(CNSNews.com) - Evangelical Christians from all 50 states gathered in Washington, D.C., this week to express solidarity with the state of Israel in the face of challenges to its security posed by Hamas, Hizballah and Iran.
Christians United for Israel, a group formed by San Antonio mega-church pastor John Hagee, is holding its second annual summit in the nation's capital.
CUFI says its objectives are to "educate and build Christian support for Israel throughout America," by educating Christians on the "Biblical and moral imperatives of supporting Israel."
The group convenes in Washington "to enable CUFI members to personally speak with their elected representatives on behalf of Israel."
CUFI will organize members through rapid response alerts to request action for Israel from the administration and Congress at "critical junctures" during the remainder of the year.
CUFI's executive board includes some leading evangelical figures, including Gary Bauer, president of American Values, and Michael Little, president of the Christian Broadcasting Network. The late Rev. Jerry Falwell was also a member.
The goal of CUFI, according to Hagee, is to become the Christian version of the America Israel Political Action Committee, a powerful lobbying panel that also urges strong U.S. support for Israel.
Hagee may have had success in this regard. At their inaugural Washington summit last year, CUFI drew 3,500 attendants. David Brog, executive director for CUFI, reported that it took AIPAC 15 years to draw 2,000 attendants to an annual policy conference.
The group said in a statement threats to Israel and the Jews are growing "with each passing day."
It cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel and Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear technology; Hizballah's strengthened position in Lebanon; and the takeover of the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, which like Hizballah is "also committed to destroying Israel."
In a February 2006 article for Charisma Magazine, the periodical of the Pentecostal movement, Hagee stated that "if September 11 proved anything, it showed that America is not immune from attack by our enemies. It also proves beyond any reasonable doubt that our enemies are willing to use whatever weapons they have to kill as many of us as possible. In Islam, the highest honor is to die a martyr by killing Christians and Jews ...
"Several authorities have said Iran could have a nuclear bomb ready by April 2006. If Israel strikes beforehand, there doubtless will be a vast pan-Arabic Islamic army assembled to attack Israel. Once again, Jerusalem has become the target. We are standing on the brink of a nuclear Armageddon," Hagee added.
"The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty. Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide."
Critics, however, have argued that CUFI is taking a far more ambitious stance than simple lobbying. In their estimation, CUFI supports the establishment of an Israel far larger than its current size and the defeat of her enemies through American support.
According to Max Blumenthal, a writer for The Nation, "CUFI representatives [met with] White House officials [and pressed them] to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hizballah."
Blumenthal also notes Hagee's unwavering belief that the Bible is true, and that Israel will be the site of the Rapture.
By supporting a strong Israel, Blumenthal believes that Hagee hopes to hasten the end times and the deliverance of the nation of Israel and Christians.
The Christians United for Israel 2007 summit magazine declares that God granted Israel lands that encompass much of the Levant. The "Royal Grant of Abraham" encompasses territory that spans from the city of Hama in central Syria southward to Israel's current boundary with Egypt, eastward to the Euphrates River (See map).
Were such land part of Israel today, much of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq would cease to be in their current forms.
Hagee wrote in the magazine that "Israel belongs to God Himself! As Creator of heaven and earth, God had the right of ownership to give the land to whomever He chose. God gave that title deed for the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendents 'forever.' Therefore, modern-day Palestinians have no Biblical mandate to own the land."
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