U.S. Christian organizations back Lebanon operation
Jewish and pro-Israel Christian groups in both Israel and the United States voiced a chorus of support for the Israel Defense Forces' actions yesterday, the second day of fighting on the northern border.
"This was certainly an unprovoked attack and Israel has every right to go in and pound them," said Ray Sanders, executive director of Christian Friends of Israel. "It needs to be made very clear that what they [Hezbollah] have done is an act of injustice and Israel has every right to defend herself."
Other pro-Israel Christian groups joined in the chorus of support.
Evangelist radio host Earl Cox of Front Page Jerusalem Global Radio Network called the Hezbollah incursions "barbaric acts of terrorism" and called on his following to contact their representatives to "demand" that the United Nations Security Council "take action in support of Israel."
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem said that "Israel has a right to defend herself" and voiced support for the country's measures to ensure "peace and security in the region."
A spokesman for the organization added that its members have gathered to pray that Israel's military and political leadership will continue to exercise "wisdom and unity."
Jewish groups also leaped to Israel's defense. In a letter to President George Bush, American Jewish Committee (AJC) officials called the Hezbollah attacks "an unprovoked act of terrorism," adding that Lebanon "bears full responsibility for terror attacks perpetrated from its territory against a neighboring state."
In a conversation with Haaretz yesterday, Shula Bahat, the AJC's associate executive director, added that the organization "trusts completely" the Israeli government's decision to attack Lebanese targets in response to Hezbollah's incursion on Wednesday.
"No other country would have behaved differently," she said from New York. "Israel is somehow more scrutinized than any other country, and France, the U.K. and the U.S. wouldn't have behaved any differently. If they would have been attacked, they would have behaved in the exact same manner."
Leaders of the AJC, including Bahat, will arrive next week for a three-day solidarity mission that will include a tour of the northern border.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said in a statement that "under fire from both the north and the south, the State of Israel has no choice but to respond to attacks on her soldiers and her civilian centers."
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the community relations arm of the American Jewish community, said that Israel "rightfully viewed" the Hezbollah attack as an act of war. "The Israeli government not only has a right to respond to these crimes, but it has an obligation to do so," said Lois Frank, chair of the JCPA.
A spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that the organization considers the IDF's attacks in Lebanon "legitimate," since "Israel has the right to defend itself."
"We stand in steadfast solidarity and support with the State of Israel as it acts to protect its civilians in the north and the south, and to free kidnapped soldiers in Gaza and Lebanon," said Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director.