By: LEO HOHMANN, WND—
The Messianic Jewish movement has opened a lobbying office in Washington, D.C., that will push the U.S. government to support Israel and ditch the so-called “two-state solution” that has been promoted by Republican and Democrat administrations for decades.
The Alliance for Israel Advocacy will take a different approach to lobbying Congress than any other organization, says the man heading up the effort.
Paul Liberman, executive director of AIA, is leader of Ohav Shalom Messianic Congregation in Palm Springs, California, and the former publisher of the Messianic Times. He formerly worked as the U.S. Department of Commerce’s director of congressional relations under Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter and has been active in Republican politics since that time.
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Liberman told WND the new lobbying arm of the Messianic Jewish movement will steer members of Congress and others in Washington to the Bible as the foundational document for Israel’s right to exist.
“We’re a little different in that we advocate for Israel using the Old Testament Scriptures and prophecies to justify and favor Israel. For all these years since the inception of the state of Israel and before, Israel has always had its case made by AIPAC and others that it’s a democracy, that it’s peaceful, a reliable ally and various other secular reasons,” said Liberman. “And, therefore, Israel is forced into defensive arguments saying, ‘Leave us alone, we’re not harming anybody, it’s OK,’ and amazingly over all these decades we have not been using the biggest club in the bag, which is the Scriptures.”
He said the Hebrew Scriptures and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible “provide the title deed to the land.”
“We’re so well armed with history and archaeology, and yet people are so afraid of reproach for using the Bible in their argument in favor of Israel,” he added.
He said the biblical argument for the Jewish people to be regathered in their ancient homeland is the wild card that trumps all other arguments. That’s why the Arab Muslim nations have tried to discredit the Bible as an accurate historical record, even though all of the recent archeological discoveries showing the Jewish presence in and around Jerusalem have confirmed these Scriptures with spot-on accuracy.
“And of course the Arab nations do not have that in their Quran at all,” Liberman said.
The organization’s website, IsraelAdvocates.org, just went live in the last few days, said Liberman. It is still under construction and will have more content added in the days and weeks ahead.
Liberman said there is no shortage of ministries and websites that inform the public about Israel’s right to exist and it’s biblical role in prophecy.
“But that’s different than advocating and pushing a point of view with a purposeful end and lobbying on Capitol Hill and elsewhere for those objectives,” he said. “We’ve had lots of information circulated over the years on Israel but what good does it do just telling people what’s going on and saying nice things about Israel if it’s not doing anything to change policy. That’s what we want to do.”
Alliance for Israel Advocacy will kick things off by hosting a symposium May 10 on Capitol Hill. It has hired an experienced lobbyist, Terry Allen, as its point man in the nation’s capital. Another person has been hired to handle social media promotions. The new office is at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
“We have an office in Washington and we have people engaged and we hope to do congressional testimony to get our point of view across,” Liberman said. “So we have a variety of different projects all in this persuasive mode using the Old Testament scriptures, history and especially the prophetic books of the Bible.”
While the new lobbying group has no qualms with AIPAC or any other lobbying effort on behalf of Israel, it will focus on a more faith-based approach.
He said Alliance for Israel Advocacy will unapologetically call for a “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We want to create, or stimulate Christianity to become more politically active on behalf of Israel,” he said. “There is a great biblical drama playing out in the lifetimes of our generation. It’s very exciting. We have an opportunity to play a part in that drama, so we advocate a one-state solution based upon the Scriptures, and are glad to make that case.”
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AFIA will also work to oppose anti-Semitism and the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions or BDS movement that is gaining traction in some U.S. church denominations. Replacement theology, or the idea that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel as God’s covenant people, is at the root of such movements, Liberman said.
“We feel that replacement theology is a form of anti-Semitism though people don’t know it, and anti-Zionism is anti-semitism,” he said. “And we want to let people know what is the role of the Gentiles in the Scriptures with regard to Israel. It’s a joint project. The Jewish people can’t do it by themselves and the Gentiles can’t do it by themselves.”
He said the epiphany for the new effort came about one year ago when “one of our people from the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America had a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, who said ‘If you’ll open a D.C. office we’ll work with you.’ So that really got us thinking, and then later, in August last year, the deputy foreign minister of Israel said why don’t you open an office in D.C. because you are a natural bridge, you speak a language we can’t speak.”
MJAA Executive Director Joel Chernoff signed off on the plan and asked Liberman to head it up since he had a background as a Messianic Jewish congregational leader in Israel and the U.S. as well as having served in government and politics.
“I didn’t want to do this without the backing of the entire (Messianic) movement,” Liberman said. “They said I was the logical person to do it because I have a political background as well as messianic background.”
AIPAC represents 5.5 million Jewish Americans but there are roughly 80 million evangelical Christians, which includes more than 1 million Messianic Jews, most of whom are conservative and vote Republican.
“Israel is aware it’s represented on the Democrat side, but there is a much larger contingent that has a great potential, a natural bridge to Israel, which is the conservative evangelicals,” Liberman said. “So, we know there is a great sentiment for Israel within this community but it has never been marshaled with any cohesion.”
“So we’re new but we’re seeking to represent a largely untapped resource,” said Liberman.
He said there is much work to do in making the biblical case for Israel in a one-state solution. The official U.S. foreign policy under both Democrat and GOP administrations for the past 50 years has been to work toward a two-state solution – one state for Israel and another for “Palestine,” which would have East Jerusalem as its capital, thereby dividing the holy city.
The Bible contains many warnings against such a policy. The warnings against dividing the land came from ancient Jewish prophets like Isaiah, Joel, Jeremiah and Zechariah.
One example is Joel 3:2, which says: “… there will I deal with and execute judgment upon them for their treatment of My people and of My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and because they have divided My land.”
Zechariah was even more graphic in his description of the fate of those nations who take the side of Israel’s enemies:
“This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” (Zechariah 14:12)
Yet, this message fails to get through to some of the most staunchly conservative and Christian political leaders in Washington, Liberman says.
“There are congressmen who are born-again believers but even among those congressmen I’ve spoken with and I ask them the question and put them on the spot, are you for a two-state solution or one-state solution?” he said. “And they will give you the traditional wisdom and say they’re for a two-state solution.”
It is the concept that somehow the land of Israel must be divided that gives credence to the current BDS movement. BDS stands for “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” to be directed against Israel while promoting the idea that Israel is an “Apartheid state.”
The BDS movement is gaining ground in the U.S. especially in liberal church denominations and on college campuses.
If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viewed through the biblical lens of a one-state solution, it knocks the philosophical underpinning of the BDS movement out from underneath its promoters.
Liberman said Israel policy has increasingly been determined by the White House with less influence coming from the Congress and even the State Department.
“So we do need various congressmen to identify with us and over time help us. A lot of people will favor Israel but not really understand our position. So it would be good if we could influence public opinion and say, listen, the Bible is pertinent, the Bible is a historical predictor, so why wouldn’t we want to get behind this steamroller rather than be steamrolled by it?” he said. “Let’s not go against the Bible. We need to stand with it, and to introduce that idea and we think there will be a lot of people who would help us.”