National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) President Dr. Jerry Johnson (at podium) speaks at the organization’s International Christian Media Convention. Photo: NRB.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), recently rebuked all Christians who promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as a matter of religious principle.
“It is fake theology, like it is fake news!” she said, earning a thunderous applause at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) International Christian Media Convention, which was held this year in Orlando, Florida.
The NRB is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers and readers. NRB’s stated mission is to “advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech.” A major theme at this year’s conference was Christian support for the state of Israel.
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“The DNA of NRB is pro-Israel, because it is a biblical DNA,” said NRB President Dr. Jerry Johnson. “If you’re a scriptural kind of a [Christian] believer of any kind, you’re going to be pro-Israel.”
This love for the Jewish state was all the more apparent in NRB’s exhibition hall. Pilgrimages to Israel were marketed to Christians, along with the sale of Jewish ritual items such as tallitot (prayer shawls) and shofars by a number of pro-Israel groups.
One such organization is PJTN, which was established to educate Christians about their biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and with Israel. Other pro-Israel organizations were present, such as the American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA). Rev. Jerry Clark is the director of AFMDA’s Heart to Heart Israel, an outreach initiative that raises funds to supply ambulances for lifesaving work in Israel. For illustration purposes, the group put a fully equipped ambulance on display in the exhibition hall.
In its official 2017 resolutions, the NRB’s board of directors was unequivocal in its support of Israel. The board called on NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and affirmed Israel’s adherence to democratic principles. The board also urged the US to “continue to stand by Israel,” and called on all Christian organizations and denominations to reject and guard against the BDS movement.
Another major theme at this year’s NRB conference was Israel’s distinction as the only country in the Middle East where Christians can prosper and practice their religion freely. An Israeli Greek Orthodox priest, Father Gabriel Naddaf, attended the conference as the special guest of the PJTN. Naddaf advocates for the integration of Israeli Christians into all of Israel’s state institutions, especially the military and national service programs.
Naddaf added that Middle Eastern Christians are becoming more open about their support for Israel, despite the threat of retribution by Islamic extremists. In 2013, Naddaf’s eldest son, Jubran, was attacked in Nazareth due to his father’s outspoken support for Israel. Despite the head and body injuries he sustained, Jubran proceeded to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces the next year, making his father proud.
“As children of [Israel], we are obligated to defend her,” said Father Naddaf. “Israel is the only country that stands for Christians in the Middle East. No one else is standing against the eradication of Christians.”
Bradley Martin is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center news and public policy group and deputy editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research