With a growing number of Christian groups supporting or considering endorsing the anti-Israel and often regarded as anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish State, welcome news comes from Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
Last week CUFI announced its membership has surpassed “the two million members mark.” Established in 2006, the San Antonio-based organization describes itself as “the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization.”
“We’ve come a long way since we began CUFI with 400 Christian leaders back in 2006. And I can say without hesitation that while reaching two million members is no small accomplishment, we’ve only just begun. We will continue to grow and to speak out with an ever-louder voice for Zion’s sake,” said CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee.
When asked about factors leading to the organization’s growth, CUFI executive director David Brog told the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity:
Our growth is fueled by a convergence of factors. The religious belief that Christians have an obligation to stand with Israel is still strong. The moral conviction that Israel is an outpost of freedom and democracy is still powerful. But now world events are almost daily demonstrating the truth of something else we’ve been saying since day one: a strong Israel is very much in America’s self-interest.
Brog also explained what makes CUFI different from other pro-Israel organizations:
Unlike other pro-Israel groups, our support for Israel is built on a solid religious foundation. While we make policy arguments to policy makers, we never lose sight of the ultimate source of our values. Secondly, we don’t shy away from a fight. We’re bi-partisan, but that doesn’t prevent us from criticizing President Obama and his Administration as they continue to miss the point, duck the tough fights, and stumble their way through a dangerous world.
The organization’s annual summit, held in Washington D.C., is regarded as a must-attend by many Christian and Jewish pro-Israel activists.
“As a Jew it’s easy to feel the whole world is against you, especially with growing anti-Semitism on college campuses in America and in polite society in Europe,” said Chicago area member Blair Garber. “Every year I attend the summit just to be reminded that Jews are not alone and that we have Christian brothers and sisters who love us and join us in our love for Israel.”
The annual summit is also attended by Beltway power players in both the media and political arenas.
Last year’s event included Washington Post and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) also addressed the nearly 5,000 attendees.
This year CUFI is planning to enter the battle for hearts and minds on college campuses where anti-Israel activism and incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise.
Christened “The Israel Collective,” CUFI describes its new initiative as “millennial-focused,” geared toward “building relationships between American Christians, Israelis, and people of good will throughout the Arab and Islamic world. This initiative is a direct response to efforts by Israel’s detractors to mislead America’s Christians into turning against the Jewish state.”
“The Israel haters have targeted young Evangelicals with their lies about the Jewish state. They would like to do to the Evangelical community what they’ve already done to the mainline Protestant denominations,” said Brog. “Through our campus program and our millennial outreach, we’re punching back with the truth about Israel. It’s working. We just need to do much more of it.”