Dear Presidential Candidates,
We, the members of American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), seek to provide a unified voice of truth to the American public in support of Israel and the Jewish people. We are dedicated to the proven principle that supporting the Jewish state of Israel is an extraordinary benefit to the United States and the community of nations. Our organizations and churches represent the growing mainstream movement of Christians in the United States who share a love and concern for Israel and who value Israel’s close and unique relationship with America and with our citizens. We embrace the efficacy of no daylight between our two nations and to work out in private any differences which may arise. We collectively represent tens of millions of Americans who are profoundly concerned about a range of issues which directly impact our ally Israel and therefore the interests of the United States.
On behalf of our constituencies, we respectfully ask that you adopt the following statement of Five Principles which provides a great benefit to the United States of America and assures critical assistance to our close ally Israel.
- Oppose global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel
- Relocate the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital
- Continue support for the renewed Ten-Year Memorandum of Understanding
- Support direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians
- Combat Iran’s unabated actions as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel is a global initiative designed to stigmatize, isolate and harm Israel politically and economically. For example, false parallels are often drawn between Israel and Apartheid South Africa with a common accusation that Israel is today an apartheid state despite all evidence to the contrary. Sadly, this false narrative, which is often anti-Semitic in its demonization of Israel, is gaining momentum within some quarters of the United States, including college campuses where Jewish students feel increasingly threatened, and within some religious entities that are divesting from companies doing business with Israel. While proponents of BDS believe their efforts benefit Palestinians, they are in fact a detriment to them. Case in point: When the BDS movement called for expelling the Israeli Soda Stream company from the West Bank, it resulted in 500 Palestinian employees losing their high paid jobs. The boycott of Soda Stream continued after the company left the West Bank, demonstrating that the true intent of the campaign was to damage and delegitimize Israel rather than relocate the business. We request that you commit as President to combating efforts to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel at the local, state, or federal level.
The 104th Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 calling for the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except Israel. Jerusalem has been the spiritual capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and the official capital of the State of Israel since 1950. Keeping in step with US policy to locate its embassies in the capitals of all nations, we request that you commit as President to implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and to relocating the US Embassy in Israel to its capital city of Jerusalem.
The Memorandum of Understanding Between the United States and Israel
After review and negotiations, the United States’ current ten-year Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with Israel- signed in 2007 and set to expire in 2017- has now been renewed to address Israel’s growing security needs. We are deeply grateful to the Administration for approving the MOU, which covers FY2018- FY2028, in the amount of $38 billion ($3.8 billion per year). It increases the current $30 billion MOU signed in 2007. Israelis shoulder 70% of their defense expenditures and spend a burdensome one-fifth of their GDP for defense. The MOU recognizes the strategic alliance between the US and Israel, a benefit to the security and economy of both nations. For example, seventy-five percent of Israel’s security assistance remains in the United States for weapons manufacturing. US security assistance to Israel has also been instrumental in the development of Israel’s highly successful Iron Dome passive anti-missile defense system. We request that you continue ongoing support for the recently renewed MOU which emphasizes Israel’s right to defend itself, build its own weapons, and govern its relations with neighbors and non-state parties.
Israeli – Palestinian Negotiations
If a lasting peace agreement between Palestinian and Israeli leaders is reached, it must be the result of direct negotiations between the two parties and not imposed on them by the international community. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached out repeatedly to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to open negotiations. Case in point: In 2009 Mr. Abbas insisted on a settlement freeze, saying in return he would re-open negotiations. Mr. Netanyahu froze construction for ten months with no reciprocation from the Palestinian side. Instead, Mr. Abbas encourages violence by honoring and rewarding families of terrorists and feeding Palestinian citizens with a daily dose of incitement in schools and government- owned media. The actions promoted by Palestinian leaders demonstrate that Israel is the only party interested in true peace. Therefore, we request that you commit as President to opposing any solutions imposed on Israel by outside parties, including by the United Nations Security Council.
Iran – the Leading State Sponsor of Terror
Despite the Iran Nuclear deal in 2015, the U.S. State Department again recently designated Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism – destabilizing particularly the Middle East by financing, arming, and training terrorist groups operating around the world, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and forces loyal to the ruthless Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Internally, Iran’s human rights violations are escalating with more than 1,000 hangings and executions in 2015 including women and juveniles. Externally, their recent ballistic missile tests violate two United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, (IRGC) a powerful controlling force in Iran, foments terror operations all over the globe. Iran’s weapons shipments to its surrogates and recognized terror entities, Hamas and Hezbollah, continue unabated. Iran, as the most destabilizing force in the Middle East, also plays a significant role in the carnage and deaths of more than 500,000 Syrians and the displacement of 4 million refugees now living in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. This number includes tens of thousands of Christians. In the last two decades, the United States implemented a strong regime of sanctions penalizing Iran for violating numerous agreements. We request that you commit to counteract Iran’s ongoing violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding their nuclear quest, their noncompliance of existing sanctions and to implement tough, extensive sanctions where needed.
We respectfully urge you to commit to pursuing and enacting these policies which will result in strengthening the mutually beneficial friendship between the United States and Israel.
Susan Michael USA Director, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
Scott Allen Founder, Israel365
Kay Arthur Co-Founder, Precept Ministries
Jim Backlin VP Legislative Affairs, Christian Coalition of America
Ted Baehr Founder, Movie Guide
Jerry Ball Founder, Breaker of Dawn Ministries
Sara C. Ballenger President, Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
Gary L. Bauer President, American Values
Rev. Tony Beam V.P. – Student Services Advocate, North Greenville University
Jason Beham CEO, Benham Brothers
John Benefiel, Apostolic Coordinator, Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network
David Benham CEO, Benham Brothers
Shannon Bennett Director- Community Relations, Museum of the Bible
Jim Bevis Founder, Christians Seeking Renewal Ministries
Anne Bevis Founder, CSR Ministries
Jim Bolin Senior Pastor, Trinity Chapel Church of God
Click here for the entire list of signers