Panelists at the 2012 'Christ and the Checkpoint' gathering.

March 6, 2014

‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Looks to Chip Away at Evangelical Support for Israel

Press Release | March 6, 2014
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org

 

“Checkpoint represents a wider movement, mostly confined to Evangelical elites, to neutralize a key pro-Israel constituency in America.”
-Mark Tooley, IRD President

 

Washington, DC—Some Evangelical activists are preparing a provocatively titled conference ostensibly about “empowering the Palestinian church.”

“Christ at the Checkpoint,” meeting March 10-14 at Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank, will include several high-profile Evangelical Christians. This year’s gathering includes the head of the World Evangelical Alliance, a prominent Dallas Southern Baptist pastor, the president of Oral Roberts University and a Wheaton College professor, among many others.

Polling of American evangelicals reveals they are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. Citing not just theological reasons, Evangelicals note Israel is pro-American and democratic, offering tolerance to religious minorities, including Christians. Meanwhile, most of Israel’s neighbors are not.

IRD’s Luke Moon is attending “Checkpoint” and can be reached at lmoon@theird.org.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“The Checkpoint’s goal is to highlight ‘injustices in the Palestinian Territories’ by Israel and, more centrally, to steer U.S. Evangelicals especially away from traditional friendship for Israel towards neutrality or even hostility.

“Checkpoint represents a wider movement, mostly confined to Evangelical elites, to neutralize a key pro-Israel constituency in America, with hopes of moving the U.S. geo-strategically towards neutrality between Israel and its enemies.

“Unfortunately, their perspective ignores the nasty reality of the Middle East, where democracy, human rights and religious liberty are largely confined to Israel and absent nearly everywhere else.

“Israel has the only growing Christian population in the region. Exertions by Checkpoint and its allies in the wider movement to curtail Evangelical-Israel friendship do no favors for Palestinians by feeding their victimology and usually ignoring the deep issues among Palestinians that mitigate against responsible statehood.

“Evangelicals do need a new, updated public policy perspective regarding the Middle East that stresses human rights for all people. But Checkpoint’s tired old version of Liberation Theology and anti-Israel bias has little constructive to offer.

“No doubt sincere, well-intentioned people will attend Checkpoint. But they are dangerously naïve to accept much less to promote Checkpoint’s narrative.”

www.TheIRD.org


  • Shirley Wetrosky

    How dare any Christian theologian second-guess God’s sovereign decision to give Israel the land He set apart for their exclusive use and occupation. This is the area called the Promised Land ordained by God for the exclusive use of His chosen. This group has taken authority where, Biblically, they have none.

  • Jeremy

    Keep up the good work Christ at the Checkpoint! There is no such thing as a Christian theology that sets one people group above another.

    • Faith McDonnell

      Then I guess its not Christian theology at CatC.

  • Pamela Olson

    I am an American Christian woman who lived in Ramallah in the West Bank for two years. I was treated with nothing but respect and kindness by the Palestinians I lived among. And witnessing the oppression and brutality visited upon them by many of the soldiers and settlers who effectively control their lives, it was clear this was the exact opposite of what any Christian who takes the Gospels seriously should support.

    It seems obvious to me that Jesus’ teachings of loving your neighbor and behaving with mercy and kindness should be more important than Old Testament real estate transactions. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all consider the land sacred. And all are human beings striving toward the Divine. Putting yourself above others is the opposite of Christlike behavior.

  • Chris

    A very poorly written article indeed. If the author was more familiar with the participants of this conference, especially Dr. Stephen Sizer, he would know that he has been extremely outspoken in his condemnation of the way Christians are treated in Egypt, Syria, and many other Muslim-majority countries. Arab Palestinian Christians are denied rights and treated as second-class citizens just as are the Muslims of Palestine and Israel proper. Black African Jews also face substantial racist sentiments in Israel. Thus, the claim that everything is happy-go-lucky for religious and ethnic minorities in Israel is misleading and uninformed. As Christians, it is our duty to stand up to all forms of racism, bigotry, oppression, etc. regardless of what religion or ideology is responsible.

  • Dudi Friedman

    Thank you, Mr. Walton, for a truth telling article. I am quite familiar with the exaggerations, the anti-Semitism and the marginalization of Israel that is propagated by the Checkpoint sponsors. I appreciate the points you have made, all of which are true. And to answer Mrs. Olson above, I too am an American living in Israel (for 30 years), and am familiar with the loving and giving heart of Israelis (witness the ‘Save a Child’s Heart program’ and the many times that Israel has helped unfortunate Arabs–right now Syrians are being treated medically in Israel; & in Jordan, Israel is providing food & clothing to the refugees. Who is footing the bill for this? Israeli taxpayers are. How many other Middle Eastern countries are doing this?). My wife and I have been the victims of 2 attacks by Palestinians over the years (one which destroyed our car with us in it, and another was an attack on our car with the goal of killing my wife and my little children). So the proverbial shoe fits both feet, Mrs. Olson. The stories you heard about were events I was in, and it wasn’t academic, and ‘the Jews’ weren’t at fault. The fact is that Arab Israelis always express their happiness at living in Israel, and prefer living here to living in any other Levant nation. Why is that, if it was such a horrible existence here? The answer is: it isn’t such a bad place to live. The right to vote is freely enjoyed, the right to worship freely and the right to education are all enjoyed by Arab communities in Israel.

    • Charles

      Dudi: Not sure you want to bring up the issue of taxpayers footing the bill”. As an American I am dismayed at the billions we hand over to Israel to help them continue to their occupation. The money I earn is being used by my government to “foot your military”.

      While it is great to see Israel helping refugees. It would be nice to see Israel allocating benefits and services for the non-Jewish tax payers in East Jerusalem for which they pay. Israel’s “compassion” seems to be selective.

      • Michael Redbourn

        It’s really far better not to post if you’re not familiar with a subject.

        Just to point you in the right direction.

        All aid to Israel is Military aid.

        Israel has to spend 80% of the money in America which creates desperately needed jobs there.

        As part of the deal, Israel is not allowed to bid against the US on many arms deals, causing Israel to lose a lot of money.

        There is a serious move afoot to refuse more aid because it’s thought the Israel loses more than it gets by accepting it.

        Israel also supplies the US with much needed information.

        Do you really think the US just hands out money?

        Every time it gives aid it has strings attached.

        Please go and surf a little, get some facts and then maybe post again.

        • Faith McDonnell

          Thank you for (trying to) enlighten people, Michael. While I am sure that many Palestinians suffer under the P.A. and Hamas leadership as they are exploited and used as pawns to demonize Israel, there are also the Palestinians living in unbelievable estates, shopping at malls that make the Galleria look like the Ghetto and overflowing produce markets. And what of the greenhouses, left for them by the Israelis, that they just smashed?

  • Steven Buckley

    Peace? The will be NO peace unless it is under the Promised One: Jesus Christ! NOT under a one-world religiono r control. To invite ‘religeous factions’ who preach the death and destruction of the Infidel and the Jew. I foresee a leader that will come out of Bethlehem, either by bitrth or power that will be recognized by the Jew, due to prophecy about Messiah coming specifically from Bethlehem, and recognized by all others because this person will persuade by spiritual deception. (Perhaps I should be wearing sackcloth).

  • John Harris

    The authors of this article do not have all the facts. the facts that they do have, they arrange in a way that is misleading. Despite what Arabs are doing in Palestine and other Middle Eastern nations, it does not give Israel the right to 1) confiscate more land, 2) restrict economic growth, 3) allow Israeli settlers to torment Palestinians in the West Bank, and 4) limit the amount of food into Gaza. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories is a crime against humanity. The Palestinians, politically speaking, are the poor. “So as you do to the least of these, my brethren, so you do unto me.” As an evangelical Christian who has lived and worked in Palestine, I can personally vouch for the horrendous things the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians there. The authors of this article can gain important insight if they were to spend two weeks in the West bank talking to evangelical Christians there. Even if we believe that that God has set this land aside for the Jews, it does not justify Israeli oppression over the Arabs.

    • Christopher Proudlove

      Mr Harris is clearly ignorant of the San Remo Treaty which became international law in 1923. It was unanimously approved by the 51-member League of Nations and later enshrined in U.S. law and accepted by the United Nations in 1945 when it superseded the League of Nations. The treaty gives Israel the right to settle Jews between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, including the Gaza Strip, provided there is no interference with existing communities. Nations have colluded to airbrush San Remo out of history and is one of the biggest scandals of the 20th/21st centuries. Both sides in this dispute do despicable things. There are Israeli calls for peace but this is not replicated on the Palestinian Arab side. Indeed, their leaders want to ethnically cleanse Jews out of their historic homeland.

  • Bill Gilman

    supporting Israel does NOT mean we have to endorse the actions of Israeli government.
    The truth is, the Israeli government has engaged in “eye for an eye” policies and that flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus.
    I cannot support that.
    Does Israel have a right to exist? Of course.
    Do they deserve protection? Of course.
    But using terrorism to fight terrorism is not the way.
    Perhaps they might consider praying and relying on the power of God as their fathers did.

  • quhit

    all lies!