Can you conceive of protests in America celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center?
While such a thought seems like a nightmare even more than 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, it is the reality for Israelis and American Jews after the Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,400 innocent civilians, including more than 200 from 20 other countries.
“Just imagine that two weeks after 9/11, people would be walking around with signs of support for Al-Qaeda,” commented Eliav Benjamin, deputy head of mission for the Embassy of Israel, during a recent news conference. “Yet that’s what we’re seeing in the streets of the United States.”
The American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), a broad network of more than 2500 evangelical leaders, held the virtual news conference on Oct. 26 to show support for Israel and the Jewish people.
Christian Leaders Respond
The news conference featured statements from prominent Christian leaders, including:
- Dr. Susan Michael, director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA and ACLI
- Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education
- Juan Rivera, executive director of Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition of NHCLC
- Troy Miller, president and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)
The news conference also featured Benjamin and Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and was held to announce an ACLI letter campaign to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, U.S. President Joe Biden, and more than 300 presidents of Ivy League and state universities. In five days, more than 115 leaders from more than 100 organizations had signed the letters.
“The largest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust has taken place, and we felt so far away and so helpless,” noted Michael. “The immensity of evil behind this attack was more than we could comprehend. We have prayed much as a Christian community, all around the world. We have given financially to relief work in Israel, but we must also take a stand and speak out.”
The first letter to the secretary-general of the United Nations called for him to demonstrate moral clarity by condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and supporting Israel’s right to defend her citizens by eradicating the terrorist group from their southern border.
Michael expressed strong disappointment over the response of Guterres. “Not only is Israel a member state of the United Nations, but citizens of 30 other member states were killed or held hostage in this same attack. The secretary-general should be condemning this terrorist attack, but instead, he chose to blame Israel.”
The letter to Biden praised his strong stance thus far for Israel and encouraged him to intervene with the United Nations on Israel’s behalf. The letter to university presidents urged them to take a clear stance against antisemitism and to safeguard Jewish students, who are being threatened verbally and physically on American college campuses.
“America must side with truth,” Parker said. “The Palestinian Authority has consistently turned away from peace negotiations throughout the years. We are a new, interconnected world, yet they continue to foster a culture of hate in that region. We stand with Israel.”
Rivera noted the consistent and overwhelming support of Hispanic evangelicals for Israel and urged Christians to take a stand locally with their Jewish neighbors. “Now is the time to connect with your local synagogue and your local Jewish community,” he said. “If they’re holding an event, attend it. Have your own events—nights of solidarity, nights of prayer. If you do not have a relationship with your local Jewish community, now is the time for that bridge to be built.”
Lewin commented on the disturbing rise of antisemitic protests and hate at American universities after the Oct. 7 terror attacks. “Those demonstrating are not only justifying Hamas atrocities but celebrating Hamas atrocities,” she said. “They are not just showing support for the murder of Jews but pledging allegiance to Hamas.”
The terror attacks are the outcome of a repeated lie that the Jews are white colonizers who must be driven from the land, Lewin shared. “Hate escalates in stages, and it begins with biased attitudes,” she said. “But the lies have not been countered for all these years; no one has pushed back.
“Today, the way we reached this point was not just by fostering traditional antisemitic tropes but through a very deliberate and systematic erasure and denial of the Jewish ancestral heritage and the Jews’ historical connection to the land of Israel.”
Miller expressed the solidarity of NRB and its membership with Israel. “NRB and its members have a long history of support and cooperation with Israel,” he said. “We have deep, deep roots with Israel; hundreds of our members host annual trips to the Holy Land.
“We condemn Hamas’s brutal and despicable actions against innocent Israel civilians and international civilians who were visiting the country. These actions have no excuse and no justification; they were completely unprovoked. NRB’s board of directors has passed previous resolutions condemning antisemitism, honoring Israel’s 75th anniversary and, most importantly, Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state in the Holy Land granted to them by God himself.”
Michael noted at the end of the conference that the problem Israel is facing with surging antisemitism around the world is larger than any one organization, and the only way to be effective against it is to develop a strategy that thousands of Christian leaders in the USA can unite around.