Funding from Western governments enables religious intolerance

Jerusalem – In advance of the 3rd “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference, set to take place March 10-14 in Bethlehem, NGO Monitor released a report: Christ at the Checkpoint: How the U.S., U.K. and Dutch Governments Enable Religious Strife and Foment Mideast Conflict. This detailed report, part of the BDS in the Pews project, examines the funding sources of Christ at the Checkpoint, and their impact on the conference’s agenda.

BDS in the Pews Director, Yitzhak Santis, said, “Our research indicates that the conference’s political purpose is to weaken Evangelical Christian support for Israel in the United States and elsewhere. They do this by providing a stage to delegitimize the State of Israel and rejecting its historical, religious and legal underpinnings.”

The conference’s sponsors, Bethlehem Bible College and Holy Land Trust, have been directly and indirectly funded by the governments of the United States, the Netherlands, the UK, and prominent religious and educational institutions.

Previous conferences in 2010 and 2012 advanced the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches, while simultaneously reviving theological antisemitic themes such as replacement theology.

Speakers at these previous conferences made antisemitic comments, such as “God is continuing to have a program with the Jewish people who Paul describes as enemies of the Gospel…” and “Jesus is the true vine, not Israel. He is the faithful Israelite who will accomplish all that the nation of Israel failed to do.” Other anti-Jewish themes promoted at Christ at the Checkpoint conferences include the de-Judaizing of Jesus and the promotion of a racial theory of Jewish origins.

“The funding from governments and other sources enables the promotion of religious intolerance precisely when what is needed most is to calm the waters in this region,” said Santis.

The conference offers several field trips to checkpoints, the “segregation wall,” a Palestinian neighborhood in “East Jerusalem,” as well as meetings with Palestinian families. No visits appear to be organized to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, nor do there appear to be meetings with Israeli Jewish families. Moreover, there do not appear to be any visits arranged to the many sites in Jerusalem where Palestinians carried out terrorist attacks. Apart from a brief perfunctory meeting with one Israeli at a West Bank settlement, the mainstream Israeli voice is virtually absent. The only Jews conference participants will apparently meet and hear from are so-called Messianic Jews.

Read the full report for more background and examples of Christ at the Checkpoint’s political goals and that of their sponsors: Christ at the Checkpoint: How the U.S., U.K. and Dutch Governments Enable Religious Strife and Foment Mideast Conflict.

Click here to watch Yitzhak Santis, NGO Monitor’s chief programs officer, at the Joint B’nai B’rith World Center-Ecumenical Fraternity “Liaison Committee” Symposium: “The Effort to Divest Evangelical Christians from Israel: A New Campaign”, Jerusalem,  March 13, 2014