Evangelicals are the strongest supporters of Israel, so it is particularly disturbing when a group from within their midst aligns with the Palestinians – even going so far as to support acts of violence against Jews while accusing Israel of violent crimes. Yesterday, while the conference was at its peak, five terror attacks were perpetrated against Israelis.
This was precisely what happened this week at the fourth biennial Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem, in which over 300 attendees gathered from all over the world in an Evangelical-led hate-fest against Israel and the Jews.
The organization’s website states the purpose of the four-day gathering is to “challenge Evangelicals to take responsibility to help resolve the conflicts in Israel/Palestine by engaging with the teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God”. This claim is deceptive since there were no representatives of Israel to engage in dialogue. Israeli Messianic leaders were also notably absent. However, the conference was attended by Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders, who were free to make spurious charges against Israel unopposed.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) reported some of the more ridiculous claims made at the conference. Hanna Amira, chairman of the Higher Presidential Committee for Christian Affairs for the PA, accused the IDF and settlers of killing Palestinians, “in particular, the children and the young and the women,” while at the same time the Palestinians are “giving a historic example of coexistence and the rejection of violence and hatred.”
Amira’s speech was translated by Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, a minister ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the official spokesman for Christ at the Checkpoint. His translation of the outrageous claims is tacit agreement, a position many in the Evangelical movement would disagree with. Considering the wave of violence that has plagued Israel for six months, Amira’s accusation is not only slanderous but entirely absurd.
Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, explained the religious motives behind the anti-Israel gathering. In her recent article in the Post about Christ at the Checkpoint, she explained it as a new development in Replacement Theology, which claims the Church replaced the Jews in the covenant with God and that Jews are now reviled by God and Man.
Glick notes that the organizers of the conference are strong proponents of Replacement Theology but with an insidious twist: they claim that Jesus was a Palestinian and the present day Jews have no historical connection to the Bible or Israel. In essence, the Palestinians replaced the Church, which replaced the Jews.
Glick brings an ironic proof of her proposal when she notes that a Jewish Jesus would be forbidden from attending the conference held in his birthplace, now under Palestinian Authority supervision. A Palestinian Jesus, on the other hand, would be welcome, though most Christians would find it difficult to imagine Jesus calling for Jewish blood.
Glick’s proposal has chilling implications. Christ at the Checkpoint attacks Israel, but this theology disputes basic elements of mainstream Evangelical Christianity, and even opposes classical Replacement Theology. At the same time, the anti-Israel group is rewriting modern history with egregious disregard for facts in a manner that should disturb even the most secular academics.