By Bradley Martin/JNS.org
“There is no place in the Bible…that any of these people can hang their hat on,” said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), in a rebuke to Christians who promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“It is fake theology, like it is fake news!” she said, earning a thunderous applause at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) International Christian Media Convention, held this year in Orlando, Fla.
NRB is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers and readers. NRB’s stated mission is to “advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech.” A major theme at this year’s conference was the display of strong Christian support for the state of Israel.
“The DNA of NRB is pro-Israel, because it is a biblical DNA,” said NRB President Dr. Jerry Johnson. “If you’re a scriptural kind of a [Christian] believer of any kind, you’re going to be pro-Israel.”
This love for the Jewish state was all the more apparent in NRB’s exhibition hall, which featured hundreds of vendors representing a number of Christian media organizations and ministries. Pilgrimages to Israel were marketed to Christians, along with the sale of Jewish ritual items such as tallitot (prayer shawls) and shofarot (rams’ horns blown on Rosh Hashanah and other occasions) by a number of pro-Israel groups.
One such organization is Cardoza-Moore’s PJTN, established to educate Christians about their biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and with Israel. Other pro-Israel organizations and individuals were present at the NRB gathering in order to provide Christians with the means to show their support for Israel, such as Rev. Jerry Clark of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA). Clark is the director of AFMDA’s Heart to Heart Israel, an outreach initiative that raises funds to supply ambulances for lifesaving work in Israel. For illustration purposes, a fully equipped ambulance was on display in the exhibition hall.
As part of its resolutions for 2017, NRB’s board of directors was unequivocal in its support of Israel. The board called on NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and affirmed Israel’s adherence to democratic principles. The board also urged the U.S. to “continue to stand by Israel,” and called on all Christian organizations and denominations to reject and guard against the BDS movement.
“We’re one of the first states in the United States to support Israel with resolution after resolution. In fact, Tennessee believes Israel should be the 51st state!” said U.S. Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tenn.).
Another major theme at this year’s NRB conference was Israel’s distinction as the only place in the Middle East where Christians can prosper and practice their religion without fear of discrimination. An Israeli Greek Orthodox priest, Father Gabriel Naddaf, was the special guest of PJTN. Naddaf advocates for the integration of Israeli Christians into all of Israel’s state institutions, especially when it comes to the military and national service programs.
Naddaf added that Middle Eastern Christians are becoming more open about their support for Israel, despite the threat of retribution by Islamic extremists. In 2013, Naddaf’s eldest son, Jubran, was beaten up in Nazareth due to his father’s outspoken support for Israel. Despite the head and body injuries he sustained in the beating by a young Arab with an iron rod, Jubran proceeded to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces the next year, making his father proud.
“As children of [Israel], we are obligated to defend her,” said Father Naddaf. “Israel is the only country that stands for Christians in the Middle East. No one else is standing against the eradication of Christians.”
Bradley Martin is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center news and public policy group and deputy editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.