web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘CUFI’

The Opposition (or Lack thereof) to Hagel

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Three thoughts as the U.S. Senate gears up to consider on Jan. 31 the nomination of Chuck Hagel for the position of secretary of defense:

(1) It’s more than a bit curious that Barack Obama should nominate a politician of no distinction, with no significant bills to his name, no administrative accomplishments, and no known ideas, to the hugely important post of secretary of defense. It’s even more curious that Hagel is known for only two foreign policy/defense views: being soft on Iran and hostile to Israel. This certainly sends a strong signal to Israel.

(2) It’s been dismaying to note that, after an initial expression of skepticism, American Jewish institutions have taken a pass on the Hagel nomination. It would appear that, for them, access trumps other considerations.

(3) In contrast, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), released a statement expressing opposition to Hagel on account of his “unacceptable blindness to the greatest security threat of our day,” namely Iran and Hezbollah. In addition, CUFI announced that at least 400 Christian leaders will travel to Capitol Hill this week to lobby representatives of all 100 senators.

Comment: Odd that CUFI is out there swinging and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is silent.

Visit DanielPipes.com.

At Christians United For IsraeI’s ‘Night to Honor Israel,’ Exuberance Abounds

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.

Four hundred CUFI on Campus student activists joined thousands of people from across America at A Night to Honor Israel in Washington, DC, last week. The atmosphere was filled with so much excitement that at one point, Christians and Jews rose from their tables to dance the Hora in the center of the room.

Many of the event’s speakers, including the founder of Christians United for Israel, Pastor John Hagee, spoke about the importance of CUFI on Campus activists and their role on campus.

David Brog, CUFI’s executive director, shared with the audience recent data that found 71% of all Americans say that they are pro-Israel, but noted that the figure drops to just 32% among college students. This statistic was repeated throughout the night to draw attention to the need for action on college campuses.

CUFI on Campus activist Sam Bain spoke about the anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses and the need to provide students with the tools to feel empowered and to stand up for what they believe in. His speech drew students to their feet and culminated with loud cheers. One of the student spectators, San Jose State University senior Eliot Fine, said: “I felt a sense of pride while listening to Sam Bain speak with both fire and charisma about the powerful bond that exists between Israel and the United States.”

Students in the audience noted that CUFI on Campus can help other campus pro-Israel clubs and organizations extend their influence. University of Texas junior Caroline Mendelsohn said that her love of Israel and Zionism came from growing up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish home but that CUFI can reach beyond the Jewish community to a broader range of potential Israel supporters.

“It was truly incredible to see nearly 5,000 Christians in one room celebrating the US-Israel relationship,” said Jeremy Sherman, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. “It gave me a sense of reassurance that the US-Israel alliance will remain strong for years to come.”

Mid-way through the evening, a short video was presented that showcased the battle over Israel on America’s college campuses. The footage documented Israel Apartheid Week and extreme anti-Israel bias in the classroom. At the conclusion of the film, the atmosphere in the room shifted. It became clear that this night was not just about honoring Israel, but perhaps more importantly about equipping college students with the tools and knowledge to stand up and speak out against hate on their college campuses.

As the students who attended the Night to Honor Israel head back to their campuses for the fall semester, their new knowledge will help them handle Israel detractors and reach out to their peers with a different perspective.

Open Letter: Dear Pastor Hagee and Christian Zionists

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

[Pastor John Hagee is the head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) - an American pro-Israel Christian organization that defines itself as "a national grassroots movement focused on the support of Israel." It is the largest Christian pro-Israel organization in the United States.]

Dear Pastor Hagee and Christians Zionists,

Thank you for the work that you are doing. Christians supporting Israel is a beautiful phenomenon and it is beginning to heal the many wounds that Jews suffered at the hands of persecutors in the name of the Church for almost two-millennia. It is amazing to see Christians singing Israeli songs in beautiful harmony, waving the flag of Israel along with the flag of the USA, and even donating their hard-earned money to many causes of Israel. It is a sight that past generations could not have imagined, and it is a blessing for Israel and a blessing for Christians as well.

To be sure, there is still lingering suspicion between our two worlds. Among the Jews, there are many who doubt the sincerity of Christians with regard to Israel. Jewish skepticism is understandable since the dark past is still fresh while some Christian circles continue to practice underhanded missionizing tactics against Jews and maintain a goal of infiltrating Israel. These keep many Jews from believing that there are Christians who truly love Israel without ulterior motives.

For its side, the Christian world is certainly not homogeneous. While Israel-lovers make their voices heard, Israel-haters, like those who recently organized the “Christ at the Checkpoint Conference” in Bethlehem seek to undermine Israel’s sovereignty. These Christians do not see the ingathering of the Jews to the land of Israel as a fulfillment of prophecy but rather an obstacle to their theological supremacy. For them, replacement theology is alive and well, with Christianity attempting to best Judaism and Palestine aiming to replace Israel.

This is why true Christian Zionism is so important: it gives a platform for Bible-believing pro-Israel Christians to show their real love for Israel, to heal the painful past, and to offset the forces that want to use Christianity to bring Israel down.

However, if Christian Zionism to is win the ideological war against replacement theology, and earn Jewish trust, Christian Zionism needs to take a stand on real issues. Standing with Israel means backing Israel when we face our enemies. Today, those enemies use, more and more, the tool of delegitimization to remove the underpinnings of the Jewish State. Shockingly, some of the US Government’s own policies lend a hand to the delegitimization campaign, and it is in this arena where Israel-loving American citizens in general, and American Christian Zionists in particular, can make a difference.

Here is one example among many:

When I speak with American Christian groups I ask: “Do you know that the US is the number-one delegitimizer of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem?”

People are invariably shocked when I explain that the US refuses to place its embassy in Jerusalem because it does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, let alone the capital of Israel. The State Department does not even add the word “Israel” to the word “Jerusalem” in any official document including birth certificates, passports, and death certificates, so that children born in Jerusalem (like my daughter) have no “country of birth” listed in their American papers.

As Ambassador Yoram Ettinger has written: “Israel is the only country in the world, whose (3,000 year old) capital is not recognized by the State Department and by the Presidents of the US. However 71% [of the American people] support (and 9% oppose) Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.”

Thousands Flood CBS Emails Protesting Anti-Israel ’60 Minutes’ Story

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Thousands of Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel have bombarded CBS executives with complaints about a “60 Minutes” segment that blamed Israel for the exodus of Christians from the West Bank and Jerusalem (See Video: A Well Crafted Piece of Propaganda Packed with Intentional Lies, Is It Sunday Already?).

In the segment that aired Sunday, correspondent Bob Simon, Palestinian Christian leaders and others blame Israel and the settlements for Christians leaving cities such as Bethlehem and  Jerusalem.

The Jewish Federations of North America and Christians United For Israel asked their members to send messages to CBS executives to complain about the segment. JFNA’s action alert, sent before the segment aired, read: “We hope that CBS will be flooded with responses through their inboxes, Facebook, Twitter and mail after the program to express discontent if it is as biased as we anticipate.”

CUFI told its supporters in a Twitter message Monday that “Sunday night ’60 Minutes’ blamed Israel for Christian flight from the Middle East. Join me in telling them the truth.” CUFI tweeted later in the day that more than 22,000 supporters had contacted “60 Minutes” over the segment.

In the segment, Simon says that “Palestinian Christians, once a powerful minority, are becoming the invisible people, squeezed between a growing Muslim majority and burgeoning Israeli settlements. Israel has occupied the West Bank for 45 years.”

The segment quoted Israeli journalist Ari Shavit as saying that “Israel is not persecuting Christians as Christians. The Christians in the Holy Land suffer from Israeli policies that are a result of the overall tragic situation. And this, of course, has consequences for everybody.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren is quoted as saying that Christians are leaving the West Bank due to Islamic extremism. The segment takes Oren to task for calling Jeff Fager, the head of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” before the segment ran to make sure that the story would not be a “hatchet job.”

“It seemed to me outrageous. Completely incomprehensible that at a time when these communities, Christian communities throughout the Middle East, are being oppressed and massacred, when churches are being burnt, when one of the great stories in history is unfolding,” that ’60 Minutes’ would focus on Christians in Israel,” Oren told Simon in the segment.

Zion Oil & Gas to Sponsor This Year’s CUFI Summit

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Zion Oil & Gas announced Wednesday  that it will sponsor both the “Night to Honor Israel” banquet and the “Ambassadors” reception at the 7th Annual Washington-Israel Summit of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

In a press release, John Brown, Zion Oil and Gas’s Founder and Chairman John Brown said “Zion is proud to be a part of the CUFI Washington-Israel Summit and to support CUFI’s educational and public policy work in support of Israel.”

The company, a Delaware corporation, conducts onshore explorations over 218,000 acres for oil and gas between Haifa and Tel Aviv.

CUFI is a powerful American association of pro-Israel churches and Christian religious organizations with a sizable membership and strong youth movement.

The Summit will take place in Washington, D.C. during July 16-18, 2012 with Pastor John Hagee (CUFI Founder and National Chairman), Michael Oren (Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S.) and Richard Rinberg (Zion’s Chief Executive Officer) scheduled to speak.

J Street’s Wrong Turn

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The founding of J Street in 2008 sparked much debate in the pro-Israel community. Many were concerned that the group would be overly critical of the Jewish state and thus erode the pro-Israel consensus in the United States.

I and others disagreed and welcomed J Street’s stated desire to “broaden the public and policy debate in the U.S. about the Middle East.” It disturbed me that there were those who would seek to preclude any reasonable voice from competing in the marketplace of ideas.

Sadly, J Street has disappointed many of us who originally welcomed the group. Rather than seek to broaden the debate, J Street has worked to silence opposing voices. Rather than contribute new ideas to our dialogue, it too often has peddled misinformation and slurs. And rather than buttress Israel’s democracy, J Street has exhibited contempt for it.

When J Street was created, I had looked forward to working with adults dedicated to higher principle. Instead, we have suffered the attacks of partisans devoted to winning the news cycle.

As the executive director of Christians United for Israel, I have had firsthand experience with J Street’s unfortunate tactics. J Street does not like CUFI and from the very beginning has sought to banish us from the pro-Israel camp. Toward this end, J Street has made a series of false claims about CUFI policy and Christian theology.

J Street has gone so far as to pressure public figures not to speak to our members. A particular low point was J Street’s extensive (and unsuccessful) petition campaign aimed at forcing U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) to cancel his appearance at our 2008 summit in Washington.

So much for broadening the debate.

More recently, J Street again attacked CUFI. This time, J Street claimed we had contributed money to the Israel-based Zionist organization Im Tirtzu that published an advertisement demonizing the head of the New Israel Fund. Yet CUFI has never supported Im Tirtzu. The actual donor was John Hagee Ministries, an independent entity with a different focus – and the ad in question was published without the consent or knowledge of John Hagee Ministries.

Not content to merely misrepresent our actions, J Street proceeded to slur our chairman, John Hagee. In the only other piece of information that J Street provided about us, the organization claimed that Pastor Hagee “once said that Hitler was sent by God to force Jews to move to Israel.”

The lines J Street paraphrases come from a long sermon in which Pastor Hagee was wrestling with the perennial theological question of how a God Who loves the Jewish people could have allowed the Holocaust. Like many rabbis before him, Pastor Hagee suggested a connection between this low point in Jewish history and the high point that would follow a mere three years later with the birth of the State of Israel.

It is certainly fair to object to this interpretation. But it is quite another thing to cite this one line in isolation to create an image of Pastor Hagee that is completely at odds with his life’s work.

J Street intentionally obscures the fact that John Hagee has devoted his entire career to combating anti-Semitism. J Street ignores the fact that American Jewish leaders from Elie Wiesel to Abraham Foxman, and Israeli leaders from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Ambassador Michael Oren, have all recognized Pastor Hagee as a leading Christian ally in the fight against anti-Semitism. And J Street neglects to mention Pastor Hagee’s expression of regret for any pain his sermon may have caused and his pledge to be more sensitive in his future theological speculation.

Yet no one should be surprised that J Street has resorted to such distortions to shut opposing voices out of the debate. The group’s disdain for opposing views extends all the way to Israel itself.

Most pro-Israel organizations, including Christians United for Israel, support the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel. We do not live within Hamas or Hizbullah missile range. We do not send our children off to the Israeli army. Whatever our personal views, we in CUFI believe the difficult decisions about Israeli policy must be made by those who will most directly bear the consequences of the decisions: the Israeli people.

A Memorable Night Among Israel’s Christian Defenders

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Historically, we Jews have had few friends in this world. And the more grave our situation, the more scarce those friends seem to be. Which is why I found myself at a massive gathering at the Washington Convention Center on the night of July 22. There I was among friends at the annual Night to Honor Israel hosted by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) with speakers Pastor John Hagee (founder and national chairman of CUFI), Senator Joseph Lieberman and Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman.
 
I had never before attended a function sponsored by a Christian group, pro-Israel or otherwise, and though I interrupted my summer plans to attend, I was hesitant to tell people where I was going. Was I uncomfortable at the thought of dining on a plastic-covered kosher meal alongside supporters of Israel from the Bible Belt? I was. But when asked to attend, I decided to go for reasons of hakarat hatov (gratitude).
 
CUFI, an organization established by Pastor Hagee to support Israel and the Jewish people, does not bill itself as religious or theological; rather, it promotes aid to Israel and combats anti-Semitism. Over the years it has raised more than $30 million for Nefesh B’Nefesh, Migdal Ohr, United Jewish Communities (to benefit new immigrants to Israel), Ariel Development Fund, Kiryat Yam (Ethiopian Absorption Center), and many other Jewish organizations and causes.
 
            Pastor Hagee held the first Night to Honor Israel in 1981; in the wake of the worldwide condemnation and ostracism of Israel after it bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Hagee wanted to publicly support the Jewish state and promote understanding between Christians and Jews. The event has since become an annual tradition and a resounding success.
 
This particular Night to Honor Israel came on the heels of Pastor Hagee’s crucifixion at the hands of liberals desperate to pin a “Reverend Wright” on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. Looking to redirect the sharp criticism raining down on the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for maintaining a 20-year relationship with a hate-mongering preacher, leftists noted Hagee’s endorsement of Sen. McCain and pounced on a late-1990′s sermon in which Hagee made reference to the Book of Jeremiah in explaining the Holocaust as a precursor to the return of Jews to Israel.
 
It hardly mattered that Hagee was not McCain’s pastor but merely an endorser of his candidacy, or that the pastor’s words were quoted out of context. The media latched on to the tenuous link between the two until McCain repudiated Hagee’s endorsement, and many of Hagee’s friends repudiated Hagee.
 
            At an April convention of Reform rabbis in Cincinnati, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, condemned Pastor Hagee and urged Jews not to attend Hagee’s Night to Honor Israel. While this was not surprising given the liberal politics of the Reform movement, it smacked of unadulterated ingratitude, considering Hagee’s efforts to strengthen ties between Jews and Christians and raise tens of millions of dollars for Jewish causes.
 
With that in mind, I could not refuse the call of Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, for Jews to attend this year’s CUFI dinner to give chizuk (encouragement) to Pastor Hagee. After all, Hagee had initiated the Night to Honor Israel after witnessing Israel’s ostracism by the international community; he deserved nothing less in his own time of need.
 
I am still marveling at the enthusiasm and downright affection I saw and felt that night toward Israel and the Jewish people. We were perhaps forty Orthodox Jews, many of us heads of organizations, in a sea of more than three thousand Christians whose leaders spoke of the God-given right Jews have to Eretz Yisrael. They spoke of the debt of gratitude Christians owe Jews for their contributions to the world and of the blessings God grants to those who support Israel. Enormous banners hanging in the convention center and banquet hall proclaimed “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet” (Isaiah 62:1).
 
I will never forget the sight of thousands of people – Christians – waving Israeli flags while thunderously applauding statements most Jews are afraid of voicing. In a speech broadcast worldwide, Pastor Hagee unabashedly declared that Christians must stand with Israel because they have a Bible mandate to do so. He vowed support for the entire land of Israel and for an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel for all time. He asked forgiveness from Jews for Christian silence during the Holocaust and warned that threats to the Jewish people today must be taken seriously, whether they be from the “modern day Hamans” of Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas, or from those who wish to boycott Israel and harm it in any way.
 
            He stated that “nations who persecute the Jews will be judged by God” and recounted the empires and countries of the past that persecuted and killed Jews and that became “historical footnotes in the graveyard of Jewish history.” He contrasted them with the Jews, who are “alive and well, thriving and prosperingand who will be the praise of all the earth.”
 
           Hagee concluded his remarks with the admonition that as anti-Semitism grows so does the need for Christians to stand with the Jews.
 
            When Sen. Lieberman spoke he earned bellowing applause not only for his words but his mere presence.
 
            Lieberman told the audience he had come under intense pressure to cancel his speech following the attack on Hagee in the media. But the senator refused to abandon the pastor and opened his address with the remark, “I am your brother Joseph.”
 
Lieberman documented Israel’s existence from the time God told Abraham to journey to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1), highlighted the threat of radical Islam to Israel and America, and thanked Pastor Hagee and CUFI for their support. He even threw in a d’var Torah based on the words of Rav Joseph Soloveitchik and another based on a medrash in Parshas Shemos.
 
After hearing such a speech and after watching more than a minyan of frum men disappear briefly for Mincha, I almost forgot where I was. But the presence of so many thousands of these ohavei Yisrael (lovers of Israel) in one room, though heartening, was somewhat disquieting as well.
 
While it was gratifying and comforting to know we have friends we can rely on, the sheer numbers of the crowd and the defiance of their tone made for a depressing comparison: Rarely do events in support of Israel draw Jewish attendees in anywhere near the numbers I saw at the Night to Honor Israel. And rarely do speakers at those events display the bold honesty I heard at this Christian event.
 
The thousands of participants also took part in CUFI’s Washington/Israel Summit before and after the dinner. For three days they attended conferences on Israel with influential speakers and elected officials and lobbied members of Congress in support of Israel. I have attended similar conferences and lobbying missions sponsored by Jewish groups and can remember maybe two hundred people showing up.
 
The Christians of CUFI fervently believe God will bless them because of their support of the Jewish people. In our jaded world rife with expediency and opportunism, I stand in awe of their activism on behalf of a historically beleaguered people for nothing more tangible than a blessing.
 
If only we Jews would exhibit more selfless vigor and devotion on behalf of our own righteous causes, in a less fractured way and for a similar return on our investment.
 

            Sara Lehmann, formerly an editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, is currently a mother and freelance editor residing in Brooklyn. 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-memorable-night-among-israels-christian-defenders/2008/08/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: