Jewish Dems’ Leader Clarifies Remarks Questioning Christian Support for Israel

November 13, 2015

2 min read

Greg Rosenbaum, board chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), issued a clarification on Thursday for an earlier remark that Republican evangelical Christians support Israel because they are “building a stairway to heaven on the backs of the Jews in Israel.”

During a session moderated by Jewish Insider founder Max Neuberger at this week’s General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Rosenbaum—referring to recent comments by former Minnesota Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann—had said, “In the 83 percent [of Republicans] that support Israel [in a recent Gallup poll], what are their motives?…I’ve always said, you’ve got evangelical Republicans supporting Israel because they are building a stairway to heaven on the backs of the Jews in Israel. We don’t get to go with them, unless—as Michelle Bachmann said over the weekend—all of the Israeli Jews convert to Christianity, as soon as possible. So you have to look beyond the numbers to really understand how the parties shake out in support of Israel.”

On Thursday, Rosenbaum followed up on his initial comments by saying in a statement, “To be clear, my remarks were meant to refer specifically to those evangelical Christians who agree with former Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s offensive statements surrounding Israel and the ‘biblical prophecy,’ specifically her call to convert as many Jews as possible in the context of ‘seeing the fulfillment of scripture right in front of our eyes, even while we’re on the ground’—not the many Christians, both Republicans and Democrats, who disagree with her.”

Regarding the initial comments, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) called on Rosenbaum to apologize “to the millions of Christians he stereotyped and slandered.”

“If he ever bothered to talk to pro-Israel Christians, Rosenbaum would learn that believing Christians support Israel for the same reasons as observant Jews,” said CUFI board member David Brog, the New York Observer reported. “This support has nothing to do with salvation, which Christians believe stems from faith alone. Christian love of Israel is rooted in the promises of the book of Genesis.”

JFNA spokesperson Rebecca Dinar told the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought, “Federations work closely with pro-Israel churches and church leaders across the continent. We strenuously object to any characterization that calls into question their motives for supporting the State of Israel.”

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks, who was Rosenbaum’s fellow panelist in the JFNA session, said, “The reality is that we should not be in the business of ascribing motives to our friends and to people who want to support Israel.”

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