Sunday, December 11, 2005

Friends and Enemies

Adam Dikter has an interesting column on a meeting between Jews and Evangelical Christians in an attempt to find common ground.
Set against the backdrop of recent negative pronouncements by national Jewish leaders about what they term the dangers of Evangelical groups who support Israel while seeking to convert Jews, the forum, titled "Uneasy Allies," analyzed the growing ties between the two groups and took aim at mutually held stereotypes.

"The goal was not advocacy of deepened relations between Evangelicals and Jews, but to provide for studying the relationship the way it is," said Alan Mittleman, director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS, which was one of the program co-sponsors. "We tried to be very balanced between people who do want to enhance the relationship and people who are very skeptical and wary of it."

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, Judaic scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, who participated in a forum on Evangelicals and Israel, said afterward that he believed interfaith dialogue "is not about accepting that we have irreconcilable differences, but it begins with mutual sacred rejection. That rejection should be done respectfully and warmly but each party rejects the core elements of the faith of the other. That is the beauty of America, that we disagree and our streets don't turn into Bosnia."

The program included sessions on whether the United States is a Christian country, on Christian support for Israel and on Jews and Evangelicals in public life. But some of the most provocative discussion took place in between the lectures.

One Evangelical leader declared that "There are millions of Evangelicals who are quite embarrassed by Pat Robertson." And another participant noted the irony of concern by Jews about proselytizing at a time when their largest denomination, Reform, recently endorsed a greater embrace of converting Christians. Several Evangelical Christians struggled to accept Rabbi Poupko's pronouncement that the teaching of biblical prophets as understood by Jews applied only to the circumstances at the time and do not necessarily tell us anything about contemporary life.
I say it's about time. There is still too much distrust demonstrated by Jews when it comes to Evangelicals. Yes, there are those who are only interested in converting us, but I think there are more Christians who are truly interested in the health and well being of Israel and of the Jews. And they demonstrate that concern with action:
There was also discussion of the growing sense of connection between Evangelicals and Israel. George W. Mamo, executive director of Stand for Israel, an advocacy institute of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said he sees Christians keeping older cars or smaller apartments in order to have money to donate to pro-Israel causes, like resettling Soviet Jews. "I've raised over $3 million, $75 at a time," said Mamo. "They see Israel's opponents as thugs and dictators and self-appointed kings." But he said he still confronts the stereotype among Jews that "we only have one motivation — to steal your children. That we have to get a certain number of Jews to Israel and then, boom, Jesus will come back."
It's time to stop fretting over the "Religious Right" and the irrational fear that they along with George Bush are trying to turn the United States into a theocratic Christian dictatorship.

On the other hand, we should keep watch on a different religious group in the United States. If Muslims ever gain enough power in the U.S., life could turn ugly for Jews. Jews are leaving France in droves and are are forced to try and not "look Jewish" in Great Britain. And how many Jews are even left in Muslim countries due to real Jew-hatred taking center stage as official government policy in many Middle Eastern countries? Back on November 5th, the Detroit News printed this vile piece of Israel bashing. In it, he excuses the remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on his call to "wipe Israel off the map". And then he indulges in the standard Islamic "blame everything on Israel" package of lies. If you follow the link it will take you to the website of the Islamic House of Wisdom, as, for some reason, the Detroit News no longer has Imam Elahi's columns in their archives. Also on Elahi's site they reprint the negative reactions to the column and then Imam Elahi's nonsensical rebuttal to his critics. Imam Elahi has stated that he does not hate Jews. I'm sure he does not hate all Jews. He has demonstrated a fondness for Jews who are willing to accept their dhimmi status.

Here at CAMERA, they take apart the imam's parade of lies one by one. CAMERA and other organizations are actively involved in exposing the lies of the anti-semitic, anti-Christian, anti-Western Islamic world. Because we in the west have such free and open societies, part of the Islamic world now finds its home within our civilization. Many Muslims are here to live a better life, but as we should be able to see from the poisonous lies being spread by the Islamic clergy, many have come to impose their degraded totalitarian life style on us. The destruction of Israel will make their job much easier. We can't allow that to happen.

The time has come for Jews to welcome Evangelical Christians as friends. Will we see eye to eye on everything? Of course not. But how many of your friends do you agree with on everything? Not many I bet. There is enough common ground between the two groups to work together to battle the Islamic totalitarian menace, and the sooner we jews realize it, the better.

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