An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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This past Sunday, Cornerstone Church in San Antonio held their 40th annual Night to Honor Israel. Cornerstone is the home church of CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee. Four decades ago, when Jews and Christians came together in solidarity for the first Night to Honor Israel, history was made. Over the years, Cornerstone has distributed more than $100 million to Israeli and Jewish charities. And as a direct result of this event, CUFI was founded in 2006. This year, history was made yet again.

Standing Up to Evil
Raise your hand if you would have predicted a few years back that an ardently pro-Israel Texas megachurch would receive a thoughtful video greeting from an Arab emissary in your lifetime. No one? Don’t worry, we’re as moved and surprised as you are.

Nonetheless, on Sunday night, His Excellency Shaikh Abdulla Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the United States, sent a heartfelt video message to the audience. He spoke of peace, tolerance and of the evils that so often plague the Middle East. He and his people seek harmony and prosperity and they recognize that Iran is the fundamental menace in the region.

“There is evil in this world and we and our allies have to stand united against it,” he said.  “Wherever you look in the Middle East and you find trouble you consistently find the Iranian regime behind it.”

Further, we would be remiss if we did not mention that Bahrain, in an agreement with the United States late last week, adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism (this definition was adopted by Executive Order last year and is used worldwide to assist in identifying anti-Semitism) – the first Arab country to do so. We applaud the Ambassador and the leadership of Bahrain for their clear-eyed approach to the Middle East and to the importance of interfaith relations.

“Normalization is the New Normal”
The event in San Antonio came on the heels of the announcement of normalization between a third country once hostile to Israel: Sudan. This is no small feat as Sudan has been on the receiving end of Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian weapons smuggling routes over the last two decades and has historically been hostile to Israel. Perhaps even more notable is that as part of this agreement, the Sudanese government has agreed to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – something European countries are divided over; France has yet to do so but Germany did earlier this year (let thank sink in for a second).

It should also be lost on no one that it was in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, that the Arab League met in 1967 to issue their infamous 3 no’s: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

Today, those “three no’s” are recognized as an unfortunate anachronism. But this didn’t happen by accident. As Pastor Hagee noted in his remarks Sunday evening, “Today, because of the bravery of the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain, the resolve of the President of United States and the Jewish people’s unwavering commitment to peace, moderate Arab nations are lining up to normalize their relationships with Israel.”

The End of the “Arab-Israeli Conflict”
Pastor Hagee’s list now includes Sudan. And God willing more will follow. The simple truth is that Israel now has formal peace agreements – or is in the process of securing them – with five former enemy states. Several other nations, including Saudi Arabia, may not have formal relations with the Jewish state but they are headed in that direction and there exists a quiet friendship between the Saudis, the Omanis and others, and Israel.

It’s simply a misnomer to continue to refer to the conflict in the Middle East as the Arab-Israeli conflict. The nations where there still exists an actual state of belligerence with Israel are Iran, Syria (backed by Iran) and Lebanon (controlled by Hezbollah-backed Iran). Iranians are Persian, not Arabs. And the only remaining state that seems hellbent on picking a fight with Israel (and France, Greece, Cyprus, the US, the Kurds, Armenia….) is Turkey. And Turkey isn’t an Arab state either.

In fact, the Palestinians are the only Arab people group resolutely focused on destroying the Jewish state that are not acting directly on behalf of Iran. Perhaps one day soon the Palestinians will look at their Arab brethren, realize the benefits of peace, and empower leaders known for their ability to build bridges rather than bombs.

Due to the election, we’re taking next week off, but we’ll be back with more analysis during the second week of November. In the meantime, please be sure to make time to go out and vote on November 3rd.


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