July 1, 2020
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This week, Christians United for Israel hosted its annual summit, where the right-wing Christian group lobbied Congress to support Israeli Annexation. This Christian Zionist lobby, which outpaces the Jewish Zionist lobby, AIPAC, in size, unconditionally supports Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Their social media was overtaken by #CounterCUFI, an interfaith coalition of over 30 organizations, led by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA): A Christian Voice for Palestine. Hundreds of participants conducted a “hashtag takeover,” inundating CUFI’s social media platforms with messaging about Palestinian rights, forcing the powerful Zionist lobby to abandon the hashtag #CUFISummit2020 for the duration of their event. As Sandra Tamari, Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project and a participant in the hashtag takeover, stated, “Our hope lies in our collective liberation, we believe in each other. ...Israel is stealing more land, this has been the Palestinian story since the beginning of the Nakba. This theft of land continues to affect the lives of Palestinians from every part of Palestine and it is supported by CUFI… It is up to us here in the United States to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.”
This social media disruption is part of a new wave of online activism to confront white supremacy, including the recent Tick Tock buyout of tickets to Trump’s Tulsa rally. As a key organizing group, FOSNA, described, “This political moment calls for bold action and a reimagining of priorities. For far too long the U.S. has been diverting resources to bankroll racism, violence, and oppression—here in the U.S., in Palestine, and around the world.”
The Movement for Black Lives and the Palestinian Freedom is the Future policy platforms have outlined a powerful path forward, defunding police and militarism and redistributing those funds to meet community needs like housing and education.
Meanwhile Christians United for Israel, CUFI continues to advocate for increased U.S. military funding to Israel and racist policies such as annexation of the West Bank and the relocation of the U.S. Consulate to Jerusalem. CUFI's support of Israel’s most racist and colonial policies is based upon Christian Zionism. As Tarek Abuata of FOSNA stated, “Understanding the influence of Christian Zionism on Congress, and how to combat it, is critical to dismantling white supremacy and acheiving Palestinian and collective liberation.”
Indeed this movement is gaining legislative momentum. Led by AOC and 13 cosigners, a Dear Colleagues letter is now circulating in Congress conditioning US military funding to Israel. This reflects unprecedented political will among Americans to think critically about the unchecked influence of lobbies like CUFI on US foreign policy. Coalition groups participating in the #CouterCUFI digital action, including Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Adalah Justice, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace, and FOSNA, are now urging people to request that their representatives sign on to this letter.