Jerusalem Summit London
Israeli delegation, Christian leaders, Baroness Cox and Lord
Pearson after the Summit's working meeting with British MPs
at the Moses Room of the Parliament
UK forum promotes Christian Zionism
By Etgar Lefkovits
The Jerusalem Post
Attempting to stem the tide of rising Islamic fundamentalism
in Europe, a group of British evangelical leaders hosted a conference
in London on Sunday seeking to rekindle the faded force of Christian
Zionism in the United Kingdom.
The first-ever Jerusalem Summit Europe, which was held at London's Central Hall Westminster, brought together Israeli right-wing thinkers and members of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus with leaders of Britain's small, pro-Israel evangelical community who feel increasingly threatened by the spread of radical Islam in Europe, and specifically the UK.
"We are in a critical season and crossroads
for Great Britain which is a test case for the challenge of Islam,"
said Christine Darg, the head of the UK-based Exploits Ministry
which organized the event.
"Now is the time to rekindle the almost unique
relationship Britain has had with the Jewish people over the last
couple of hundred years."
The event, which was held nine decades after the landmark Balfour Declaration spelled out the British government's support for a "national home" for the Jewish people in Palestine, coincided with worldwide events marking the Holocaust. Christian Zionist in the UK are forced to contend with growing Islamic extremism coupled with mainstream political correctness among many Christians.
In an unusual turn of events, Israeli speakers at the event encouraged Christian revival based on Biblical beliefs, while members of the British Jewish community called for coordination among members of both faiths in supporting Israel, and in lobbying the British government on its behalf.
"The Bible is the real bridge between us,"
said the chairman of the Christian Allies Caucus MK Benny Elon (National
Union-National Religious Party).
"This basic connection should overcome the
mistakes that have soured our historic relations in the past."
"The main message we are bringing is not a
request to support Israel but to support Christian revival in Europe,
not to save Israel but to save yourself," said Dmitry Radyshevsky,
the executive-director of The Jerusalem Summit, a right-wing Jerusalem-based
NGO which debuted four years ago.
Radyshevsky, a Moscow-born Harvard Divinity school graduate, noted the irony that an Israeli Jew was calling for Christian revival in Europe, but said that it was part of a common struggle against radical Islam which required both Jews and Christians to believe in the moral right of their Bible-based values.
"Either it will be a fundamentally Christian
Europe or a Europe of Islamic fundamentalists," he opined.
Labor MK Orit Noked, whose political views were to the left of the other participants in the conference, said that she was nevertheless overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for Israel in the evangelical world.
"From a historical point of view, it is especially
important that we are having this meeting here in London,"
The gathering, which received the blessing, if not the attendance, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who serves as the religious leader of the Church of England, also was attended by several British Jewish leaders who called for greater cooperation between the two communities in making their voices heard by British politicians.
"We are very much aware of your unfaltering
support for the State of Israel, and your consistent and unfailing
belief in the righteousness and return of the Jewish nation to its
ancestral land," said Cyril Stein, a philanthropist and chairman
of the non-profit Go to Israel tourism campaign.
His remarks were unusual in that most British Jews, like their American counterparts, have traditionally distanced themselves from evangelical Christians due to conflicting world views on domestic issues, such as abortion and public prayer.
"Today the people of Israel are more aware
than ever that it is Christians who have stood by our side through
thick and thin, and Christians all over the world are more aware
than ever before of what is at the stake...[which] is nothing less
than our way of life, and the Judeo-Christian values upon which
Western civilization was built," said caucus director Josh
Still, the London event highlighted the gap that exists between Israel and the UK.
"There is a whole new generation of Britains
who have no concept of our heritage and ties with Israel, and all
they hear in the popular press about Israel is negative, negative,
negative day in and day out," said Peter Darg who heads the
Christian Broadcasting Network in Europe.
"This is a clarion call to be biblically-correct and not politically correct," Darg concluded.
Women's rights key to fighting Islamic extremism, conservative group insists
By Etgar Lefkovits
The Jerusalem Post
The West should condition foreign aid and trade
with Muslim countries on the advancement of women's rights as part
of a long-term diplomatic attempt to weaken the rise of Islamic
extremism, a conservative Israeli group of academics and thinkers
The proposal, which was made by a private right-wing NGO, 'The Jerusalem Summit' and has been presented to parliamentarians and Christian religious leaders in both the US and the UK , comes as a new survey conducted in Britain finds that 40 percent of Muslim youth in the UK would prefer to live under Islamic law.
"Israel is frequently and fallaciously called
an apartheid state when in fact the Muslims perpetrate a true and
perpetual 'gender apartheid' where hundreds of millions of women
living in the Muslim world, including in so-called moderate Arab
nations such as Egypt and Jordan, are denied basic human rights,"
said Tel Aviv University's Dr. Martin Sherman.
Citing a UN report which found that the treatment of women in the Arab world ranked lower even than that of Sub-Saharan Africa, Sherman said that a diplomatic campaign by the West on this issue would transcend the traditional divide between the Left and the Right, and could serve to unite conservatives and liberals alike in the fight against Islamic extremism.
"We should use political correctness against
the people who hide behind it," he said.
The issue of women is "a major cleavage line" and "the soft underbelly" of Islamic society, which could be effectively used as part of a strategic initiative against Islamic extremism, that could include financing organizations advocating women's rights in Muslim countries, imposing punitive measures against countries which violate women's rights, and even conditioning foreign aid and trade on the issue, Sherman said.
A political campaign by the West against the Islamic fundamentalism on this issue coupled with an international focus on the religious persecution of minorities living in the Muslim world could cause the two central pillars of totalitarian Islamic ideology to crumble said the group's executive director Dmitry Radyshevsky.
The Moscow-born Radyshevsky said that just as the Soviet empire looked invincible a quarter century ago Islamic extremism could be weakened over time by such a political campaign.
The British poll, which was carried out by a conservative think-tank, found that more than a third of Muslim youth aged 16 to 24 wanted to live under Islamic law instead of British law.
"Many young Muslims living in inner cities in Britain are becoming more and more rebellious and increasingly allied with Muslims in other parts of the world," said Peter Teasdale, a UK based Christian leader.
British baroness calls Islamic extremism greatest threat to the West
By Etgar Lefkovits
The Jerusalem Post
Islamic extremism poses the greatest threat to
the Western World, and endangers the very essence of democracy,
a British baroness said Tuesday.
"The threat of a militant and totalitarian
form of Islam poses the greatest threat to our cultures today, and
Israel is standing at the front-lines of this struggle against militant
Islam which would destroy the values of our societies," Baroness
Caroline Cox said in an address at the House of Lords.
Cox, an outspoken supporter of Israel , was speaking in the Moses Room at the conclusion of the Jerusalem Summit Europe, which held its first meeting in London this week. Hundreds of evangelical Christians attended the summit, which was coordinated with the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus.
The erudite baroness of Queensbury, who, together with John Marks, wrote The West, Islam and Islamism: Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy?, told The Jerusalem Post that a recent public opinion poll reporting that 40 percent of Muslims youths in the UK wanted to live under Islamic law was indicative of a growing state of malaise that threatened to destroy Britain's society and core values.
"The sad thing is that growing in our midst
there is a significant portion of youth who seem to believe in values
that are absolutely antithetical to the spiritual, political and
cultural values on which this nation has been based over the centuries,"
"Given their continuous embrace and manifest
endorsement of terror activities, this represents not only a political
threat but a physical threat which demonstrates their ruthlessness
in their commitment to do everything they can to take over our society
and to destroy our faith and freedom."
The meeting at the House of Lords, which was attended by several fellow peers and MPs as well as the chairman of the Christian Allies Caucus, MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party) and British Jewish and Evangelical leaders, included a slide show presentation of Palestinian media clips demonizing Israel and praising "martyrdom" presented by the head of Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus.
"Violent Islam is clearly the greatest problem
mankind is facing today," said Lord Malcolm Pearson, a prominent
Euro-skeptic who was presented with the Jerusalem Summit's' third
Henry "Scoop" Jackson award by the Russian tycoon Michael
Cherney, who has helped fund the summits, for his fight against
the Soviet Communist regime.
"The dark shadow of the collective human spirit
has moved from Soviet Communism to violent Islamism," Pearson
Christian and Jewish leaders at the meeting agreed the attitude of Muslim youth in the UK , as reflected in the poll, was indicative of a general problem in a politically-correct, complacent society that was guided by short-term political interest.
"It is a shame that one-third of our young
people do not feel as strongly the need to uphold Christian laws
that are the backbone of this nation," said Pamela Thomas,
the national director of Bridges for Peace UK , an evangelical organization.
"The poll did not surprise us at all because
of the education in the Madrasa system in the UK ," said Andrew
Balcombe, the chairman of the Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland
, referring to Islamic religious schools. "There is gender
and creed apartheid which causes considerable political and social
The speakers said the threat posed by Islamic extremism exceeded the menace of Soviet Communism, and was reminiscent of the threat of Nazi Germany during the period of appeasement.
"We feel ourselves living in the 1930s all over again," Cox said.