A lunch meeting with Professor Malcolm Hedding, international executive director of the International Christian Embassy based in Jerusalem, is always a ‘must’. Listening to this highly informed, articulate and passionate supporter of the State of Israel and the Jewish people lifts spirits to greater heights than any other protagonist could achieve.
This is one special guy.
And so it was on Tuesday 16 October, when he addressed a cross-section of leadership of the WP Zionist Council, Board of Deputies, Christian Zionist organisations and associate bodies, at the Albow Centre.
In an overview of various areas of interest and concern, Hedding provided insights on a full range of issues affecting the Jewish state at this time, and prospects of what lies ahead. He discussed the SA-Israel ‘axis’, which he said was problematic because of this government’s stance vis-a-vis Iran, and its refusal to support the calls for sanctions against its regime.
Regarding Israel in general, he dealt with various issues, beginning with the reported growing strength of izbollah, now massively re-armed with highly sophisticated weaponry, and its threatening, underground operations in the Gaza area, which Israel “might have to go and clear out”.
A new peace initiative with Syria was going forward, he said, “with breathtaking momentum, and final status issues out on the table”. A conference was scheduled for November, but where it would lead was dubious. “Mahmoud Abbas is a lame duck … but the conference is being pushed by the United States,” he said.
The attack on Syria’s North Korean supplied nuclear facility had proved an embarrassment for Syria in the publicising of the collusion between them. On the other hand, it had raised the status and prospects of political survival for Ehud Olmert, “the most unpopular premier in Israel’s history”.
A significant and reassuring part of Hedding’s address was his revelation of the Israel:Christian alliance, and the growing and formidable worldwide coalition of Evangelical Christians and Jews. In fact, he added, the best attended caucus in the Knesset was that of the Christian Allies!
The alliance was beginning to make itself influential in the European Union and in particular with its powerful decision-making House of Commissioners, which till now had been making vast sums of money available to the Palestinians “without a paper trail” — much of which had supported terrorism. The coalition had recently managed to block a huge €35million of funding, from going through.
The American Christian coalition, Christians United for Israel, under the leadership of John Hagee, has harnessed enormous support among millions of Evangelicals in support of Israel, Hedding said, and AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) itself was working in a strategic alliance together with them.
“It is a day of new partnerships,” Hedding declared.
In regard to such working partnerships, Hedding said, South Africa had been in he forefront. The two ‘parties’ had been working together in a relationship of cooperation and trust for decades. Now such movement was growing worldwide. But, he said, the Evangelical movement was not predicated on the basis of prescribing to Israel what its boundaries should be. It stood for the survival of the state within secure borders; support for the fight against antisemitism and terrorism and against international media bias.
The worldwide Evangelical movement encompasses some 14 million people in 114 countries. “It is a monster!” he smiled. The recent special Feast of Tabernacles congress in Jerusalem had drawn 7000 Christians to visit Israel, the biggest such annual tourist event. Their message was: ”Stand up, speak up and defend the nation of Israel. We are behind you. We support you. You are not alone.”
In support of this they had initiated a global petition to bring before the United Nations at the end of this year, to indict President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran for incitement to genocide. Hedding urged his audience to go into the website: www.icejusa.org and get everyone they knew to do so and sign the petition.
The Rev Dr Kenneth Meshoe, leader of ACDP and ACDP MP Carolyn Dudley also attended the lunch. Reverend Meshoe, who said a few words as a ‘curtain raiser’ the beginning, was enthusiastic in expressing his support for Israel.
“I have a calling to defend the right of Israel to exist in safe and secure borders”, the Rev Meshoe told the meeting. Asserting that Jerusalem’s belonging to Israel was “non-negotiable, he added, There is nothing to discuss — it’s not on the agenda.”