I was shocked and deeply disappointed when I opened my last copy of The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition and saw the article “Stop Deporting Friends” by Maria Hjort which took up the cause of Alex Awad and his parishioner, Linda Finamore. Why the Christian Edition and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem would support the cause of Alex Awad or anyone associated with him is beyond my comprehension. I don’t consider Alex Awad a Christian and I know that he is no friend of the State of Israel or of the Jews. Awad was very instrumental in causing the Presbyterian divestment of funds from Israel and was one member of a four-member panel of anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, Muslim supporting “demi-Christians” that spoke before a conference of Presbyterian leaders February 10-12 2005 and blamed all of the Middle East’s problems on Israel.
Awad is a prominent anti-Israel activist and author. He is a fulltime paid Methodist missionary but he devotes his time to Islamic Palestinian apologetics, bashing Israel and Zionists, and trying to get Evangelical Christian Churches in the United States to stop any financial, political and moral support for the State of Israel. Alex Awad and his cohorts came to my ex-church, Lake Avenue Congregational, in Pasadena CA in
2002 with their anti-Israeli propaganda soliciting funds for their organization and selling books. I read one of these books that was highly touted entitled “Through the Eyes of the Victims” by Alex Awad. This book is a collection of a few truths, some half-truths, many significant omissions and many outright lies.
I have enumerated and rebutted many of the lies in this book, but for the sake of brevity I will only include two reproductions of its “historical” illustrations to demonstrate the position and motivation of Awad and the Holy Land Trust. In the past I have written to many people presenting the anti-Israel bias and the unvarnished lies perpetuated by Alex Awad and the Holy Land Trust and one of the people that had sufficient knowledge of the history, politics and religion of the Middle East to take the time to read and research my claims was Joseph Farah, founder and editor of World Net Daily.com and Whistleblower Magazine. Joseph Farah is not known as a man that minces words and has written several op-ed articles that have been published in the Jerusalem Post. I am including his astute opinion on Alex Awad and the Holy Land Trust as well as an article on WorldNetDaily.com by Ron Strom that documents Alex Awad’s anti-Israeli stance on the Presbyterian divestment from the Jewish state. Notwithstanding Alex Awad’s undeniable hostility to the Israeli State and his anti-Semitism, the very fact that Awad is a firm believer in Replacement Theory and strongly believes that the unconditional promises that God made to Abraham are null and void makes the support given him by the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem even more troubling. I am a Christian that supports Israel one hundred percent and I am not ashamed of it. I am a veteran of both the US Marines and the IS Army and I have lived on the old Jordanian border when Arafat and the PLO (Fatah) controlled the Jordanian frontier. Later, I left my senior year of college to return to Israel as a volunteer during the Yom Kippur War. I have mixed my blood with the soil of Israel and I will defend to the death their right to exist in their G-d given land - from river to river! The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is one of only two organizations mentioned in my will and that was to their unconditional support for Jews and the State of Israel. I will not spend or will one cent to any group or individual that opposes the State of Israel or the Jewish people. My G-d is not a man that He should lie. I would appreciate your response.
Wallace L. Cooper
The following is the response by Rev. Awad
Today, November 8, 2007, I received the article written by Mr. Wallace Cooper in which he pronounced that he believed that I was not a Christian and that I am an enemy of the state of Israel and of the Jewish people along with many other accusations. I wish to kindly convey to all the readers of the Jerusalem Post that these accusations are baseless. Here is where I stand:
It is absolutely unjust for Mr. Wallace Cooper to pronounce a person non-Christian because he or she holds a different political, theological or eschatological point of view. I certainly do not agree with Mr. Cooper that the current State of Israel should take possession of all the land "from the sea to the river" as he wrote. Many Evangelical Christians agree with me that the land should be shared. I do not think that that makes them any less Christian. Christ allows diversity of opinion within his body. Paul and Peter did not always agree on all issues and yet they both were committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to the cause of His Kingdom. Only God knows the heart of an individual and he knows who belongs to him. It is not up to us to make a judgment on each other. If we belong to Christ, we must heed his commandment not to judge one another Matthew 7:1.
I do not hate the Jewish people and I am not an enemy of the Jewish State as Mr. Cooper accused me. As a Christian, I am admonished to love all people including my enemies and that I endeavor to do. There are Muslims, Christians and Jews who criticize the policies of the State of Israel and that does not automatically make them enemies of the Jewish state. Enemies of Israel are those who see Israel practice destructive policies and are not willing to point out to Israel her sins. From Moses to Malachi, one prophet of ancient Israel after the other pointed out to Israel its trespasses and its rebellion against God. What some of these prophets said of Israel then is so provocative that no one could repeat it today without being labeled anti Semitic. Yes! I am critical of many Israeli policies and practices but I am not an enemy of Israel. I do believe in the right of Jews to live in this land and do not believe in or call for the destruction of the Jewish State. My message to Israel is simple: Live and let live! I believe that, I, a Palestinian, and my people have equal rights to live on 22% of our historic homeland. If that statement classifies me as an enemy of Israel, then millions of Christians and Jews around the world are in the same boat.
Yes! I submit that I was invited along with three other Palestinians by the Presbyterian Church, USA on February 10-12 2005 to participate in a conference discussing divestment. What Mr. Cooper failed to mention in his letter is that the Palestinian participants did not engage in the divestment discussions. Each of us was asked to share his or her story regarding the challenges and opportunities of living as a Palestinian Christian under Israeli occupation. Why should it be wrong for Palestinians to share their stories when Jews have open doors all over the Western World to share their stories through Hollywood movies, musicals, books, magazines, Christian TV channels, University campuses, primetime TV channels and scores of Holocaust museums?
Mr. Cooper wrongly accused me of influencing the Presbyterians to adopt a policy of divestment against Israel. In that meeting, the Presbyterians only discussed the issue of divestments from Jewish settlements in the West Bank without resolving the matter with a binding resolution. The divestment issue never materialized. Presbyterians continue to invest in Israel.
I do not agree with Mr. Cooper when he placed me in the replacement theology camp. God does not replace people be they Jews or Gentiles. However God did modify the Old Covenant and gave us a new one in Christ. The New Covenant is based on the love of God through Jesus Christ and was sealed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The New Covenant is neither territorial nor racial. It is not fulfilled by waging wars, occupying lands, building walls and settlements or disenfranchising millions of people. The New Covenant does not set any people above or over other people. It rather expresses God’s unconditional love to both Jews and Gentiles.
Mr. Cooper's zeal in attacking anyone who criticizes Israel is counter productive. This kind of uncritical support of the Jewish State serves only to spoil Israeli policy makers and creates in them an air of arrogance that hardens their hearts towards Palestinians and consequently will not help Israel to live at peace with her neighbors.
I recommend that Mr. Cooper reread my first book or wait for my new book, Palestinian Memories: The Story of a Palestinian Mother and Her People. My writings reflect my strong faith in the ability of Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile with each other and live as good neighbors "between the sea and the river".
Reverend Alex Awad
Pastor, East Jerusalem Baptist Church
The original article "Stop the deportation of friends" can be read here
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- Palestinians are worthy of the same respect as other people
- Some Christian Palestinians are the descendents of the first Christians.
- First century Christian belief differed from current evangelical prophecy-theology.
- Zionism evolved out of the secular culture of 19th century Europe as Jewish people rejected their Faith and replaced it with a secular and socialist revision of the Jewish identity.
- Palestinian Christians should not be treated like Blacks were treated in the American South.
If Mr. Cooper is so familiar with the facts, he will know that the Neturei Karta Jews prepared to join the Arabs during the 1948 siege of Jerusalem because they felt life under Moslem rule would be preferable to life under a godless Jewish government. He will also know that Greater Israel is coveted by no one except the most extreme and racist groups in Israel. He will also know how many facts like these are conveniently ignored by the Prophecy Industrial Complex in order to keep the faithful on board. He will know that the pro-Israel Christians must play the same game of omitting points of history and calling facts “lies”. In other words they resort to playing the same game as the anti-Israel jihadis.
After growing up in an evangelical home where our understanding of the world was dictated by prophecy preachers, I can say that "Replacement Theology" is a derogatory and recent term coined by prophecy preachers as a way to denigrate historical Christian belief. The intent is not to give accurate information about non-evangelicals. The intent is for them to be perceived as authorities by their congregations. It is simple one-up-man-ship by holding historic churches to a standard of political belief that never existed before.
Jesus never required our "unconditional support for Jews and the State of Israel". American Christians want a place of honor at Israel's table but they will not extend the same respect to their own brothers.
Would Mr. Cooper or other Chrisitian Zionists lay down their lives for a Palestinian brother? Would they wash the feet of a Palestinian brother? I hope that any Christian who has trouble answering this can begin to see how low Christian Zionism has brought us, and how far modern evangelicalism has departed from the original message of the Gospel. In having to make the choice between unconditional love for their Palestinian brethren or Israeli ethno-nationalism, it is a shame that American Christians have chosen the path least consistent with the message of Jesus.
At the Last Day, God isn't going to look at us and say "What's your opinion on the Israeli capture of the Golan Heights?" No, instead, He is more likely to ask the prophecy experts and Christian Zionists why they stabbed the Palestinian Christians in the back.