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January 16, 2017 6:04 am

After Obama’s Betrayal, Christians Gather in Washington to Support Israel

avatar by Paul Miller

CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee. Photo: CUFI.

CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee. Photo: CUFI.

With only a few days’ notice, more than 250 Christians from across the country placed their lives on hold and answered what many described as a “calling” to come to Washington, DC in support of Israel.

Their “marching orders” came from Pastor John Hagee, chairman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). To give his 3.3 million members a more active voice in Washington, Hagee recently launched the CUFI Action Fund.

“Millions of Christian Zionists across the country are incensed at the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, and we will make our voices heard both in the halls of Congress and at the ballot box. The days of appeasing Israel’s enemies and undermining the US-Israel alliance are over,” Hagee declared.

Christian leaders gathered last Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill for what Hagee characterized as a “pep rally” before the “big game.” Gary Bauer, the CUFI Action Fund’s Washington Director, offered opening remarks, explaining why everyone was asked to come in for what CUFI described as a “fly-in.”

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“We are going to Capitol Hill to deliver a very specific message to both sides of the aisle: Use US leverage to end Israel-bashing at the UN; support moving the American embassy to Jerusalem; and confirm David Friedman, President-elect Donald Trump’s excellent choice to be US ambassador to Israel,” explained Bauer. “The American people stand with the Jewish state, and we expect our leaders in Washington to reflect that position in every relevant vote they cast.”

In a show of bipartisan support, attendees received words of gratitude and encouragement from Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Coons opened his remarks by thanking CUFI and the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, who also sent representatives to the event. The Delaware Democrat stated that he was “certain” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would adopt a bipartisan resolution “making it clear that UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which undermines direct negotiations between [the Palestinian Authority and Israel], was an unbalanced resolution that should not have passed.” Coons went on to criticize the UNSC resolution “for not recognizing the right of the Jewish homeland to exist.”

Senator Graham struck an even harsher tone against the UN, questioning the validity of the US to continue funding the world body, which currently receives more than $3 billion a year from American taxpayers.

Israel advocates from 49 states (Vermont being the exception) expressed their enthusiasm at the event, with numerous standing ovations for each of the speakers.

Reverend Kaatee Bailey made the journey to Washington from her home in Maui, Hawaii. Bailey credited her love for Israel and the Jewish people for the reason she made the 4,800-mile trip on only 48 hours’ notice.

“I love Israel, I defend Israel, I would travel around the world to fight and defend Israel and the Jewish people,” said Bailey. “I was honored and privileged to be asked to come out here. I am called to defend Israel; it’s my life and my passion.”

Blair Thoreson, one of nearly 15 activists from North Dakota, also described his attendance as a “calling,” stressing that “Israel is a beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world that has little of both. Efforts to delegitimize Israel are an effort to delegitimize everything that is right in the world.”

Before the activists headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the Christian leaders gathered to receive their meeting assignments. David Brog, CUFI’s founding executive director, offered talking points and details of the day’s agenda and goals. He reminded attendees that they weren’t going into a meeting as a policy expert, stressing that they more important — they are constituents.

Before the morning meeting adjourned, Pastor Hagee delivered words of encouragement, gratitude, and prayer. In an exclusive interview with the Haym Salomon Center, Hagee described the moment he knew the “fly-in” needed to happen.

When we learned what had happened at the United Nations, we decided that this is what Christians United for Israel was born to do — rally to Israel’s side in times of crisis and political need, to support them and speak up for them and defend them with every ounce of capacity we have.

Hagee continued:

[The UN resolution was] the most obvious departure from 50 years of US policy of standing by Israel at the United Nations. This is the most daylight ever created between Jerusalem and Washington. There is a breach here, and we want to fill that breach with the 3.3 million people in our organization standing up as a chorus of voices, intelligently and persistently declaring that this is not going to happen on our watch.

The success of CUFI’s “fly-in” cannot be fully measured until after Inauguration Day. But according to David Brog, Wednesday was a very promising day.

Over 250 of our leaders went to Capitol Hill today and met with over 90 percent of the Senate. A number of these delegates have already been in touch to tell us how very well their meetings went. Many senators agreed to support our entire agenda.  Other have committed to substantial parts.  And in office after office, we were told that our presence on the Hill has significantly prioritized our issues.

The fate of two CUFI priorities — the passage of Senate Resolution 6 (calling for the repeal of UN Security Council Resolution 2334) and Senate Resolution 11 (requiring relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) –could be voted on before January 20.

This article was originally published by IJR.

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