After more than ten years building a solid foundation for Christians United for Israel, we have become the largest grassroots pro-Israel organization in America. But more important than sheer size, we are also quickly becoming the most politically influential pro-Israel organization in America. The leaders of our country began taking notice of CUFI’s influence with voters during the fight over the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. The again we showed our grassroots ability to organize in the summer of 2015 when we fought tooth and nail to stop the horrific Iran Deal from passing. Although in both cases President Obama was able to thwart our efforts by a couple of votes in the Senate, we no longer have a President that opposes our efforts. The world has changed, and we are no longer in the opposition.
As our 3.4 million members have become more engaged in personally taking a stand and finding their role in Israel’s story over the last two years, we have seen tremendous changes take place in our country. The results of the November 2016 election were both a surprise to the political establishment and a stunning rebuke of the direction our country had gone for the last eight years. CUFI members played a large role in the outcome of that election, making the foreign policy of the United States toward Israel and the strategy for confronting our shared enemies in Iran and terrorist organizations around the world one of the top issues of the election. The current administration in the White House and many members of Congress are in office today in large part because millions of Christian Zionists voted for the leaders they believed would best protect America and Israel from our common enemies.
The Washington Times recently took note of CUFI’s influence and success:
[CUFI] flexed its developing muscle even before Donald Trump took the oath of office. Upon returning from Christmas break, the word around Washington was that President Obama had one last move against Israel at the U.N. With literally only a few days’ notice, CUFI organized over 250 Christian leaders from across the country to come to Washington where they met with senators from 49 states (Vermont the exception) to express their alarm over the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel and to promote the following agenda:
- Use U.S. leverage to end Israel-bashing at the U.N.
- Support moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.
- Confirm David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s choice to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Here we are a few months later, and Mr. Friedman is ambassador to Israel; U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has channeled her inner Patrick Moynihan and attacked anti-Israel bias at the world body with vigor; and for the first time ever, there is serious consideration being given to moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
We are thrilled that the President and Vice President have welcomed CUFI’s leadership into the White House with open arms and open hearts to hear our concerns and offer their willingness to work with us to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.
In May, Vice President Pence invited us to join him at the White House for an official celebration of Israel’s Independence Day. This invitation came a month after we were privileged to meet privately in the Oval Office with the President and Vice President to discuss CUFI’s priorities concerning Israel. We are also deeply honored and humbled that Vice President Pence has graciously accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Night to Honor Israel during the Washington DC Summit.
But our leaders in Washington are not the only ones who have noticed CUFI’s new prominence and significance among the pro-Israel movement. Our friends at the Israeli Embassy in DC recently extended a special invitation to our CUFI on Campus students for a day of advanced advocacy training from Israel’s top experts and diplomats. A group of 36 students from four of our most active campuses in the Eastern Region visited the Embassy for a private interactive tutorial in Israel’s relationship with the United States, the role Israel plays in international affairs, and the difficult challenges Israel faces every day in keeping its people safe while also trying to protect the innocent people used as human shields by terrorists. This exciting opportunity for our students was made possible because Jerusalem has noticed the work CUFI has done to defend Israel, and the growing friendship between CUFI and Israel’s diplomats gives us access to the best training available. We look forward to partnering with the Israeli Embassy again in the near future to train more of our top student leaders as we prepare them to lead the fight to defend Israel on campus and beyond.
Because of our engaged membership, we are also celebrating exciting victories against the anti-Semitic hatred of the boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. In Texas, at the beginning of May, CUFI leaders joined Gov. Gregg Abbott as he signed Texas HB 89, a bill that prohibits the state from contracting with or investing in entities that boycott Israel. This bill is one of the strongest anti-BDS bills in the country, and it became law because of the hard work of CUFI’s activists across the state of Texas. We organized lobbying trips to the state capital, testified before the State Senate and House committees considering the legislation, and distributed an action alert letting Texas State Representatives know that CUFI’s Texas membership supported the bill. Similar efforts against BDS are ongoing in several other states, and we deeply appreciate the work our grassroots activists are investing in making Israel stronger and her people safer.
This new season for CUFI is very exciting. We are now in a position to influence American policy in a way never before possible. The foundation is laid, and the framework for success is in place. All we need is you! We need you to come to our nation’s capital for the most powerful, historic Washington Summit CUFI has ever held. The Vice President will be there, along with several of the most influential members of the White House administration and Congressional leadership. When a moment like this comes along, history can be changed by the people who show up.
We deeply appreciate all you’ve already done and given to help us reach this moment in history. Every success CUFI has had is owed to your faithful support. If you are able to give again as we continue fighting for Israel every day, your generosity will be a tremendous blessing. Thank you for helping us keep the CUFI war chest full as we take advantage of every available method to make Israel stronger and her people safer. Please continue to pray for us as we move forward into this exciting season of opportunity.
Blessings to you and those you love,
Pastor John Hagee