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IRD director comments on recent letter

IRD director comments on recent letter
Christian Newswire — On July 27, 34 prominent evangelical leaders sent a letter calling on President Bush to provide leadership pushing both Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for a permanent peaceful solution to their dispute.
The letter signers, organized by the progressive evangelical group Evangelicals for Social Action, aimed to refute the view that most American evangelicals oppose a two-state solution and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
The letter points out that “loving people does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted!” And the letter calls on President Bush to provide robust leadership pushing both Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for a permanent peaceful solution.
Mark Tooley, Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Dir-ector of UMAction (United Methodist) commented: “The letter writers do a service in pointing out that not all evangelicals are dispensationalists committed to unconditional support for the modern state of Israel. These are questions on which there are significant disagreements in biblical interpretation among evangelicals.
“However, the joint letter implies that dispensational theology is the only, or the main reason, why many U.S. evangelicals are pro-Israel. Rather, many U.S. evangelicals are supportive of Israel because it is a liberal democracy that does not seek the destruction of its neighbors. IRD commends the letter’s authors for emphasizing that evangelicals should be concerned for the peace, justice and freedom of both Israelis and Palestinians. Love for Israel should not cancel out concern for the Palestinians.
“We further state that it is possible to make distinctions between peoples and governments. Equal evangelical concern for the Israeli and the Palestinian people does not mean that we should treat the two governments as morally equivalent. We can uphold the right of the Palestinians to self-determination without embracing all the political choices that they make. Palestinian statehood necessarily depends upon the maturity and wisdom of the people and their leaders in fashioning a state that is willing and able to live at peace with Israel.”

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