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Evangelicals and IsraelThe Story of American Christian Zionism$
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Stephen Spector

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368024.001.0001

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Christian Zionists, Bush, and the Al-Aqsa Intifada

Christian Zionists, Bush, and the Al-Aqsa Intifada

(p.212) 10 Christian Zionists, Bush, and the Al-Aqsa Intifada
Evangelicals and Israel

Stephen Spector (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the idea that George W. Bush’s Middle East policy, from the beginning, represented an unprecedented tilt toward Israel. The Bush administration was not always skewed in that way. To the contrary, from late summer 2001 until the spring of 2002, U.S. policy hardly gave Jerusalem the unwavering support for which it later became known. This period saw the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and Israel’s massive military response, Operation Defensive Shield. Christian Zionist leaders, alarmed by the Palestinian violence and acutely sensitive to the threat to the Israeli Jews, rose to Israel’s support. In rallies and email and telephone campaigns, they pressed the president to stop equivocating and side definitively with Jerusalem’s efforts to root out terrorism. That was Washington’s own policy toward Muslim radicals, they declared, so it would be hypocritical to ask Israel to do otherwise. Bush, they insisted, should allow Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to do that as he saw fit. Gary Bauer and other evangelicals later claimed that their pressure tactics worked: they induced Bush to change his position, giving Sharon free rein in dealing with the Palestinians. Media reports largely accepted that narrative.

Keywords:   Al-Aqsa Intifada, Gary Bauer, Christian Zionist rallies, email campaign, media, Muslim radicals, Operation Defensive Shield, Palestinians, pressure, Ariel Sharon, Telephone campaign

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