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Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI!

Answer the call to action from FOSNA, JVP, AMP, and USCPR! 

    

For too long, Palestinians have been calling for freedom, justice, and equality. As organizations that share these values, we urge you to join us in confronting Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI has quietly become the largest organization in the United States driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. With over five million members, CUFI uses its political leverage to ensure ongoing U.S. support for Israel’s colonization and military occupation of Palestine, including imprisoning Palestinian children; bombing homes, schools, and hospitals in Gaza; massacring peaceful protestors; and confiscating Palestinian land. By its own admission, CUFI "led the charge to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital," and it continues to pushes for unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation and illegal settlement expansion.

CUFI is a Christian Zionist organization: its ideology and politics are deeply entrenched in white nationalism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Semitism, and other systems of oppression. In spite of its strong political influence on the Hill, CUFI has operated largely under the radar and received little attention in comparison with groups like AIPAC. Until now. This is the moment to act: This July, many of your Congressional representatives will be attending CUFI’s annual summit as invited guests. We cannot allow CUFI’s influence to go unchallenged. Come to Washington, D.C. on July 7 and 8 to tell the world to #CounterCUFI! It will take each and every one of us to rise against racism, to reclaim and protect our communities, and to uphold the liberation of all people in the vision of justice, equality, and freedom.

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For questions or comments, please contact advocacy@fosna.org

 

Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI!

Program

Sunday, July 7

10 am | Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ (Click here for directions) 

Optional Church Service at the heart of D.C.'s Black liberation movement! 

2-6 pm | Nonviolent direct action training and preparation (Click here for our nonviolent action guidelines)

Training details will be sent upon registering here

7-9pm | Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ (Click here for directions)

Countering Christian Zionism: Interfaith Visions of Liberation

Panel discussion featuring Linda Sarsour, Lesley Williams, Lara Kiswani, and Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry.

Monday, July 8

7-8 am | Pre-action meeting

Details will be sent upon registering here

9 am | Actions Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI!

 

Countering Christian Zionism: Interfaith Visions of Liberation

July 7, 7-9pm | Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ

5301 North Capitol St NE, Washington, D.C.

On Sunday evening, we will be joined by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian organizers, Linda Sarsour, Lesley Williams, Lara Kiswani, and Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, for a community conversation. We will be discussing how we can challenge Christian Zionism and its role in U.S. support for Israel and its apartheid policies while upholding our collective vision of liberation and justice for all. Tarek Abuata, FOSNA executive director, will moderate the discussion, and Steven Gardiner of Political Research Associates will start us off with a briefing on Christian Zionism.

Lesley Williams is a member of the coordinating committee for Jewish Voice for Peace in Chicago organizing to address Islamophobia. Lesley participated in two West Bank delegations with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence for solidarity work and is a member of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s strategy and values team. She is a featured speaker for Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism and recently published the article "We Cannot Fight Anti-Semitism and Anti-Black Racism in Isolation."  

Lara Kiswani is the executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, a San Francisco–based grassroots organization working to address economic, social, and political impacts of anti-Arab racism by organizing Arab and Muslim communities around justice and self-determination for all. A Palestinian born in the Bay Area, Lara completed her undergraduate studies at UC Davis and earned an M.A. in education at San Francisco State University, where she researched Palestinian American youth identity, language, and decolonization.

Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian Muslim American organizer from Brooklyn, New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change. Linda co-chaired the Women's March on Washington and the March2Justice, a 250-mile journey on foot to deliver a justice package to end racial profiling, demilitarize police and demand the government invest in young people and communities. Linda has been at the forefront of major civil rights campaigns including calling for an end to unwarranted surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities and ending police brutality.

Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry is the creator of she preaches, a virtual community and professional development organization that aspires to uplift African-American millennial women in ministry through theological reflection, fellowship, and liturgical curation. For six years, she served as the Associate Pastor to Young Adults and the Liaison to Worship and Arts Ministries in the Office of the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. She currently serves as the Dean of the Chapel and the Director of the WISDOM Center at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Steven Gardner is Program Area Lead for the Racial & Immigrant Justice Team at Political Research Associates where he specializes in work opposing white nationalism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. He has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Cornell University, specializing in cultures of resistance to militarism and militarization. He will soon be releasing a new report on Christian Zionism.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Christian Zionism?

Christian Zionism is a political and theological ideology that uses Christian texts to support the modern nation-state of Israel out of the belief that Israel has a cosmic purpose to bring about the “End Times” which will culminate in the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world.

Christian Zionist theology holds that Israel must gather all the Jews of the world, enlarge its territory, destroy Muslim holy places, and ethnically cleanse “the holy land” of all non-Jews. About one-third of evangelical Christians in the United States believe that support for such actions from Israel will help hasten the desired end of the world. Christian Zionism is a far-right ideology that the majority of Christians do not subscribe to and find to be heresy.

What is CUFI?

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States claiming 5 million members—over five times the number of AIPAC members. It is largely made up of evangelical Christians who hold Christian Zionist beliefs.

Through the massive and influential political machine that is CUFI, these problematic beliefs are translated into policy. CUFI has successfully lobbied for some of the most hawkish and repressive U.S. policies including the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, unconstitutional anti-boycott legislation, annexation of the Golan Heights, cutting humanitarian funding to Palestinians, and hostility with Iran.

How is CUFI racist and discriminatory?

CUFI founder John Hagee is the face of the organization. Paster of the 20,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, Hagee is considered one of the most influential Republicans in the country. He has a record of anti-Muslim, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQI2, and racist statements. In 2006, Hagee told a gathering of evangelicals that “Jihad has come to America” and “If we lose the war to Islamic fascism, it will change the world as we know it.” More recently Hagee has jumped on the “immigrant invasion” bandwagon.

How is CUFI antisemitic?

Although CUFI claims to defend Jews, its support for Jewish people takes form in unabashed support for the Israeli state. Conflating Jewish people with the Israeli government and state is not only inaccurate, but harmful and anti-Semetic. The Israeli state instrumentalizes Jewish identity to violate Palestinian human rights. CUFI shamelessly promotes this manipulation of Judaism and Jewish identity with zero regard for its impact on Palestinian lives.

CUFI’s founder, John Hagee, has said on more than one occasion that Nazis were basically divine agents and that the Holocaust was necessary to push Jews toward Palestine, hasten the creation of a Jewish state, and put in motion a chain of events that would lead to the “End Times.” Hagee has perpetuated a litany of antisemitic tropes including his claim that Hitler was a “half breed Jew,” that “Rothschild bankers in Europe” controlled the economy, that God cursed Jews, and that anti-Semitism and the Holocaust itself was the fault of Jews.

Beyond the words of Hagee, CUFI’s Christian Zionist theology perpetuates ancient Christian anti-Semitic tropes. For Christian Zionists, Jews are of purely instrumental value, and those who fail to conform to their “conservative values” are not real Jews at all. Christian Zionism manipulates Jewish identity to fit into its own political and prophetic needs. It reduces both Jews and Muslims to pawns in CUFI’s “End Times” narrative. Rather than engaging in Judaism and Jewish values, CUFI shortcuts all of that to further the notion that Israel is the solution for Christianity after thousands of years of antisemitic theology. Yet, Christian Zionism perpetuates Christian supremacy. As Hagee himself has put it, Jews who fail to convert to Christianity are “not spiritually alive.” CUFI does not care about diaspora Jews, Judaism, or Jewish values. It cares only about Israel’s value to its particular “End Times” theology.

Who is organizing this action?

We are a vibrant coalition of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim activists; faith leaders; and people of conscience who support the freedom of all people. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are facing Israel’s military occupation and apartheid policies, we commit to countering discriminatory ideologies that privilege certain people over others, and we demand an end to U.S. support for Israel.

Our coalition is headed by Friends of Sabeel North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. It also includes various smaller activist networks, religious congregations, and individuals. Over 500 individuals from hundreds of faith, peace, and human rights organizations have endorsed our call to action. You can join us too!

How can I get involved?

1. JOIN US IN D.C.: Come to Washington DC on July 7 and 8 to join us in action (and invite your friends)!

2. ENDORSE THE CALL: Sign our statement as an organization or individual, and share widely.

3. FUND THE ACTION: Donate to our action fund to cover logistics for the action.

 

    

For questions or comments, please contact advocacy@fosna.org