Passive support of Israel among European Christians might be a bigger detriment to support of the Jewish state than vocal opposition, a European Coalition for Israel representative has warned.
“It is not our enemies that we need to worry about, but rather the passivity and fear among many Christians who support Israel in their hearts but do not dare to express this support publicly,” ECI Brussels Representative Ruth Isaac said at the organization’s second annual conference earlier this month.
The conference, held in London, was themed “Britain, Europe and Israel – after Brexit.”
Many pro-Israel Christians had assumed that Brexit would have brought with it a positive renewal in British relations with Israel but were markedly disappointed when England did not join the United States in announcing the move of its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Instead, England has maintained a position consistent with that of the European Union.
“This is not a sign of strength, but of weakness and appeasement,” Simon Barrett of Revelation TV said.
Isaac said that Christian supporters of Israel cannot assume that the U.K. will back always Israel. Accordingly, ECI encouraged conference attendees to take more proactive roles in supporting Israel in their respective European governments.
“Our support for Israel is just as important outside of the four walls of the church as inside them,” ECI founding director Tomas Sandell said.
But Sandell also predicted that with the State of Israel turning 70 this year and celebration set to begin in the spring that there will be a clash of historical narratives. Hence he noted the importance of Christian’s proper knowledge of Israel’s history.
“In order to win the battle for the minds and hearts of people we need to know the history of Israel and its legal foundations,” he said.
At the conference ECI members encouraged Christians to proactively support Israel and to hold their political leaders accountable for their decisions vis a vis the Jewish state. Speakers detailed what they see as challenges and opportunities facing Israel after Brexit, and how the Christians can become more effective advocates of Israel in their respective nations and in the international arena.
The European Coalition for Israel defines itself as “a unique grassroots movement, which is seeking to promote better relations between Europe and Israel through advocacy and education.”
On its website it underlines its goals:
“To promote closer relations and understanding between Israel and the European Union.
To confront anti-Semitism in Europe and to educate about its long and tragic history in that continent.
To promote and encourage cultural and economic exchanges between Israel and the EU.
To support ways for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel and the Middle East.”
British Pastor Alistair Scott was optimistic about future relations between Europe and Israel.
“Although the U.K. is preparing itself for a Brexit, the commitment to stand with Israel together with Christians from other parts of Europe remains rock solid,” he said.
Despite security concerns, ECI publicized the address of the venue before the event. Sandell defended the decision saying “when we start to give in to fear in an open democracy and hide from the public we have lost the battle.”