October 26, 2014

Elyria
Clear
56°F
test

Pastor attends American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference

Lorain Board of Education President Tim Williams is an advocate and volunteer for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Lorain Board of Education President Tim Williams is an advocate and volunteer for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — When the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee held its annual lobbying conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, Tim Williams was among the 14,000 members participating.

Williams, Lorain Board of Education president, has volunteered for AIPAC since 2007. Williams, co-pastor of the Greater Victory Christian Ministries church, said he identifies with the struggles of American and Israeli Jews and was part of AIPAC’s outreach to black Christian ministers.

“There was a connection between the suffering of African Americans via slavery and other pieces, and very much another group of people who have probably been the most prejudice-recipient people in the world,” Williams said.

In recent years, the influence of AIPAC, founded in 1954, has been challenged. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group, opposes Israel building settlements on former Palestinian land.

AIPAC opposes Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. It also wants Iran to eliminate its entire nuclear program, which U.S. policy does not seek. AIPAC in February withdrew strict suggested sanctions to Congress that the Obama administration opposed.

Nonetheless, along with the National Rifle Association and AARP, AIPAC remains one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the nation, able to mobilize thousands of volunteers and attract world leaders. This year’s conference included speeches by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Williams noted political support for AIPAC and Israel, which receives about $3 billion in annual U.S. aid, is bipartisan. That includes Ohio’s congressional delegation.

Both U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, have attended AIPAC functions. “It’s about a lot of people who are single-minded as it relates to the security of Israel and its relationship with the United States,” Williams said.

AIPAC has been accused in the past of supporting positions that were not in the best of interests of the U.S., such as expanding settlements and invading Iraq.

“The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress,” John Mearshimer and Steven Walt wrote in 2006 in the London Review of Books in advance of their book, “The Israel Lobby.” “U.S. policy towards Israel is not debated there even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world.”

Williams responded that Israel’s security and its relationship with the U.S. isn’t subject to debate.

“I’ve been part of AIPAC through a Republican administration and a Democratic administration, and AIPAC pretty much stays the same,” he said. “They support and encourage support for the state of Israel.”

Williams said he’s encountered pro-Palestinian protesters at AIPAC conferences in the past, but he doesn’t engage them. He said his role at the conferences is to be an advocate for Israel, not to debate. Williams said AIPAC’s organized approach has made him a more disciplined, informed and focused school board member.

Williams said he had always identified with Israel through reading the Bible, but a 2009 visit to Israel paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation gave him a modern perspective. He heard Netanyahu speak in The Knesset — the Israeli parliament — toured the Dead Sea and also visited military checkpoints at the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the Palestinian territories that Israel controls access to.

Williams also saw Israeli bomb shelters used during Palestinian rocket attacks. Palestinian suicide bombings have drastically decreased since a fence — Palestinians refer to it as the Apartheid Wall — was built along the West Bank border in 2004. Nonetheless, Williams said Israel remains a dangerous place.

“You felt like, wow, if you’re in enemy territory, it’s not an ocean away from you. It’s right next door,” he said. “You could feel that intensity.”

Williams said the “amazing” trip brought the Bible to life for him and he no longer related to Israelis only as people in a book. “You see them as real-life people and their struggle continues,” he said.

The visit came less than a year after Operation Cast Lead. The Israeli military, which said it was responding to Palestinian rocket attacks, killed about 1,400 Palestinians during the 22-day assault on Gaza. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed. Critics said it was an example of collective punishment and disproportionate use of force.

“Much of the destruction was wanton and resulted from direct attacks on civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilian objects,” the human rights group Amnesty International said in a report on the attacks.

Williams said the targeted killing of civilians, whether Israeli or Palestinian, is unjustified. However, Williams said Israel’s right to self-protection is “not up for negotiations.”

Williams said comparisons between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the apartheid-era treatment of South African blacks by whites is unfair. Williams said he is sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians and sensitive to the treatment of Muslims in America.

Williams, who quit as Elyria YWCA youth program director at the end of 2013 to minister full time, was part of a YWCA anti-hate task force that has worked with the Council on American Islamic Relations Cleveland chapter, a Muslim civil rights group, to combat discrimination. Julia Shearson, the chapter’s executive director, said Williams helped bring in CAIR for anti-discrimination presentations.

CAIR has protested Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and opposes some of AIPAC’s stances, but Shearson said that hasn’t affected her relationship with Williams, whom she has known for about four years.

“He has a very open mind and he’s not afraid to cross boundaries to get people talking with each other,” she said. “I respect him tremendously.”

Williams said he supports a two-state solution with land swaps to end Israeli-Palestinian hostilities but isn’t an expert on the subject. He said both peoples deserve peace.

“Whatever we as citizens can do, we as a country can do, to support that effort, that’s where we need to continue our support and commitment,” Williams said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • Deuce Prez

    So, Pastor Tim Williams SEES the mistreatment of the Palestinians by the zionists, but he’s merely “sympathetic” with their situation?!

    Sounds like he’s still in the tank with the zionists, to me….despite seeing and knowing the damning truth against the zionists stated in this article!

    • Jay Shawn

      The difference between a Zionist and an Islamist is that a Zionist has been successful. Both are the same.

  • Jay Shawn

    Muslims remind themselves everyday, through ritual prayers, how the Jews deserve allah’s curse and how the Christians have gone astray by associating partners with Allah EVEN THOUGH they are considered people of the book. I take it as a backhanded compliment. Learn about Islam and you’ll see that the only way Muslims will recognize non-Muslims as fellow human beings is if they are dhimmis. If you’re not a dhimmi, you’re an useful idiot to them. Under the banner of “human rights” are they trying to push “muslim rights.” When it comes down to it, this whole Palestinian “struggle” is about Arab and Islamic supremacy. This urge for statehood only appeared after Europe carved up the caliphate into countries because before then, there were no territorial borders. Islam doesn’t believe in nationalism and under their rule there were no such thing as countries. People don’t understand this. If the Palestinians were ever successful in wiping out Israel, the next step would be the formation of a stateless caliphate! These people are so deceitful!

  • Mark McDonald

    The Islamic attack on 9/11 killed over 3,000 American. We though this was over. Then Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s went on a Islamic rampage and shot our Troops in the back. Then the attack in Benghazi, killing 4 Americans there to help. Americans were shocked again, but the Boston Bombing attack killed more Americans. March 2014 Sami Osmakac, an Albanian from Kosovo, planned on blowing up the bridges crossing Tampa Bay or detonating bombs at the sheriff’s office and police departments before settling on a plan to plant explosives in Tampa’s Hyde Park party district and then spraying first responders with automatic gunfire, according to recently released court documents. The planned January 2012 attack, Osmakac said in a “martyrdom video,” would be “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may he rest in peace. ” A California Muslims; Nicholas Michael Teausant also knows as Ased Abdur-Raheem, was captured Monday after an FBI investigation revealed a foiled plot to attack the Los Angeles subway system and plans to help al-Qaida, officials said. NBC News, March 17, 2014. Mohamed Mohamud, The Somali-American was accused in an FBI sting of plotting to detonate a bomb at Portland’s downtown Christmas tree lighting in 2010. Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, a Dearborn Muslim, was arrested on terrorism charges after trying to board a plane to Beirut March 18 2014 ABC Detroit Free Press. Muslims Terry Lee Loewen Planned Airport Bombing For Al Qaeda. A 58-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, has been arrested for allegedly try­ing to blow up Wichita Mid-Continent Air­port with a car bomb in sup­port of Al Qaeda. DECEMBER 13, 2013. Three Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have attempted to join AQAP in 2013, includ­ing Mar­cos Alonso Zea and Justin Kaliebe of Long Island, and Shel­ton Thomas Bell of Florida. Muslim; Shelton Thomas Bell, arrested after making jihad recruitment videos, damaged Christian statues in cemetery,” Jihadwatch“Bell roused suspicions at the Islamic Center in Jacksonville in 2012. Shelton Thomas Bell almost certainly has a Muslim name that he goes by, the mainstream media doesn’t tell us what it is or refer to him by it. “Shelton Thomas Bell accused of supporting terrorists set to change plea Wednesday,” by the Florida Times Union, March 19, 2014: The Department of Justice announced today, Muslims Abdelkader and Hnia Amal held Hnia Amal in their home as a slave for three years in their home in Alexandria, Va March 20, 2014. Leaving Real Americans to confirm that you cannot trust any Muslims.

  • Mark McDonald

    Muslim in the United States have been Censoring our Federal Counterterrorism Training to railed against the “fear-mongering” that Islamic Law was “somehow a threat to Americans.” In Summary, the people of Islam are upset that the Federal Government is censoring the Muslims and the Muslims know this because they have been censoring the Federal Government.

  • Mark McDonald

    Islam and Radical Islam have in common?

    1. they share the same mosque.

    2. they share the same Iman.

    3. they share the same Quran.

    4. everything is based on their religious beliefs.

    5. they seek to control.

    6.The people of Islam dont condemn what the people of Radical Islam do or vice versa.

    7. Islam and Radical Islam are racist.

    8. Islam and Radical Islam dislike Jews.

    9. The Iman get richer from both Islam and Radical Islam.

    10. Their mosque are used as sleeping quarters for both Islam and Radical Islam and they don’t pay any Lodging Taxes that Motel/Hotels are required to pay.

    11. They share the same God, Allah.

    12. Islam and Radical Islam commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide.

    13. The more Islam and Radical Islam grows, so does the display of the Swastika and in Hate Material.

    14. Islam and Radical Islam love Allah and there is no room for the love of their spouse, children, family members or friends.

    15. 1,570,000,000 (Muslims population) x .10 (10% are terrorist) = 157,000,000 Muslims terrorist

    16. Islam and Radical Islam accept honor killing, acid attack’s, killing wife or children.

    17. In Islam and Radical Islam, if they are not suing someone, they are ending the life of someone for the love of Allah.