Some 4,000 Christians have gathered in the nation's capital this week to learn about Israel and the Middle East, and to tell congressional leaders not to pressure Israel into giving up land to the Palestinians.
Pro-Israel Christians have come from across the U.S. to participate in the fourth annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington Summit, which began Monday and runs through Wednesday. The event will give participants an opportunity to demonstrate their support for the Holy Land by lobbying U.S. lawmakers to back the Jewish nation.
"America really shouldn't be pressuring Israel to make concessions Israelis don't want to make," said CUFI executive director David Brog. "Israel has been devoted to the peace process."
He said Israel has withdrawn "over and over again" and made "painful concessions for peace."
"But it hasn't brought peace," he told Charisma. "It's brought renewed aggression."
He said CUFI wants the U.S. to "respect Israel's allies ... and its democracy."
Tonight CUFI will host A Night to Honor Israel, featuring CUFI founder John Hagee and syndicated radio-show host Dennis Prager. Since 2006, CUFI has hosted more than 100 Night to Honor Israel events around the world.
During a pre-summit event on Sunday and in workshops on Monday, speakers such as Jane Hansen Hoyt of Aglow International and former Sen. Rick Santorum, now senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, addressed such issues as praying for Israel, the U.S.-Israel relationship, the vanishing Christians of the Middle East and ending America's dependence on foreign oil.
Earlier today American Values President Gary Bauer moderated a Middle East briefing featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via closed circuit TV, as well as Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard; Rep. Shelley Berkely of Nevada; Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Asaf Shariv, consul general of Israel in New York.
On Wednesday, participants will lobby Capitol Hill, addressing Iran's nuclear program in particular, Brog said. "We're asking our members of Congress to support the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act ... which will sanction any company for selling gasoline to Iran," he said.
He added that the separate Iran Sanctions Enabling Act "will send a green light to companies that they can divest from Iran without fear" of being sued.
"We're very worried that Iran is making such rapid progress toward obtaining nuclear weapons," Brog said. "And we want to use every peaceful means at our disposal to try to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program."
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