The largest pro-Israel group in the United States is Christian, not Jewish, and it may now outnumber the entire U.S. Jewish population. This is significant since some believe that the key to the survival of Israel and the Jews lies in Christian hands.
Just before its Bar Mitzvah 13th year anniversary next month, Christians United For Israel (CUFI) has achieved an astounding milestone. Not only is CUFI the largest pro-Israel group in the U.S., dwarfing all the Zionist Jewish groups combined, but there are now arguably more Christians supporting Israel via CUFI than there are Jews in the U.S.
Pastor John Hagee revived CUFI in February 2006 in San Antonio. Touting itself as a grassroots organization, CUFI brings together Christians from a wide range of denominations and thousands of churches for one unified cause: supporting the state of Israel. By 2015, they had 2 million members but that number has continued to grow. In the last year alone, CUFI added another 1.5 million members. In November, they announced their membership reached 4.5 million and it is now at 5.4 million.
Shari Dollinger, co-executive director of CUFI, sees Christian support for Israel as an asset that is unprecedented in Jewish history. As a Jew, Dollinger sees this as a necessary component for Jewish survival.
“For me, as a Jew, the growing support of Christians means safety and security for me and my children as well as Israel and Jews around the world,” Dollinger told Breaking Israel News. “As Jews, we are truly no longer alone.”
Though many – particularly American Jews felt that anti-Semitism was a thing of the past and that the existential danger had passed, Dollinger viewed the situation differently. She recognized CUFI as having a central role in how the Jewish people will cope with this age-old threat.
A Christians United for Israel (CUFI) solidarity march in Jerusalem in 2010. In center in front the banner, holding American and Israeli flags, is CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee. (Photo: CUFI)
“We need to realize that we are in a different era, especially after the shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue. In the face of growing anti-Semitism, it is good to know that we have true friends.”
CUFI is currently holding a leadership summit in San Antonio.
“There are 400 people in the summit, leaders from around the country,” Dollinger said. “When we had our first meeting 13 years ago, there was a total of 400 people in the room. The growth of CUFI has been nothing short of miraculous.”
It may be that CUFI has more members than there are Jews in the U.S. but the comparison is problematic. Each of the many branches of Judaism defines Jewish identity differently and people of Jewish ancestry may not self-identify as Jews. As a result, estimates of how many Jews live in the United States vary widely. A Pew survey in 2013 defined Jews as those who practice the religion. The survey reported 4.2 million adult Jewish Americans or 1.8 percent of the total U.S. adult population. CUFI has surpassed that but some estimates of the Jewish population go much higher.
Even if there are more Jews in the U.S. than CUFI members, the support for Israel of the Christians in America is more impactful in terms of magnitude and perhaps even more faithful than that of the Jews. Over the last hundred years, Jewish voters have been staunchly faithful to Democratic presidential candidates, choosing that party even when the Republican candidate had a more -pro-Israel agenda. After it became clear in former President Barack Obama’s first term that his administration did not favor Israel, an estimated 68 percent of Jews voted for him in his second run for the White House. And in 2016, when Donald Trump ran on a platform of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, fewer than 25 percent of Jews voted for him as compared to more than 80 percent of evangelicals.
Even more disturbing is the number of U.S. Jews who objected to Trump fulfilling that campaign promise. A survey commissioned by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in May revealed that more than 80 percent of U.S. Jews support the two-state solution and that about 80 percent were against moving the embassy to Jerusalem. According to a similar poll released by the Brookings Institution, 53 percent of American evangelicals supported Trump’s decision.
Father Gabriel Naddaf and Sondra Oster Baras in Naddaf’s Nazareth home. (Photo: CFOIC/ Breaking Israel News)
Sondra Oster Baras, Director of the Israel office of Christian Friends of Israel Communities, agrees that Christian support is essential to Israel, perhaps even more so than the support of the American Jewish community.
“CUFI’s success does not surprise me,” Baras told Breaking Israel News. “For a long time, Jews around the world assumed that the only people who were relevant to Israel or cared about Israel were Jews. That has not been true for a long time.”
Baras can confirm this first hand as she witnessed enthusiastic support for Israel when she first started her organization more than 20 years ago.
“Even then it was clear that there are many more Christians than Jews who love Israel,” Baras said. “This is not a negative comment on the Jews who love Israel. It is simply that there are so many Christians and so few Jews that this is how it works out.”
Baras is a strong advocate of Aliyah (Jews moving to Israel).
“Every Jew needs to move to Israel. It is the only way to be a full Jew,’ Baras commented. “But so often, Jews in America tell me that they are not making Aliyah because Israel needs them where they are to ensure American support.”
Baras rejected that claim.
“There are a little over five million Jews in America compared to 240 million Christians in America, 62 million of whom are evangelical,” Baras noted. “Which group do you think has more influence?”
“Our relationship with Christians is vital to Israel,” Baras concluded.
BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti (YouTube)
Omar Barghouti, founder and leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was denied entry to the United States on Wednesday.
He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel that U.S. immigration officials told the American consul in Tel Aviv to block him from boarding the flight.
A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Four of Israel’s most dedicated supporters in the US Congress on Friday expressed concern that the Jewish state may annex the West Bank, as results from Israel’s election earlier this week confirmed the likelihood of a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a U.S.-Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank,” said a joint statement from Democratic representatives Eliot Engel (NY), Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The final image sent by Israeli spacecraft Beresheet before it crash-landed on the moon. Photo: courtesy of Space IL.
Astronauts and scientists at the US space agency NASA commended the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL for its efforts afyer its spacecraft “Beresheet” failed to land safely on the moon on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”
“Der ewige Jude” – “Theeternal Jew” movie poster . (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The lead article Thursday on the opinion page of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie The Eternal Jew.
The article was titled in the paper “The Eternal Netanyahu” in a word play in connection with director Fritz Hippler’s antisemitic pseudo-documentary, based on the medieval legend of the wandering Jew, that served as a cinematographic justification for the Holocaust.
Mar 31, 2019 0Last week, in his speech at the AIPAC policy conference, said President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras that he would open a commercial office in Jerusalem – but not an embassy. U.S....
As an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years in Washington, D.C. I see patients from all over the world and from every walk of life and what has become clear to me is that everyone is fundamentally the same. As a rule, I shy away from political or religious discussions with my patients as they have no bearing on their care. But occasionally, the discussions are thrust on me.
Several years ago I treated a professor of political science from a local university and had established a good rapport with him. On his last visit before saying goodbye he popped a question.
It is well-known by some and wholly ignored by others that Islam has a long, sad history of antisemitism, a bigotry that originated in the seventh century CE (the first Islamic century) and has grown more vicious in the 21st. Combined with an almost universal anti-Zionism and bolstered by many on the political “left”, it is today the most ubiquitous and deadliest form of Jew-hatred. It takes the form, not just of insults, boycotts, and lawfare, but of wars, terrorist attacks, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jews.
Amman – The streets in Amman’s Jebel al-Weibdeh are crowded in the early evening with sounds of young people looking for a place to relax. Coffee shops intermix with art studios selling crafts for tourists. At the Maestro bar and restaurant, a band is getting ready for a live performance. The lights are dimmed and someone has put “no smoking” signs on the tables – they are out of place with the ash trays. Apparently, Monday has jam sessions and anyone can bring their instrument to join in. But it’s Wednesday.
A few of my readers recently asked me to explain the difference between “Palestinians” living inside and outside of Israel’s borders. Who are the “Palestinians” anyway? First, see below:
“Palestine” does not exist today as a nation-state, but at multiple times in history, including the present, it has been one of the names of a place. The Romans, recalling the defunct Philistines – non-Arab Sea People – coined it after defeating [Jewish general] Bar Kochba in 135 CE to disassociate what had been Judaea from Jews.
President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict surfaced two years ago and to this day – remarkably – only he and a handful of aides know its precise details. A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan’s contents.
On March 31, a South Bend grandma brought her grandson to the hospital. The 11-month-old baby boy had been shot. His grandmother’s car had also taken fire. It was another early morning in South Bend.
Around the same time, Mayor Buttigieg, was toting up the $7 million in donations from his charm offensive as his bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination got underway. The national media never bothered reporting the shooting of an 11-month-old boy in the city he was supposed to be running, but instead confined its coverage of South Bend matters to a publicity stunt wedding officiated by Buttigieg.
The Palestinian students are being targeted because of their political affiliations and not because of any crime they committed.
While the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are busy beating up each other’s supporters, “pro-Palestinian” activists on US and Canadian university campuses are busy blaming Israel for Palestinian woes.
As an American Christian who has had the privilege of working in senior-level positions for four US presidents and who has enjoyed a close association with three of Israel’s prime ministers, I believe it is my obligation to provide the Israeli people with my views. I think my viewpoint is important because a vast number of American Evangelical Christians believe as I believe. In addition, Evangelical Christians are, without question, Israel’s strongest supporters in the United States.
Does Case 3000 – known as the submarine affair – prove that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty of doing something illegal? Well, all Likud supporters believe with absolute confidence that it’s a political plot. Netanyahu’s opponents, however, believe – also with absolute confidence – that it’s the largest corruption case to ever occur in the State of Israel.