Israel's Christian Media Summit explores Israel advocacy and the stance of the Black church regarding Israel
After two years of virtual summits, Government Press Office aiming for next year's CMS to be an in-person event
The organizers of the Christian Media Summit had hoped to hold this year’s gathering in person, but the Delta variant of the coronavirus prevented that and forced them online for the second time in a row.
However, Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) revealed it is aiming for the next summit to take place in June 2022 in person, for the first time since the pandemic. Dates and location are not finalized yet, Hadassah Schwartz, the GPO’s senior coordinator of International Religious Journalism, told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
The fifth annual summit was an opportunity to shine the light on the Abraham Accords.
“It has been a little over a year since the signing of the Abraham Accords changed the course of history forever,” said GPO Director Nitzan Chen.
Many of the speakers paid homage to the historic agreements between Israel and, so far, four Muslim nations, and to the strong relationship between Israel and the international Christian community.
Top Israeli leaders led the line up of speakers, followed by key figures in Christian media from around the world.
Johnnie Moore, founder and CEO of The KAIROS Company and president of the Congress of Christian Leaders – who also serves on our ALL ARAB NEWS Advisory Board – said the Christian friendship with Israel was put to the test over the past 20 months since the pandemic shut borders around the world.
“What was amazing was that despite the fact that so few people were able to visit Israel this year, we watched all around the world as the Christian community, the Evangelical community, began to raise their voice in the middle of the conflict earlier this year,” Moore said. “It was an extraordinary, extraordinary experience to see that the Christian community, not only was passionate about the security of the State of Israel but was educated on all of the issues we’ve taken for granted.”
Moore added that Christians have become ambassadors for Israel with opportunities to point out the Jewish state’s “great humanitarian efforts all around the world” and its high-tech innovations.
He also called the Evangelical base a “great firewall against anti-Semitism.”
“We are living in the golden age of Jewish-Christian friendship, where many Christians like me wake up multiple times a day with Israel on my heart and on my mind,” Moore said.
Speaking of the Abraham Accords, Moore said it is not just now “the golden age of Jewish-Christian friendship – it is a new era of peace and prosperity across the entire region.”
Pastor Richard Liverance, former regional marketing director for Israel’s Tourism Ministry, encouraged Christian journalists to come to Israel so they can get out the message and draw more believers to come and experience the Holy Land for themselves.
Ward Simpson, CEO of God TV, encouraged his colleagues in Christian media to use the sphere of influence that God has given them.
“One thing we do know is that God is for (Israel and the Jewish people) and God has a plan and God has raised us up – Christian media – to be her defender, her champion, her watchmen on her walls, her advocate,” Simpson said.
“Our Bible is a Jewish book. Our God is their God. Our prophets are their prophets. Our Messiah returns to Jerusalem and rules from there. You know, our Bible says the gospel is to the Jew first. So we owe a debt of gratitude to our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Simpson said. “And as Christian media, we use our platforms to tell the truth about God's people. You know, anti-Semitism comes in every form and every fashion, every shape, every color, every size. The hatred against the Jewish people is… unthinkable.”
A portion of the summit was dedicated to the relationship between the African-American church and Israel. Bishop Glenn Plummer, who recently joined the ALL ISRAEL NEWS Advisory Board along with his wife Ruth Pauline Plummer, said that Zionism has been alive in the Black church since at least the days of Martin Luther King.
Founder of the Institute of Black Solidarity with Israel, Dumisani Washington, backed that up saying that the Civil Rights Movement held up both the Israelis' and Palestinians’ right to live in security. King had called Israel one of the great outposts of democracy and always thanked Jewish Americans for their support, Washington said.
But panelist host, Jerusalem Post reporter Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, pushed back on this connection noting that some Blacks in America seem to be anti-Israel.
“When you say the 'Black church,' let’s understand: 'Black America' is not the 'Black church,'” Plummer said. “We stand with Israel, we support Israel, we celebrate Israel.”
“I speak for our church and our church is the largest black church in the world,” said Plummer who is Bishop of Israel for the Church of God in Christ, which has 6.5 million members in the U.S. and churches in 112 nations.
Washington said that while some Black Americans do have more of a “socially progressive mindset” that leads them to be anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian, “the vast majority of Black Christians in the U.S. are pro-Israel.
“They may not necessarily be well versed in all the details – some are and some are not – but that’s not any different from most Christian denominations.”
Instead, Washington said, there is a “rich, deep legacy” of a convergence of civil rights that allows for a mutual identification and connection between African Americans and the Jewish people.
You can read more about the Plummers’ organization in Israel here.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.