- (Photo: Christians United for Israel)
During the recent Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference in Bethlehem, Rev. Stephen Sizer, one of the leaders of the movement to separate Evangelicals from Israel, referenced an old and false quote attributed to Pastor John Hagee. Several years ago, CUFI's spokesman wrote an op-ed exposing this quote as phony. A month later the author most responsible for advancing the quote admitted it was fake. CUFI's spokesman tweeted both relevant articles to Sizer, and Sizer even responded to one of the tweets, but that didn't stop Sizer from advancing the fake quote in a subsequent blog post.
That Sizer knowingly lies about Hagee is troubling, but truth-be-told Sizer's impact is minimal. Despite his best efforts, Christian Zionism is on the rise, and the organization Hagee founded, Christians United for Israel, continues to grow in both size and influence at an astounding rate.
None-the-less it is important to note that Sizer's dishonesty is consistent with the strategy employed by the larger movement to separate Evangelicals from Israel. Put bluntly, this movement is built on duplicity. Their stated goals, are not their real goals; their "facts" are not the real facts.
Dishonesty among Israel's detractors is nothing new. The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was often condemned for "saying one thing in Arabic to his people and another thing entirely to the Western media." And today, doubletalk is the strategy through which Sizer and his allies hope to advance their agenda. Theirs is not a house built upon the sand, but upon a sinkhole.
For example, CATC's "manifesto" asserts that "All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally." But during CATC's conference, speaker after speaker condemned Israeli security measures, but ignored Palestinian terror – even as scores of Palestinian rockets were fired indiscriminately at Israeli villages. Moreover, though this movement claims to support nonviolence, one of its leaders, Sami Awad, has stated that activism "is not a substitute for the armed struggle."
This movement's dishonesty is not limited to mere rhetoric. They go so far as to attack the very foundations of Christian history. For example, in 2010, conference speaker Naim Ateek asserted that "Jesus was a Palestinian," and just this past December Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the same claim.
Dishonesty is this movement's primary tool, and the demonization of the State of Israel is its goal. I reject this movement's means and ends.
I stand with Israel because I am a Christian. I believe that God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper. I reject the effort to separate God from His Chosen People. And my beliefs are rooted in scripture:
Jeremiah 33:23-25 (Living Bible) Have you heard what people are saying?—that the Lord chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them! They are sneering and saying that Israel isn't worthy to be counted as a nation. But this is the Lord's reply: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws of night and day, of earth and sky.
Israelis simply want to live in peace and security in their ancestral homeland, and I reject those who single out Israel for unfair criticism. Across the Middle East Christians are persecuted and Israel is the region's one oasis of religious liberty, and I renounce those who condemn the one Middle Eastern country where all can stand with God free of fear and persecution.
I love all of my brothers and sisters in Christ – even those who bear false witness against Israel and her supporters. But I must reject and renounce their actions, and so too should every Bible-believing Christian.