Christian Zionists: not a lobby like AIPAC
05/19/2011 - 07:32
James Besser

 A reader commented on my story this week about AIPAC – the pro-Israel lobby giant that, according to everything I hear, has not been weakened by the attacks by Walt-Mearsheimer acolytes or the rapid growth of J Street.  (AIPAC's annual policy conference begins on Sunday.)

“The most powerful Israel Lobby in Washington now is the Christian Zionist Lobby,” the commenter writes. “Many Congressional districts are as much as 30 percent Christian Zionists, sometimes more.”

Well, no.

I haven't seen much evidence that Christian Zionism – in the sense of evangelical Christians who make support for Israel a political priority, as opposed to those who simply think Israel is a cool idea – is a hugely widespread phenomenon.

Yes, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has enjoyed strong growth since its creation in 2006 by the controversial pastor John Hagee. But it still represents a relatively small slice of the big and diffuse evangelical movement, although I agree that it presence is growing in the Christian world.

I'd also dispute the idea that this is a lobby on a par with AIPAC; it's more like a big cheering section for the Jewish state.

AIPAC has a huge team of skilled lobbyists and political operatives who are able to multiply its lobbying power; I don't see any of that in CUFI. Congressional offices check with AIPAC before making any moves or statements on Middle East matters; I haven't heard of any that do that with Hagee's group.

Lobbying is much more than holding rallies and an annual conference. AIPAC does it, I don't see any evidence the Christian Zionists do it to any great extent. Yes, their numbers and enthusiasm are important, but they have yet to become a coherent, focused political force. There's a big difference between lobbying and holding pep rallies.

I also don't see any evidence of a growing network of Christian Zionist campaign givers who make their donation decisions based on the Israel issue. AIPAC wouldn't be what it is today without such a network backing up its lobbying; J Street understands that fact, which is why it got into the campaign finance business from the start.

Comments

I do not believe in jewish state.

I BELIEVE IN A JEWISH STATE

I read Your Article Christian Zionists: not a lobby like AIPAC- Firstly Let me state your article is like saying your Horse is not your Car. Christian Zionists of which I am one, and I am also a member of CUFI have a voice political activists do not have in the sense we go where people live which is their daily lives morally. AIPAC's voice is to fight-in one arena which is (politically)-Israel would not be where she is today if those efforts proved successful-In addition the political base AIPAC in the US has no voice with people in other nations. In fact the political voice in other nations has hurt Israel. We Christians teach the moral and Biblical Issues in standing with Israel because WE are HER and She is US (Christian) Our message is broadcast all over the world even into Iran-so I disagree with your findings on the Christian movement in support of Israel. I also don't think Israel is in a position to nay say ANY effort or support from anyone at this time~ alluding this this one is doing a better job than that one. That attitude is WHY people DO NOT SUPPORT ISRAEL! The Bible teaches to be wise in what you say and ~ an attitude of gratitude gets more. I can be found at Maureen Simkins on Twitter and www.maureensimkinsministries.org
I love Israel and will always be deeply committed to communicating the bridge necessary for her protection and the Jewish people not from a place of being separate but we as Christians are grafted from her. My Partner of 18 years is Jewish, my son is Jewish, and my daughter is Jewish.
Be Blessed In All You Do
Pastor Maureen Simkins

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