Middle East

The Attempt to Sell Hispanic Evangelicals on Israel

At NHCLC convention, Jeb Bush gets more applause on Zionism than immigration or Spanish.
The Attempt to Sell Hispanic Evangelicals on Israel
Image: Courtesy of A. Larry Ross
NHCLC/CONEL leader Sam Rodriguez (second from left) discusses his organization's new Hispanic-Israel initiative during its recent convention.

When Jeb Bush spoke at a gathering of Hispanic evangelical leaders in late April, the largest cheers didn’t come when he greeted the crowd in Spanish. Nor did they arrive when he enthusiastically expressed support for immigration reform. Instead, according to CNN, Bush’s biggest applause may have occurred when the former Florida governor mentioned Israel.

“We (the US government) need to be focused and engaged in the world so that our friends know that we have their back, and our enemies fear us a little bit,” Bush told the gathering of Latino pastors and other leaders, according to Jewish News Service (JNS). There is no better place to start this journey than re-establishing a stronger relationship with Israel.”

The three-day National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) meeting drew 1,500 attendees and featured Republican presidential contenders Bush and Mike Huckabee.

It had a distinctly pro-Israel feel.

The last morning of the conference ...

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