Support when it is needed most and connecting with the “millenials”.
Published: Monday, July 28, 2014 10:58 PM
Edwin Black, INN
Recent events have propelled Christians United for Israel(CUFI) to the front row of pro-Israel organizations.
The group advertised last week’s Washington D.C. Summit, held July 21, as a more compact two-day program. Last year’s conclave offered a three-day affair. But if anyone thought the faith-based pro-Israel organization was becoming less relevant, they would think otherwise after attending the latest confab.
At the very moment when the Jewish State was under a crushing vise of global criticism for its involvement in Operation Protective Edge, CUFI (pronounced koo-PHI and not koo-FEE) roused its American heartland membership in loud, rollicking support of Israel. It did so in the pivotal capitol of Washington D.C. at a pivotal time.
Led by firebrand evangelist Pastor John Hagee, some 4,800 foot stomping, shofar-blowing Christian delegates traveled from across the nation and some from overseas to attend the non-stop cavalcade of podium grandiloquence, towering video effects, mesmerizing Israeli music, and special informational sessions. Part tent revival and part political salvo, CUFI’s Washington Summit is patterned after the mega-gatherings staged by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in the same hall. CUFI speakers brought clarity and context to its attendees in the midst of the latest fog of the latest Arab-Israeli war.
Indeed, at the very hour CUFI’s convention gaveled open, the Jewish State was fiercely fighting moment-to-moment terrorist threats scampering over the Gaza border fence, paddling in from the sea, streaking in from the sky, and tunneling beneath the ground. Moreover, Jerusalem was contending with a well-financed highly-politicized adverse humanitarian political machinesupported by American tax-deductible 501(c)(3) donations. So every round of CUFI applause and utterance of support was considered a precious gesture to beleaguered Israelis who right now need a friend.
CUFI’s long A-List roster of speakers included media personalities deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens from The Wall Street Journal, BillKristol from The Weekly Standard, and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer from PBS. No fewer than five members of Congress attended.
Particularly on fire were two speakers: Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major Jewish Organizations and investigative reporter Erick Stakelbeck from Christian Broadcast Network. Both wowed the crowd with history, insight, and reason as Israel tried to justify its right to exist—free from terrorism robustly financed by Qatari money and others.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took time, via taped message, to thank the evangelical crowd for standing by Israel during its hourglass of need. He spoke from Israel, bunkered in a secure room at the height of the conflict that day. To thunderous applause, Senator Lindsay Graham exhorted the Israelis in their Gaza strategy to “go as far as you need to go, and do what you’ve got to do.”
Ambassador Ron Dermer not only exhilarated the crowd, but felt so comfortable with the audience that when he was heckled on three separate occasions by pro-Hamas Palestinian protestors, …read more