Fighting a losing battle, UK’s Israel lobby bolsters links with Christian fundamentalists


26 June, 2014 Middle East Monitor

The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) recently published an item announcing the arrival of the “United Christian Alliance for Israel” (UCAI). The new organisation, described as “still in the infancy stages of growing”, is intended to give the UK “a voice to Christian unity in support for Israel”.

The JLC, formed in 2003 and representing senior leaders from the country’s Jewish community, is one of the key players when it comes to Israel advocacy in Britain, including efforts to fight Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

The article on the JLC website does not reveal many details about the UCAI, who say they base their approach “on the scriptural authority of the continued importance of Israel to God”. The political advocacy angle is clear though – UCAI seeks to encourage Christians “to proactively stand in support of the Jewish community in Biblical support of Israel”.

The UCAI has apparently already been on a “delegation to Israel” with the JLC, and plans are afoot to hold a “UK Night to Celebrate Israel”, as well as to “train media spokespeople” and produce resources so that Christians will be equipped “with the sharp Biblical truth” about Israel.

The records show that UCAI was registered as a limited company in April, with its listed address the same as a church in Scotland, ‘The Church at Stirling’, which runs pro-Israel activities as part of a project it calls ‘The Jacob Plan‘. Ruth Kennedy is in charge of this “ministry”, and it was Kennedy who spoke on behalf of UCAI at an event organised by ‘Christians for Zion‘ earlier this year in response to ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped‘ event at St. James’s Piccadilly last Christmas.

‘The Jacob Plan’ has previously hosted a discussion on “To the Jew First? Evaluating the Priority of Jewish Mission“, an event promoted by CMJ, an organisation which seeks to evangelise Jews. The motivations of Christian Zionists has long been an issue of contention, particularly in the U.S. where their political role is more significant.

UCAI has two named directors: Methodist minister John Peters, who has defended Israel within the church, and opposed boycott and “Israel-bashing“; as well as Tim Vince. Vince is involved with Christian tours of the ‘Holy Land’ and has also worked with Christian fundamentalist TV channel Revelation TV (where he has interviewed The Church at Stirling’s pastor).

Israel’s supporters in the UK have sought to bolster links with Christian fundamentalists in recent years, in response to increased awareness of, and solidarity with, Palestinians within different Christian communities. Israel’s ambassador in London recently revealed that the embassy had “opened a course for young Christians who support Israel and would like to know how to defend us”.

Revealingly, UCAI twice refers to taking a “stand against significantly greater numbers”. It is yet another indication of just how desperate Israel’s apologists are getting when it comes to rallying anything even resembling grassroots support for the policies of an apartheid regime.

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