Why Christian Leaders’ Pro-Israel Letter Matters

Yesterday, a group of prominent Christian leaders sent an open letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, congratulating him on the formation of his new government and affirming their support for “the world’s only Jewish state.” The missive—the result of the efforts of the writer and activist Robert Nicholson—expresses its signers’ “strong sense of friendship with Israel based on shared values that originate in the Hebrew Bible.” Elliott Abrams comments:

[T]he letter is signed by dozens of Christian leaders from very mixed ethnic and denominational backgrounds. Certainly their followers are in the tens of millions, many times the population of Israel—or the U.S. Jewish population. The list includes the leader of one of the largest black denominations in the U.S., a member of [former] President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, the CEO of the largest evangelical broadcasting channel, and a range of clergymen and -women, academics, writers, and public intellectuals.

Israel’s new leaders have certain advantages and other disadvantages as they replace Benjamin Netanyahu after his twelve years in office. Many of the relationships he developed, for example with foreign heads of government, were personal and not easy for his successor to jump into. In the United States and in Europe, where many on the left and center-left saw Netanyahu as an opponent, relations may improve; certainly, Democrats in the United States who saw Netanyahu as tied to the Republican party have an opportunity to rebuild relations now with the new team in Jerusalem. This statement by Christian leaders makes a different argument: that their support is for Israel, not any particular leader.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Christian Zionism, Evangelical Christianity, Naftali Bennett, US-Israel relations

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion