Regardless of what one thinks about the Trump Administration, it looks as though it’s shaping up to be one of the most pro-Israel administrations in US history.
On Monday, thousands of Evangelical Christians gathered in Washington, DC for the Night to Honor Israel, a central part of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) annual DC Summit.
As someone who has attended this event over the past couple of years, last night signaled a dynamic shift in the general conversation about Israel taking place in America.
At past CUFI Summits, the tone has focused on denouncing a presidential administration who did little to address the concerns of Iran’s flourishing nuclear program and the continued terrorism of Hamas and Hezbollah.
This year, however, a new wave of relief characterized the event.
Vice President Mike Pence delivered the keynote speech and reiterated both his and the Trump Administration’s unwavering support for Israel. To an applauding audience, Vice President Pence reaffirmed the Trump Administration’s promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Not only was Vice President Pence’s appearance at the event a breath of fresh air for the Evangelical audience, but his presence also demonstrated an unprecedented level of pro-Israel support in the highest levels of U.S. government.
In a mere matter of days, it seems that the presidential administration did a 180 degree turn around.
In December, the Obama Administration abstained from vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The Simon Wiesenthal Center later ranked this action (or rather, inaction) as the most anti-Semitic incident of 2016, as reported by The Washington Times.
Now, only a few months later, the new Administration has the opposite tone with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley leading the charge against Israel bias at the U.N.
Comprised of both strong Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel, the President’s closest advisors are a telling sign of what the Trump Administration’s policies will be toward Israel in the coming months and years.
Watching this unfold, as a Christian supporter of Israel, the temptation is to fall into complacency. If the highest levels of U.S. leadership are displaying such strong pro-Israel sentiments, then perhaps I can sit back and let them do the work.
But complacency is a dangerous business.
I’m grateful that our leaders are standing firmly with Israel, and I’m hopeful that their policies will continue to reflect this. Nevertheless, I think there’s a new opportunity for the pro-Israel movement to focus its energy on areas of society that policy makers cannot necessarily influence, such as culture and academia.
As with any issue, what lies in the hearts and minds of the citizens is just as important, if not more so, than the policies that come from the top down. I hope all American supporters of Israel will keep this in mind as this unprecedented wave of support continues to unfold.