by Charles Gordon
July 18, 2007
If you live or work in our nation’s capital and were anywhere near its Convention Center last night, you might have wondered what were thousands of people doing with all those American and Israeli flags.
They were a part of a conference being held by Christians United for Israel, a group started by Rev. John Hagee, a charismatic (in both senses of the word) preacher from San Antonio.
While evangelicals are hardly unanimous on their theological views of Israel, poll after poll has shown that politically, they overwhelmingly support the right of Israel to exist and to defend herself against her rather ghoulish neighbors. Of the 50 or 60 million evangelicals in this country, support for Israel over her enemies ranges from about 4:1 to 6:1. For most of us, it’s kind of a no-brainer, made all the more clear since 9/11, when the same folks who’ve been attacking Israel got around to attacking our homeland.
Hagee’s creation of a new pro-Israel umbrella group is the latest manifestation of the fact that it is actually not Jews, but Christians who remain the most powerful friends of Israel in America.
Indeed, as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out in his remarks from Jerusalem, it was evangelicals who began modern Zionism a full half-century before the Jews did.
Yet it would be a gross mistake to conclude that when it comes to foreign policy, evangelicals care only about Israel.
Ask the man who got the biggest ovation last night besides Hagee — Newt Gingrich.
Unlike the other speakers, Newt did not focus on Israel per se. Rather, he trained his sights on the biggest challenge of all — what we (and Israel) should do about the Islamofascism that threatens the entire world in a more blood-curdling way than anything since Nazi Germany did in the 1930s.
Simply put, Newt accused the entire West of appeasing our enemies at every turn and implied that the war on terror was still not being fought as a real war, but rather as a “phony war,” like the west’s bogus war against Hitler before he started conquering western Europe. He also implied that he feared we would lose the war if we failed to awaken from our pre-9/11 slumber.
And just as most polls show that evangelicals are the most pro-Israel voters in the country — and world — polls also indicate that they are the most willing of any group in the West to “stand up and take the war,” as Kipling would have said, against our enemies.
That’s precisely why, when Newt was done, the place erupted, and one person shouted, “Newt in ’08.”