The New Evolutionary Movement (The N.E.M.) is on the march today. You will notice in the mailing pasted below that there has been another historical development in the universal Christian Church. You will also notice that David Brog (who’s Jewish) is quoted in the article for balance. Brog is CUFI’s Executive Director, and he works closely with Pastor John Hagee (7:24). Brog and Hagee work so closely together that no light can be seen between them.
Please read this article very, very carefully (full of care). Those of us who are familiar with Ann’s Blog can see Ann Hafften‘s hand in this development. Ann’s husband is a Lutheran Pastor in Texas. Texas is Brother Hagee’s home state. We can also see the hand of the Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer (26:15) who’s an Anglican Priest in the UK. Stephen was one of the presenters at Sabeel’s Fifth International Conference in Jerusalem in April of 2004. It was at that conference that Sabeel offered the Church a viable, intelligent, comprehensive, deeply satisfying Christian alternative to Christian Zionism. We can also see the hands of Richard Toll, Doug Willbanks and Don Wagner in this development. These men are among the leaders of the Friends of Sabeel in North America. Richard is a retired Episcopal Priest. Doug is active as a layman. If I remember right, Doug is non-denominational. Don is an ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church. Notice how robust the Presbyterians are becoming: Presbyterian network opens new dialogue on Zionism.
Everybody on the ML has been informed that Secretary of State Kerry had an usually productive Meeting at the Vatican yesterday. Peers, we now have sufficient reasons to be enthusiastic in our optimism about the eventual outcome of the HLPP (the Holy Land Peace Process). “Naysayers” and “Gatekeepers” would do well to take cover. For peace … like war … is in the process of being waged. Please read on.
(nb. highlights by Father Roy)
New Evangelical Movement Seeks Split From Pro-Israel Line
Dissent within the fold. “This message is resonating with the rising generation,” says Brog.
WASHINGTON — Figures with deep roots in America’s religious right have launched a quiet effort aimed at pushing evangelical Christians away from decades of growing loyalty to Israel and toward increased solidarity with the Palestinians.
The campaign by a coalition of religious leaders, international nonprofits, and activists has taken place in recent years largely behind the scenes and away from the prying eyes of the political press — and it’s being driven by a generation of Evangelicals alienated by the way their faith was yoked to Republican foreign policy during the Bush years. Now, organizations like the Telos Group and the large Christian nonprofit World Vision have joined a small army of ministers and Christian opinion-makers working to reorient Evangelicals’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — producing documentaries about the plight of Palestinian Christians, providing theological rationale for a more “balanced” view of the issue, and taking Evangelicals on trips to the Middle East.
The goal is to soften the bulletproof political alliance between American Evangelicals and Israel — forged over decades of successful courtship by Israeli governments and pro-Israel forces in the U.S. — and to make room on the religious right for Palestinian sympathies. If the movement is successful, it would represent a move toward mainline, politically liberal Christian denominations that have long been aligned with the Palestinian cause. The Presbyterian Church USA, for instance, briefly adopted a policy of divesting from some companies doing business in Israel.
The campaign has alarmed America’s most committed Christian supporters of Israel, who acknowledge their rivals’ message is gaining momentum within the church.
“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,” said David Brog, executive director of Christians United For Israel, a key group in rallying American Christians to the Jewish state. “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.
Brog said his rivals’ fledgling success should push Zionists to engage more actively in the evangelical debate over Israel.
“We’re also seeing some signs that this message is resonating with the rising generation of Evangelicals — the millennial Evangelicals,” Brog added. “So we can’t afford to wait. We must speak out and correct the record before more of our young people are led astray.”
One of the evangelical leaders calling for a more “nuanced” view of the conflict is Todd Deatherage, who spent five years in the Bush State Department before co-founding the Telos Group to expose Evangelicals to the complexities of the issue. He said their purpose is not to persuade Christians to turn against Israel, but rather “to affirm and support the dignity of all the people of the Holy Land, to be truly pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian at the same time.”
To achieve this, his group organizes about 15 trips to Israel every year, where American participants — mostly Evangelicals determined to be open-minded and influential in their respective communities — meet with peace activists, victims of violence on both sides of the conflict, and members of the Bethlehem Bible College, which trains Arab Christian pastors. The objective, Deatherage says, is to “change the conversation” among conservative Christians in the U.S.
“We want people to go on these trips and then go back and change others’ minds by talking about their own experience, taking the things they’ve learned and using them to help others understand what it means to be global citizens,” he said.
Lynne Hybels, an evangelical writer and minister heavily engaged in what she calls the “pro-peace” movement in Israel, was even more blunt about their intentions. She said they hope to “build a political constituency that supports peace and supports policymakers with the courage and commitment to work for peace.” As Hybels sees it, that means occasionally standing up for Palestinians — and not allowing Christian critics to get away with accusing them of “abandoning God’s chosen people.”
There has always been a small vocal minority of American evangelical provocateurs who rail against modern-day Israel at progressive political rallies and in the pages of Sojourners magazine. But the current campaign is attracting attention in large part because its leaders boast the kind of conservative Christian credentials even Mike Huckabee could appreciate.
For example, a 2010 documentary questioning the wisdom of Evangelicals’ unwavering commitment to Israel was endorsed by a top official at World Vision, one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world. The film has since been screened several times at World Vision events, and it received a favorable review in America’s leading evangelical magazine,Christianity Today, which declared, “Christian Zionism is officially on notice.”
read the rest of this article here
This appeal just in from the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel:
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious-makes you so sick at heart-that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” -Mario Savio
Call CBS today and tell them to PUT OUR BILLBOARDS BACK UP!
On June 11 the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel had 23 billboards erected in Los Angeles and surrounding cities with the message “Tell Congress: Spend our Money at Home, Not on the Israeli Military” over an American flag background. The billboards were contracted to run for four weeks, and we were preparing to put more up in other spots around the city. Read about our billboards here.
We were thrilled. L.A. had never seen a campaign of this size devoted to this issue.
That win fell apart just one week later when the billboard company–CBS Outdoor, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation– took all our billboards down.
They sent a curt email telling us they were canceling our contract and refunding our money because “your organization has used the ‘CBS Outdoor’ name without permission” in email messages and in our petition thanking CBS for putting up the billboards in the first place.
Needless to say, this was a punch in the stomach. If you support us trying to get our message of ending military aid to Israel back up on billboards in the nation’s second largest city, won’t you help flood CBS with phone calls demanding that our billboards be put back up and our contract be honored to the full term?
If there are people and organizations that disagree with our message, they have every right to buy their own billboards with a message they compose. We stand ready to debate American carte blanche support for Israel in the free marketplace of ideas. But that debate can only take place if companies like CBS Outdoor don’t cave when pressured by people who claim any criticism of U.S. policy favouring Israel is anti-Semitic.
Call CBS Corporation, the New York-based parent company of CBS Outdoor, at(212) 975-4321 right now. Then tell us you made the call and what if any response you got from CBS. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org….
Then be sure to share this Call to Action with your friends, family and colleagues via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for working for justice!
Jeff, Armen and Sue
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel-Los Angeles, Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
PS: As you may guess, these billboard projects are very expensive. We hope to continue our L.A. campaign, but regardless we will be looking at other cities to continue this important work in the future. We will not let up. Please help us succeed by sending a check to:
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
PO Box 10856
Albuquerque, NM 87184-0856
You may also donate via PayPal here: stop30billion.org…
The Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel is a 501c3 organization, so donations are fully tax deductible. Visit us at stop30billion.org…
The following letter is an appeal from Alison Weir, President of the Council for the National Interest Foundation. The highlights in Alison’s message are mine. Click on CNI’s letterhead and go to the website. You’ll find an unusually powerful video on CNI’s home page. Peace, Roy
I’ll make this message as brief and as blunt as I can.
The Israel Lobby is pushing Congress for an extra billion dollars in military aid to Israel—that’s above and beyond the $3+ billion it already receives. At a time of high unemployment figures, record-breaking government spending deficits, and world-wide financial instability, can U.S. taxpayers afford this? More to the point: American political, economic, and diplomatic standing in the all-imporatant Middle East is at an all time low—further tipping the balance toward Tel Aviv is a dangerous move.
That’s the subject of our Executive Director’s important new article on the internet: “The Israel Lobby Never Sleeps.” Phil Giraldi writes:
Israel and its partisan hacks in Congress are utterly shameless. At a time when the country is screaming for some measure of restraint in government spending, Israel is the one budget line that only sees increases.
In another hard-hitting article, Phil gives an excellent overview of how the Palestinian-Israel issue plays out in the U.S., noting that grassroots efforts—the core of CNI’s agenda—are showing some small signs of fruit. Yes, the Lobby is as powerful as ever, perhaps even more so, but as Phil observes there have been breakthroughs. He uses this as one example…
On April 22, 60 Minutes, the most watched television news and commentary program in the United States, aired a segment on Israeli persecution of Christians. The program was a real shock for the many fundamentalist Christians who have viewed Israel through rose-tinted glasses. Many evangelicals have promoted the myth that Israel is actually a protector of Christians, which it most emphatically is not.
It’s so important to remember—especially when it appears that the centers of power from Hollywood to Capitol Hill are invincible—that, thanks to your involvement, our message is being heard…
• According to a 2011 poll conducted by the Israel Project, a group that portrays Israel in a positive light, when asked if Washington should continue foreign aid to Tel Aviv to be used for buying U.S. military equipment, 40% of respondents said that the America should reduce aid to Israel.
• A survey conducted last May by CNN revealed 65% of Americans favor neutrality in the Middle East.
• In March, an in-depth Brookings Institute study showed that only one in four Americans favor Israel conducting a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, 70% favor the U.S. pursuing negotiations with Iran, and just one in seven Americans thinks the United States should encourage Israel to strike Iran’s program.
This is indeed encouraging news. Our fellow citizens are starting to understand what we have to say. That’s why your financial investments in the Council for the National Interest are critical: your support underwrites our ability to present alternative viewpoints on the Middle East … a message America desperately needs to hear. Your continuing help, $50, $100, $1000, or even $35, is very much appreciated— and necessary.
The Israel Lobby is now working overtime in spite of signs that public opinion may be shifting. As Phil Giraldi says in “The Israel Lobby Never Sleeps,”
There has been no media reporting on H.R.4133—United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 introduced into the House of Representatives on March 5th, ‘To express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes.’
If you and I don’t express outrage and expose this expensive and militarily dangerous move by the Israel Lobby… who will?
Please let me hear from you soon. And, as always, my appreciation for your loyal support.
P.S. Anything you do to help CNI counts: gifts of $20 or just e-mailing links to these articles are all crucial in this fight.
P.P.S. On Thursday, May 16th I will be speaking at The University of California, Riverside; please join me if you live in the area — and bring neighbors or colleagues new to the issue!