FAITH AND COMMUNITY LEADERS CONFRONT CHRISTIANS UNITED FOR ISRAEL
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Washington D.C., July 7, 2019 — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith and community leaders will be hosting a two-day action, Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI, in Washington, D.C., coinciding with Christians United for Israel’s annual summit. Over 200 clergy members, rabbis, faith leaders, and community organizers are expected to participate in the two-day event aimed at challenging Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in favor of rights and justice for all, including Palestinians.
Claiming 6 million members, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest organization in the United States driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. CUFI uses its political leverage to ensure ongoing U.S. support for Israel’s colonization and military occupation of Palestine. As Reverend Allison Tanner of the Lakeshore Baptist Church in Oakland said, “As Christians, we’re using this moment to challenge CUFI’s political co-optation of our faith in a God of love and liberation to further its racist, anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Jewish agenda.”
CUFI has lobbied for U.S. policies that further enable Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and repression of Palestinian rights, including Israel’s widely criticized U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, unconstitutional anti-boycott legislation, and reduction of humanitarian funding to Palestinians. According to FOSNA national organizer Rochelle Watson, “Even though CUFI has strong political influence in D.C. and regularly lobbies U.S. government representatives—like Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo, who will both be at the summit—CUFI has received very little scrutiny when compared with lobby groups like AIPAC.”
CUFI’s support for Israel is rooted in Christian Zionism, a Christian supremacist ideology that views Israel as necessary to bring about the second coming of Christ. According to Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg of Jewish Voice for Peace, “CUFI claims to defend Israel in the name of supporting Jewish people. But in the theology of Christian Zionism, Jews are a means to an end, with the ultimate goal of Christian salvation. That is an inherently antisemitic theology because it reduces Jews to pawns. I urge my community to reject CUFI because these people do not care about peace and justice, and they are not our friends.” CUFI founder John Hagee is also known for making antisemitic comments.
CUFI, an organization of Evangelical Christians, pushes policies that directly harm all Palestinians, specifically Palestinian Christians. As FOSNA executive director Tarek Abuata shared, “Unlike the millions of Christian tourists coming into our country and our city of Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians are barred from visiting the city and the holiest of our sacred sites. We are only allowed to see Jerusalem from above a 30-foot concrete apartheid wall. We’re demanding our right to practice our freedom of worship just like any other Christian around the world.”
The action, Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI, is led by a coalition of faith and human rights organizations—primarily Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The coalition includes over 30 national and local community organizations and religious congregations. Over 600 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders, along with people of conscience in support of Palestinian freedom, have endorsed the coalition’s call to action.
The two-day event will include a multifaith service and a panel discussion with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian organizers—Linda Sarsour, Lesley Williams, Lara Kiswani, and Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry—on Sunday, July 7, followed by a day of action coinciding with the start of CUFI’s annual summit on July 8.
For more information visit the action webpage: www.fosna.org/countercufi.