.
Telos reverses that reality by taking influential Americans from across the political and theological spectra on high-touch, multi-narrative pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and by bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders and activists to the United States on speaking tours. Then, as Americans come to care deeply about people on both sides of the Green Line, we inspire and equip them to build genuinely pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace movements in their own communities, aimed at radically improving the way the United States relates to that part of the world.
The Blaze is Glen Beck’s right-wing neo-con platform.