In 2010, a film was released that perfectly encapsulated the erosion of Evangelical Christian support for Israel. The film, With God on Our Side, featured a young man learning about the Palestinian struggle and coming to see Israel not as evidence of God’s faithfulness, but as a mean and heartless nation enabled by American Evangelicals who have embraced Zionist ideology.
The film’s narrative of peace-loving Palestinians mistreated by heartless Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters has been repackaged and promoted again and again by anti-Israel activists in some of the most influential Evangelical institutions in the United States. These activists, often in high positions, have found eager disciples in places like the megachurch campus of Willow Creek and the academic halls of Wheaton College, one of America’s preeminent Evangelical institutions. And they have been able to exploit the resources of popular Evangelical development organizations like World Vision.
Exposing these activists and their strategy is key to thwarting their efforts to undermine Evangelical support for Israel.
For many anti-Israel activists, Christian Zionism is an easy and strategically important target. Many of them believe that U.S. political and military support for Israel is not the result of activism by the Jewish lobby, which represents at best 2 percent of the U.S. population, but the much larger segment of support that comes from politically active Christians, and in particular Evangelical Americans. In order to end U.S. support for Israel, which is held to be the only reason the occupation still exists, pro-Palestinian anti-Israel activists need to confront Christian Zionism. The added benefit, of course, is that it is much easier to avoid being labeled “anti-Semitic” if they go after a Christian movement instead of a Jewish one.