Christian Zionist group meeting in Washington downplays end-times prophecy
CUFI lobbying conference soft-pedals apocalyptic talk, drills on "talking points"
by Jane Hunter, JewsOnFirst.org, July 17, 2007
Two weeks after CUFI's conference, 34 evangelical Christians sent a letter to President Bush supporting a Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace settlement. Please click here.
You'll find links to relevant articles and documents at the end of the report. Look for the icon for links added after July 17th..
Washington DC Even though it was closed to the news media, a "Talking Points" briefing at the Christians United for Israel conference this afternoon lacked the characteristic apocalytpic talk about Iran sparking the battle of Armageddon. Predictions that Israel and the Jews will figure prominently in an end-times scenario culminating with the return of Jesus have been staples of CUFI's leader, televangelist John Hagee.
CUFI, the nation's newest and most active Christian Zionist group, brought several thousand people to its second annual lobbying conference this week. Almost one thousand people filled the room at a hotel across from the National Zoo for the Talking Points briefing; an announcement suggested that more people were in a second room. Presidential candidate John McCain made an unscheduled speech at the start of the Talking Points session (see sidebar).
Meeting decorum stressed
Brog's main focus was decorum -- coaching attendees on how to behave during their meetings. He repeatedly emphasized building long-term relationships with legislators and their staffers.
The talking points contained three issues: "Stopping Iran," "Stopping Hezbollah" and "Providing Military Aid to Israel."
Iran was front and center.
Iran has heavily figured in CUFI leader Hagee's end-times scenarios, and he has advocated military action against Iran during the past couple of years. During the briefing there were allusions to military action against Tehran. The talking points document instructed CUFI lobbyists to speak in support of Iran sanctions legislations and to
Tell your Senators and Congressmen that nothing should be taken off the table at this point. Iran needs to understand that Congress is open to military action if our continued economic and diplomatic pressure fails to get them to reverse course.
The document also notes that "Senator Joseph Lieberman recently stated on national television that 'we've got to be prepared to take agressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq.'"
Brog noted that Lieberman, who spoke at a CUFI dinner Monday night and got a "truly warm CUFI welcome" -- is "out all alone on that limb." Brog added that, after "the annointing we gave to Sen. Lieberman last night, he left here stronger."
Netanyahu phoned Hagee
The talking points briefing also downplayed another CUFI theme -- extreme anti-Muslim bigotry -- that has caused discomfort among many Jews. Brog made only one reference to "genocidal Islamo-fascism" related to Sudan.
On Hezbollah, Brog asserted that the Lebanese organization has never complied with the UN resolution that ended last year's war, while Israel has fully complied. He said that Syria and Iran have completely rearmed Hezbollah and another war is inevitable.
The talking points document instructs attendees to lobby for a stronger UN resolution when it is renewed.
On military aid to Israel, Brog explained that Republicans had killed a bill containing the military aid because of "abortion language" inserted by Democrats. He also said, somewhat cryptically, that funding in the foreign aid bill for "condoms and birth control frees up money to pursue other agendas."
The attendees had other opportunities to express the powerful emotions underlying their activism during Sen. McCain's speech, and when Hagee took the stage to introduce him before the Talking Points briefing.
Hagee was greeted with a spontaneous standing ovation.
Before introducing McCain, Hagee read a statement "authorized" by CUFI's board deploring President Bush's Middle East peace initiative, announced on Monday. He read: "It is unfortunate that the President used the word "occupation" a term that is often used by Israel's enemies." The statement also admonished: "while many people of good will thought that trading land for peace would work, every concession by Israel has lead to advance terrorism."
In previous statements and interviews, Hagee has argued that the Bible demands that Israel maintain possession of all the territories it has seized in war.
The Forward reports that CUFI does not lobby on Israeli-Palestinian peace-making, since its position is at odds with the current position of Israel's lobby AIPAC.
In introducing McCain, Hagee said: "it has been my privilege to talk with McCain on several occasions...and I can tell you that he is solidly pro-Israel." That brought screams and applause from the audience.
Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour
Video of CUFI's conference by Max Blumenthal, Huffington Post, July 26, 2007
On July 16, I attended Christians United for Israel's annual Washington-Israel Summit. Founded by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee, CUFI has added the grassroots muscle of the Christian right to the already potent Israel lobby. Hagee and his minions have forged close ties with the Bush White House and members of Congress from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to Sen. John McCain. In its call for a unilateral military attack on Iran and the expansion of Israeli territory, CUFI has found unwavering encouragement from traditional pro-Israel groups like AIPAC and elements of the Israeli government.
But CUFI has an ulterior agenda: its support for Israel derives from the belief of Hagee and his flock that Jesus will return to Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon and cleanse the earth of evil.... Throughout CUFI's Israel Summit, videographer Thomas Shomaker and I were hounded by PR agents seeking to prevent us from interviewing attendees about the End Times. The conference, we were told, was about "one message" - evangelical Christians supporting Israel. We were instructed to only interview CUFI leaders capable of sticking to the talking point that their support for Israel has, as Hagee declared, "nothing to do with the End Times." But I was forbidden from asking Hagee about statements he made in his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," that appeared to blame Jews for their own persecution. After doing just that during a press conference, I was removed from the conference by off-duty DC cops summoned by members of Hagee's family. Click here for a link to Blumenthal's video, which ends with his ejection from the CUFI conference.
Hagee, Israel backers push a get-tough policy
Abe Levy, San Antonio Express-News, July 22, 2007
WASHINGTON Inside a reserved Senate room, several hundred evangelical activists who came by plane and bus Wednesday waited for the arrival of Texas' two senators.
As their leader, Pastor John Hagee, entered the room, they erupted in cheers, snapping photos of the face of modern Christian Zionism, a movement that promotes Israel as a biblical mandate.
The room turned silent as Hagee greeted Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn near the stage. Hagee looked the senators in the eye and said: "These people are from Texas -- and they are voters." Continue.
‘Not One Inch’ Still Alive And Well
Message from Hagee’s Evangelical group runs counter to Israeli government it purports to back.
James Besser, The New York Jewish Week, July 20, 2007
In a week that saw the launch of yet another U.S. initiative aimed at creating a Palestinian state, a Christian group was on Capitol Hill with a very different message: boosting Palestinian moderates and "pressuring Israel" to make new concessions can only help the terrorists America is committed to fighting.
Leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which drew more than 3,000 delegates to its second national convention Tuesday, said they are not trying to interfere with Israeli policy and politics, but in both congressional meetings and at a gala "night to honor Israel," criticism of current policies of the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was implicit.
When introducing Israeli ambassador Sallai Meridor, Gary Bauer -- a former contender for the Republican presidential nomination and a CUFI board member -- included a prayer that Israel will "never, under pressure from anyone, including even American politicians, give up even one centimeter of the land God has given them." Meridor’s government is committed to an eventual withdrawal from the West Bank and creation of a Palestinian state. Continue.
Pro-Israel Christians Mobilize in D.C.
Nathan Guttman, Forward, July 18, 2007
Washington - At this week’s gathering of pro-Israel Christian lobbyists, it took an unscripted moment for the most passionate sentiments to emerge.
Instead of delivering an introduction to Israeli ambassador Sallai Meridor, Evangelical leader and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer delivered a passionate appeal against any Israeli territorial compromise to the Palestinians.
"Tell the people in Israel," Bauer said to Meridor, "that we are praying that they never give up -- even under American pressure. Never give up even one centimeter." Continue.
Pro-Israel Christians to push Iran sanctions
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 17, 2007
More than 4,000 people at a conference of Christians United for Israel will lobby for a U.S. law aimed at isolating Iran.
Delegates from all 50 U.S. states will push the Iran Counter Proliferation Act, which reduces the president's ability to waive existing sanctions against Iran and sanctions third-party countries and companies dealing with the Islamic Republic. The sanctions are aimed at forcing Iran to suspend its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Delegates, who will visit Congress on Wednesday after two days of briefings, also will lobby Congress for military assistance to Israel and to call attention to Hezbollah's failure to abide by agreements to disarm after last year's war against Israel.
Speakers at the group's second national conference include the group's founder, Pastor John Hagee, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, a probable candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency.
Hagee said that while his group might not agree with Israel's recent concessions to the Palestinians, it was not its place to oppose the concessions. "We are supportive of Israel, even if they make decisions that are contrary to what we believe are in their best interests," he said. Click here.
Most Christians support Israel AND Palestine, and oppose a war with Iran, say National Council of Churches leaders
Statement by National Council of Churches, July 16, 2006
New York City, July 16, 2007 – As Pastor John Hagee prepares for his annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) gathering this week in Washington, D.C., two leaders of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) are reminding observers that most Christians do not share CUFI's stated goals.
"John Hagee's message differs greatly with what theologians have taught for centuries," said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC's Associated General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace. Continue.
CUFI: Loving Israel to Death
Column by M.J. Rosenberg, Israel Policy Forum, July 27, 2007
"Some friends of Israel are playing with fire," writes Rosenberg, in a posting on Christians United for Israel. He notes that CUFI leader, Pastor John Hagee, has written that catastrophes have befallen the Jewish people because they rejected Jesus Christ. Says Rosenberg:
I don’t understand how any Jew can fail to recognize just how dangerous this theology is. Christian anti-Semitism, in all its deadly forms, is built on the idea that Jews rejected Christ and must suffer until they accept him. For 2000 years, Jews have endured persecution because that idea led not just to the hatred of Judaism but of Jewish people.
Rosenberg also writes about CUFI's adamant opposition to trading land for peace. Click here.
Christian Zionist Group Criticized for Unconditional Support of Israel
By Ethan Cole, Christian Post, July 17, 2007
WASHINGTON – A well-known, outspoken group of Christian Zionists is being criticized by an ecumenical organization of churches for its “uncritical” support of Israel, as it kicked-off the first day of its annual gathering in the nation’s capital on Monday.
The National Council of Churches USA (NCC), a coalition of 35 denominations representing 45 million members, says many Christians have a different opinion of Israel than Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Continue.
Lieberman Address to Christians United for Israel
Senator Joe Lieberman, News release from his office, July 16, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) yesterday delivered the following remarks to the Christians United for Israel Conference: "Thank you for that kind introduction and that warm welcome. May I in turn greet you with the ancient words of welcome offered to pilgrims in Jerusalem - "Bruchim Habaim B'Shem Hashem" - blessed be those who come in the name of the Lord.
That greeting is especially fitting for you because you have come to Washington not just as men or women, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. You are here as Christians United for Israel. You represent a powerful force of people of faith in America who have pledged to never forget thee, O Jerusalem. Continue.
McCain warns against leaving Iraq
By Associated Press, Boston Globe, July 18, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful John McCain told Christian evangelical supporters of Israel yesterday that withdrawing troops from Iraq now would be "one of the most catastrophic and consequential disasters for this nation." Continue.
Sen. John McCain recounts anecdote of North Vietnamese Christian prison guard
Please use the player to listen to the Sen. McCain's anecdote about the guard who drew a cross in the dirt when McCain was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war.
Let our unconditional alliance be mutual
Opinion article by Shelly Neese, The Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2007
'It's a new day in America. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened!" Pastor John Hagee announced in his booming voice to thunderous applause at the AIPAC Annual Policy Conference last March. What Hagee humbly omitted is that Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a group he formed just over a year ago, deserves much of the credit for arousing the sleepy 50-million-man giant.
To be sure, Zionist Christians are no recent phenomena. Neither is their communal work on behalf of Israel. For the past century, there have been Christian groups supporting Israel through their pocketbooks, prayer, and political power. What changed with CUFI is the visibility and consolidation of the Christian Zionist network. CUFI's stated purpose is to "provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, para-church organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues." Continue.
If you are looking for the best service for you conference call, our website can help. Sign online today and find how your company can get a free conference call and so much more. If you want to learn about our conference call service, sign online today!