Well, glory be. Finally, Christian evangelical leaders who step forward with a pragmatic and realistic approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of the usual drivel from the John Hagees and Pat Robertsons of the evangelical world supporting a maximalist Israeli nationalist perspective. Thanks to Daoud Kuttab for pointing me to a terrific statement published last month in Christianity Today by 80 evangelical leaders. It reads in part:
In the context of our ongoing support for the security of Israel, we believe that unless the situation between Israel and Palestine improves quickly, the consequences will be devastating. Palestinians—especially the youth who have no economic opportunity—are increasingly sympathetic to radical solutions and terrorism. As a result, the threat to Israel’s security is now greater.
Likewise, the threat to America’s national security is greater. Because so many of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims see America through the prism of Israel-Palestine, the longer the current situation continues, the more likely it is that anti-American attitudes, policies, and terrorist activities will increase dramatically among Muslims worldwide.
…The Bible clearly teaches that God longs for justice and peace for all people. We believe that the principles about justice taught so powerfully by the Hebrew prophets apply to all nations, including the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians. Therefore we are compelled to work for a fair, negotiated solution for both Israelis and Palestinians. We resolve to work diligently for a secure, enduring peace and a flourishing economy for the democratic State of Israel. We also resolve to work for a viable permanent, democratic Palestinian State with a flourishing economy that offers economic opportunity to all its people. We believe that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution.
…We call on all evangelicals, all Christians, and everyone of good will to join us to work and pray faithfully in the coming months for a just, lasting two-state solution in the Holy Land. We call on all involved governments to work diligently toward this goal. And we covenant to pray for the leaders of all the nations engaged in this effort, hoping for them the blessing of our Lord, who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
…We are empowered by the knowledge that until He comes again, He summons us to support the things that promote peace and justice for everyone in the Holy Land.
Given the high profile enjoyed by the Christian Zionist zealots thanks to their embrace by AIPAC, it is easy to forget that there are evangelicals who are clear-eyed in their analysis of the issues. We need to make common cause with them and to continually ask AIPAC why it chooses the lunatic fringe instead of leaders like the ones featured here.