Joshua Mitnick wrote an excellent piece on Yechiel Eckstein’s promotion to the Jewish Agency Executive and the rising power of his evangelical International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. As far as I’m concerned this is the “money quote:”
Rabbi Eckstein said the pro-Israeli enthusiasm of Christian Zionists fills a “void” among the American Jewish public, which surveys suggest is less and less connected to Israel.
Instead of examining the deeper reasons why younger Diaspora Jews have become alienated from Israel–which would force us to examine Israeli policy that prevents peace and the leadership’s support for that policy–Eckstein essentially gives up on the next Jewish generation and turns to evangelicals; as if they can take the place of Jews. To me, the notion that an evangelical Christian, given all the baggage that this religion carries in its historic relation to Jews, can substitute for Jewish engagement with Israel is absurd. Not only absurd, but dangerous. What happens when the inevitable break happens between the evangelicals and Jews as their perceived self-interest diverges (say, when Israel makes a peace agreement which the former disagree with)? What will Israel be left with? Diminished Jewish support and no Christian Zionist support.
One issue that Mitnick left out of his story was IFCJ support for Jewish settlements. While the group supports communities within the Green Line, it funnels tremendous amounts of aid to settlements thereby helping prop up this enterprise. It should also be noted, as Gershom Gorenberg points out, that private aid to the settler movement though significant, is dwarfed by government aid.
Hat tip to Haim Dov Beliak.