Pro-Israel Evangelical group Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is sending hundreds of members to Washington, DC this week in order to influence Israel policies being debated on Capitol Hill.
Coming from 49 states, 260 CUFI members are flying into the capital Wednesday with the goal of pushing two congressional measures which slam the UN’s recent anti-settlement resolution and slash security budgets for America’s embassies worldwide until the US Embassy in Israel is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an act President-elect Donald Trump has said is a top priority for his administration.
Behind the mass migration of activists is a general move for CUFI away from associating with more moderate Israel advocacy organizations which support a two-state solution and towards Trump, who has made his strong pro-Israel and pro-Jerusalem positions a main part of his platform.
“We believe we have great assets that will be most valuable during a Trump administration, this is not only connections, but speaking for a critical base. I can’t think of anyone else on this issue that better represents a base that voted for Trump,” David Brog, the founding executive director of CUFI, told Bloomberg in an interview.
Indeed, CUFI represents nearly 3.3 million Christians, mostly evangelicals, a demographic that came out in spades to vote for Trump and helped boost him to victory.
One of the major issues where CUFI and Trump align is the two-state solution, CUFI believes, said Brog.
Whereas AIPAC, a large and influential pro-Israel lobbying group CUFI has worked closely with, is on record as supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Trump is more realistic about the unsustainability of such a solution in the current political climate, Brog explained.
“Whatever one’s position on the two-state solution is, most Israelis and pragmatists recognize it’s not something that can be implemented today. We will see in the Trump administration, an administration that recognizes that reality,” he predicted.
Many agree with this sentiment, especially in light of Trump’s choice of ambassador to Israel. David Friedman’s appointment was hailed by pro-Israel figures as heralding a major shift in US Israel policy towards supporting the expansion of settlements, the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, and the end of the two-state solution.
While in Washington, the CUFI delegates will also lobby for Friedman’s confirmation.