Fabulous Christian - Jewish Pro-Israel Conference
For four days, Christians and Jews met in Washington for the 1995 Pro-Israel Summit. Seldom have so many people met in this country all of whom are 100 percent committed, without compromise, to a strong, secure Israel based on the Bible and on Zionism. The Conference was held in Washington from May 4 to 7 and comprised a very rich program of addresses by leading personalities from this country and from Israel. This conference preceded the controversial AIPAC Conference by a few days.
Prior to the opening of the Conference, the Christian Israel PAC (CIPAC) conducted two days of lobbying in Congress for a bill to legislate the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Consequently, the Conference was able to host the senators responsible for the bill, originated by Sen. Kyl of Arizona. The Conference participants were electrified by the announcement by Sens. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Bob Dole (R-Kan.) who addressed the opening session on Thursday, May 4, that they were introducing a bill "with teeth" for the prompt commencement of building the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. They expect 70 senators to sign the bill, which calls for an allocation of $125,000,000 for the construction and for a groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremony in 1996.
Never have I heard such ear-splitting, sustained standing applause as was given this announcement by Christians and Jews alike. (We must hope that neither AIPAC, the Presidents' Conference nor the Rabin government will interfere with the formulation and passage of this bill. It will be a litmus test for their real commitment to Israel and Jerusalem. And sure enough, last Monday, the New York Times, always a ready tool for the leftists in Israel, explained that moving the Embassy to Jerusalem would harm the "peace process." Just watch who else will jump on the New York Times bandwagon!
Incidentally, Sen. Inouye endeared himself to many of us with his disclosure that his love for Judaism is so strong that he once considered converting to Judaism. Only his Methodist mother kept him from going through with the conversion!
A very strong, pro-Jerusalem message from Newt Gingrich was read, since he could not attend in person due to the Republican Policy Conference, which he led that day.
Among the other outstanding personalities who addressed the Conference were Sen. Nancy Kassenbaum (R-Kan.), Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), Rep. Jan Harman and Rep. Walter Tucker.
The opening session was opened with a benediction by Rabbi Milton Balkan, the well-known Jewish activist, who is very prominent in Washington. The session was emceed by the well-known, pro-Israel syndicated columnist and TV personality, Cal Thomas, one of the most devoted friends of Israel in the media. I have often had exchanges with him and he assured me in person at the Conference that he welcomes my articles in the Algemeiner Journal.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a South African-born rabbi who serves in Seattle, held the audience spell-bound with his presentation on the influence and importance of Christians, especially conservative Christians, in the fight for a strong Israel. Rabbi Lapin -- a scion of the famous dynasty of rabbis -- leads the Toward Tradition movement which endorses the Christian Coalition and is close to Speaker of the House Gingrich. As a yeshiva student he lived, as he told me, he lived with his grandfather, Reb Elye Lappian, the famous mussarnik of the Lithuanian school, in one of the pre-fabricated yeshiva dormitory buildings, which I donated many years ago to Kfar Chassidim in Israel.
I delivered an address to the conference on Friday afternoon. In view of the often felt suspicion by Jews, that Christian church people are basically only interested in converting Jews, I started with a historic presentation of the 2,000 years of persecution by Christians that we have endured, massacres by the Crusaders; burnings at the stake by the Inquisition, burning of our sacred books by Pope after Pope over 600 years; forced conversions; rigged disputations; ghettos; yellow badges; and finally gassings in Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanck. We don't want another spiritual, Holocaust at the hands of missionaries! "Let the message go out from this conference that there will be no more missionizing among Jews.!" I cried out.
I then reported on projects where cooperation between Jews and Christians is possible and can be successful, my joint effort with the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem to save Bethlehem from Rabin's announced plan to hand it over to the PLO, and my association with the World Lebanese Organization in forging a coalition with leaders of the oppressed Christian minorities in Moslem countries -- Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, etc. -- who have all endorsed a strongly pro-Israel and pro-Jerusalem manifesto.
My talk was greeted with extraordinary applause. Many Christians came over to me and said they had never before been told of the crimes performed against Jews over the centuries! This shows that although we take for granted that the Christian world is aware of the outrages they have performed against us, in fact, we have done a very poor job of informing and educating them! I read to the assembled conference a faxed message I had just received from the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which read in part, "Please bring up at the conference the growing fear among Christians in Bethlehem, Jenin and other Arab villages in Judea and Samaria of the IDF redeployment to outside towns and their future under a Palestinian-Arab, Moslem authority. Christians in Bethlehem are secretly praying that the area they live in will be incorporated in Greater Jerusalem and that they will thus be able to remain under Israeli rule."
We must hope that the Rabin-Peres government will lend their ear to these Christian outcries, even if they pay no attention to the pleadings of the Jewish majority to stop the "autonomy" talks.
Spokesmen for the American Anti-Slavery Group, Mohammed Athie, a Mauritanian Moslem, and Dr. Charles Jacobs are leading a campaign to publicize the outrageous active slave trade conducted by Moslem rulers, especially the heads of the Moslem governments of the Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania. While demagogues like Jeffries and Farrakhan re-write history to blame the Jews for American slavery, the sad truth is that blacks are still in 1995 carrying on a thriving slave trade, which was started by the Moslems over 1,000 years ago. This slavery is used to dominate and terrorize black Christians, whose women and children are being sold into slavery to force their conversion to Islam.
The Nation of Islam is becoming more and more discredited by these revelations. Farrakhan, according to Dr. Jacobs' report at the conference, is taking journalists to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan and the center of the country's Moslem population, to show them "there is no oppression of Christians in the Sudan." This is another Farrakhan deception. As three Sudanese Christians reported at the conference, the genocide against Black Christians is going on in the south of the country, not in the capital. They supported this with a very graphic video cassette, which is available to any interested group or individual.
We had a nice minyan for all Shabbat services, including a Sefer Torah from a neighborhood synagogue. I did not attend any of the Shabbat sessions, but was told that the most sensational presentations was rendered by Professor Walid Phares, head of the World Lebanese Organization, who co-chairs with me the Leadership Committee for a free Middle East. He showed how the Moslem Arabs in the Middle East are invaders, conquerors and occupiers of land that was owned by the original Christian populations -- the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites and Phoenicians in Lebanon, the Assyrian/Chaldeans in Iraq, etc.
They all look upon Israel -- the only country that regained its historical land -- as their own only hope to regain their own political and religious independence. He also explained something absolutely fundamental. The main reason the Arabs hate Israel is that they fear exactly this re-awakening of the original inhabitants of the lands they have usurped. While Israel exists, the Arabs must fear that the original populations will make a comeback and evict the Moslems from the lands conquered by them. Hence the close love by these Christians for Israel and their feeling of total interdependence. Eighteen million Christians are affected by this situation -- the most important and powerful group of allies Israel has, which until now it has ignored and neglected!
Some of our strongest spokesmen "On the Hill" in Washington are Christians. Dick Hellman, the indefatigable head of CIPAC, and Frank Gaffney of the Center of Strategic Studies, are more effective than many establish Jewish groups. They supplement the wonderful work by Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and Randy Fishbein, Charles Brooks and other Jewish activists. It is most unfortunate that they often must overcome opposition from the establishment Jewish lobbyists, who dance to the tune of Rabin’s and Peres’ music. I can cite examples of recent cases where the destructive practices of these establishment groups did much damage. Yet millions and millions of dollars are collected from unsuspecting Jews throughout the country who innocently believe that their money will benefit Israel, including settlers across the "Green Line."
The most memorable talks were given Saturday night by Zalman Shoval, former Israeli Ambassador in Washington, and David Bar-Ilan, editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post. Israel’s only free, independent daily. Their message was frightening in that they branded the Rabin-Peres policies, at best wishful thinking, at worst, a dangerous threat to Israel’s survival. Bar-Ilan compared the position of the "peace process" with the man sitting on top of the Empire State Building, who, because he feels he needs fresh air, jumps down from the top floor. As he passes the 37th floor he calls out: "So far, so good." That parable tells all...
They reminded us again and again that the PLO has never deviated from its aim to destroy Israel and that it has adhered to the 1974 program of dismantling Israel by phases. Arafat’s current speeches -- not on CNN or ABC -- but to his own people, are soon to be published. They are hair-raising, blood curdling appeals to violence, glorification of suicide bombers and calls for war to capture all of Israel. All this is being shielded, through government censorship, from the Israeli and American public.
These and many more spoke at the Conference. The only one who caused some Jewish groups to abstain from the conference was Eldwood McQuaid. He was only one out of hundreds, yet I personally felt that our message against missionaries could be brought out more effectively by meeting and challenging him than -- as others had done -- by staying away from the conference. I engaged McQuaid in a very frank conversation. I explained to him why Jews detest missionaries, who want to destroy the remnant of our people who survived Hitler. I also gave reasons why Jesus could never qualify as a Messiah. He backed off a little, saying that he never actively promoted conversion, but only feels it his duty to "testify" to his religion. Whatever that means, I hope that my dialogue with him -- and he has daily radio programs reaching millions -- will make him think and reconsider...
The Conference endorsed a lengthy resolution, which in part says, "We call on all Christians to joint the Jewish people ‘next year in Jerusalem’ to celebrate, express solidarity, and make clear t o the world their commitment to the integrity of Jerusalem as the united capital of the State of Israel under Jewish sovereignty." The organizers of the coalition, who sponsored the conference, said in their statement on the subject of missionizing, "No proselytizing will be permitted and everyone involved has agreed not to proselytize when involved with the work of this organization."
The Conference also strongly came out against giving U.S. taxpayers’ money to the PLO until it fully complies with its commitments of September 1993 -- abrogating the dreaded PLO charter, ending terrorism and prosecuting terrorists. The Conference also came out against U.S. troops on the Golan Heights.
In short, this conference brought together Christians and Jews in an unprecedented union in support of the original Zionist aims and sent a powerful message about our eternal aspirations. No wonder that the Israeli Embassy refused to participate in the Conference. The Embassy’s absence was an eye-opener to all participants and demonstrated how far removed the Rabin government is from the original aims of Zionism and Bible-based love for Israel.
Next year’s meeting of the National Unity for Israel Conference may take place in Jerusalem. Let us hope that by then its hopes and aspirations will be fully endorsed and fulfilled by Jews everywhere. Meanwhile, Ms. Ester Levans, who conceived this Conference deserves our profound thanks and appreciation.
The annual Mizrachi Dinner took place last Sunday night. I had to fly from Washington to get there, and although I came late, I was lucky enough to hear a historic, rousing speech by the winner of the "Jerusalem Award," the Swiss, Orthodox Arthur Cohn, producer of the famous film "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" and other films. In fact, he has won six Oscars. Acceptance speeches by honorees at such dinners are usually standard fate and boring, but Cohn’s speech was one of the most rousing and electrifying that I have ever heard.
The 5000 or more guests rose up in wild applause again and again to cheer his scathing attacks on Rabin, Peres and Beilin -- without mentioning them by name -- and his prediction of utter disaster for Israel, especially for Jerusalem. If these men’s policies are continued. He accused them of double-faced insincerity and disloyalty.
Next to him on the dais was sitting Colette Avital. Israel’s consul general to New York, known for her high-handed-handling of freedom of expression in this country. She paled and was visibly cringing at every accusation by Cohn. In the audience right in front of the speaker was sitting Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive director of the Conference of Presidents. I was very pleased to note that he whole-heartedly joined in the applause. Since he hardly suffers from schizophrenia, I saw in this gesture the real Hoenlein, whose heart, when it comes to Israel, is still in the right place. Kot hakaved, Malcohn!
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