BY AVIEL SCHNEIDER, ISRAEL TODAY—
From March 5-9 Bethlehem Bible College will be hosting its second “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference. While Israelis are celebrating their ancient divine delivery during the Purim holiday, some 30 Christian leaders will be gathering in Bethlehem to raise the banner of “Palestinian Liberation Theology” as the only true hope for reconciliation and peace in the Middle East.
The target of most of these speakers will be “Christian Zionism,” that theological viewpoint that supports modern Israel’s continued prophetic relevance and destiny, and, in so doing, also supports Israel’s biblical claim to the Land of Israel. For Bethlehem Bible College and like-minded institutions (such as “reconciliation” ministry Musalaha), Christian Zionism is a threat to peace and the fulfillment of God’s Word.
By contrast, these Christian leaders claim their own position is apolitical and biblical. With massive assistance from abroad (some of the speakers head some of America’s largest churches) they support the Palestinian struggle for freedom in their “occupied land.”
One such speaker is British Christian writer Ben White, who recently published the book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, on Monday highlighted the fact that the forward for White’s book was written by extremist Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi.
Two years ago in March 2010, when the Bethlehem Bible College was hosting the first Christ at the Checkpoint event, Zoabi was calling for the start of a third terrorist uprising, or intifada, against Israel. Two months later she was found aboard the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in an international flotilla trying to break the Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
That Zoabi agreed to write the forward for White’s book is evidence of just how much he hates Israel. As a result, White is once again being labeled an anti-Semite by various Jewish organizations, according to the Yediot article.
What is curious to us is why the Bethlehem Bible College would invite someone like White, who expresses such scorn for Israel that he is embraced by Israel’s most vocal antagonists, to a “Christian Conference of Hope and Reconciliation”?
It raises the question: Is Christ at the Checkpoint really about reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, or is it about further delegitimizing Israel with the aim of reversing the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?