LOS ANGELES (Feb. 21)
Rev. Isaac Rottenberg, executive director of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, has called for a more unified approach among Christians supporting Israel.
Speaking to the Jewish Federation Council Community Relations Committee’s Commission on the Middle East, Rottenberg said that non-Jewish support is often ineffective because the groups, coming as they do from different Christian ideological viewpoints, are so fragmented there is little opportunity for cooperation, coordination or communication.
“The ineffectiveness was clearly demonstrated during the AWACS debate,” he observed. “Here we had a number of prominent people in the country’ playing around’ with anti-Semitism just to win a political fight and Christians did not band together to deplore this.”
Rottenberg praised numerous programs aimed at creating dialogues between Christians and Jews but said a true dialogue should lead to a tangible demonstration of solidarity, one recognizing the role of Judaism in Christian history, as a living faith, and as a people who have survived a terrible trauma — the Holocaust. “The danger in too much non-productive dialoguing is that with Israel threatened with extinction, all some groups would be doing is conducting a dialogue with no tangible results,” he warned.
The minister noted that numerous Christian groups supporting Israel are being established around the country especially among evangelical Christians. Very often, he observed, the groups may have some animosity toward each other.
But this is not really important as far as support of Israel is concerned, and could be a very powerful force of support if a mechanism was established to bring the leaders of these bodies together to chart a common course of action.
“There are always stories in the press about this Christian group or that doing something for Israel. While this is good it does not take the place of a coordinated effective support,” he said.