Franklin Graham and Mat Staver Speak At Israel Solidarity Event

From the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

“I support Israel,” Franklin Graham said Thursday during the 13th Annual Israel Solidarity Event at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. “I support Israel not only because I worship a Jew but because of what the Bible says about Israel and the future of Israel.”

The solidarity event was part of the National Day of Prayer activities, and Franklin Graham was asked to speak about why Evangelicals support Israel.

That was posted on 1 May; for some reason the same details have just appeared on WND as an “exclusive”. The BGEA has always been very good at presenting itself as embodying a benign evangelicalism that transcends the religious right, and perhaps this is why the actual sponsors of the event are not mentioned: Mark Tooley’s Institute on Religion and Democracy, and Mat Staver’s Liberty Counsel.

According to an LC press release:

“For the first time since Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, America’s support of Israel is waning,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “There has never been a more important time for people to stand up for Israel!”

“America shares a common bond through our history, heritage, and faith. Christians and Jews must stand in solidarity to one another, and together they must stand in solidarity with Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign nation. Along with our shared common values, Israel and America also share common threats. We are comforted and assured by the Scriptures that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not intimidated by adversity,” said Staver.

This was also the first Israel Solidarity Event featuring Ron Dermer, who replaced Michael Oren as Israel’s Ambassador to the USA last autumn. Dermer – a former US citizen whose family in Florida are friends with Jeb Bush – is a former senior adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, and like Netanyahu he knows very well what evangelicals want to hear (hint: it’s not that Tel Aviv is “the world’s most gay friendly city” – Staver in particular wants to see Russian- and Nigerian-style anti-gay measures in the USA); according to Tooley, Dermer spoke on

the remarkable, historically unprecedented return of the Jews to their ancient homeland after two millennia.

Graham, meanwhile, went on to discuss anti-Semitism in Christian history:

In the past,” Franklin said, “there were many wicked, evil men who in the name of Jesus Christ used this story to persecute the Jews. To kill the Jews. They called them ‘Christ-killers.’…”

Of course, Graham’s own father famously opined on “two kinds of Jews”, in private conversation with Richard Nixon:

One is called the Synagogue of Satan. They’re the ones putting out the pornographic literature. They’re the ones putting out these obscene films.

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