Christians in USA, Norway take historic stands for IsraelPublished on: 6.2.2024
By: David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
Last week, the USA and Norway branches of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem spearheaded the convening of historic solidarity events for Israel in their respective national capitals, providing powerful, timely statements of Christian support for the Jewish state and people in the midst of the current war in Gaza.
Last Wednesday (31/01/24), the ICEJ-USA branch helped organize a special lobby day on Capitol Hill involving more than 70 Christian pastors and Orthodox Jewish rabbis, marking the first time such a pro-Israel initiative by an interfaith delegation of clergymen was ever undertaken in the US Congress. The joint mission was held in cooperation with American Christian Leaders for Israel, Israel Allies Foundation, Zionist Rabbinic Coalition, Eagles’ Wings, the Jerusalem Connection Report and the National Hispanic Pastors Alliance, and aimed to take a strong interfaith stand for Israel in Washington DC during the IDF’s battle against Hamas terrorism in Gaza.
“We were so overwhelmed by the warmth and unity we felt as we walked the halls of Congress with our Jewish counterparts. This is a game-changing moment in the history of Jewish-Christian relations, and we’re so excited about all the good that can come about as we continue to work together,” stated ICEJ-USA national director Dr. Susan Michael.
ICEJ-USA prayer coordinator Julaine Stark noted that the special “Israel Advocacy Day” saw over 70 Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis from 15 states coalesce as one to advocate for Israel in meetings with 30 Members of Congress, expressing support for Israel and the urgent need to free the Israeli hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza.
“This joint mission of Jewish and Christian leaders is coming at a critical time as Israel’s war to eliminate Hamas—a threat to the entire freedom-loving world—continues,” Jordanna McMillan, U.S. director of the Israel Allies Foundation, told the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) on the day of the event.“We have all watched the disruptive, and at times violent, protests against Israel and attacks on Jews worldwide, and this faith-based advocacy effort reaffirms to our nation’s political leaders the breadth and depth of American support for Israel.”
“Supporting Israel in her war with Hamas is an American issue and an issue for all people of goodwill. Never before have rabbis and pastors gone to Congress to lobby together,” New York rabbi Chaim Steinmetz also told JNS. “It is happening today, as Americans are increasingly concerned that Iran and her proxies are threatening the very existence of a key American ally.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of Norwegian Christians gathered in front of their nation’s parliament in Oslo on Saturday (03/02/24) for an historic rally to stand with Israel and oppose antisemitism. The demonstration brought together the broadest-ever alliance of Christian denominations in Norway to endorse a joint statement declaring support for Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza and calling for more action to confront antisemitism.
The pro-Israel rally was attended by clergy and laymen from the Pentecostal, Lutheran and Catholic churches, representing all the nation’s Christian denominations except for the former state church. The gathering was organized by the ICEJ-Norway branch.
“It was an historic demonstration of Christian support for Israel in our nation due to the wide range of Christian leaders and organizations involved. Nothing like this has ever happened in my lifetime,” said ICEJ-Norway national director Dag Øyvind Juliussen, who hosted the event.
At the conclusion of the rally, the church leaders present issued a joint statement which expressed “deep sorrow that we witness the ongoing war and the global increase in antisemitism and hatred towards Jews. As Christians, we feel a special responsibility to stand up for our Jewish brethren, especially considering the history of the Church…”
The joint statement affirmed the biblical concept that all humans are created in the image of God, and expressed concern for the suffering of the civilian populations both in Israel and Gaza.
“We find it unacceptable that Jews living in Norway experience increased harassment and fear,” the statement added, while urging Norwegians to “confront antisemitic attitudes, prejudices, and indifference to how Jews are portrayed in our culture.”
It also condemned the statements and actions of Hamas on and after October 7, which “demonstrate the fundamental antisemitic ideology of Hamas.”
The statement concluded with calls for prayers for peace in the region, and the safeguarding of Norway’s Jewish community, among other action points.
You, too, can take a stand for Israel in your own country. Visit the ‘Solidarity’ page of the ICEJ’s main website at icej.org/solidarity and help others understand why Israel needs our support now more than ever.
The ICEJ has committed to a three-pronged response to the war in Gaza, through Prayer, Relief Aid, and Solidarity with Israel. Please do your part to pray, stand with Israel, and give towards the many needs arising from this crisis.
Give today at: give.icej.org/crisis