The pro-Israel group Christians United For Israel
has passed the two-million members mark, dwarfing even the top Jewish support organizations, and is discussing taking even more extensive political action that could benefit Republicans who support their efforts while the group tries to attract more liberals back to supporting Israel.
CFUI is holding internal discussions concerning a lobby office in Washington to help grow its relationships among lawmakers, or even spinning off a political action committee that could raise money for candidates, reports The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin in an opinion piece
The organization was founded just eight years go in San Antonio, and since that time has "driven hundreds of thousands of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in cities and towns across the country, garnered more than 1.2 million Facebook fans, brought 304 leading pastors to Israel on 12 Pastors Leadership Tours, has trained more 2,500 students on how best to stand with Israel, presently has recognized college chapters on 140 campuses as well as an active presence at an additional 163 universities," according to its website.
And even though the internal discussions are underway about a lobby office, the group already holds annual D.C. summits, where 4,000 to 4,500 pro-Israel supporters attend three-day programs before lobbying politicians on Capitol Hill. Members from every congressional district in the country are among the group's 2 million members.
According to Executive Director David Brog, CUFI formed in 2006 with hopes of "taking
present-day deep support for Israel in the Christian community and organizing it.”
And now, a PAC could expose "pretenders," while making a huge difference in GOP primaries in 2016, writes Rubin.
"People underestimate how savvy these people are," Brog commented.
Pastor John Hagee, who started the group, said its need was evident when he heard, during President George W. Bush's era, that threats were being made to "wipe Israel off the map."
Americans for the most part support Israel, said Hagee, and regardless of issues
between President Barack Obama and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, CUFI's members believe "Israel will long endure."
Recent events are also adding to the group's quick membership bump.
"As people become more aware of Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel and of ISIS’s and radical Islam’s slaughter of Christians they realized how critical Israel is in the Middle East," Hagee commented. "The 1967 green line is not a secure border.”
A senior White House official's recent comment
about Netanyahu is also upsetting Hagee and the members of his group.
"For a senior official to use a barnyard epithet toward the prime minister of Israel is simply outrageous," he told Rubin. "Imagine what they would say if it were Russia or Iran."
Obama's policy for Iran is also disturbing to Hagee.
"Sanctions are the only thing Iran has ever responded to positively,” he said. “The negotiations are equal parts fruitless and endless.” Iran, he believes, is simply playing for time “until one day they will announce they are part of the nuclear club.”
It's time for Congress to act and pass pro-Israel legislation, and if Obama vetoes it, "it will expose the absolute disdain for the leadership of Israel," said Hagee.
The group's next challenge is attracting younger Christians to its cause. Members have been visiting colleges, and have been bringing younger leaders to Israel for tours. Brog said if similar efforts had been taken years ago, the pro-Israel cause would "not have lost the mainline Christians."
But the fight is being lost for Israel among liberals, while polls show Republicans and conservatives remain supportive.
“[CUFI] can talk to the center and the right. But I am worried we are losing [in support for Israel] self-defined progressives," said Brog. "There is room for a progressive case for Israel."
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