Paul Schneider

Israel Has Important Christian Allies in the Fight Against Hamas

David Parsons Photo: ICEJ

David Parsons is an American attorney, ordained minister and Middle East specialist. He serves as the Vice President and senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). He has lived in Israel for the past 27 years.

October 7 was the worst day of his life.

The ICEJ is an evangelical organization that “represents Christians around the world,” its web site says, “who stand with Israel and the Jewish people based on biblical principles and promises.” As Parsons explained in a recent interview, that mission now includes emergency aid for evacuated Israeli families. To cite just a few examples, the ICEJ has provided more than 14,000 food boxes; offered housing assistance; sponsored therapy and emotional support for some 1,000 children; and helped with children’s educational needs.

The ICEJ also raises money for ambulances, protective helmets, search and recovery tools, first aid equipment, and other emergency supplies. And it donates portable bomb shelters to vulnerable Israeli communities along Israel’s borders with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. There are now over 150 such shelters in place.

Parsons said the ICEJ advocates for Israel in more than 95 countries on six continents worldwide. It sends speakers around the world “to increase Christian awareness and support of Israel by stimulating leaders, churches and organizations to become effective influences in their countries on behalf of the Jewish people.” Specifically, Parsons wants to explain to Christians the need to defend against what he calls the “pure evil” of Hamas.

In just the past four months, the ICEJ has organized or taken part in pro-Israel rallies in at least 70 countries.

The ICEJ also lobbies foreign governments, diplomats and community leaders to build secular support for Israel. This has included, for example, a lobby day on Capitol Hill, where 70 pastors and rabbis paired off together and met with at least 30 members of the United States Congress.

To understand the power of this kind of support for Israel, consider that there are more than 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide. In the United States, evangelicals make up a quarter of the population.

Unfortunately, some moderate and left-leaning American Jewish leaders reject evangelical support, simply because they don’t like the brand of theology it’s based on. Also, they denigrate the evangelical alliance with American conservatives. For example, the policy director at J Street, Debra Shushan, has said, “Christian Zionism, particularly of the variety that has become predominant among American evangelical Christians in recent decades, which sees Jewish control and settlement in the entire land of Israel as a requirement for fulfilling their end-times prophecies, has been extremely detrimental to US politics, and US policy toward Israel.” New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch provides another good example of this in his recent book, Can We Talk About Israel? There, he devotes a whole chapter to a dismissive take on evangelical support for the Jewish state.

This attitude is all too common among American Jews. Writing in City Journal, James Q. Wilson noted that “despite their support for a Jewish state, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are disliked by many Jews.” Indeed, “in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists.” Evangelicals have a high regard for Jews and the Jewish state. But as Wilson put it, “Jews don’t return the favor.”

In the wake of October 7, here’s what I would say to people like Shushan and Sokatch: Israel is in an existential crisis; there’s been a widespread resurgence of antisemitism; and Christians of good will are trying to help. So why are you playing politics and arguing about theology? Allies don’t have to agree on everything. They just have to agree on one thing – in this case, the survival of the Jewish state.

Jewish rejection of evangelical support is shortsighted and self-defeating. As Wilson said, “Whatever the reason for Jewish distrust of evangelicals, it may be a high price to pay when Israel’s future, its very existence, is in question.” Thus, he concluded: “When it comes to helping secure Israel’s survival, the tiny Jewish minority in America should not reject the help offered by a group that is ten times larger and whose views on the central propositions of a democratic society are much like everybody else’s.”

When they look at the work of people like David Parsons, Jewish leaders would do well to keep that in mind.

Paul Schneider is an attorney, writer and member of the Board of Directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI), an affiliate of B’nai B’rith International.

About the Author
Paul Schneider is an attorney, writer and member of the Board of Directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI), an affiliate of B’nai B’rith International. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland and frequently travels to Israel.
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