The intersection of the world’s three Abrahamic religions is understandably a point of focus for folks around the globe, especially people of faith. Evangelicals in the United States, for example, have long supported the nation-state of Israel amidst tense political affairs. According to a 2015 Pew survey, 60 percent of white Evangelicals sympathized “a lot” with Israel compared to only 9 percent with Palestinians. But that alliance seems to be shifting among some young Evangelicals.
Efforts among the political and religious Left attempt to dismantle Evangelical support of Israel by appealing to younger Evangelicals’ feelings rather than intellectual arguments rooted in history, foreign affairs, and theology. Israel’s opponents paint a vague David versus Goliath scenario. In this cut-and-dry picture, Israel is the bully and Palestinians are the underdog. Not only does this false picture play to the rampant emotivism among younger Evangelicals, but it also counters the Dispensationalist caricature so easily vilified.
As the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) has previously reported, the Telos group—funded by George Soros—takes Evangelical influencers to the West Bank for a pro-Palestinian immersion experience. Of course, organizers will tell you there’s nothing anti-Israel about their motives. In fact, Telos touts a “Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace” motto. But how many young Evangelicals return from a Telos trip advocating for strengthened Evangelical support of Israel as an intact nation-state? I doubt many.
Then there’s the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference. This event is held every two years and gathers hundreds of Evangelicals in the Holy Land. “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,” stated IRD President Mark Tooley back in 2014. “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.”So why do I bring all of this up? Because a young Evangelical woman recently made an excellent pro-Israel argument that both challenges Religious Leftists’ false bully narrative and appeals to younger Evangelicals’ passions, as well as intellect.
According to Rebecca Gonzales, Constituent Relations Director at the Philos Project, U.S. Evangelicals failure to support the nation-state of Israel could have disastrous implications for democracy, religious minorities, and especially women in the Middle East.
Her reasoning is worth sharing here.
“For centuries now, Christian, Jewish, and other minority women across the region have faced persecution, execution, and exile in the very birthplace of their faith. And this does not end at what looks like the decline of ISIS because there will probably be another and another one and another one after that,” said Gonzales recently.
Coptic Christian girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and marry. Saudi law allowing men to divorce or beat his wife to death if she converts to Christianity. Women in Syria and Iraq have been raped, beaten, sold into slavery, and murdered for their faith and gender. But Aramean Christian women in northern Israel? “They’re reviving their Aramaic culture and language, which is the language that Jesus spoke, and if they were located anywhere else in the Middle East, they would be slaughtered like their Assyrian brothers and sisters,” noted Gonzales.
Her remarks were part of a recent “Evangelical Women in Public Policy and Public Witness” panel event hosted by the IRD on November 2 in Washington, DC. (A video recording is included below.)
“I believe that as Evangelical women, we should not shy away from these hard, tough, politically crazy discussions. We should be the loudest voice in these conversations because actually they impact women in the region and at home.”
If you want to help strengthen younger Evangelicals’ support of Israel with a nuanced argument rooted in compassion and intellect, then I encourage you to listen to Gonzales’ talk in the video below. Her remarks begin at the 23:00 minute mark.