By Maxine Dovere
The Christians United for Israel (CUFI) afternoon panel, moderated July 17 by Gary Bauer, featured Lt. Col. Allen West, Malcolm Hoenlein, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Christian Broadcasting Network commentator Erick Stakelbeck. The one-hour forum covered a range of topics, from gun control to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Control of the Iranian threat was a major concern of each panelist. Israel, of course, took literal center stage.
Former Congressman West, a 22-year military veteran, declared, “If we don’t stand up for the modern state of Israel—a beacon of freedom and democracy—so goes Israel, so goes the United States and so goes democracy.” He cautioned against the “effort to erase Christian and Jewish history in the Middle East.” To combat the reality of evil, he advised, “Sometimes we have to put on the physical and metaphysical armor of God.”
To a rousing cheer, West said that the time is now to rebuild our military capacity: “We’re in a battlefield right now…ain’t nobody going to take away the Second Amendment. Let’s go! Onward Christian soldiers!”
Malcolm Hoenlein is executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “No matter which party has the White House or controls the Congress,” said Bauer in his introduction, “Malcolm can make the case for the American Jewish community.”
Calling the CUFI Summit “a battery charger for me,” Hoenlein said the Israeli-American relationship “is stronger, more vibrant, more committed and more important than ever….G-d has blessed the United States and Israel this year.”
He noted the “interconnectivity” of all war and terrorism, and called for the agreement with Iran to be redone. He expressed a hope that President Trump and Congress “will not tolerate Iranian dominance.”
“Time for America not to be a grasshopper,” said Hoenlein. “Time to stand up for our rights and freedom.”
Hoenlein condemned the UNESCO declaration effectively proclaiming the bible obsolete: “We know the history of the efforts to undermine the past to deny the future….They want to deny access to history and we will not allow it. If we don’t assert our claim, we lose it. We must not abandon our holy sites.”
Hoenlein also spoke of the need to constrain Iran, saying, “We must enforce resolutions to prevent Iran from becoming a power able to harm others.”
He noted UNESCO’s attempts to erase the real record of Christian and Jewish history, as conveyed in the Bible and confirmed by science. “The impact will be on future generations,” he said.
Turning Biblical—or, in his case, Talmudic—Hoenlein said, “G-d wants us to do our parts, and he will give miracles….G-d wants us to join together, united with all of those who stand with Israel.”
In closing, he spoke of the attacks against Christians in the Middle East: “Stand up for the Christians in the Middle East. Stand up for them! Say we will not sit quietly by when Christians are persecuted and executed. Take the threats seriously—they mean it.”
John Bolton praised CUFI for developing a “real” relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Israel. “It’s an amazing thing that you have undertaken,” he said.
Ever the diplomat, Bolton began his remarks with praise for French President Emmanuel Macron—in particular, for his statement recognizing anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. “It would be beneficial to Israel and to the United States if we aren’t the only friend [of Israel] in the world.”
Bolton continued his analysis, saying, “It is a very dangerous time for the state of Israel….Its neighborhood has gone from bad to worse….I see one threat after another.”
Bolton believes that the United States is the ultimate target of Israel’s enemies: “It is our responsibility,” he said, “to come to Israel’s assistance when it is threatened. Not really assistance, really cooperation. Israel faces today’s reality of terror; the United States will face tomorrow’s.”
The ambassador expressed concern about the actions of the Iranian regime, characterizing it as “extremely dangerous….Iranians are pursuing hegemony in Iraq, in Syria through Assad, and through Hezbollah in Lebanon.” He warned that “ISIS is regrouping, training, deploying, even defeating.”
Bolton sees Iran as the funding source for terror, both in the United States and Israel. The regime’s actions “require a strong American response…because Iran is on the verge of getting deliverable nuclear weapons.”
Erick Stakelbeck added a poetic image, calling the CUFI Summit “the tip of the spear of the pro-Israel movement, by G-d and for G-d for such a time as this.”
He spoke about “the miraculous reunification of Jerusalem and the confirmation of Jewish presence through the merging of the archaeological scientific evidence with the word of G-d. We are living in biblical times,” he said.
West began the follow up Q&A. His comment, preceded by a warning, was classic: “From the perspective of a military guy, there are some people in the world that just need their asses kicked.” Even this conservative, extremely polite Christian audience responded with applause.
“The deal,” said West, “will not take care of Iranian nuclear threats,” but rather “has facilitated an arms race in the Middle East….A nuclear weapon is not an existential threat—it is a real threat.”
CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee commented on the importance of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem: “Moving will send a clear message to enemies of Israel that the United States is done playing games. A message to Palestinians that no part of Jerusalem belongs to them. It never has and never will…a signal to the world that Israel is not alone.”
Hoenlein, who accompanied President Donald Trump to the Western Wall, added, “Undoing a historical injustice is the right thing to do.”
He pointed out that the president had declared the Wall a Jewish holy place—in fact confirming that the United States recognized it to be the holiest site of the Jewish people and part of the Judeo-Christian heritage.