5-Million-Strong Christian Group Rebukes Rand Paul for Blocking Pro-Israel Bills
A pro-Israel Christian non-profit has galvanized its 5 million members to pressure Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to drop his hold on two Israel bills. Perplexingly, Paul blocked a bill to fund Israel's military and another bill to permit state and local governments to penalize entities that promote boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
"After blocking an aid bill he previously allowed to pass the Senate by unanimous consent, the senator has now put a hold on the Combatting BDS Act — just days after the governor of Kentucky signed an executive order prohibiting the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel," Sandra Parker, chairwoman of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action Fund, told PJ Media.
"Senator Paul's actions are contrary to the values of the voters he is supposed to be representing in Washington," she added.
Paul has defended his hold by suggesting that the U.S. should pull funding from Israel's enemies, rather than funding Israel directly. A bill reducing that funding has already passed, however.
Late last month, CUFI Action Fund launched a 2-week, $100,000 digital and cable news ad-buy across Kentucky, urging voters in the Bluegrass State to call or email Paul's office urging him to drop the hold.
"We're grateful for the support of all of our members who have voiced their opposition to Senator Paul's hold," Parker added. She told PJ Media that "CUFI has driven more than 90,000 e-mails to Capitol Hill on this issue — and we're not slowing down."
Parker insisted that "supporting Israel is actually a pocketbook issue for thousands of voters." When the U.S. sends money to boost Israel's military, the country "is required to use the bulk of those resources to purchase from us the gear, planes, technology and weapons that it needs to address its unique situation."
"In fact, in 2012, Kentucky earned nearly $16 million in business stemming from foreign military financing from the U.S. to Israel," the CUFI Action Fund chairwoman noted. By putting a hold on the current funding bill, Rand Paul is damaging his own state economically, she argued.
"Senator Paul's opposition to U.S. aid to Israel does not make us safer, more financially secure or aid our economy. It is contrary to our values, and it is not in the best interests of our country or his home state," Parker declared.
In fact, she suggested Paul's hesitance to help Israel is particularly horrendous because the Jewish state has faced rockets from Hamas and planned attacks through cross-border tunnels from Hezbollah.
On the broader issue, Parker argued that the U.S. should support Israel because the two allies share the same values and the same enemies. "When Israel is able to contend with the threats posed by Hamas and Hezbollah, that makes America safer," she said.
Furthermore, "aid to Israel provides the U.S. with an extraordinary return on investment. Not only are the bulk of the funds spent here at home, but the technology Israel develops, the experience Israel acquires and the intelligence Israel obtains are all shared with the U.S."
For these reasons, Parker has met with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to find alternative solutions if Paul does not remove his hold on these pieces of legislation.
Last Friday, CUFI's leadership reached 5 million members. Parker told PJ Media that all Americans and all Christians should support the state of Israel.
"It is a bedrock of stability, a confident democratic ally and one of our nation’s most important economic partners overseas," she declared.
"From a biblical perspective, the Bible makes it clear God’s covenant with the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, established in the Book of Genesis, is everlasting and unbreakable," Parker argued. "This belief in God’s love for the Jewish people and their biblical and historical right to sovereignty in their ancient homeland crosses denominational and ethnic boundaries to unite Christians of many different backgrounds. That’s evidenced by the significant growth of CUFI’s membership, from 400 members in in 2006 to over 5 million members today."
The Jewish festival of Hannukah ended Monday evening, but Parker attended the White House Hanukkah party last week, and tied support for Israel in to the meaning of the holiday.
"I'm reminded at this time of year that Israel's state symbol is a menorah — light — surrounded by olive branches — peace. And even though in the modern state of Israel lasting peace remains elusive, Israel remains a light unto the nations," she said.
In the time of the Maccabees, Israel faced the oppression of a Seleucid king. Hannukah celebrates the victory of the Jews over this oppression, and this celebration reminded Parker of the hope that Israel too can prevail. "When faced with such darkness, such as Gaza's rockets and Lebanon's tunnels, it is not time to equivocate, now is the time to turn on the light," she said. "Israel lives, and her light will never be snuffed out."
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