T. Belman. I’ll take CUFI over AIPAC any day.
‘I think Donald Trump is a very smart man. He recognizes that a voting bloc of 3.1 million people is something to which he wants to pay attention’
BY REBECCA SHIMONI STOIL, TOI
Almost 400 miles away from Cleveland, sweltering in a Washington, DC heat wave, thousands of potential voters stood on their feet, opening their arms in testimony, waving American and Israeli flags and vowing that for Zion’s sake, their voices would be anything but silent.
Christians United for Israel’s annual summit was booked years in advance of the announcement that the Republican Party would hold its nominating convention in Cleveland the same week, but the powerful grassroots-based organization sees itself as playing a central role in the drama that continues to unfold in the 2016 elections cycle – and beyond.
The organization sprang to its feet in advance of the Republican convention, when the platform committee sat down to draft party doctrine for the coming election. CUFI sought to restore language describing Jerusalem as “undivided” – asserting support for Israel’s claims over all of the city, on either side of the Green Line.
“Our 501c4 [lobbying organization] was instrumental in having the word ‘undivided’ added to the Republican platform,” says Pastor John Hagee, the organization’s founder and spiritual mentor. “It was extracted previously and we as an organization want to see Jerusalem the eternal capital of the Jewish people undivided today, tomorrow and forever.”
With three million largely politically inclined members, many of whom are decidedly conservative, it surprised no one that a CUFI member was already on the platform drafting committee – and the relevant subcommittee. CUFI leaders spoke to the member as well as to key figures in the Republican Party and the Trump campaign.
CUFI sent out a letter expressing its concern regarding the Jerusalem language on the Thursday before the platform committee voted. By Sunday, the wording in the draft was changed to include the key phrasing.
“On that Thursday, the CUFI action fund sent the letter to the platform committee seeking the change. The changes that we sought were made by Sunday evening as reported by CNN,” one CUFI representative told The Times of Israel. “The change was made not because our elected officials received 3.1 million phone calls, but because they knew that if the change wasn’t made they would [receive those calls].”
Strength in numbers
CUFI leaders are quick to point out that the organization’s strength is drawn from exactly this principle – a combination of numbers and mobilization that makes politicians look up and notice. Established 10 years ago, the organization whose members tend to refer to it by its acronym – CUFI – exploded from 1 million members in 2012 to 2 million in 2015 and added another 1.1 million members in the past 18 months alone.
“There are 60 million evangelicals in America and they all have a Bible base to support Israel,” says Hagee, considering how much more his organization could expand. “It would certainly be within the bounds …read more