Over 5000 members of CUFI – Christians United for Israel gathered for “a night to Honor Israel,” at the concluding event of the sixth annual Summit in Washington, D.C. Appropriately, the first of the evening’s speakers was an Israeli: Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, began the evening’s comments with a set of midrashim – historic stories -telling of the military; political, and technical contributions of three Christians whose work had changed the history of Israel. He spoke of General Orde Wingate, Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, and agricultural expert Walter Lowdermilk. Wingate’s “acharrai” follow me – a hallmark of the Israeli military - Jackson’s landmark legislation that opened the gates of immigration for a million of Jews from the FSU, and Lowdermilk’s lessons in making the desert bloom, Christians, he said, had been integral to Israel since the States earliest days. Their work was a “timeless testament to the unconditional love of Christian Zionists for Israel… We need that devotion” said Oren, noting that Israel is “facing terrorist rockets, international denial, an uncertain Middle East and an Iranian nuclear program designed to wipe us off the face of the earth.”
“Christians.” said Oren “helped fulfill the biblical promises. Christians United For Israel represent “an eternal bond between the people of Israel and the Rock of Israel.”
Oren’s words left a warm glow in the room – only hinting at the excitement that was yet to come. It was the words of Glenn Beck that most awaited.
But first Pastor John Hagee, Founder and Director of CUFI, with a midrash of his own: a wide ranging dissertation on truth and America. “Truth before friendship, unity, or success,” he evoked. “America has an exceptional opportunity. That is, to speak the truth about the state of Israel.” The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not occupying the land of Israel; they own the land of Israel!… the boundaries of the land are given exactly in the Bible.”
A different fervor engulfed the room as Pastor John Hagge began his remarks, rallying over 5000 supporters at CUFI’s “Night to Honor Israel.” “There is a truth Americans don’t want to face, said Pastor John Hagee at the closing banquet of the annual Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, D.C., and that truth is this: “President Obama is not pro-Israel.”
Simple. No interpretation needed. Yet, despite visible flag waving and a substantial ovation, another rallying point would evoke a far stronger response. Hagee wanted more.
“Will those of you standing with Israel give a thunderous shout?” called out the Pastor. The Walter Washington Convention Center has witnessed many strong responses; the ovation of the 5000 CUFI supporters, broadcast worldwide, including in Israel, had to rank among the premier.
The called for thunder was heard across the room – and across airwaves of international broadcast. The sound exploded. It was tumultuous. Loud. Long. Flags – American and Israeli – waved across the room. horns blew, cheers rang out.
Hagee built on the momentum, continuing his attack on the President and his policies, proffering a list of admonitions: friendship with Iran is “not going to happen,” no pressure should be put on Israel to “give up land for peace, not for any reason, to anyone whenever,” or “to divide the city of Jerusalem for any reason, not ever.” “Israel is not a vassal state of the United States.” “Hagee warned; “If our government forces Israel to divide Jerusalem, you can mark that day as the day that God will turn his back on the United States of America.”
Hagee also took on former White House reporter Helen Thomas caught on camera saying Israeli Jews should go back home to Europe. “You’re wrong Helen. The Jewish people are home – exactly where they should be and should remain forever!”
Hagee admonished: “Mr. President, go tell Russia what to do. Go tell the Chinese what to do. Go tell Iran to stop building a nuclear bomb.” He condemned President Obama’s call to return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders – Hagee called them indefensible – as the basis for peace negotiations with Palestinian Arabs.
For those gathered at the conference, Hagee had one message: “Israel today, Israel tomorrow, and Israel forever.”