Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cracks in the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby

There is an interesting article in The New York Times by Laurie Goodstein entitled "Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State" which chronicles how even some of the conservative Christian evangelicals are moderating their unquestioning support for the policies of the state of Israel. In otherwords, the loose coalition of constituencies that collectively comprise the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby is weakening a bit. As the Times aricle opens:

In recent years, conservative evangelicals who claim a Biblical mandate to protect Israel have built a bulwark of support for the Jewish nation — sending donations, denouncing its critics and urging it not to evacuate settlements or forfeit territory.

Now more than 30 evangelical leaders are stepping forward to say these efforts have given the wrong impression about the stance of many, if not most, American evangelicals.

On Friday, these leaders sent a letter to President Bush saying that both Israelis and Palestinians have "legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine," and that they support the creation of a Palestinian state "that includes the vast majority of the West Bank."

They say that being a friend to Jews and to Israel "does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted." The letter adds, "Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed violence and injustice against each other."

The letter is signed by 34 evangelical leaders, many of whom lead denominations, Christian charities, ministry organizations, seminaries and universities.

And just in case you don't deeply comprehend how "out there" some of these Neo-Crusaders are, the Times tells us that they:

... interpret the Bible as predicting that in order for Christ to return, the Jews must gather in Israel, the third temple must be built in Jerusalem and the Battle of Armageddon must be fought.

Hmmm... I wonder what President Bush and Vice President Cheney think about that perspective. Them and their "long war" against "terrorism." Either they really do believe that they are preparing for "the Battle of Armageddon" or they are simply two-bit politicians who are milking the religious ferver of the evangelicals for all than can. Let us hope that it is the latter.

-- Jack Krupansky


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