When Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which held its annual “Washington summit” this week, was created in 2006, the reaction across the Jewish spectrum was predictable.
Progressive leaders warned that the new group, led by the dynamic Pastor John Hagee, would damage pro-Israel efforts here by aligning with the Israeli far right. On the other side of the political divide, Jewish activists welcomed the new group, which raised significant sums of money, wasn’t afraid to hide it sympathies for Jewish settlers on the West Bank and didn’t hesitate to criticize new U.S. pressure on the Jewish state.
Many Jewish leaders in the center took a wait-and-see approach, pleased by the new group’s strong advocacy for Israel but wary because of Hagee’s long ministry involving apocalyptic biblical prophecies.
They’re still waiting. Four years later, CUFI has become a more accepted part of the pro-Israel coalition, but the jury is still out on its long-term impact.
The group’s leaders have become more cautious about weighing in on Israeli policies, and their rhetoric has been toned down.
CUFI has become a visible presence on Capitol Hill, especially with Republican lawmakers, and its energetic message of support for Israel is increasingly important in this era when the winds of delegitimization are blowing across the planet.
Rev. Hagee and others have effectively put to rest concerns that their support for Israel is a cover for evangelizing Jews. Less clear is the connection to Bible prophecy. Rev. Hagee has not adequately explained how his political involvement for Israel can be completely separated from a ministry that remains heavily focused on grim prophecies that center on the troubled Middle East.
We’d like to hear him answer this question directly: Since you continue to write about Bible prophecy, what, exactly, do you believe will happen to the Jews around the world and in Israel during these “end time” events? And do you regard these events as inevitable?
Also unanswered: will CUFI’s support remain steadfast if and when Israel’s citizens choose to elect a government that wants to pursue land-for-peace negotiations more actively?