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May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘CUFI’

Christians United for Israel–A Breath of Fresh Air

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

CUFI: Amidst the Fires Surrounding Israel, A Breath of Fresh Air. On July 21 and 22 in Washington DC, several thousand Christians will gather to celebrate and to say nice things about Israel. This will be the ninth annual Christians United for Israel ( CUFI) Summit which has met each year since 2006 under the hard hitting, visionary leadership of Pastor John Hagee. David Brog, the capable Executive Director, is also the author of several books the most recent of which is In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity. Brog whimsically claims to audiences that he a “thoroughly Jewish Jew” who was inspired by the idea of being in the driver’s seat of a conservative, pro-Israel Christian organization. Who would have thought? With Brog and Hagee at the helm, Christians United for Israel ( CUFI) is making a Herculean attempt to counter the growing culture of anti-Semitism in the United States by harnessing a sometimes elusive Christian pro-Israel, pro-Jewish sentiment. With 1.7 million members, CUFI is a growing, vocal remnant among what is estimated by Pew Research to be 246 million Christians living in the USA.

Those attending the CUFI Summit include both Christians and Jews from everywhere in the United States and a smattering of foreign nations. They will hear a lineup of speakers focused on, among other things, the importance of supporting Israel in a climate where supporting Israel is not always very popular.

The extraordinary aspect of the Summit is the speakers who come from every corner of the pro-Israel spectrum. Among them will be: Dennis Prager, a prominent syndicated radio talk show host and columnist as well as a Jewish political conservative; Erick Stakelbeck, host of CBN’s The Watchman and author of The Brotherhood and The Terrorist Next Door; Elliott Abrams, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former National Security Advisor; Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and author of a current best-selling book Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics ; James Woolsey, a foreign policy specialist and former Director if the CIA. And so it goes. Jews, Christians and curbstone setters of almost every color, size, variety and vision speak at the CUFI Summit. But the one thing that drives them all is a love for and an understanding of the importance of Israel on the world stage.

While the CUFI delegations are busy paying tribute and celebrating Israel, there are those in other neighborhoods who have sinister plans for her annihilation. As you read this, you may have noticed that there are active military events going on in and around Israel. On the western front, Israel is trying to curb Hamas rockets from Gaza; on the Golan, Israel is fending off Syrian fighting; on Israel’s northern border , Hezbollah has positioned thousands of long and short range rockets aimed at Tel Aviv. And let’s not forget Iran which is rapidly moving toward becoming a nuclear presence and an avowed threat to Israel’s destruction.

While assaults on Israel are nothing new, the size and scope of the current aggression is now both multi-national and multicultural, coming not from one nation but from many and with the support of many more. The Bible tells stories of endless attempts to terminate the Jews and the Jewish nation. These are the stories remembered each year at millions of Passover Seders and at Purim celebrations. From the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt to the venomous bluster of Ahmadinejad, from Haman to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, from Hitler to Stalin and in every generation there is a lineup of Jew Killers waiting in the wings for their opportunity to forge the elements of the next Holocaust.

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.

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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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/j-streets-wrong-turn/2010/02/17/

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