Another CUFI Night
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat May 12, 2007 at 05:09:16 PM EST
Last month, Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum rejected an invitation from Prosperity Gospel preacher Mac Hammond to take part in a Christians United for Israel "Night to Honor Israel" on the grounds that founder John Hagee had a record of "extremism, bigotry and intolerance".

The event was only one such "Night" that CUFI has planned; WorldNetDaily tells us about another that's on the way:

WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah will deliver the keynote address at "A Night to Honor Israel," sponsored by the Jerusalem Connection and Christians United for Israel,...

"We will be celebrating Israel's 59th birthday with our Jewish friends and acknowledging the relevance of Shavuot for Christian Zionists," explained James M. Hutchens, president of the Jerusalem Connection. "Shavuot is the time when the book of Ruth is emphasized. Ruth is the proto-type of the non-Jew who pledges unconditional allegiance to Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law. Ruth is a symbol of the Christian Zionist support for Israel and the Jewish people today."

(I recently noted a comment by an African evangelist that African Christians would "would love to kiss the feet of a Jew"; perhaps he meant that he wanted to "lie at the feet of Boaz"?)

Jerusalem Connection is particularly keen to help Jews move to Israel, in accordance with its understanding of Biblical prophecy. One of its projects is "The Cyrus Fund", which aims to track down Shepardic Jews who headed from Spain to South America post-1492:

After the Spanish Expulsion in 1492, many Sephardic Jews migrated to the "New World," to the Americas... Now, many Bnai Anusim, the lost Sephardic Jews in Latin and South America, are--five hundred years after their ancestors were forcefully converted to Catholicism--discovering their Jewish identities and Hebraic roots for the first time.

...The Jerusalem Connection will even provide a means whereby Bnai Anusim can check to find out if their DNA actually qualifies them as a Sephardic Jew. If the DNA tests confirm their identity and they want to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel, we want to help them do just that through our own Cyrus Fund.

But what about those living in Israel and the West Bank not fortunate enough to have the right DNA? Hutchens (a former military man) is OK with Arab-Israelis, but

...the Palestinians do not qualify for the protections to be given to those under Israel's God-ordained governance. The so-called "Palestinians" under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, are loath to have Israel as their sovereign authority. The Palestinian, as well as the Arab, goal of peace envisions the total elimination of Israel as a nation and a people. The Palestinian flag portrays the current boundaries of Israel as being the boundaries of a future Palestine.

Also in attendance will be David Rubin, who is a former mayor of the West Bank settlement of Shiloh (a stronghold of the militant Gush Emunim) and the survivor of a terrorist attack that also nearly killed his child. His Shiloh Israel Children's Fund provides a palatable way for Christians to donate money to the settlers' cause.

However, McCollum is not the only CUFI-sceptic:

Jewish leaders who have been critical of Jewish participation in local "Nights to Honor Israel" say they have been pressured into silence.

"The pressure has been enormous," said a prominent Jewish leader who said he was contacted by local community officials after he raised questions about a local CUFI event. "I can't even talk about it now; I feel a real sense of intimidation because people in our own community are saying I'm opposing something that's good for Israel, that I'm hurting Israel."

On the other hand, there have been complaints coming from some conservative Christians about pressures to tone down the evangelising; in 2006 the executive director of Jews for Jesus claimed that there was "ongoing agenda" among certain Jewish leaders who he says want to "undermine Christian evangelism by trying to shape Christian theology."

In March, Christian Zionist Janet Parnell broke with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus over the issue.

CUFI also recently got into controversy over its logo, as was discussed in some detail at Talk to Action. CUFI's website included a banner showing the Western Wall area of Jerusalem, but with the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque photoshopped out. That's now been fixed:

According to CUFI executive director David Brog, CUFI "was unaware that the photo was altered when it was selected for the Web site."

(Adapted from an entry on my blog)

Display: currently under investigation for "a sweetheart deal on a plane lease, possibly violating federal tax law".

by Richard Bartholomew on Sat May 12, 2007 at 05:12:21 PM EST
For continued coverage on this story. Betty McCollum's stance on CUFI deserves more recognition too. Also, your side by side treatment of the 2 CUFI logos is helpful to audiences unaware of the controversy.

Oddly, when I was pushing that issue many helpful folks emailed me with elaborate perspective analysis demonstrating that my take was incorrect. When it came out that 50%, at least, of the Haram el-Sharif should have been visible in CUFI's original logo, if that logo had not been altered, those many solicitous voices became silent.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun May 13, 2007 at 12:22:49 AM EST

A friend gave me the wonderful gift of the John Hagee "Prophecy Study Bible", which I'm eager to delve into although I've been very busy the last few days with some other matters and haven't yet had much time for... but, soon.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun May 13, 2007 at 11:24:46 AM EST

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