CUFI’s Objection to U.S. Pressure Isn’t About Settlements

Letter to the Editor

Published January 05, 2011, issue of January 14, 2011.
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I would like to thank you for your article recognizing a significant milestone: Christians United for Israel having crossed the half-million member mark (“The Biggest Pro-Israel Group in America? That’s Us, Says Christians United,” December 17).

I would also like to elaborate on a few points.

The article’s sub-headline asserts that “some” feel our “definition of membership is expansive.” However, in the Evangelical Christian community (and increasingly in any organization with an active Internet following) tying membership to payment is unusual. All Zionists, regardless of their ability to contribute, are welcome to join CUFI.

Your article accurately notes our estimate that in recent years only approximately 5% of the funds John Hagee Ministries donates annually to Israeli causes go to organizations over the Green Line. But I would like to further note that John Hagee Ministries aims to ensure its donations are given to communities that almost all observers agree will remain part of Israel in the event of a negotiated two-state resolution to the conflict, and that all donations in this context support social services and education, not settlement expansion.

Your article also discusses CUFI’s opposition to American pressure on Israel, but focuses on issues related to settlements. CUFI’s opposition to American pressure on Israel is rooted in the belief that only the democratically elected government of Israel has the right to decide matters of war and peace for the Jewish state. While CUFI has opposed pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions that Israelis themselves do not wish to make, CUFI is not focused on the narrower issue of settlement construction.

Finally, while your article discusses various past comments made by CUFI’s founder, Pastor John Hagee, it fails to note Hagee’s subsequent apologies, clarifications or significant outreach efforts to the relevant communities.

Ari Morgenstern
Christians United for Israel
Tel Aviv, Israel

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