By ISRAEL TODAY—
With the third biannual Christ at the Checkpoint conference just a week away, a majority of Israeli Messianic Jews continue to find the event too politically-charged and too undergirded by anti-Semitic themes to be taken seriously as a platform for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Jewish and Arab believers.
While many Messianics are choosing to reserve comment until after Christ at the Checkpoint, others believe the content of the previous two conferences is reason enough to speak out now, and make clear why they simply cannot participate.
The following is a petition circulated by Israeli Messianic academic, author and rabbi, Dr. David Friedman, and signed by many local and foreign Messianic leaders.
It begins with a letter addressing directly the organizers and sponsors of Christ at the Checkpoint:
To the sponsors of the Christ at the Checkpoint (CatC) Conference,
We hope you will give consideration to our objections, and not dismiss them out of hand, given their serious nature.
None of us desire a state of conflict or war between Israelis and Palestinians; however, neither do we desire to see anti-Semitic insinuations at what purports to be a reconciliation effort. And we have seen such via the first two CatC conferences.
If either Rev. Jack Sarah or Rev. Munthar Isaac desire at any point to dialogue with Dr. David Friedman regarding the anti-Semitic contents of previous conferences, such can certainly be arranged. We are saying that wide changes in the CatC approach need to occur, and some contents from past conferences need to be repudiated, in order for the anti-Semitism of past conferences to disappear.
The petition that Israeli Messianic leaders were asked to sign (along with those signatures) reads:
To the sponsors of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference,
We, the undersigned, will not attend or support the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference because of our assessment of its anti-Semitic content and undertones. We cannot remain silent at a time like this, and as a matter of conscience, we express our serious concern for both the sponsors of this conference, and over the content, message and activities of the past two conferences.
We urge all participants to check their own hearts and minds regarding their attitude towards the Jewish people and the Jewish nation. Anti-Israel politics and political correctness have emerged as focal points of this conference, to which end the state of Israel and the Jewish people have been singled out for constant and severe criticism. The conference sponsors retain connections to pro-jihadist movements or persons, whose political stances threaten the entire Middle East. By retaining such connections, the conference has failed to uphold points #6 and #10 of its own manifesto.
As sincere believers in Messiah Yeshua, we cannot, and we will not, endorse this conference.
Sincerely, and with grave concern,
Dr. and Mrs. David Friedman, Israel
Mr. Elyahu ben Haim, Israel
Mr. Marvin Kramer, J.D., Israel
Mr. Chuck Cohen, Israel
Mr. Ofer Amitai, Israel
Mr. Howard Bass, Israel
Mr. Philip Lerner, Israel
Mr. Dror Shannon, Israel
Mr. and Mrs. Nissim Lerner, Israel
Dr. Liron Shani, Israel
Mr. and Mrs. Ariel Berkowitz, Israel
Mr. Tal Ellis, Israel
Mr. and Mrs. Z. Leonard, Israel
Mr. David Deikun, Israel
Ms. Karen Berger, Israel
Ms. Connie Sinkler-Thomas, Canada
Mr. Allan MacLeod, Canada
Ms. Joyena Abraham, Canada
Mr. Richard Gibson, UK
Rev. John E. Young, UK
Mr. Adrian Glasspole, UK
Mr. James Mendelson, UK
Ms. Lynda McLean, UK