- Brief Notice
Crouse, Eric R. American Christian Support for Israel: Standing with the Chosen People, 1948–1975. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield. 2015. Pp. viii, 184. $80.00. ISBN 978-0-7391-9718-9.)
This book authored by Eric Crouse, professor of modern American history at Tyndale University College, Toronto, is essentially about evangelical, conservative Christian support for Israel. Its first five chapters are organized around the five major Israeli-Arab conflicts: the war of independence, the Pan-Arab invasion, the second Arab-Israel war, the 1960s and the Six-Day War, and the Yom Kippur War. The book is well researched and will be of use to historians interested in the support of evangelicals for Israel and its wars of self-defense.
Crouse describes very well the views of varying evangelical groups and their leading authors over the years. He cites Genesis 12:3, God’s covenantal promise to Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah (whom he fails to mention) and their descendants, as the key biblical text of Christian Zionists: “I will bless those who bless you, and will curse him who curses you.”
The author consistently contrasts the evangelical pro-Israel stance with what he considers to be a more equivocal, often negative approach of “liberal” Protestants, often citing articles in Christian Century. There are a scant six references to Catholic attitudes and none to Orthodox Christianity, showing ignorance of them despite the deep interest in the Middle East of Eastern Christians in this country. He often calls evangelical Christians “Bible-believing,” as if “liberal” Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Christians do not believe in the Bible as inspired by God. He has great difficulty understanding how American Jews could be in the main “leftists” and have reacted with caution to American evangelical overtures. In this, he fails to take into account either American-Jewish history or the centuries-long history of Christian teaching of contempt against Jews and Judaism and the numerous attempts at forced conversion of Jews by Christians. These are odd omissions for an historian.
Eugene J. Fisher
(Saint Leo University) [End Page 971]