US Ambassador to Israel, David Melech Friedman remembers the sweeping emotions at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio when the Republican Party’s Platform Committee unanimously approved language that dropped any reference to the party’s long-standing support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“People stood up and cried,” Friedman told 150 participants last week at the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Night to Honor our Christian Allies that was held in Jerusalem. The event was co-sponsored by the World Jewish Congress.
The platform’s language on Israel rejects the notion that the Jewish state is an occupier. It also states that support for Israel is an expression of Americanism and that it is the responsibility of the US government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between the US and Israel.
That language was introduced by GOP delegate Alan Clemmons, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Clemmons was honored on Thursday, February 15 at the Christian Allies event, for his steadfast work in support of the State of Israel.
“I have determined and verified for myself that Israel is not an illegal occupier, or even an occupier at all,” Clemmons told Breaking Israel News (BIN) in an exclusive interview.
Clemmons, who was born and raised Mormon, said he has always had “great love and affection for Zion” and considers himself “a member of the House of Israel.”
As such, Clemmons has worked tirelessly to ensure the support of the Jewish state in the US and around the world. He has been to Israel seven times since 2011, including on missions with members of parliaments from around the world.
Clemmons first became passionate about legislating for Israel in 2011 when he was watching a speech by US President Barack Obama on US policy in the Middle East and North Africa. In that speech, Obama called for the division of Israel and for divorcing itself from Judea and Samaria.
Clemmons, who sees Judea and Samaria as Israel’s Biblical heartland, reacted by drafting a resolution based on Biblical reasoning that Israel is not the occupier of anyone’s land. Democrats and Republicans backed the resolution and it passed unanimously in both the South Carolina House and Senate.
Since then, 25 US states have passed similar resolutions.
Most recently, Clemmons introduced legislation in South Carolina to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, providing educators and administrators with a clear definition of anti-Jewish bigotry. That legislation passed by a margin of 103 to 3 in the House, and is waiting for passage in Senate to be sent to the governor’s desk. Clemmons said he is now working behind the scenes with pastors and rabbis to ensure that the legislation moves forward.
“It was recently released that religious discrimination on college campuses is up and more than half of the cases are against Jews as opposed to all other faiths,” Clemmons told BIN. “Discrimination against and delegitimization of Israel is really the most popular form of anti-Semitism today, the most popular form of Jew hating.”
Clemmons said every time he comes to Israel he is awakened to the Biblical reality on the ground.
“I never would have thought I would have the opportunity to stand in these holy places,” he said of visits at the City of David, Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb. “I read the Bible and I see it coming to life.”
His message to the world: “Come to Israel. Come to the Mount of Olives and to the Western Wall. Pray with our Jewish friends. In seeing it, you will come to understand the lies of the world about Israel.”