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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The largest and fastest growing pro-Israel support group in the US

What's the largest and fastest growing pro-Israel support group in the United States? AIPAC? No. The ZOA (Zionist Organization of America)? Not even close. The largest and fastest growing pro-Israel support group in the United States is one many Jews have never heard of, but I can tell you that several hundred of their members are among my nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter. The initials are CUFI: Christians United for Israel.
In Washington, D.C.’s convention center they danced the horah, sang Hebrew songs, and waved American and Israeli flags. Charlie Daniels played Hatikvah on his fiddle. It wasn’t a bar mitzvah, or a gathering of the pro-Israel group AIPAC. It was the fifth annual summit of an even larger pro-Israel organization, the nation’s largest: Christians United for Israel, better known as CUFI.

A few hours before addressing the convention, its founder, Pastor John Hagee, explained how CUFI came to exist. “I went to Israel in 1978 as a tourist with a group of people from my church and I came home a Zionist,” he said. “I felt the presence of God in the city of Jerusalem like no place on earth.” Praying at the Western Wall, he realized he had to “do everything in my power to bring Christians and Jews together in an atmosphere of mutual esteem and acceptance.”

At first, he didn’t know how to begin. But in 1981, after an Israeli airstrike blew up the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, “the American media went after Israel hammer and claw. I saw the door of opportunity open. I told my wife as we watched the television with the news anchor berating Israel and Menachem Begin, ‘We are going to have a night for Israel.’ ”

Hagee approached the local Jewish leaders to suggest a gala fundraiser. He deadpanned, “They looked at me like I had a serious and contagious rash.” Hagee won them over, held a news conference with an orthodox rabbi announcing the event, and “within hours started receiving death threats at the church. We had the night for Israel, and it was terrific.” When a bomb threat came, he remembered declaring, “If these gun-toting anti-Semites think they can shut us down by threatening us, we are going to do it every year until they get used to it!”
Oh - and one other thing.
In addition, antipathy toward CUFI may be attributable partly to aversion to the rest of the Christian right’s political agenda. As for Jews’ concern about Christian proselytizing, Ortiz says suspicion fades “when they see we are not trying to convert them.”
Jews are approximately 1.7% of the population of the United States - and shrinking. While American Jews are disproportionate donors to political causes, the support that Israel enjoys in the US has little to do with the votes of American Jewry - most of which go to the Democrats regardless of who the candidates are. The support that Israel enjoys in the United States is attributable to shared values and to the strong support of a huge Christian community in the US that is in our court.

Let's try not to fool ourselves.

Read the whole thing.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

We had a CUFI function here in northern California during the nine days. A friend wanted me to go with her. She went the year before and said there were 1,000 christians waving Israeli flags. I couldn't go because, yes, seeing 800 to 1,000 Christians waving Israeli flags - saying we love you! would bring me joy.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

John Haggee is a power hungry very wealthy politician who saw the opportunity. He realized the enormous power of the Jewish lobby. It's the old say: if you can not fight, join them


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