NCLCI Condemns Mike Evans’ Comments Regarding Israeli Politics
June 8, 2021 – For Immediate Release – Boston, Massachusetts
The National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel expressed shock and dismay at the recent blog post written by Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem. In the post, published in The Times of Israel on June 4, 2021, Evans declared his opposition to events taking place in the Israeli Knesset by deploying a number of antisemitic tropes that, according to NCLCI, disqualify Evans as a “friend of Zion.”
In particular, Evans portrayed German Jews as responsible for their own deaths during the Holocaust, described Israeli politicians as Christ-killers in their efforts to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and characterized Netanyahu’s political adversaries as seeking membership in “a club that rules and runs the world.”
“These are classic antisemitic tropes that need to be condemned by all people of good faith,” said NCLCI President, Tricia Miller, Ph.D., who also expressed shock at the attitude of entitlement that Evans exhibited in his post. “The whole point of Zionism is for Jews to maintain a state where they make their own decisions regarding their future. It is simply not acceptable for a non-Israeli citizen to declare who should — or should not be — the country’s Prime Minister.”
“Christians are called to be peacemakers,” said Pastor Anthony Triplett, NCLCI Treasurer. “What Mike Evans wrote does not make for peace, but only increases tension and hostility in an already difficult situation in Israel. We are called to work for peace, not incite contempt for those with whom we have a difference of opinion.”
Jim Fletcher, a member of NCLCI’s board of directors, reiterated that non-citizens have no right to declare who is a legitimate leader of Israel, and that choosing the prime minister is a right held by Israelis themselves.
“Israelis have had a difficult enough time politically already,” he said. “For a non-Israeli like Evans to express himself in such a vulgar, hostile and explicitly bigoted manner as he did is outrageous. It’s intolerable. That’s what Israel haters have done for years!”
JoAnn Magnuson, NCLCI Vice President and longest-serving board member, warns that Evans’ rhetoric harkens back to previous historical eras when such invective was all too prevalent. “This is not the good news Evangelicals are called to share,” she said. “This ugly language does not represent the views of the vast majority of Christian supporters of Israel.”
Evans’ blogpost confirms that Christians do not always bring their best selves to discussions related to the Jewish people, said Dexter Van Zile, NCLCI Secretary. “Israel and the Jewish people are entitled to a principled and factual defense,” said Van Zile. “Our writings about the conflict should not be rooted in our own personal trauma. Israelis and Palestinians have both been through too much for outsiders to use the conflict as a proxy for their own demons.”
The National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI) was founded in 1978 to develop, encourage and strengthen understanding and support for the people, land and State of Israel within the North American Christian community.