Some significant battles were launched in Washington DC last week at the 10th Anniversary Summit of Christians United for Israel ( CUFI): one against a nuclear Iran and one targeting the rising tide of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
These were the key issues open for consideration for the 5,000 or so delegates in attendance.
Just as the CUFI delegates were gathering, the P5+1 negotiators in Vienna were locking down what what many have called a “very bad deal.” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
At the same time, Christians United for Israel announced the opening of a new lobbying office in Washington; a 501-c-4 organization called CUFI Action Fund. Headed up by longtime pro-Israel heavyweight, Gary Bauer, the office will be the center of an Israel advocacy force of Christians and other supporters dedicated to ensuring bi-partisan action for Israel in the legislature.
With that move, CUFI joins the ranks of major voices for Israel and against the Iran deal among whom are American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
None of the criteria for a successful “Iran Deal” has been met by this current deal.
- The proposed deal does not ensure “anytime, anywhere” short-notice inspections;
- The proposed deal does not clearly condition sanctions relief on full Iranian cooperation in satisfying International Atomic Energy Agency concerns over the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s program;
- The proposed deal lifts sanctions as soon as the agreement commences, rather than gradually as Iran demonstrates sustained adherence to the agreement;
- The proposed deal lifts key restrictions in as few as eight years;
- The proposed deal would disconnect and store centrifuges in an easily reversible manner, but it requires no dismantlement of centrifuges or any Iranian nuclear facility. [i]
On Tuesday, the CUFI delegates, organized by state and congressional district, launched out to visit their respective congressional offices to express CUFI’s views about what they termed a “ very bad deal”, and to firmly ask their Senators and Congressmen to cast a bi-partisan, veto-proof “NO” vote. Congress has 60 days to mull over the full text [iii] of the agreement and cast their votes.
Despite frequent threats against his property, person and family, Pastor John Hagee has been unwavering in his unique calling to support Israel which started 25 years ago as a local partnership between Pastor John Hagee, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg the Senior Rabbi of Rodfei Sholom, an Orthodox synagogue also in San Antonio.
Hagee’s international television ministry has made him a linchpin of pro-Israel support amidst mushrooming anti-Judaism and anti-Israel sentiment in the United States and particularly on college campuses.
As the kickoff speaker for the opening session of the conference, he stirred up a full-house of conference delegates with his stem-winding, oratorical style.
Ten years ago, when the ink was barely dry on the CUFI stationery, Hagee understood that the battle for Israel would be won or lost in the arena of public policy.
Thus, CUFI was founded with a “public policy” brand to which it has been resolute. This mandate has served the organization as a formula for transcending race, religion, political party, age and socio –economics with a unifying message. Both Christian and Jewish members seem to recognize CUFI as an effective platform from which to express their common concerns for Israel.
The next generation of public policy makers is in college today. At the same time, the college campus has become the new battleground against Israel. Some scholars assert that anti-Israelism is the post-modern expression of the new anti-Semitism.
College students demonstrate against Israel, falsely accusing it of being an “apartheid state.” Student governments regularly pressure college administrators to divest from American companies doing business in Israel. On some campuses, Jewish students are even afraid for their personal safety amidst a climate where supporting Arab/Palestinian causes also seems to mean vilifying and calling for the destruction of Israel —all commonplace on campuses around the nation.
In 2009, as universities started to catch fire with anti-Israel activities, Hagee, Executive Director David Brog and a small staff, armed with not more much than a major vision, saw that it was time to tackle the anti-Israel narrative on campus. “CUFI on Campus” to date, has trained more than 1600 students and is active on more than 300 college campuses in the US.
Along with the 5,000 regular delegates, 500 college students arrived two days prior to the main event to participate in special targeted training about the main talking points on the docket for the Summit. Students heard a host of speakers on a variety of topics related to Israel: why Christians support Israel; the nature of growing anti-Semitism on college campuses; how to organize a chapter of CUFI on Campus.
CUFI on Campus supports Jewish Students targeted by anti-Jewish student groups on college campuses throughout the nation. The organization also provides scholarships to Christian student leaders for trips to Israel where they learn first hand the threats that Israel faces daily.
Combined, the CUFI Action Fund, CUFI on Campus and 2 million CUFI grassroots members are fortifying themselves for the continuing skirmishes that Israel and Jewish people face on every front. Even as the United States seems to have caved in many pressures from Israel’s enemies, this is perhaps a prophetic time for the slumbering American people to wake up. Contact Susan at israelolivetree at yahoo dot com.
[iii] Full text of the agreement signed in Vienna. Washington Post