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The New Christian Right’s relations with Israel and with the American Jews: the mid-1970s onward

Mokhtar BEN BARKA

Résumés

Le présent article a pour objectif de montrer que la relation entre la nouvelle Droite chrétienne et les Juifs est compliquée et qu’elle est même source de controverse. Les partisans de la nouvelle Droite chrétienne sont connus pour leur soutien indéfectible à Israël. Leur attachement à l’État hébreu trouve ses origines dans les enseignements transmis dans la Bible, selon lesquels Dieu bénira ceux qui béniront le peuple juif et maudira ceux qui maudiront le peuple juif (Genèse, 12.3). Cependant, la vision qu’ont les évangélistes d’Israël et des Juifs suscite un grand débat au sein de la communauté juive. Beaucoup de Juifs émettent des réserves sur toute collaboration avec les évangéliques : ils doutent de leurs motivations et rejettent l’interprétation qu’ils font des prophéties bibliques laissant entendre que les Juifs devront reconnaître le Christ après son second avènement. Dans l’attente, les évangéliques les prennent pour cibles afin de les convertir.

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  • 1  See Martin Durham, “Evangelical Protestantism and foreign Policy in the United States after Septem (...)

1Since the election of Jimmy Carter to the presidency in 1976, conservative Protestants – mainly evangelicals and fundamentalists – have dramatically increased their visibility and influence in American politics. For many decades, they had followed a policy of strict separation from worldly affairs, a policy based on the conviction that the world was sinful and not worthy of their involvement. In the mid-1970s they decided to abandon their long tradition of quietism and political passivity and to engage instead in politics. Underlying the remobilization of American evangelicals into public life was their deep concern about the domestic policy, and more specifically the protection of the traditional family, as they felt that their entire way of life was threatened by such by-products of modernity as rising crime, the rapid increase in the percentage of children born out of wedlock, the widespread use of drugs. But the election of George W. Bush has resulted in the increase in the evangelicals’ interest in foreign policy.1

  • 2  It is also called “New Religious Right” or simply “Religious Right.” See for example Clyde Wilcox, (...)
  • 3  Frances Fitzgerald, “The Evangelical Surprise,” The New York Review of Books, April 26, 2007.

2Together with conservative Catholics, orthodox Jews, Mormons, and members of many other religious groups, evangelicals formed the core constituency of a politicized and right-wing movement, dubbed “New Christian Right” (henceforth NCR).2 Through increased participation in politics, this coalition largely contributed to the dramatic alteration in the national political balance. No longer marginal, evangelicals and fundamentalists constitute a key element in American public life and a serious political force to be reckoned with. Since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, they have exercised their influence on behalf of the Republican Party, thus becoming an indispensable force within the GOP. “White evangelicals,” confirms Frances Fitzgerald, “have become […] the GOP’s most reliable constituency, and they normally provide about a third of the Republican votes.”3

  • 4  Jerry Falwell in David Brog, Standing with Israel. Why Christians Support the Jewish State, Lake M (...)

3As defined by fundamentalist pastor Jerry Falwell (1938-2007), founder of the Moral Majority and former spokesman of the New Christian Right, the movement’s agenda is “1) Pro-life – opposition to abortion and euthanasia; 2) Pro-traditional family – one man for one woman in one lifetime; 3) Pro-moral – opposition to pornography and illegal drugs; 4) Pro-American – favoring a strong national defense and support for Israel and Jewish people everywhere.”4The special mention of Israel and the Jewish people shows that support for Israel had been an issue for evangelicals and fundamentalists right from the start of their political activism, and not an afterthought. More significantly, the close relationship between evangelicals and Israel has shaped popular opinion in America and, to some extent, U.S. foreign policy. Not only have most evangelicals been committed to Israel, they have also often been drawn to policies advocated by the hard-line forces within the Jewish state. Similarly, the Israeli government and its American allies have been building their alliance with evangelicals for decades.

4Yet, many conservative Christians and their Jewish allies – both in Israel and in the United States – acknowledge a certain tension between the evangelical belief in a Biblical commission to convert non-Christians and their simultaneous desire to help the Jews of Israel. While conservative evangelicals pledge their love for the State of Israel, support its claims against those of the Palestinians, and resist anything that might undercut Israel's security, they try to convert the Jews into Christianity and sometimes blame them for the mess the world is in.

5As the title indicates, this essay seeks to explore the New Christian Right’s relations with Israel and with the American Jews. In the following pages, I will first identify both the New Christian Right and the American Jews. Then, I will examine how the evangelicals’ unconditional defense of Israel stems from the dispensational belief that the Jews must return to the Holy Land as a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. Before showing how evangelicals have organized so as to support Israel, I will analyze the evangelical-Israeli relations. Finally, I will argue that although the New Christian Right’s supporters consider themselves as Israel’s best friends, their relationship is not as simple as it appears.

1. The New Christian Right in context

  • 5  As fundamentalists such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, and Randall Terry have faded from the (...)

6The New Christian Right is a broad network of politically oriented ministries and political organizations operating primarily within the Republican Party. In the late 1970s, evangelical and fundamentalist leaders accepted to join forces with Republican activists with a view to mobilizing key constituencies to a conservative social agenda motivated by religious values. In addition to white evangelicals, the NCR’s organizations and leaders drew significant numbers of conservative Catholics and Mormons. Today, the most influential organizations are Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins’s Family Research Council, and Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America.5 Adherents of the New Christian Right were an essential part of the coalition that largely contributed to George W. Bush’s 2004 victory.

  • 6  David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, Lond (...)
  • 7  Mark A. Noll, American Evangelical Christianity. An Introduction, Cambridge, MA:Blackwell, 2001, p (...)

7Although not all American evangelicals adhere to the NCR’s agenda, most of its members are evangelical. Neither neo-evangelicals nor progressive evangelicals support the Christian Right. At its core, evangelicalism rests on a consistent pattern of convictions and attitudes that British historian David W. Bebbington has identified as conversion (the belief that lives need to be changed), biblicism (a reliance on the Bible as the ultimate religious authority), activism (a concern for sharing the faith), and crucicentrism (a focus on Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, considered as the only way to salvation).6 These commitments, as Mark A. Noll has pointed out, have never by themselves yielded cohesive, institutionally compact or clearly demarcated groups of Christians. But “they do serve to identify a large family of churches and religious organizations.”7

  • 8  George M. Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. (...)
  • 9  Michael O. Emerson & Christian Smith, Divided by Faith. Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Ra (...)

8From a historical viewpoint, the word “evangelicals” designated the churches and voluntary organizations descended from the eighteenth-century Protestant renewal movements sparked by John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards.8The churches and organizations spawned by revival movements have existed in an incredible diversity of institutional forms. During the nineteenth century, evangelicalism constituted the dominant religious expression within American society.9 Denominations today, marked by this historical evangelical tradition, include the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest evangelical denomination with 16.5 million members), the Assemblies of God, the Church of the Nazarene, the Salvation Army, and tens of thousands of independent local churches.

  • 10  For further details, see Norman F. Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, 1918-1931, Hamden, Con (...)

9Fundamentalists are those Christians who hold the four above-mentioned evangelical convictions most literally or most militantly. Fundamentalism grew out of American evangelicalism, of which it has become a major component. The other evangelical traditions are neo-evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. Fundamentalists and evangelicals share many core theological beliefs. Yet, while all fundamentalists are evangelicals, not all evangelicals are necessarily fundamentalists.10

  • 11  For further details, see Jerome L. Himmelstein, “The New Right,” in Robert C. Liebman & Robert Wut (...)
  • 12  The New Christian Right played a major role in the enactment of the International Religious Freedo (...)
  • 13  Quoted in Alan Dehmer, Unholy Alliance. Christian Fundamentalism and the Israeli State, Washington (...)
  • 14  Jerry Falwell in Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon. How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Bes (...)

10The political awakening of the evangelical movement enlivened and expanded the organizational infrastructure for the New Christian Right.11Internationally, the New Christian Right’s main concerns are the fight against communism, pro-abortion policies, and the defense of Christians’ right to proselytize everywhere around the world, including Muslim countries.12 Besides, members of the New Christian Right overtly stand up for Israel. “I feel that America,” declared the Pentecostalist preacher Jimmy Swaggart, “is tied with the spiritual umbilical cord to Israel. The ties go back to long before the founding of the United States of America.”13 Jerry Falwell concurred: “We are very pro-Jewish, pro-Israel. I would say evangelicals are the very best friends Israelis have in the whole world outside their own family.”14 More recently, John Hagee, pastor of the 17,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, has set up a pro-Israel lobby called “Christians United for Israel” (CUFI), whose aim was to spread the Zionist ideology in evangelical churches and promote the support of Israel as a religious duty. In fact, NCR leaders and members alike firmly believe that not to support Israel was to align oneself against the purposes of God.

  • 15  The term “Christian Zionist” is relatively new. It did not come into widespread use until the 1990 (...)
  • 16  See Victoria Clark, Allies for Armageddon. The Rise of Christian Zionism, New Haven and London: Ya (...)
  • 17  Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: The Secret Alliance Between Israel and the U.S. Christian Ri (...)
  • 18  Dana Milbank, “Religious Right Finds Its Center in Oval Office”, The Washington Post, January 6, 2 (...)

11Since the 1970s, evangelicals and “Christian Zionists”15 have come to play an increasingly important role in influencing American policy toward Israel. As the Israel/Palestine conflict has escalated in recent years, evangelical preachers and their communities have rushed to “Stand for Israel” – organizing support rallies, letter-writing campaigns, and tours of the “Holy Land.”16 Many fundamentalists have raised funds to promote the Israeli settlement of the occupied West bank and Gaza. As Grace Halsell demonstrated in her Prophecy and Politics, the alliance between the State of Israel and the American evangelical movement was determined to eradicate the Palestinian population from their Holy Land and other Arab neighboring countries in order for the evangelicals to prepare for the Coming of the Messiah.17 The influence of these Christian Zionists has reached a peak during the Administration of George W. Bush, who heavily relied on evangelical backing and at times promoted evangelical values and modes of thinking.18

2. Identifying the American Jews

  • 19  Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. The Limits of Its Power and the Potential for C (...)
  • 20 Ibid.
  • 21 Ibid.

12American Jews are American citizens of the Jewish faith or Jewish ethnicity. The American Jewish community is essentially composed of Jews who emigrated from Central and Eastern Europe, and their U.S.-born descendants. The Jewish population of the United States is either the largest in the world, or second to that of Israel, depending on the sources and methods used to measure it. As defined by National Population Survey, there were more than 5 million American Jews in 2001.19 New York is the second largest Jewish population center in the world (with 1,750,000 inhabitants). According to Dan Flashler, about 44 percent of American Jews are “unaffiliated,” which – as defined by the National Population Survey – means they don’t belong to synagogues, Jewish community centers, or other Jewish organizations.20 A little less than half of American Jews belong to synagogues.21 Many of these affiliated Jews have close relations with both evangelicals and Zionist Christians.

  • 22  Hasia Diner, The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000, Berkeley, California:University of Calif (...)

13Jews have been present in what is today the United States of America as early as the seventeenth century. In September 1654, twenty-three Jewish refugees from Brazil stepped ashore in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. They had not journeyed there intentionally. They simply knew they had to get out of Brazil, which had recently been taken by the Portuguese from the Dutch, who allowed Jews religious and economic freedom.22 Jewish immigration to the United States increased dramatically in the early 1880s, as a result of persecution and economic difficulties in parts of Eastern Europe.

14While earlier Jewish immigrants tended to be politically conservative, the wave of Eastern European Jews starting in the early 1880s were generally more liberal or left wing and became the political majority. Although American Jews generally leaned Republican in the second half of the 19th century, the majority has voted Democratic or leftist since at least 1916, when they voted 55% for Woodrow Wilson. American Jews voted 90% for Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the elections of 1940 and 1944, representing the highest of support, only equaled once since. In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama.

  • 23  M. J. Rosenberg, “Foreword”, in Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. op. cit., p. vi (...)
  • 24  Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. op. cit., p. 2.
  • 25 Ibid.

15When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Director of Israel Policy Forum’s Washington Office, M. J. Rosenberg, asserts that “most Jews do not share the AIPAC worldview.”23 Surveys have consistently shown that, compared to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also called Israel Lobby) and other powerful American Jewish groups that purport to represent that community in Washington and the media, American Jews are far more sympathetic to the Israeli left and more supportive of territorial compromise.24 A 2004 poll indicated that a majority of Jewish Americans favor the creation of an independent Palestinian State and believe that Israel should remove some or all of its settlements from the West Bank.There are dovish American Jewish organizations that try to build domestic support for an end to the Israeli occupation, for a two-State solution, and for a robust American diplomacy that would help to achieve those goals without selling either Israelis or Palestinians down the river.25 These dovish groups include Americans for Peace Now (APN), Israel Policy Forum (PIF), Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, Jewish Voices for Peace.

3. The Biblical reasons for the support of the State of Israel

  • 26  Timothy P. Weber, “How Evangelicals Become Israel’s Friends”, Christianity Today, October 5, 1998.

16On the most basic level, the NCR’s love for Israel is rooted in the Bible, which teaches that God blesses those who bless the Jews and God curses those who curse the Jews (Genesis 12:3). Besides, the latter – God’s chosen people – must return to their ancient homeland and establish their own State in preparation for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. Conservative Protestants believe that the Bible assigns the nation of Israel an important role as a harbinger of Jesus’s return and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. They read the Bible as if it were a huge jigsaw puzzle of prophecies, with Israel in the center of biblical prophecy, with the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount, the site of Solomon’s Temple, as possible touchdown sites for Christ.26 In fact, the rebuilding of the Temple is seen as a major component of the “Great Tribulation,” without which the return of Jesus Christ cannot take place.

  • 27  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 212.

17Supporters of the New Christian Right view the Bible's story as their own and the land of the Bible as a kind of home away from home. Israel is where Jesus was born, ministered, was crucified, and rose again. They believe that human history follows a predetermined divine script, and they and Israel are simply playing their assigned roles. Evangelicals' eschatological view of the Bible gives them a proprietary interest in Israel. In a way, they think the Holy Land belongs to them as much as it does to the Israelis. Every year thousands of evangelicals take what amounts to a religious pilgrimage to Israel to "walk where Jesus walked" and see for themselves places they have read about in the Bible. But as Israel – the key element in the apocalyptic scenario – seems always in danger, they increasingly want to do what they can to protect it, to make sure that it will be where it is supposed to be to carry out its unique role in the end times.27

  • 28  Timothy P. Weber, “Dispensationalism”, in Daniel G. Reid et al., Dictionary of Christianity in Ame (...)
  • 29  For a detailed account, see Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, Chicago: The Universit (...)

18These beliefs originate in a complex system of biblical interpretation known as dispensationalism, a deeply apocalyptic approach to the Bible’s prophetic passages, especially those in Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.28Dispensationalism was propagated in the nineteenth century by an Irish Anglican preacher named James Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Well-educated, Darby graduated from Trinity College with honors. After a flirtation with numerous Bible societies and conferences in Dublin, he sought and obtained ordination at the new Anglican parish in Calvary in 1825. Since 1830, he had been meeting with a number of like-minded dissenters and even regular Anglicans in Plymouth, England. Darby made a number of missionary visits to North America in the 1860s and 1870s promoting his message.29

  • 30  It is to be noted that the idea of the “Rapture” is not a very old one at all. It occurs nowhere i (...)
  • 31 Left Behind (1995-2007)is the title of a series of thirteen novels written by fundamentalist preach (...)

19Darby’s great contribution was the division of biblical history into seven epochs or “dispensations,” during which human beings are tested according to their obedience to a specific revelation of the will of God, the first being the paradise of the Garden of Eden and the last being the Millennium. Darby thought we were at the end of the sixth dispensation, close to a period of wars and natural catastrophes called the “Great Tribulation” ushering a period of peace, the Millennium. But the Church will be “raptured,” Darby specified, before the arrival of the Antichrist and the start of the tribulation. What the “Rapture” means is that the righteous will be swept up from earth to heaven.30 Those “left behind” will then suffer a seven-year period of horror under the Antichrist, who will only be vanquished with the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon.31

  • 32  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 13.
  • 33  Other Christians conclude that Jesus’s Second Coming will follow the world’s conversion to Christ (...)

20In Darby’s belief, before any of the prophesied end-times events could take place, Jews would have to re-establish their own State in the Holy Land. As Timothy P. Weber puts it, “without a restored Jewish state, there would be no Antichrist, no great tribulation, no battle of Armageddon, and no Second Coming.”32 After his return, Christ will establish a kingdom of peace whose center will be Jerusalem. Since they place the Second Coming before the Millennium, dispensationalists are called premillennialists.33 Premillennial dispensationalism was widely accepted by American evangelicals. In the twenties, many fundamentalists considered dispensationalism a non-negotiable part of Christian orthodoxy.

4. The evangelical-Israeli relations

21The unexpected Israeli victory in the Six-Day War strengthened the evangelicals’ conviction that Israel was to play an important role in the developments that were to precede the arrival of the Messiah. Now that the Jews were “home” in the land of Israel and had expanded beyond the 1948 borders, evangelicals became actively committed to keeping them there. To that end, they joined hands with American and Israeli Jews in providing political and practical support for the State of Israel. Beginning in the 1970s, they traveled to Israel in great numbers, and founded dozens of groups at home to lobby for Israel in Congress, the State Department, and the news media. They also provided humanitarian aid to Israel and assisted Jews from the former Soviet Union and other places who wanted to immigrate to the Holy Land. The evangelicals’ views of Bible prophecy also make them oppose all kinds of efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

22In the 1970s, the Israelis began to understand the importance of the American evangelical community. On the American side, evangelicals realized that they needed to become more hands-on in their support of the Jewish State due to the increasing pressure on Israel to make peace with its neighbors by giving up occupied territory. Often this support resulted in a strong advocacy of the policies promoted by the more hard-line forces within the Jewish state. The more the evangelical-Israeli relationship developed, the more blatant political evangelical support for Israel became. Many evangelical leaders were honored by the State of Israel. Thus, in 1980, the Jewish National Fund honored Jerry Falwell at a special New York luncheon. He was also one of the recipients of the Jabotinsky Award – given in honor of the birth of Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky – presented by Prime Minister Menahem Begin himself. In 1982, Jerry Falwell signed a letter in support of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon from the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, a Zionist group set up after the 1967 war. The evangelical-Israeli relations had become so close that no Israeli Prime Minister since Menahem Begin would think of making a trip to the United States without checking in with leaders of the New Christian Right.

  • 34  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on Amer (...)
  • 35  Martin Durham, “Evangelical Protestantism and Foreign Policy in the United States after September (...)

23During the 1980s-2000s, a friendly attitude toward Israel has been part and parcel of the evangelical vision for America’s global policy. Ronald Reagan was influenced in forming his Middle East policy by evangelical premillenialist views. As Yaakov Ariel suggests, “one can look upon the Reagan administration as the beginning of long years of evangelical predominance in the corridors of the American policy making.”34 While other considerations too determined American policies toward Israel during the post-Reagan years, the evangelical conservative Christian demand that America should assist the Jewish State played an important role. In April 1998 a 3,000-strong pro-Israel meeting, attended essentially by evangelicals, was addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Earlier in the year, he had met Richard Land and other leading evangelicals, who pledged to call on evangelicals to “use their influence in support of the State of Israel and the prime minister.”35

  • 36  Paul C. Merkeley, American Presidents, Religion and Israel: The Heirs of Cyrus, Westport, Conn.: P (...)
  • 37  James Dobson in David D. Kirkpatrick, “For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign polic (...)
  • 38  See Ami Eden, “Christians split over Bush, peace process,” Forward, 22 August 2003.

24George W. Bush, a committed evangelical Christian himself, was influenced by conservative evangelical values and agendas. In addition to extending political and financial aid, he seemed at times to be reluctant to initiate diplomatic moves that might upset evangelical supporters of Israel.36 Many conservative evangelicals voiced their opposition to the Bush administration’s support for the “road map” for peace in which the White House foresaw an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories as part of a compromise with Palestinians, including the creation of a Palestinian State and negotiations that would raise the question of the status of Jerusalem. “They began by saying they had to take a hard line, by saying they would support Israel and they ended up urging them to compromise and go home,” preacher James Dobson protested. “All that is going to do is allow everybody to reload. That didn’t solve anything.”37 The Jerusalem Prayer Team, which was supported by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and many other evangelical leaders, gathered signatures for a letter to President Bush urging him to reject the road map. They warned that evangelicals would turn against the President if he supported the road map. In January 2006 Pat Robertson suggested that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke might have been God’s punishment for withdrawing from territory that belonged to the Biblical Israel.38

  • 39  See Ed Lasky, “Barack Obama and Israel,” American Thinker, January 16, 2008.

25Seen through the lens of evangelical Christians, Obama’s record on Israel was negative, in sharp contrast with John McCain’s staunch support for the Jewish State. During the 2008 campaign, evangelicals and Republicans alike pointed to Obama’s comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates.39 Early on in his career he chose a church headed by Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., a former Black Muslim who was a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-semitism. Wright’s church, Trinity UnitedCommunity Church,is a member of a denomination whose governing body has taken a series of anti-Israel actions. When he became a leading Presidential candidate, Obama found support from George Soros, a multibillionaire promoter of groups that have been consistently harsh and biased critics of the American-Israel relationship.

26As he began his Presidential campaign in 2008, Obama reiterated his support for Israel as a Jewish state, appeared to oppose a Palestinian right of return, and did not support talks with Hamas. In some of his speeches, he talked about how Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel but qualified it by saying that ultimately it would be up to both parties in any final negotiation. Likewise, he expressed his willingness to talk to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and made sympathetic comments about the plight of Palestinians. All these public statements were taken by supporters of Israel as signs that he did not truly support Israel.

27In a major speech delivered on May 19, 2011, President Obama reiterated unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security, and he endorsed major negotiating positions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, including an incremental handover of security responsibilities by Israel when conditions on the ground allow it. While he repeated the strong U.S. opposition to Hamas playing a leadership role unless it recognizes Israel’s right to exist and renounces terrorism, he urged that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders. Obama’s call for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine based on the 1967 borders marked a significant shift in U.S. policy. Benjamin Netanyahu rejected any withdrawal from the West Bank, arguing that such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel’s security. In the United States, several of the likely Republican candidates – Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum – for the 2012 presidential election criticized President Obama for not being supportive enough of Israel.

5. The evangelical-Jewish pro-Israeli lobbies

  • 40  Gaylord Briley in Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 213.

28Shortly after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and prior to the creation of a great number of Zionist lobbies, evangelicals featured several events in support of the Jewish State, most notably the Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Prophecy held June 15-18, 1971. Organized by a minister named Gaylord Briley, who promoted the gathering as a “ringside seat at the Second coming,”40 the conference was attended by fourteen hundred people. At the gathering, Gaylord convinced a number of evangelical media personalities and pastors of large churches to support the new state by scheduling Holy Land tours. The Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Prophecy marked the beginning of a great wave of evangelical tourism to Israel, which over time became the foundation on which the strong relationship between Americans and Israel was built.

  • 41  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 217.
  • 42 Ibid.

29During the 1970s-2000s, the willingness of conservative evangelicals to actively support Israel increased significantly. To promote policies favorable to the interests of the Jewish State, pro-Israeli evangelicals created a multitude of lobbies. One of the most visible and best known pro-Israel Christian organizations was the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), which was formed in 1980 in reaction to the refusal of many nations to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Initially concentrating on promoting support for Israel in European, South American, Asian, and African countries, the ICEJ has also established itself in the United States.41 The Embassy’s international work focuses on lecturing, mostly in churches, about Israel’s role in history. It also helps new immigrants to Israel get established. But the ICEJ is better known for its annual Feast of Tabernacles conference and celebration which attracts about five thousand people from all around the world. This celebration consists of a variety of events – tours of the country for the Christian pilgrims, a march through Jerusalem’s main streets, a “biblical meal” served and celebrated on the shores of the Dead Sea. On the other hand, the Embassy provides welfare services, distributing money and goods to new immigrants as well as other needy Israelis. As a lobby, the ICEJ works hard to squelch diplomatic efforts to trade land for peace by supporting the rights of Israelis to establish settlements anywhere they choose in the West Bank and Gaza.42

  • 43  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on Amer (...)

30Over the years the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has become one of the most controversial among the Christian groups and agencies that work in the Middle East. As a rule, liberal Christians have no contact with the Embassy and many of them reject its messages and its activities, which they view as one-sided. Likewise, Middle Eastern churches generally resent the ICEJ and its activities. Most of these churches have Arab constituencies, sympathize with Arab national feelings, and have expressed support for the Palestinian cause. They see the International Christian Embassy and evangelical Christians in general as offering one-sided support for Israel. Many members of these Churches have signed petitions condemning the Embassy’s activities.43

  • 44  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 221.

31While Arab and pro-Arab Christians have manifested their resentment toward Zionist Christians, Israeli leaders have welcomed them with open arms. In addition, there was in the United States a remarkable shift in Israeli political strategy. The AIPAC, the Jewish State’s major lobbying group in Washington D.C., started in the mid-1980s realigning itself with the American political right-wing, including Christian conservatives.44

  • 45  Founded by David Lewis and other evangelicals, the National Christian Leadership Conference for Is (...)
  • 46  For further details, see Celia Belin, Jésus est juif en Amérique. Droite évangélique et lobbies ch (...)
  • 47  Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zionism, p. 168.
  • 48  Michelle Goldberg in Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zio (...)

32Israel began working seriously with American evangelical Christians at the precise moment when American fundamentalists and evangelicals were massively joining the New Christian Right. One of the earliest pro-Israel organizations created by American evangelicals under the auspices of the NCR was Christian Concerned for Israel, which eventually changed its name to the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel.45 Other organizations of this type include: National Unity Coalition for Israel, Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, Christians United for Israel (CUFI).46 Created in February 2006 by John Hagee, CUFI was intended to be “a Christian version of the influential AIPAC, only stronger.”47 It comprises a network of evangelical political activists whose main duty is to lobby both Senators and Representatives on issues of immediate concern to the State of Israel. In its first lobbying effort, Christians United for Israel succeeded in July 2006 in bringing 3400 Christian Zionists to Washington D.C. CUFI’s activities are the subjects of heated debates, not least among American Jews. Michelle Goldberg, a critic of the New Christian Right, and author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, argued that Hagee’s influence is dangerous because it makes Americans support George W. Bush’s “completely one-sided, hawkishly pro-Israel stance” in support of Israel’s military action in Lebanon.48 It should be added that John McCain sought and obtained support from John Hagee. But he ended up rejecting Hagee’s endorsement.

6. The complicated relationship between the New Christian Right, the American Jews and the Israelis

  • 49  See Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 17.
  • 50  Rabbi James Rudin, The Baptizing of America. The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us, New Y (...)
  • 51 Ibid., p. 119.

33While evangelicals believed that Jews would play in the future an essential role in end-times events, their relationship with both the American Jews and the Israelis is basically complicated and even controversial. It raises complex issues and important theological problems. Though they denounced anti-Semitism as an awful sin, in the 1930s, dispensationalists were especially susceptible to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and actually used many similar arguments themselves, including the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.49Even today, most dispensationalists tend to fit Hitler’s genocidal plan for the Jews into their already-accepted prophetic scenario, both as punishment for their past sins, most notably “the murder of Christ,” and a catalyst for their desire for a home of their own. Quoted by Rabbi James Rudin, a 2004 American Jewish Committee survey indicated that a quarter of the Jews polled believe that most, or at least many, of the evangelicals in the United States are anti-Semitic.50 Although Orthodox Jews often share similar positions with evangelicals on such issues as opposition to abortion and support of public financial aid to religiously sponsored schools, it is the Orthodox Jewish community, more than any other segment of the American Jewish community, that senses a high amount of anti-Semitism among evangelicals.51

  • 52  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 17.

34When Israel was declared an independent nation, evangelicals were ecstatic. For the most part they ignored the ethical issues involved in Israeli statehood and showed little interest in the claims of the Palestinians, whom they saw as the enemies of God’s purposes.52 Because evangelicals expected a much larger Israel than was established in 1948, they approved Israeli efforts to expand their territory. Thus, they supported with great enthusiasm Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories following the Six-Day War and resisted the return of occupied land, especially the City of Jerusalem.

  • 53 Ibid., p. 18.
  • 54 Ibid., p. 17.

35Yet, many Jews have reservations about teaming up with evangelicals despite their unconditional support for the State of Israel. They suspect their real motives and resent their interpretation of Bible prophecies assuming that after most Jews have been destroyed by the Antichrist, the survivors will have to accept Jesus.53 Actually, according to the evangelicals’ prophetic belief, when Jesus comes in the end, surviving Jews will welcome him as their Savior and Messiah. But before “all Israel is saved,” most Jews will have to be destroyed.54 Yaakov Ariel underlined this ambivalence:

  • 55  Yaakov Ariel, On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, and Zio (...)

On the one hand they [Jews] are God’s chosen nation to whom the biblical prophecies refer. They will be restored to their ancient land and serve as the central nation in the millennial kingdom. On the other hand, as they have refused to recognize Jesus as their Messiah, their character reflects obnoxiousness and rebellion. Their road to glory is paved with suffering and destruction.55

36The Jews are understandably offended when someone tells them that their faith is incomplete or that they are going to hell.

  • 56  Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, New York (...)

37The Jews have cause to worry because evangelicals are active on both fronts, promoting support for the State of Israel, and evangelizing the Jews at the same time. While the Israeli government eagerly accepts public support of evangelicals and courts the leaders of the New Christian Right, many Jews bitterly condemn Christian proselytism and try their best to restrict the activities of missionaries in Israel. “Jews for Jesus” and other Christian Jewish groups in Israel have become especially effective in evangelizing, often with the support of foreign evangelicals. It is not surprising that Jewish leaders, both in the United States and Israel, react strongly to “Jews for Jesus” and the whole “Messianic Jewish” movement, whose concern is to promote awareness among the Jews as to God’s real plans for humanity and the need to accept Jesus as a Savior. In this respect, Gershom Gorenberg lamented the fact that “people who see Israel through the lens of Endtimes prophecy are questionable allies, whose support should be elicited only in the last resort. In the long run, their apocalyptic agenda has no room for Israel as a normal country.”56

  • 57  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 127.

38For their part, evangelicals see no contradiction in supporting the drive for a new Jewish State and evangelizing Jews at the same time. They believe that Jews can find Jesus while keeping their Jewish identity, with all its customs and beliefs intact. In their view, Judaism and Christianity are not incompatible. While they show their support for Jews by affirming Zionist aspirations, they tell them that Jesus is their true Messiah. Christians, it is argued, who did not anticipate a restored Jewish State or undertake the evangelization of the Jews were at odds with God’s prophetic purpose.57

  • 58  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on Amer (...)
  • 59 Ibid.

39During the 1970s-2000s, Messianic Jews established more than 250 congregations in America.58 Both in the United States and Israel, the movement has been developing. Jewish leaders have not welcomed the growth of Messianic Judaism, viewing it as a “cult” that “had come to capture Jewish souls, and lead young Jews astray.”59 Yet the Israeli government has protected the right of missionaries to evangelize in the country. The reason for this attitude is that Israel considers it essential to show to the world that it respects religious freedom.

  • 60  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, pp. 55-62.
  • 61  See Gershom Gorenberg, op. cit..

40On the other hand, certain American evangelicals encourage some of the most extreme and dangerous elements in Israeli society, most notably the Third Temple Movement, whose members believe that before the Great Tribulation, the Temple of Jerusalem has to be rebuilt, because the Antichrist will declare himself to be God there.60This idea might seem absurd, but when Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, suddenly everything seemed possible. Only a Jewish minority thinks that the rebuilding of the Temple is actually necessary, but it is much supported by American dispensationalists. Thus, the Temple Mount Faithful, an organization that claims that the Muslim shrines had to be removed and a third temple had to be constructed on the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Alqsa Mosque, has more popularity among American evangelicals than among Israeli Jews. Because they believe that a new temple will play a crucial role in the end times, evangelicals have provided spiritual, political, and financial support to some of the Third Temple Movement’s most controversial leaders.61

  • 62  John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, New York: Farra (...)

41Among further problems of evangelical support for Israel John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt count the reinforcement of hard-line attitudes in Israel and the United States. Due to their aid to Israeli settlers and their protest against territorial concessions, Israel and the United States now face difficulties they perhaps would have not to deal with otherwise: “without their support, settlers would be less numerous in Israel, and the U.S. and Israel governments would be less constrained by their presence in the Occupied Territories as well as their political activities.”62 Moreover, evangelical support for Israel makes it much more difficult for U.S. leaders to put pressure on Israel.

7. Conclusion

42Convinced that the reestablishment of a Jewish State in Palestine and the return of Jews to their homeland are signs of the approaching of the end of times, evangelicals engage themselves in order to protect Israel from those who want to wipe it out. Under the Bush Administration their support yielded fruit. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republicans attacked Barack Obama’s position on Israel, especially because of his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and some other harsh critics of Israel.

43When evangelicals force all the complicated issues in the Middle East through the tight grid of their prophetic views, they can lose the ability to think critically and ethically about what is really going on there. The tendency is for most evangelicals to idealize Israel and believe that it can do no wrong. Arabs, Palestinians and Iranians have been demonized because they are considered as the enemies of the State of Israel, and therefore the enemies of God.

  • 63  Former President Jimmy Carter, a fervent Southern Baptist, created a stir within the evangelical c (...)
  • 64  Richard Land quoted in Robert McMahon, “Christian Evangelicals and U.S. Foreign Policy,” Council o (...)
  • 65  Jim Wallis, God’s Politics. Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, New York, Har (...)
  • 66  See Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

44Evangelicals’ support for Israel is, of course, far from uniform. Not all evangelicals take an uncritically pro-Israel position. A growing number of socially progressive evangelicals, such as Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, Joel Hunter, Tony Campolo, Jimmy Carter,63 refuse to “give blind acceptance of everything that the state of Israel does or has done.”64 In God’s Politics (2005), Jim Wallis laments the fact that “there is no contiguous Palestinian territory in the West Bank or Gaza, no such thing as a Palestinian State, nor one in the making.”65Together with many other Christians – mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics –, progressive evangelicals believe that while Jews have a right to be secure within their own borders, they don’t have the right to seize other people's land, occupy their territory, ignore their rights of self-determination, and destroy the homes and businesses of Palestinian families.66

45In 2002, fifty-eight progressive evangelicals sent a letter to George W. Bush, asking him to employ an “even-handed policy toward Israeli and Palestinian leadership.”67 Acutely sensitive to the suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, these prominent evangelicals called for justice consistent with the exhortations of the Hebrew Prophets.68

  • 69  See “Letter to President Bush From Evangelicals Leaders,” The New York Times, July 29, 2007.
  • 70 Ibid.
  • 71 Ibid.

46Five years later, many of the same people wrote to President Bush again, asserting that large numbers of evangelical Christians support a Palestinian state as part of a two-State Middle East peace settlement. In this letter, which was published in the New York Times in July 2007, thirty-four prominent evangelical leaders, many of whom were the heads of Christian charities, ministry organizations, denominations, seminaries and universities, urged the president to proceed confidently and forthrightly with the peace initiative he had just proposed.69 They argued that blessing Israel and the Jews, in accordance with Genesis 12:3 can mean criticizing them in order to promote genuine peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. It can also mean to reject the notion of a Greater Israel that encompasses the occupied territories. The letter’s authors sought to correct what they called “a serious misperception among people … that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-State solution and the creation of a new Palestinian state.”70 They made reference to the “cycle of violence” in the region and the fact that “Israelis and Palestinians must both accept each other’s right to exist.”71 Finally, they said they hoped that the awareness of a large body of evangelical support for a permanent status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would “embolden” President Bush.

  • 72  John Hagee in Laurie Goodstein, “Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State,” (...)

47The letter came ten days after preacher Hagee’s CUFI convened in Washington and denounced George W. Bush’s new initiative on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Not surprisingly, prominent Christian Zionists immediately blasted it as misrepresenting mainstream evangelical beliefs. Pat Robertson called it unbiblical and appallingly naïve, in view of Hamas’s militancy and Fatah’s corruption. John Hagee responded: “Bible-believing evangelicals will scoff at that message.”72

48Certainly the relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Israel poses difficult questions, and people of good will may disagree about what is justifiable when survival is at stake. But for prophetic reasons, many evangelical Christians seem unable to entertain the possibility that Israel may be at fault in one way or another. Conservative evangelicals need to consider whether believing in Bible prophecy allows them to turn a blind eye on injustice. Do the ends justify the means, just because the ends have supposedly been prophesied?

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Notes

1  See Martin Durham, “Evangelical Protestantism and foreign Policy in the United States after September 11”, Patterns of Prejudice, Volume 38, Issue 2, June 2004, pp. 145-158.

2  It is also called “New Religious Right” or simply “Religious Right.” See for example Clyde Wilcox, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics (2nd edition), Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2000.

3  Frances Fitzgerald, “The Evangelical Surprise,” The New York Review of Books, April 26, 2007.

4  Jerry Falwell in David Brog, Standing with Israel. Why Christians Support the Jewish State, Lake Mary: FrontLine, 2006, p. 138.

5  As fundamentalists such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, and Randall Terry have faded from the limelight, media personalities such as Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham, Richard Land, and James Dobson have emerged as the most noteworthy representatives of the New Christian Right and are famous for their polemical claims.

6  David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, London & New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 1-17.

7  Mark A. Noll, American Evangelical Christianity. An Introduction, Cambridge, MA:Blackwell, 2001, p. 13.

8  George M. Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991, p. 2.

9  Michael O. Emerson & Christian Smith, Divided by Faith. Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, New York, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 6.

10  For further details, see Norman F. Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, 1918-1931, Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1963; George M. Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism; Joel Carpenter, Revive US Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism, London & New York, Oxford University Press, 1997.

11  For further details, see Jerome L. Himmelstein, “The New Right,” in Robert C. Liebman & Robert Wuthnow (eds), The New Christian Right: Mobilization and Legitimation, New York, Aldine Publishing Company, 1983, pp. 13-30.

12  The New Christian Right played a major role in the enactment of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

13  Quoted in Alan Dehmer, Unholy Alliance. Christian Fundamentalism and the Israeli State, Washington D.C.: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 1986, p. 7.

14  Jerry Falwell in Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon. How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004, p. 220.

15  The term “Christian Zionist” is relatively new. It did not come into widespread use until the 1990s, and there is no generally accepted definition for it. It denotes, in Stephen Spector’s words, “a Christian whose faith, often in concert with other convictions, emotions, and experiences, leads them to support the modern State of Israel as the Jewish homeland.” Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zionism, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 3.

16  See Victoria Clark, Allies for Armageddon. The Rise of Christian Zionism, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007.

17  Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: The Secret Alliance Between Israel and the U.S. Christian Right, Westport, Connecticut: Lawrence Hill & Company, 1989.

18  Dana Milbank, “Religious Right Finds Its Center in Oval Office”, The Washington Post, January 6, 2002.

19  Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. The Limits of Its Power and the Potential for Change, Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, 2009, p. 61.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22  Hasia Diner, The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000, Berkeley, California:University of California Press, 2004, p. 13.

23  M. J. Rosenberg, “Foreword”, in Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. op. cit., p. viii.

24  Dan Fleshler, Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. op. cit., p. 2.

25 Ibid.

26  Timothy P. Weber, “How Evangelicals Become Israel’s Friends”, Christianity Today, October 5, 1998.

27  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 212.

28  Timothy P. Weber, “Dispensationalism”, in Daniel G. Reid et al., Dictionary of Christianity in America, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1990, p. 358.

29  For a detailed account, see Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970, pp. 62-70. Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More. Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Pres, 1992, pp. 87-90.

30  It is to be noted that the idea of the “Rapture” is not a very old one at all. It occurs nowhere in the Old or New Testaments and is a rather recent concept developed primarily by John Nelson Darby. Yet it is woven into the fabric of American culture, a part of the culture’s hopes, dreams, fears, and mythology. A 2004 Newsweek poll found that 55 percent of Americans believed in the “Rapture.” See David Gates, “The Pop Prophets,” Newsweek, May 16, 2004.

31 Left Behind (1995-2007)is the title of a series of thirteen novels written by fundamentalist preacher Tim LaHaye and evangelical novelist Jerry B. Jenkins. This hybrid evangelical prophecy/science-fiction series of novels describes the “Rapture” of Christians prior to the Apocalypse, the rise of the Antichrist, and the final battle of Armageddon. See Glenn W. Shuck, Marks of the Beast. The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity, New York and London: New York University Press, 2005.

32  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 13.

33  Other Christians conclude that Jesus’s Second Coming will follow the world’s conversion to Christ and its transformation into a Christian golden age. Because they place Christ’s return after the Millennium, they are called postmillennialists. But most Christians believe that the Millennium actually began with Christ’s resurrection and can be seen in the church, where it will expand until the end of time and Christ’s return. See Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 10.

34  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on American Faith on American East Policies,” Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. IX - n°1/2011.

35  Martin Durham, “Evangelical Protestantism and Foreign Policy in the United States after September 11,” p. 151.

36  Paul C. Merkeley, American Presidents, Religion and Israel: The Heirs of Cyrus, Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004, pp. 213-228.

37  James Dobson in David D. Kirkpatrick, “For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign policy’,” The New York Times, November 14, 2006.

38  See Ami Eden, “Christians split over Bush, peace process,” Forward, 22 August 2003.

39  See Ed Lasky, “Barack Obama and Israel,” American Thinker, January 16, 2008.

40  Gaylord Briley in Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 213.

41  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 217.

42 Ibid.

43  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on American Faith on American East Policies,” op. cit.

44  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 221.

45  Founded by David Lewis and other evangelicals, the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel eventually became more ecumenical, including both Catholics and mainline Protestants. It schedules conferences, organizes letter-writing campaigns, places advertisements in newspapers, and puts on large public rallies.

46  For further details, see Celia Belin, Jésus est juif en Amérique. Droite évangélique et lobbies chrétiens pro-Israël, Paris : Fayard, 2011.

47  Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zionism, p. 168.

48  Michelle Goldberg in Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zionism, p. 171.

49  See Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 17.

50  Rabbi James Rudin, The Baptizing of America. The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us, New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2006, p. 118.

51 Ibid., p. 119.

52  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 17.

53 Ibid., p. 18.

54 Ibid., p. 17.

55  Yaakov Ariel, On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, and Zionism, 1865-1945, Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing, 1991, p. 40.

56  Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, New York: The Free Press, 2000, p. 240.

57  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 127.

58  Yakoov Ariel, “Messianic Hopes and Middle East Politics: the Influence of Millennial Faith on American Faith on American East Policies,” op. cit.

59 Ibid.

60  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, pp. 55-62.

61  See Gershom Gorenberg, op. cit..

62  John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, p. 138.

63  Former President Jimmy Carter, a fervent Southern Baptist, created a stir within the evangelical community when he published Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

64  Richard Land quoted in Robert McMahon, “Christian Evangelicals and U.S. Foreign Policy,” Council on Foreign Relations, August 23, 2006. http://www.cfr.org/publication/11341/christian_evangelicals_and_us_foreign_policy.

65  Jim Wallis, God’s Politics. Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, New York, HarperCollins, 2005, p. 173.

66  See Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

67  Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel. The Story of American Christian Zionism, p. 108

68  See http://campus.northpark.edu/centers/middle/midest.Letter_to_bush.htm.

69  See “Letter to President Bush From Evangelicals Leaders,” The New York Times, July 29, 2007.

70 Ibid.

71 Ibid.

72  John Hagee in Laurie Goodstein, “Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State,” The New York Times, July 29, 2007.

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Mokhtar BEN BARKA, « The New Christian Right’s relations with Israel and with the American Jews: the mid-1970s onward », E-rea [En ligne], 10.1 | 2012, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2012, consulté le 18 août 2017. URL : http://erea.revues.org/2753 ; DOI : 10.4000/erea.2753

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Mokhtar BEN BARKA

Université de Valenciennes
Mokhtar Ben Barka est Professeur d’histoire et de civilisation américaines à l’Université de Valenciennes. Spécialiste de la religion aux États-Unis, il a publié de nombreux articles sur la droite politique et religieuse, l’extrême droite, le protestantisme évangélique, le fondamentalisme. Il est également l’auteur de trois ouvrages, dont le plus récent s’intitule La Droite chrétienne américaine. Les Évangéliques à la Maison Blanche ?, Toulouse : Éditions Privat, 2006 (traduit en arabe, Egypte, 2008).

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