CUFI Comes to Washington

, Leonard Robinson, Leave a comment

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) hosted its annual conference in Washington, DC earlier this week bringing students and activists from across the country to the Washington Convention Center to hear from a variety of speakers such as Pastor John Hagee, the group’s founder, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via live satellite and Vice President Mike Pence. CUFI is one of the largest pro-Israel advocacy groups with over 3 million members across the country including students on various college campuses.

Prior to the conference, students participated in student-exclusive CUFI sessions discussing foreign policy, the state of Israel, and CUFI’s role in pro-Israel causes. Brian Lozano, a senior at St. Edward’s University, described the experience as “educational and eye-opening” allowing him to see a different perspective than one he would normally receive at his university in Austin, Texas. Students came from a variety of ideological backgrounds with some identifying as politically conservative while others, such as Lozano, identified themselves as “progressives” who support Israel.

Among the wide selection of speakers were former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former Congressman Lt. Col Allen West (R-FL), and Eric Stakelbeck. None matched the enthusiasm generated by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vice President Mike Pence.

In the past, Netanyahu has supported the work of CUFI saying, “I consider CUFI to be a vital part of Israel’s national security”. Netanyahu reiterated his support for the organization and Israel’s alliance with the United States of America.

Later, Vice President Pence spoke to CUFI attendees making history as the first vice president or president to speak at the organization’s annual gathering. Pence highlighted his relationship with CUFI that dates from his time in Congress to his tenure as governor of Indiana when he signed “one of the strongest of the strongest anti-BDS laws in the America to ensure that our state never does business with those who seek to inflict financial damage on Israel.” Pence also made an announcement that the Trump administration plans on moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an answer to a rally call from CUFI and pro-Israel activists for years. “It is not a question of if, it is only when.”, said the Vice President to an applauding crowd.

The following day, attendees heard from elected officials in Washington, such as Senators John Cornyn and Joni Ernst along with Representatives Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, and Doug Lamborn in a panel entitled, “View from the Hill” before participating in lobbying members of both houses of Congress to co-sponsor legislation endorsed by CUFI such as federal anti-BDS legislation and the Taylor Force Act.

According to CUFI, it’s legislative initiatives have received bipartisan support and will continue in the future as the organization remains optimistic about issues regarding Israel with a new administration in Washington.