Christian Zionists and Jews meet to discuss issues of joint concern

Eiklor, a featured speaker at the upcoming 2002 Judeo-Christian Zionist Congress in Oakland, has made at least 20 trips to Israel in the past two decades. The experiences, he claims, have "blown the average Christian leader away."

"Many a liberal Jewish friend of mine says, 'Frank, maybe this land-for-peace thing is the only way.' But I say, 'Who should give land and who should give peace?'

"If there could be land for peace today, I'd be all for it if I believed it could stop the conflict. But that won't stop the Islamic fundamentalists from saying, 'Israel has got to die.' I have to point out the tough facts to people who have bought the lie that somehow, Israel is the aggressor, the Goliath when it's nothing but a beaten-up David thirsting for peace."

The conference is organized by Schindler's Ark, an association of Christian Zionists and Jews, and is scheduled to be held at the Claremont Resort & Spa May 5 to 7.

The group's founder, Rosemary Schindler, is a distant relative via marriage of Oskar Schindler, the former Nazi collaborator-industrialist credited with saving the lives of roughly 1,200 Jews.

In addition to supporting Israel because of biblical prophesies, Schindler said Zionist Christians feel the need to aid Jews and the Jewish state because of the long shadow of the Holocaust.

"I feel as a Christian, we bear the guilt that we helped bring about the death camps. The worst oppressors of the Jewish people have been Christian.

"Part of our acknowledgement and apology is to bring restitution in both money and in esteem and honor, and also to acknowledge that Israel is a blessing to all the world. Jewish people are a blessing to all the nations they've ever been in. Those countries have been blessed."

Stated goals of the conference also include sounding a "clear and uncompromising message of the Abrahamic Covenant concerning the land of Israel," urging aliyah, and supporting "Jewish settlements in Yeshah (Samaria and Judea, the Golan Heights and Gaza)."

Speakers will include Eiklor; Col. Moshe Leshem, a settlement spokesman from the Golan Heights; and Gary Cooperberg, former director of public relations for the Jewish community of Hebron. Cooper was also the foreign press spokesman for Rabbi Meir Kahane during the assassinated Kach Party founder's term in the Knesset.

In addition to issues surrounding Israel, the conference will address the rising tide of anti-Semitism worldwide. Eiklor chided the silence of the Christian community on this issue, labeling "unchallenged anti-Semitism a disgrace to the Christian church, [which] flies in the face of our claiming to be a moral force.

"We can differ with our Jewish neighbors on theology and argue until the messiah comes — and maybe it'll be Jesus and the Jewish community says it'll be someone else — but where will we be when [the Jewish community] is hurting? That's something we've largely failed to do for the last 2,000 years.

"We do not all have to agree on theology to respect and help each other."

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi is the managing editor at Mission Local. He is a former editor-at-large at San Francisco magazine, former columnist at SF Weekly and a former J. staff writer.