In July, my husband and I attended the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit. As supporters of interfaith Israel advocacy, we have worked with students from the University of Arizona CUFI on Campus club for two years.
CUFI is a non-conversionary, non-proselytizing national organization that seeks to be the umbrella for every pro-Israel church, Christian ministry and Christian individual in America, uniting them to speak in one voice in support of Israel. Despite minor controversies, CUFI has done a remarkable job educating Christians and building bridges between the Christian and Jewish communities. Executive Director David Brog, a Conservative Jew, brings the background of a Washington insider and works tirelessly to dispel myth and rumor and to educate the Jewish community about the values shared between Christians and Jews.
I was part of the 500-member student delegation, which received an extra day of advocacy training so we might return to our campuses with the tools to work with Jewish organizations such as Hillel to fight the demonization and delegitimization of Israel and the double standards that have crept onto college campuses.
A conference highlight for me was Brog’s lecture, “Arab-Israeli Peace Process and the Five No’s,” which outlined how, starting with the 1937 Peel Commission and on through the 1948 U.N. Partition Plan, 1967 peace offer, 2001 Camp David/Taba summit, and Ehud Olmert’s 2008 offer, Israel prepared to make difficult concessions, and the Arabs/Palestinians refused to accept peace. Sadly, in addition to refusing peace, each of these refusals resulted in innocent Arabs and Jews dying.
Now the Palestinians are looking to make a unilateral declaration of independence in the United Nations. Instead of the bilateral negotiations that have been agreed upon, the Palestinians seem to be walking away from the table, with everyone guessing the rationale for this maneuver. It is time for Christians and Jews to ask the Palestinians not to turn their back on peace again. When they are ready to come back to the negotiating table, Israel is ready to again offer peace.