U.S. Evangelists and Us

'Progressive' Jews have always sought out the company of their detractors, even their enemies, rather than those who love them.

Christians United for Israel is holding a conference in the Holy Land this week. The organization's executive director, David Brog (a Jew ), says CUFI is the largest pro-Israel lobby in the world. It has more than a million members, he said in an interview with the Hebrew daily Maariv, and if necessary can enlist the backing of another 50 million Israel supporters. Not bad for a country that is struggling against an anti-Israel machine lubricated by funds from hostile nations and nourished by innate or acquired anti-Semitism.

Even though the conference began before the terror attack in Toulouse, the Israeli media paid it barely any attention. Because after all, only "people who are somewhat naive," as a leading member of the American Jewish establishment described them, could enthusiastically and unhesitatingly stand up in support of Israel.

A substantial part of Israel's governmental and diplomatic establishment also relates to them ambivalently. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually delivered an address at the conference, but even Israel Hayom, the daily considered most supportive of Netanyahu, wasn't interested. Haaretz reported it on an inside page, but with a clearly sarcastic tone: "Netanyahu," wrote Nir Hasson, "was the most level-headed speaker at the conference." If J Street were to hold a similar gathering in Jerusalem, it would certainly have made front-page headlines in the papers (after all, it is an organization that criticizes Israel scathingly ).

"Progressive" Jews have always sought out the company of their detractors, even their enemies, rather than those who love them. The evangelicals' love, they claim, is not disinterested; it has theological motives that are not necessarily kosher. And despite the evangelicals' emphatic denials, these Jews don't believe them.

But let's assume their support really does stem from a belief that after the Messiah comes, the Jews will convert to Christianity. In that case, why is it that those who most determinedly reject them are those who don't believe in any Messiah, Jewish or Christian? What is their reason for turning up their noses at those who do more for Israel's existence than they themselves, or most Jews, do?

On the issue of Iran, for example, some people believe the Christian lobby has more influence in the United States than the Jewish lobby does. In many American states, there are only a small number of Jews, yet it is precisely there that one finds large concentrations of Christians who support Israel. They are in touch with their elected representatives, and the latter - like Rep. Trent Franks, an evangelical from Arizona - up the pressure on Washington. ("When I visited Israel," Franks said, "I felt that you were at the center of my soul." )

It is not surprising that J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami said there should be no cooperation with them. After all, unlike his organization, which demonstrates ambivalence even on the Iranian nuclear issue, the Christian lobby is working against Iran with no "buts" and no complexes.

Where else in the world can one find a nation that behaves like this toward those who are going out of their way to assist it in its struggle for existence? (Full disclosure: No Christian organization is among the donors of the Institute for Zionist Strategies, in which I am active. ) Why are the donations of these Christians considered repulsive in "progressive" circles in Israel, whereas German money, which is intended to cleanse the murderous Nazi sins, is kosher?

It is our duty to remember and never to forget what the Germans did to us. But if so, what happened to us that we removed the barriers between Germany and ourselves so soon after the Holocaust, and have been chasing after their money ever since without respite? And what, on the other hand, is happening to those who are so reluctant to be helped by the evangelicals and so suspicious of the aid - financial, but primarily informational and political - that they give the State of Israel?

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