Interview: Dr. Jim Showers
As Election Day quickly approaches in the United States, many issues factor into people’s voting considerations. Everything from the economy to social issues to foreign affairs takes center stage, and citizens vote according to the proposed ideals that most align with their own. But one of the most significant positions believers take into effect when voting is how the candidates view and plan to engage with Israel.
Chris sits down with The Friends of Israel Executive Director Jim Showers to discuss the presidential candidates’ track record and plans for the United States’ relationship with Israel. They analyze how this election will affect Israel and just how much of a role the candidates’ policies toward Israel will play in the election. Chris and Jim provide you with the information you’re seeking about each candidate’s plans to relate to the Jewish nation.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. And with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. We have a great show for you today. But before Chris comes, I want to remind you to visit our website foiradio.org. On our site, you'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel in the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry by clicking on the Donate button and help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Today on the program, we have our very own executive director, Dr. Jim Showers, who will be joining us in the studio to talk about the upcoming election that's happening this week coming up, November 3rd, Tuesday, November 3rd. We're going to be looking at the election and really the ramifications that are going to come from this election, depending on which party either maintains power, or takes power. Now, before we continue, I am so thankful that we're on a new Christian network, KVIP. We are so thankful to be on the list of stations through KVIP. And we hope the listeners that are there listening through this program, they see the value of what it means to love and support Israel and the Jewish people. So, thank you so much KVIP for supporting The Friends of Israel Today radio program.
Steve Conover: In the news, scientists from Technion, Israel's prestigious institute of technology in Haifa, they invented a new face mask that cleans itself by using power from your cell phone charger. Once powered, it takes 30 minutes for the mask to heat up to 158 degrees, a temperature that will kill the virus, disinfecting its inner layer of carbon fiber mesh.
Chris Katulka: Well, here's my take, leave it to Israel to invent a mask that plugs in and cleans itself. Listen, I could use this technology here. I've got kids who reuse their face masks over and over again. It can get pretty nasty. So, this self-cleaning face mask will make sure you're not getting sick through the mask that's designed to protect you. See, this is why they call Israel not the Silicon Valley, but the Silicon Wadi.
Well, we have a very special guest in the studio today. As I ended our time last week, our show, I had said that we're going to have the captain of the FOI ship in the studio next week. And that's what we have. We have Dr. Jim Showers, who's the executive director of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. And we're here to talk about, actually, something I think is very important. Right around the corner, this upcoming week is going to be election week, November 3rd. Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, the polls will be tallied and we will begin to find out who the next president of the United States of America is.
And you know, here at The Friends of Israel, we don't want to tell you who to vote for at all. That's not our job. But, at the same time, we want to inform you. We want to educate you on what the election ramifications will have on Israel, the future of Israel. And what that means, because we're talking about the fact that elections can change the way that the US relates with Israel and the Jewish state. So Jim, thank you so much for coming in and helping us with this issue.
Dr. Jim Showers: Well, thank you, Chris. It's my pleasure to be here today.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, so let's get right to it. The first question is, it's kind of an easy one. I just want to know, from a broad perspective, do you think that the elections will have future ramifications for Israel's future in the Middle East? The views that are presented by the two candidates, are they that far apart that it's going to actually have ramifications?
Dr. Jim Showers: Well, I certainly think it does. Each candidate has a different approach, each party has a different approach to Israel. We've seen for the last three and a half years the Trump administration has taken a different track than previous administrations. And it's made a huge difference in the Middle East. On the other side, the Democratic approach, we've seen them move away from, in their strong support for Israel. They are not as strongly supportive of Israel as they were. But their approach is going to be similar to past administrations. Where is, they're going to say, "We have to settle the issue between Israel and the Palestinians before we can move on to other issues."
And I think they will put pressure on Israel. The US does provide a lot of aid, multi-millions of dollars every year to Israel. And so, they will use that to leverage Israel to force Israel, to do things they would not otherwise do.
The Trump administration has just gone a different direction. They're saying the things of the past didn't work, let's try new things. And they're getting great success. So, I think there is a distinct difference between the two. And, depending upon which candidate wins, will impact Israel's future.
Chris Katulka: Now, I want to move to the evangelical vote because Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has said, in the past, that at the primary vote level an evangelical support for Israel can actually swing a vote. It can actually be the determining factor in who the presidential candidate could rise up to be. Do you think that's the case in these elections, as well? Do you think the evangelical vote and support for Israel matters, when the voter goes to the ballot box?
Dr. Jim Showers: Sure. It makes a lot of difference. And listen, the parties, particularly Republican party, particularly President Trump is making a huge effort to gain the evangelical Christian vote. And President Trump understands Israel's the center of that. If you remember back in 2016, when he's running for president, he made a promise that if he was elected he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Chris Katulka: A promise given before by past presidential candidates.
Dr. Jim Showers: Yes. And almost every president had made that promise over the last 20 years. And then, they would delay it.
There was a law Congress passed directing the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. But, in there, they put this exception that every six months the president could delay it for national security reasons. And so, that's what the presidents were doing. President Trump said, if he was elected he would move it. Now, the first six month period came up, he did delay. But when the next one that came up, he said, "We're going to move it," and, six months later, it was moved. So, that's an example of how the current administration sees the evangelical Christian vote as a very important component to their election and their support. And so, I really do believe it's not just primaries, but on national elections it is very significant.
Chris Katulka: I totally agree with you. I mean, there's a reason that I think Trump continues to bring up over and over again at all the rallies that he's doing, and making it a prominent part of his agenda is Israel. It's a prominent part. It's one of those things that rises to the top. And I think that's because he understands that's where his voter is. And so, yeah, I agree with you 100%.
I want to move now to the candidates. I want to kind of go from kind of the big picture stuff down to the candidate. You were talking earlier about the fact that Joe Biden, he's been around for a long time. When you talk about things that have been done for a long time when it comes to US and Israel, and trying to create peace with the Palestinians, and peace in the Middle East, it's all kind of depending. It doesn't matter what party you're talking about, Republican or Democrat, prior to Trump, they all seemed to push the same agenda. Biden's been in office for 47 years, eight of those as the vice president. What's his track record on Israel, Jim? Do you think it's a positive one? Negative? Can you share a little bit of insight there?
Dr. Jim Showers: Well, I think as a senator, he was a pro Israel in many of his votes and statements. The most recent we have to look at would be the eight years he was vice president in the Obama administration. And I think we have to keep in mind too, if Vice President Biden becomes our next president, many, many of those who were in the administration of the Obama administration will become part of the Biden administration. So, we would take our signals in what will happen to Israel from them. They will go back to using the USA to Israel to strong arm Israel into concessions they would not otherwise make and try to get both, they and the Palestinians, back to the table. There's a real breakdown of that.
The Trump administration realized that. If Israel's a big brother and the Palestinians are a little brother, when you say that unless the little brother agrees we're not going to do anything. You empower the little brother to have control of the situation. And the Palestinians have used that for years. And the Trump administration said, "We're not going to play that game anymore. We're just going to go around them and we'll make things happen. If they don't want to play the game, they can go home, and we'll play with somebody else." And so, we've seen remarkable things occurring.
So, to me, we'll go back to the policies, the past administration, and particularly the Obama administration, if Vice President Biden's elected. If President Trump is re-elected, we would anticipate and expect that we will see him to continue the policies and the progress he's made. Things like peace accords that he's gotten with Arab neighbors of Israel. He's convinced the Sunni Arab nations in the Middle East, that Israel's here to stay, and you'd be much better off to work with them to build your economies, and work together than to oppose them. And don't let the Palestinians keep that from happening.
And we're seeing that the Palestinians are under incredible pressure right now. They've lost financial support from the US, they're now losing financial support from the Arab Sunni nations. They're even losing some of their financial support out of Europe. And so, they are under tremendous pressure. I think it's going to drive them to go toward countries like Turkey, make alliances because they're not going to cave in, in their mind. So, it's unfortunate they aren't going to seize the opportunity to truly have peace. But that's been the problem all along, they don't really want peace.
Chris Katulka: So, we're going to take a quick break here. Be sure to stick around. We got Jim Showers back, again, on the other side.
We've been talking with Dr. Jim Showers on the ramifications of the US election when it comes to Israel, and what it matters to Israel, and how the US will relate to Israel depending on which party comes into the executive office.
Well, you know what? We have a great book for you. A great resource that I think really will help make the case for what Zionism is, a case for Zionism. Why Christians should support Israel. Why is it important for you, as a Christian, to have Israel in mind when you go to the ballot box? Well, Dr. Thomas Ice's book, The Case for Zionism: Why Christians Should Support Israel, will really help inform and enlighten the reader on why Israel matters today, from both a biblical perspective and also a political perspective. I've gone to this book to help garner some really great resources in history, as to what was going on to make sure Israel became a nation, again, in 1948. What brought it to that point and why it's important today as well, again, both biblically and politically.
So, Steve, could you let our listeners know exactly how they can get their copy of The Case for Zionism?
Steve Conover: Sure, Chris. To purchase a copy of The Case for Zionism, visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org, and we'll have a link on our homepage. Or you can call our listener line at 888-343-6940, and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's 888-343-6940. To order in Canada, call 888-664-2584. Again, in Canada, that's 888-664-2584.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everybody. We have been talking with Dr. Jim Showers, executive director of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, and amazing leader of this organization. He's been leading us through some very difficult times here during COVID. And it's just great to be able to minister with you, Jim, and to gain insight on what we're talking about, how the US elections that are coming up this week, Tuesday, November 3rd, are going to have ramifications for how the US relates with Israel. So, we really want to bring some information to our constituents, to our listeners, to those who love Israel and the Jewish people. Christians who were Christian Zionists, they believe Israel matters biblically and politically as well. So, we want to bring some insight into the two different positions.
We've been talking about Joe Biden in the previous segment. Jim, one thing that I was thinking of with Joe Biden is that Iran deal is a big one.
Dr. Jim Showers: Yes.
Chris Katulka: That the Obama administration had. That's a big one. I mean, talk about two divergent views between candidates. Do you think the Iran deal might pop back up, if Joe Biden becomes president again?
Dr. Jim Showers: Well, he's indicated he's very open to starting up negotiations and heading back toward that deal. Will it be the same deal or different? We don't know, but we would expect him to do the same thing that President Obama did, which was hand over to them all kinds of financial incentives for a deal when they really need the deal much more than the Western world needs it. So, listen, Joe Biden has said that, if elected, he favors a two state solution. He favors supporting the Palestinians as well as Israel. He's against annexation of the Jordan Valley, which the Trump administration signaled, earlier this year, they favored that.
And it was really interesting, Chris, when Bibi Netanyahu said that at the end of June, he would annex the Jordan Valley. It's a strategic piece of land, real estate for Israel to defend itself against any attacks, and so, we came to that date, it didn't happen. And you're left to wonder why. And then, we heard that the Trump administration had asked them to hold off. Well, now we understand why, because during that time they suddenly realized there was an opportunity here with the UAE and Bahrain, and some of the other Arab nations to strike up peace accords between them and Israel to work together, both for security reasons, as well as for economic reasons, and that was historic. And so, we saw things happen this summer and early fall that we just never would have imagined just a few weeks ago, let alone a few years ago. So, some really transforming things going on in the Middle East.
Chris, elections are always a measure, they're a barometer of where a nation's at, right? But elections also have consequences. They're going to have consequences for Israel. Whoever's elected president is going to have consequences for the US, as well as Israel. We talk about Israel because we care about Israel, we're Christian Zionists, as you said. And many, many evangelical Christians, in fact, many Christians are not just evangelicals, a lot of Protestant Christians are very pro Israel as well. And so, it is a huge issue in the election. And decisions have consequences that are lasting. The Bible teaches that, life teaches us that.
And so, this election is very important. And I think when you think about President Trump, all that he's accomplished, I think he will do more. And one of the reasons I tend to believe that is because he has a son-in-law who is Jewish. So, it's not likely that once he gets elected, he'll turn and go a different direction with Israel. I think every president's been somewhat enamored, except for perhaps President Obama and I think even to a point he did, with the idea that he could be the president that finally brings peace to Israel and the Middle East.
I think Trump's probably gone further down that path than any other president. We know that the destination will never be accomplished short of Messiah coming. But it is man's desire to have peace. And the Middle East is where the world focuses its attention. It's where so much of the oil comes from. And oil drives the economies of the Western developed nations. And so, there's just a huge amount of attention on the Middle East. And every president wants to be the one that got the deal that changed everything. I, certainly, think we're seeing these peace accords are really historic. And were it not for the fact that the media doesn't really favor President Trump, I think if it had been any other president, it'd be all over the media.
Chris Katulka: It'd be all over the news.
Dr. Jim Showers: Yeah.
Chris Katulka: All the time.
Dr. Jim Showers: It'd be huge news. They'd be talking about it all the time.
Chris Katulka: I mean, I was just with a friend not long ago. And we were with a bunch of dads from our neighborhood playing a round of corn hole, which is just a game. And he came up to me and said, "Tell me about what's going on in Israel," he knows what I do. And I said, "It's amazing that President Trump made peace with two Gulf States, two Arab countries at the same time. It's never happened before." And he looked at me, and well-educated man, he goes, "I didn't know that happened." So, just to show how much the mainstream media refuses to promote is mind blowing.
But I want to move really quick to this concept of when Trump came into office. It's one thing, like every president before said, "We're going to move the embassy." That's fine. That's great. "We're going to create a peace plan." That's fine. That's great. But the thing that's interesting is to kind of see the trajectory of how when Trump came into office, he promised these things, but it all kind of toward the back end of his first term, it almost seemed like it was all planned out to work out where, at the end, there was these peace deals that are being made between Israel and the Arab nations. I don't think him moving the embassy to Jerusalem, or recognizing the Golan Heights was an accident. I think it was all positioning itself, in my opinion, for this moment where the Arab nations would be coming to the table, ultimately. Do you think he had a plan, that's my question, when he sat down and mapped this all out?
Dr. Jim Showers: Certainly, I believe he did have a plan. And it takes a while to build momentum. He has tremendous momentum going right now. We're hearing that other Arab nations are lining up in negotiations for similar accords with Israel. So, this really is transformative. But also, he's tried a lot of things that didn't see as much success. So, you can't always say, "I'm going to start here and I'll end up here," and take this much time. I think what we're seeing is the momentum building. I don't believe back when the US, earlier this year in the spring signal that they would support Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley, that they saw these accords happening this quickly. But suddenly, and quite honestly, his support for the annexation probably moved that along quicker.
Chris Katulka: That's the reason the UAE came to the table.
Dr. Jim Showers: Exactly.
Chris Katulka: They said, "We don't want you to annex the West Bank or portions of it. So, we'll come to the negotiating table."
Dr. Jim Showers: And, as I understand it, all the US administration said to them was, "If you'll come to the table and work on accords, then we'll make that something we can negotiate, or talk about over time, rather than Israel doing it today." So, it's not to say Israel won't eventually annex the Jordan Valley, but it won't happen short of discussions and so forth.
Do you know this is having effects on other things like BDS, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement that is anti-Israel and has been trying to hurt Israel's economy. This has really hurt them seriously because their argument was, "We have to support the Palestinians and help them get peace before we move ahead with anything else." And Trump's just showing that that is not the case.
Chris Katulka: That's not the case, that's right.
Dr. Jim Showers: So, BDS has taken a real beating through these peace accords.
Chris Katulka: Jim, we only have a few moments left. So, could you let our audience know why you think it's important for voters, especially Christian voters, to keep Israel in mind when they enter the ballot box, or fill in their ballot, like I did? What should they keep in mind when it comes to Israel?
Dr. Jim Showers: Well, it's very simple for me, Chris. I believe every Christian is under the same directive from God that we are to bless the Jewish people. So, when we go into a ballot box as a citizen of the United States of America, knowing that the US is the most prominent world power, has more influence than anyone else, we need to take that admonition. It's not that we're not to favor other nations, but there is no admonition in the Bible to bless other nations like there is Israel from God.
Chris Katulka: Genesis 12:3.
Dr. Jim Showers: Genesis 12:3 is what we're talking about and following. It's restated elsewhere. So, I need to vote for the candidate I think is going to do the most to benefit Israel. That's how I look at it.
Chris Katulka: Yes.
Dr. Jim Showers: If I believe one candidate is more favorable to Israel and one is less favorable it helps me make a vote. But I also believe I answer to God for those votes as well. And so, I think it's a very important issue. I don't think you can go in the ballot box and say, "Israel doesn't really matter when I cast my vote. This is all about the US only." I really believe the other half of that is if you bless Israel, God blesses you. We are a country in desperate need of blessing right now, because we're divided in such severe ways, at the moment. And if we want God's blessing, we need to be blessing Israel. So, I think there's a payback, a wonderful payback God promises to a nation that stands and supports Israel. And from its inception, the modern state of Israel, the US has always been there to stand with Israel, kind of the big brother to back Israel. And that's huge. It's one of the reasons, I think, Israel still exists today.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. Well, Dr. Jim Showers, thank you so much for being in the studio with us to talk about these issues. And I hope that for our listeners, when you go to the ballot box, this is something that you're thinking about. This matters, I believe to us as Christians, as Jim was talking about earlier, Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you." It's very simple folks. It's a promise that still stands today. Just look throughout history. It's right there, right in front of our face. I hope that this time that we've had with Jim has been something that enlightened you, and something that you will take with you to the ballot box as well. So, Jim, thank you so much for being with us in the studio today.
Dr. Jim Showers: Thank you, Chris.
Chris Katulka: Appreciate it.
Dr. Jim Showers: My pleasure.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us for the program today. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel, and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
The Case for Zionism
By Thomas Ice
Our love for the nation of Israel drives us here at The Friends of Israel. But just why should we as Christians support Israel?
Thomas Ice answers this question thoroughly in his book The Case for Zionism. Though some evangelical communities have begun to abandon modern Israel and its importance in Bible prophecy, this book will counter this movement to explain why Zionism is more important than ever.
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