From Bill Sutter’s Desk Sep/Oct 2011
I remember well when a group from Israel’s Knesset launched the Christian Allies Caucus in 2004. Spanning a spectrum of Jewish political parties in Israel, these Members of the Knesset (MKs) hoped to develop ties with pro-Israel Christian leaders. They represented a growing number of MKs who had become increasingly aware and deeply appreciative of Christians whose unshakable bond with Israel is rooted in God’s everlasting covenant with the Jewish people, as outlined in God’s eternal Word, the Bible.
Shortly afterward, we met with Caucus members at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC. Caucus Director Josh Reinstein has since spoken to almost all of our semiannual Up to Jerusalem tour groups. Mr. Reinstein also arranged meetings with MKs and set up special Knesset tours for the young adults participating in The Friends of Israel’s ORIGINS volunteer program in Israel. (ORIGINS stands for Our Resolve Is Giving Israel Never-ending Support.)
But this amazing story continues. In 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC, formed the first reciprocal caucus: the U.S. Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. In a highly unusual display of bipartisan cooperation, members of this active caucus are from both political parties and believe that those who would stand together for freedom, democracy, and justice must stand with Israel.
As Israel in June celebrated the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, other supporters of Israel gathered at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill for a Jerusalem Day Prayer Breakfast. With the media present, Israel Allies Caucus cochairs, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), joined other members of the House Caucus to speak boldly of their commitment to Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and to Israel’s right to live in peace within secure borders.
The occasion was also used to promote the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011 (H.R. 1006). This bill would remove the presidential waiver of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which has been the maneuver exercised year after year to prevent moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
And the story of Israel Allies Caucuses continues, as the movement is spreading to other countries through the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation (IIACF). IIACF was founded in 2008 to strengthen international support for Israel. Under the leadership of Willem Griffioen, chief of operations, the IIACF coordinates the activities of members of parliaments and other legislative bodies in governments around the world on issues related to Israel.
Member nations and regions now include Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay. Recently the IIACF opened a Latin American office in Brazil, where the Latin American regional director is developing and managing Israel Allies Caucuses throughout the region.
According to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, “As we all know, Israel today lives under an ominous shadow, in a threatening neighborhood; . . . but let the world know this, America stands with Israel.”
As participation in these caucuses grows, there are ways for us as Christians to become involved as a positive expression of our biblically based beliefs. Specifically, we can make known to our elected representatives our support for
- the policy priorities and coordinated activities of the Israel Allies Caucus and
- the legislation to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. We can tell our representatives we want the United States to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, where it belongs.
Your involvement in these ways is not simply “playing politics.” You are supporting what God has raised up—Israel—according to His prophetic Word. And you are upholding God’s truth of the importance of His land and His ancient people.
As the psalmist wrote, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!” (Ps. 137:5).