An interview with an American Christian commentator published by Israeli media this week reveals just how far the evangelical church has moved into the “Palestinian camp” when it comes to the Middle East conflict.
For decades, Israel’s most stalwart supporters were to be found among evangelical Christians, the bulk of whom saw the rebirth of the Jewish state as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and evidence of God’s faithfulness.
But a new generation of evangelical leaders are “committed to spreading the Palestinian version of the conflict,” said Jim Fletcher, a long-time Christian publisher, in an interview published to Israel National News. “These pro-Palestinian leaders currently control the narrative within the church.”
According to Fletcher, there is a “massive effort … in the heart of the American evangelical church to lure its members to the Palestinian side.” As a result of that effort, it is now “severely mistaken to think that all evangelicals are pro-Israel.”
Among those evangelical leaders one should be wary of are Willow Creek Pastor Lynne Hybels, Saddleback Community Church Pastor Rick Warren, Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College and Christian publisher Cameron Strang.
Hybels and Burge were speakers at last year’s Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem, where local and foreign evangelical leaders painted modern Israel as a nation wholly disconnected from its biblical roots and prophecies pertaining to it.
Furthermore, this movement interprets Yeshua’s own teachings in a more humanistic light in order to use them against Israel.
“In the Palestinian narrative, emotion is predominant. The emphasis is on ‘land confiscations, checkpoints, detentions, beatings.’ What they call the ‘apartheid wall’ is also mentioned frequently,” explained Fletcher.
But, perhaps most disconcerting, is the lack of a strong response from those who still love Israel and see her for what she truly is, warts and all.
“To my knowledge, there are no broad-based evangelical leaders in the U.S. who will speak out about this problem, which is developing into an epidemic,” said Fletcher, warning in conclusion that “the way things are going, support will completely flip from Israel to the Palestinians in the next generation.”
For those of us sitting in Israel, there is another worrying effect: more and more Israelis are starting to feel that, once again, they cannot trust or rely on Christians.
The mere fact that this interview was published on a religious Israeli media website demonstrates that Israeli Jews see the strong wall of Christian support eroding, and as a result the bonds that were built up over the past century are beginning to unravel.