Brog's Blog

March 15, 2010

To Jerusalem and Back

Filed under: All Posts — brogsblog @ 7:26 pm

Jerusalem is in the news again.  Nothing new here.  In recent years, it feels as if Jerusalem has emerged as the center of the world not only from the spiritual perspective, but also from a media one.
I will return to the current crisis shortly.  But first I want to share something that I believe is, in the long run, of far greater significance to the future of Jerusalem.  And this is the continued warming of relations between Israel and her Christian supporters.  However stormy the seas, this deeper connection adds heavy ballast to the America-Israel relationship and helps ensure that it will weather any storm.
Last week, I was in Jerusalem along with the leadership of CUFI and over 700 Christians from CUFI-participating ministries.  While there we organized two events to demonstrate our support for the nation and people of Israel.  On Monday night, we held a Night to Honor Israel in Jerusalem.  The following day, we held a solidarity march through the streets of Jerusalem.  In each case, this deep Christian-Jewish alliance was on full display.
Our Night to Honor Israel drew a crowd over 1,000 along with some very special guests.  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined us as our keynote speaker.  Jerusalem’s dynamic new mayor, Nir Barakat, came to address us as well.  In the audience were both Israel’s Deputy foreign minister, Daniel Ayalon, and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.
There were other key leaders who could not attend our event but who took the time to meet with us seperately.  In particular, CUFI’s leadership met with two prominent Israelis from the Labor Party:  Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and Israel’s President, Shimon Peres.  In each case we were warmly received and our continued support was strongly encouraged.
In short — CUFI was embraced by the broad spectrum of Israel’s leadership.  Those who seek to marginalize us by claiming that Israel’s Christian friends support — and are welcomed by — only one end of Israel’s political spectrum miss the point entirely.  We back the democratically elected government of Israel.  And that government — across the board — welcomes this support and honors it.
The embrace of CUFI by Israel’s mainstream was on full display during our solidarity march the following day.  Waving American and Israeli flags, we walked through the streets of Jerusalem in a loud and proud display of our solidarity with Israel and her people.  From all sides, the people of Jerusalem reciprocated our enthusiasm and cheered us on.  One store owner was moved to throw rose petals at our feet.  And many went even further — they joined us.  By time we reached our end point, we were over a thousand strong — Jews and Christians, Americans and Israelis — standing together for Israel.
Yes, there may be misunderstandings along the way.  There may even be sharp differences of opinion.  But the bond between America’s pro-Israel Christians and the people of Israel is strong and unbreakable.
Which brings us back to the current crisis.  It turns out that we were not the only Americans in Jerusalem last week.  Vice President Biden was there too.  The Vice President came to demonstrate American support for Israel, and he delivered a very warm speech in which he expressed America’s “absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel’s security.”  Such words are most welcome, and I applaud the Vice President for flying to Jerusalem to deliver them.
Yet while the Vice President was in town, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced that it was issuing permits for 1,600 new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.  Such construction in East Jerusalem happens to be an area of disagreement between Israel and America.  I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak that it was a mistake to stress this disagreement by making this announcement while the Vice President was in town.  This was no way to reciprocate the Vice President’s warm gesture.
Yet we must remember that timing aside, when it comes to substance — nothing changed.  The disagreement over building in East Jerusalem long preceded Vice President Biden’s visit.  And it will no doubt continue now that he has returned to the States.
Yet troubling signs are emerging that the Administration may use this ill-timed announcement of an existing policy as a an excuse to portray Israel as creating some new obstacle to peace.  Suddenly, Israel’s unprecedented 10-month moratorium on construction in the West Bank is forgotten.  And suddenly, Israel’s repeated calls for the resumption of direct negotiations with the Palestinians are ignored.  It seems that Israel is now being singled our anew for pressure and criticism.
It is at times like these that we must remind our friends in Israel that our alliance is deep and solid.  And it is at times like these that we must remind our own government not to exaggerate areas of disagreement.  The fact remains that Israel shares our democratic values and our fundamental strategic interests.  Israel also shares our  commitment to a negotiated peace.  Indeed, Israel has a history of taking risks for peace and it remains willing to take still further risks.  But such risks are predicated on solid America support.  If the Israelis sense that such support is wavering, they will immediately pull back to more secure lines.
In short, if we suddenly flip the telescope and exaggerate these small areas of difference with Israel at the expense of all that we share, it will serve neither our alliance nor the cause of peace.  Now is the time when  we in CUFI are well positioned to bridge the gap and remind each side of the bigger picture and the broader alliance.  We fully intend to do so.

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1 Comment »

  1. It appears to me from my limited knowledge of the situation in the Middle-East. That according to scripture there will be no peace there.That is except for a false peace negotiated by the Anti-christ for 7 years. Which 3 1/2 years into it is broken.It appears that my opinion or someone else’s opinion is insignificant. We must let the referee be something much older than I . Or for that matter anyone alive upon this earth. Older than the Koran,
    older than any other manuscript on earth.That is God Himself,some 4,000 years ago deeding the land to Abraham and his decendents. There were inhabitants in the land in that day. The nations and faces have changed over 4,000 years.One thing remains the land . According to the Bible and the mandate of the Balfour declaration. According to the forming of the sovereign state of Israel May 14, 1948. The land belongs to Israel. In reality the ones who actually have other homelands are the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Jordanians, the Iraqis
    the Iranians. Under the label of Palestinians.Helen Thomas, expressed from her mouth what was in her heart.Anti-semitic poison, from wrong information viewed by her as truth, forming her opinion.Some people would rather embrace a lie than the truth.What is on trial is not Israel but the God of Israel and of Abraham ,Isaac and Jacob. The father of lies verses the Spirit of Truth.This is the battle of the ages.
    Who’s report will you believe, it’s for sure everyone is believing something or someone.It’s for sure the events around the world are hastening the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16, preach the Gospel to everyone, everywhere, Jesus is Lord.

    Comment by Angelo Rosaschi — June 8, 2010 @ 3:31 pm


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