Counter CUFI: Challenge Christian Zionism!
Call to Action: COUNTER CUFI!
Read and sign our Counter CUFI Statement
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. Claiming over seven 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, CUFI has operated largely under the radar and received little attention in comparison with groups like AIPAC.
Last year, we changed this dynamic with our Counter CUFI Direct action.
This election year, our Counter CUFI Action kicked off a campaign to expose the influence of Christian Zionist lobbying. With your help we will counter their calls to invest in militarism and hate, with our demand to invest in justice!
Our National #CounterCUFI Action
Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI!
July 7-8, 2019
In July 2019, FOSNA led a vibrant coalition of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim activists; faith leaders; and people of conscience who support the freedom of all people, in a protest at Christians United For Israel's (CUFI) annual summit in D.C., Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI. In coalition with Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and various activist networks, religious congregations, and individuals, we mobilized the support of nearly 40 faith, peace, and human rights organizations and over 1,900 individuals. You can view a full list of endorsing organizations here.
On July 7, we hosted an event titled, "Countering Christian Zionism: Interfaith Vision of Liberation" at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, a congregation at the heart of D.C.'s Black liberation movement! The event featured Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian organizers Linda Sarsour, Lesley Williams, Lara Kiswani, FOSNA's Tarek Abuata, and Steven Gardiner.
On July 8, we led over 200 people in direct action outside CUFI's summit. We marched around the building and staged sit-ins at the convention center's entrances in protest of CUFI's unabashed support for military occupation and apartheid policies at the cost of Palestinian rights and self-determination. Meanwhile, we interrupted the opening plenary of the summit by disrupting CUFI Founder John Hagee and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's remarks in protest of growing alliances between Zionism and white supremacy and the abuse of Christian theology. Throughout the action, we centered the struggle of Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military by carrying posters with their pictures and stories and reading them aloud. You can read more about the action by reading our press release here.
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. While most theologians consider it heresy, many Christians hold this far-right ideology without realizing it.
What is CUFI?
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States claiming 8 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.
How can I get involved?
1. TAKE LOCAL ACTION: Use our toolkit for skills and analysis to help you take strategic ation in your own context.
2. JOIN THE NETWORK: Connect with other local leaders and FOSNA staff to bolster your actions.
3. FUND THE ACTION: Donate to fund nationwide action challenging Christian Zionism to cover logistics for the action.