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Activists Seek to Divide U.S. Evangelicals and Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Conservative Christians have generally been known for their enthusiastic support for Israel. But a new movement of young activists is seeking to change that. Proclaiming a "pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace" stance, activists connected to Wheaton College, suburban Chicago's Willow Creek megachurch and development organization Worldvision are seeking to shift U.S. Evangelicals away from their historically strong support for Israel.

In a new report featured in The Tower Magazine, IRD's Luke Moon examines the influencers seeking to shift Israel's strongest U.S. proponents away from support for the Jewish state.

IRD's Luke Moon commented:

    "Behind this 'pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace' narrative lies the desire to shift the Evangelical stance on Israel from support to neutrality; one that demands Israel make security concessions to those who have vowed to 'drive them into the sea.'

    "Anti-Israel activists, often in high positions, have found eager disciples in places like the megachurch campus of Willow Creek and the academic halls of Wheaton College, one of America's preeminent Evangelical institutions. And they have been able to exploit the resources of popular Evangelical development organizations like World Vision.

    "To many anti-Israel activists, all Christians who support the Jews' right to live and flourish in their historic homeland are mindless Christian Zionists. Such derision is highly inaccurate.

    "Evangelical support for Israel is diverse and multifaceted: some support Israel out of compassion for the historical suffering of the Jews, or because Israel is a democracy in a region filled with antagonistic autocrats.

    "The generational divide between the older, more clear-spoken Evangelicals and younger Evangelicals who want a more nuanced approach to political advocacy, represents a challenge to those of us seeking to strengthen Evangelical support for Israel. But it is no longer possible to ignore the struggles that many Palestinian Christians endure, nor that Palestinian Christians are being exploited by Palestinian nationalists and Islamic radicals in order to soften Evangelical concerns about the nature of a future Palestinian state.

    "Those Christian organizations and leaders who promote an anti-Zionist agenda must tell us precisely how a future Palestinian state would be a blessing to Palestinian Christians, Israel, and the surrounding nations. If they will not or cannot, American Evangelicals should think very hard about whether they want to give up the opportunity to be a blessing to the nation that blessed us with Jesus Christ."

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