"With God on our Side" movie tackles Israel debate

Oregon Faith News Note,
— Below are two sides to a new hot topic documentary film

The new 2010 documentary “With God on Our Side”  takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism. The film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.

The film has already sparked a counterpoint that is an attack on Israel.  Below is a press release opposing the film from the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

New Evangelical Left Film Attacks Israel

Institute on Religion and Democracy– A new film, “With God on Our Side,” is being released this month to rebut pro-Israel Christians and persuade them to champion the Palestinian cause. The film’s purpose, as its producer explains, is to take American Christians off the metaphorical tourist trail of their pro-Israel stance and instead wade them into embittered Palestinian communities where their views will change.

The makers of “With God on Our Side” want increased U.S. pressure on Israel to accommodate Palestinian demands, facilitated by reduced U.S. evangelical support for Israel. The ultimate goal is unclear, whether a Palestinian state in the West Bank ruled by Islamists like Hamas, or dismantling Israel altogether in favor of a new nation dominated by returned Palestinian “refugees.”

Film endorsers include liberal evangelist Tony Campolo and Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“Anti-Israel activists rightly see American evangelicals as key to U.S. support for Israel. That is why they are targeting evangelicals with messages of pro-Palestinian solidarity as supposedly central to Christian compassion.

“The film’s main message to evangelicals, especially to young people, is that the Old Religious Right crassly imposed a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy based on its end-times theology, creating untold suffering among largely innocent Palestinians. The film suggests that more thoughtful, more compassionate evangelicals will reject that heritage and instead stand with the Palestinians as the victim group most needing Christian compassion.

“The film perpetuates a simplistic stereotype alleging that American Evangelicals self-servingly only support Israel because a Jewish presence there is central to their blood thirsty, apocalyptic dreams about the Second Coming.

“The Evangelical Left is adopting the old Religious Left’s Liberation Theology view of the Middle East, in which the Palestinians are the impoverished Third World victims, while Israel and the U.S. are the imperialists.

“‘With God on Our Side’ is overly reductive, claiming evangelicals support apartheid-like, Jewish wall-builders while neglecting persecuted Palestinians. Of course, their persecution is faulted not just on Israel, but also the United States, especially its evangelicals.

“How are the dwindling numbers of Palestinian Christians faring under Palestinian rule now, and how would they fare under a victorious new, Islamic-dominated Palestinian state? The Evangelical Left would prefer not to answer these questions, instead preferring guilt trips about supposed evangelical and American imperialist sins and fantasies about a newly liberated and Christian friendly ‘Palestine.'”

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