In 2006, Pastor John Hagee founded Christians United for Israel (CUFI) with hopes of disseminating to the masses pro-Israel programming that would “not be conversionary in any sense of the word”. Since then, CUFI has become America’s largest pro-Israel organization with over 3 million members.
With anti-Semitic sentiments and physical attacks increasing worldwide, CUFI is now spreading its wings to the United Kingdom (UK). “Last year, with 1,000 Christians in attendance, we launched CUFI UK,” Des Starritt, executive director for CUFI UK, told Breaking Israel News. “In this short time, we have gained a lot of traction, reaching thousands of people each week through emails, print and on social media.”
CUFI’s goals include education and advocacy in which churches, ministries and individuals can support Israel in matters related to Biblical issues. At the 2015 launch, Pastor Hagee emphasized the biblical mandate to fight anti-Semitism by quoting the book of Isaiah.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet. Isaiah 62:1
“Our website posts up-to-date campaigns in support of Israel and the Jewish people,” explained Starritt. “Our latest ‘Action Alert’ is asking people to write letters to Members of Parliament urging them to attend the upcoming Foreign Aid debate.
“A portion of the UK’s foreign aid budget is given to the Palestinian Authority which indirectly pays Palestinian criminals’ salaries for inciting violence and pays a wage to terrorists, who are sitting in jail, based on the severity of their crime.”
CUFI provides teaching materials and resources which clarify the Biblical and moral imperatives for supporting Israel. “Britain has a rich Judeo-Christian heritage. Yet, many Christians have become too cozy in their lives and forget that God has obligated us to speak out on behalf of Israel,” continued Starritt to Breaking Israel News. “We encourage Christians to use their voices to publicly defend Israel and to pray for her peace.”
Though last year’s organizational launch was only attended by Christians, this month CUFI UK is hosting “A Night to Honor Israel” with prayers that the 1,500 seats in the Westminster, London auditorium be filled with both Christian and Jewish supporters uniting for Zion’s sake.
“The event is organized to celebrate our common ground,” said Starritt. “The Night to Honor Israel is a non-proselytizing event, and is simply a way for Christians to express their unconditional love and solidarity with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
“A Night to Honor Israel” has been held annually in hundreds of American cities since 1981. The event began when Pastor Hagee organized a one-time celebration to counter anti-Israel rhetoric in America after Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, an act that Pastor Hagee saw as Israel protecting the world. Following the announcement of his plans, Pastor Hagee received death threats and bomb threats to the venue.
In an act of defiance, the Pastor told his wife that a “Night to Honor Israel” will continue until “anti-Semitic rednecks get used to it.”
CUFI UK has big plans for the British branch of the organization. Though activities started in London, there are hopes to develop CUFI throughout the UK and eventually throughout Europe.
“We believe that Great Britain will be blessed by honouring Israel, as it says in Genesis 12:3, ‘I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed’,” noted Starritt.
“Christians can support Israel and maintain a Christian love towards all people in the region. This is truly fulfilling God’s plan.”