- What does the Bible say about Christians supporting Israel?
- What does being involved with Israel’s safety have to do with the U.S.?
- What makes CIPAC different from other Christian organizations that support Israel?
- What is a lobby? What is a lobbyist and why do we need them? I’m a citizen, why can’t I just go myself and tell my Senator or Congressman what I want?
- Didn’t we as Christians replace the Jews as the Israel of God?
- Isn’t praying for the peace of Jerusalem enough?
- What purposes do my CIPAC dues serve?
- What purposes do tax deductible donations to MERCL (CIPAC’s educational arm and tax exempt organization) serve?
- Why don’t we hear about CIPAC and supporting Israel in all our U.S. churches?
- Why don’t the Jews in America do what CIPAC is doing; it’s their Nation?
- Is CIPAC’s cause more important than our economy? Why?
- The Bible says all Nations will eventually turn on Israel so why should I attempt to change what has already been prophesied?
- I am not knowledgeable about Israel, so how can I get the information myself?
- Can anyone go to Capitol Hill and lobby?
- Where did the name “Palestine” come from?
- What about the poor Palestinians, shouldn’t they have their own state too?
- Why stop funding the Palestinians?
- Didn’t we stop funding the rebuilding of Gaza? What is happening there?
- How can the U.S. tell Israelis not to defend themselves against Iran or its Hezbollah, Hamas and their agents? Don’t they have their own nation?
- What does it take to get the attention of my Congressman or Senator?
- How can I mobilize my district to let CIPAC’s voice be heard?
- ’m not a religious person, so why should I be a part of CIPAC?
- What is a grassroots movement?
- Your recent petition says you want to arrest the President of Iran for genocide, but who would arrest him?
- Why doesn’t the U.N. take care of Israel?
- What are CIPAC’s accomplishments in the last 20 years?
- As a minister, I’m afraid of mixing politics with my 501(c)(3). How can I let my voice be heard and influence my congregation without jeopardizing my ministry?
- I’ve heard the Islamic Lobby is the largest lobby registered in the U.S. How did this happen? And how is it affecting the U.S.?
- Judeo/Christian values seem to be ebbing away in our nation. Where do I begin to make a difference?
The Bible has a great deal to say about the need for Christians to support Israel, both in the Old Testament and in the New. For example, most of us are familiar with Genesis 12:3 which states, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (KJV) and in addition Isaiah 40:1 says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Scriptures such as these are reconfirmed in the New Testament. For example; in Romans 11:29, Paul writes about the centrality and significance of his Jewish brethren in God’s plans and purposes saying, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance;” that is to say irrevocable. Some might say that Israel has forfeited its right to these promises because it has not always been faithful to God; has not always done what the Almighty has commanded. However, God is merciful and makes clear how irrevocable and independent His covenant with the Jewish people is. For example; in Jeremiah 31:34-37, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.”, we have the most amazing metaphors for God’s eternal, unchanging, unwavering commitment to His covenant with the Jewish people. In effect what God has recorded here is that He will keep covenant with Israel and the Jewish people as long as there is the Sun in the sky by day and the Moon and the stars by night. What an amazing, exciting promise! And then in answer to His question of when or how long suffering He will be with Israel, how long He will stay with His commitment to Israel; He says in effect: until man has reached the outermost limits of the universe and has plumbed the deepest regions of the planet Earth, two tasks which scientists still today will tell you are impossible, that’s how long God will continue to keep covenant with His people. And of course we know that these promises of God to Israel were given as an example to us as well. So that we living under the New Covenant, the New Testament, may see how much mercy and grace there is from God to keep His promises to us, His covenant with His people.
We firmly believe that protecting and defending Israel constitutes the first line of defense for the United States as well. This is a part of the meaning of Genesis 12:3, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Today there is a search for peace and security, but the world’s nations, for example in the United Nations, are looking in all the wrong places. Safety is of the Lord. For example, when in Jeremiah 6:14, and 8:11 where the Lord says, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” we can see that many may say peace, but few have peace in their hearts. Few have a sense of the justice and right that God wants to see exercised toward the Jewish people, whom He gave the land of Israel. Paul writing in I Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” This is a clear indication that those who are looking to such earthly means as diplomacy, treaties, or military defenses will likely be bitterly disappointed. Just as we saw the terrorist attacks on 9/11 taking place, President Bush was poised to announce his misguided two-state vision for creating a new Palestinian state in Israel’s heartland, contrary to such scriptures as Isaiah 14, etc.
CIPAC is alone in its official status as a registered Christian lobby. Other Christian organizations serve valuable purposes, such as standing up for Israel, visiting, honoring, and being a friend to Israel and more. But only CIPAC is legally authorized to advocate, without limit, for the rights and privileges of Israel before our U.S. Congress, State Department, and the White House. This is because CIPAC is the only 501(c)(4) registered lobby with the United States Senate and House of Representatives. CIPAC, in effect, is the point of the spear that carries a strong biblical message that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people and our laws and policies must reflect that.
What is a lobby? What is a lobbyist and why do we need them? I’m a citizen, why can’t I just go myself and tell my Senator or Congressman what I want?
The ability of individuals, groups, and corporations to lobby the government is protected by the right to petition in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Lobbying is a protected activity under the U.S. Constitution that guarantees rights to free speech, assembly, and petition to government. Lobbying is a regulated activity.
Lobbyists are typically very knowledgeable about the legislative process and know who the decision makers are relative to congressional staff and Members of Congress. Lobbyists assist in the preparation and presentation of information, arrange testimony for congressional hearings, and arrange and attend face-to-face meetings with congressional staff and/or Members of Congress or agency officials. The goal is a positive impact on decision makers so as to affect the process in Washington, D.C.
In many cases, lobbyists serve as an “extension” of a congressional office staff. Given the hundreds of bills and amendments introduced during each legislative session, it’s impossible for legislators to gauge the potential effects that each may have on affected groups or individuals. Lobbyists assist staff by communicating often complicated issues and by knowing how to break an issue down into relatively small and simple parts. The goal is to simplify the learning process of the member or congressional staff person, yet provide them with accurate and timely information. In this regard, lobbyists perform a valuable service not only to their client but to the staff and Members of Congress as well.
A lobbyist’s success is based totally on his or her reputation and credibility. Giving bad advice or incorrect information to Congress is quickly noted and long remembered. In the lobby world, you are given only one chance to make a mistake and lose the credibility that’s necessary for success.
How can a lobbyist help you? By way of example, a congressman represents some 500,000 people, the interests of dozens of towns and cities, several counties, and hundreds of businesses. If you want to do everything possible to make sure your needs are known by that Member of Congress, you need a Washington office and staff that advances your needs. A lobbyist works to make sure your needs stay high on the agenda and makes sure others don’t get a competitive advantage. Not having Washington representation can leave a client at a serious disadvantage. Time constraints, the work load within a congressional office, the work of competitors, and the complexity of issues make the services of a lobbyist an absolute necessity.
No, this is a familiar, but fallacious heresy that would put the Church in the place of Israel in what has been called Replacement Theology. If we look at the promises in the Old Testament, the Jewish scriptures, that relate to Israel and attempt to place the Christian Church as a substitute for Israel in all of these scriptures it becomes clear that we get a wrong and often ridiculous result. For example, Jerusalem was to be the eternal capital of Israel, the City of David, and the city of the great king. This is a unique promise to Israel and the Jewish people. The Church has no earthly kingdom and even the Roman Catholic Church did not pick Jerusalem, but instead Rome as its sovereign capital. This is only one example of the many that could be cited that show the need to keep in clear distinction three entities: Israel, the nations and the Church. If we do so we will get a clear understanding of the Scriptures, Old Testament and New. If we mix any of those we will get a misguided, often ridiculous answer.
The scripture in Psalm 122:6 commands us to, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.” We must understand the full meaning of this scripture in the original Hebrew if it is to make sense and if we are to really implement it in the light of all too much superficial use of this verse. Certainly we all believe in prayer and we know that God answers prayer. But in this scripture the Hebrew really means not the usual word for prayer, but a different word. A better translation of this verse would be: Diligently pursue and follow after the wholeness, completeness and well-being of Jerusalem. They shall prosper, do well and be successful who do so. This amplified understanding of the verse makes clear that the psalmist describes not the usual prayer or beseeching of God to do something or to help us in a matter, but a personal, action of our own, to pursue not just peace as we usually think of it, that is to say, the absence of war or conflict, but instead the wholeness, completeness and well-being of Jerusalem. This is a full and meaningful difference when we think today of how many nations, even churches and other religions, wish to divide Jerusalem, take the lion’s share of it away from the Jews and give it to the Palestinian Arabs.
Your dues serve to make CIPAC a well administered, efficient and effective organization to carry out its unique mission for providing the strongest possible support for Israel. They cover the cost of the Washington headquarters office, the printing and distribution of materials, creation of CD’s and other recorded materials, arrangements for Lobby (advocacy) Days on Capitol Hill and travel to meet with CIPAC members and help create new chapters nationwide.
CIPAC membership, which is signified by dues paid at some level, is the important thing. We are aiming for ever increasing numbers of members of CIPAC. Whether individuals are able to contribute the full requested annual dues of fifty dollars or not, all memberships are accepted and appreciated with any nominal payment of dues and even in some cases for as little as one dollar.
What purposes do tax deductible donations to MERCL (CIPAC’s educational arm and tax exempt organization) serve?
This reflects the other side of the coin. Many wish to contribute to MERCL when they make contributions in addition to their basic CIPAC membership dues, because with MERCL, unlike CIPAC, they receive a tax deduction to the extent permitted by the IRS and states for contribution to 501(c)(3) tax deductible educational and charitable organizations. Therefore through MERCL we have the potential to build up a war chest for research, studies, travel to Israel, assistance to vital projects in Israel and much more. As MERCL expands to meet the goals in its growth strategy, it will require not just tax deductible donations from individuals, but also funding from foundations, corporations, and even grants and contracts with the federal government or other organizations
Many issues compete for the attention of congregants in American churches. We hear a great deal about abortion and the right to life, prayer in schools and other aspects of public life, righteousness in government, and the need for government not to supplant private charity including religious charities. Christians like other Americans tend to be interested in the bread and butter issues that affect them every day. You only need to listen to the news to see that is what most of the public media cover. However we are bringing the message of CIPAC to every state in the Union, a progress march across the country that began in Alaska; so that we are going to cover every one of the fifty states and before long every one of the 435 congressional districts. We also are using both traditional media, and the new social media to bring the message of Israel and CIPAC’s unique work for Israel to all Americans. Our outreach to churches and synagogues called Congregations for Zion is being expanded and upgraded to reach more congregations. We plan, very soon, to upgrade that activity by recognizing and honoring more and more of our American churches as Congregations for Zion. In each case CIPAC asks the congregation leaders to take our periodic messages of support for Israel to their congregants, and also help CIPAC chapters in each locality to announce the meetings and to call for the participation of all friends and supporters of Israel.
This question, which we often hear, reflects a misunderstanding of Israel’s role. While Israel is vital to Jewish Americans and Jews around the world, it is not exclusively a Jewish concern. Israel and the Jewish people are very important to American and other Christians because our faith is grounded in the Jewish scriptures, practices and indeed in the whole culture, geography, agriculture, even the annual weather patterns of Israel. Therefore Israel is not solely a Jewish concern.
Having said that, American Jews have attempted, in various ways, to be very supportive of Israel. AIPAC founded sixty years ago, became a strong American lobby for the military support and resupply of Israel when it was attacked by all the neighboring states during its early years of modern existence. However, in recent years it has become clear that only CIPAC has a biblical or spiritual underpinning to the work that we do. Therefore Jerusalem, for example, is much more central to CIPAC’s consciousness than to that of any other organization, most of which are secular. Regardless CIPAC attempts to enlist like-minded Jewish Americans in the activities and lobby campaigns we are undertaking. Most notably, we have made common cause with Americans for a Safe Israel (ASFI) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). While these are secular 501(c) (3) organizations, not registered lobbies, they support a number of the issues that CIPAC advocates.
This is not an either/or question. CIPAC’s cause in fact benefits the American economy, as well as serving other issues with which we are concerned. When we bless Israel, that is fully support and advance Israel’s cause, a big part of that blessing relates to the health of the American economy. In fact, even on a natural or physical basis we can see from a number of materials that have been written or presented in the media that Israel is of great advantage to the American economy. To illustrate; one recent book, Start Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, makes clear that Israel’s economy, despite the small size of the nation, roughly like that of the state of New Jersey, and the small population, only slightly more than six million Jews, plus one million Arab and other Israeli citizens, is disproportionately significant in the world economy. For example, Israeli firms are second in number only to those of America in stock listing on the NASDAQ Exchange, which covers the high-tech firms. Israel has been immensely important to the development of the cell phone, the personal computer, high-tech agriculture, water conservation and use, medical advances and in many other realms. Israelis, like the Jewish people more generally, have won vastly disproportionate percentages of Nobel Prizes for economics and the sciences. Thus our support for the survival, success and security of Israel helps sustain the homeland of the Jewish people, which is extremely vital to the American economy, probably in more ways than even we can fully see today
The Bible says all Nations will eventually turn on Israel so why should I attempt to change what has already been prophesied?
The Bible says all Nations will eventually turn on Israel so why should I attempt to change what has already been prophesied? Why should we want to delay the inevitable prophesied coming against Israel by all nations?
First and foremost because primarily the majority of Christians would, if they were honest, would feel that they have not done all that they were placed on this earth to do. And if the whole world is about to blow up, we won’t get anything done. It would also bring about an opportunity for a generation to take its place in history like no other generation has ever done. It would also allow a period of time for great harvest because while you are engaged in war and terrorism and things are shut down it’s very difficult to go about the business of preaching the gospel. This would give us some time for ourselves and for our children and for our nation to recoup what has been lost in recent times. Yes, we must pray, but if we think we are only going to pray, but we are not going to march in the halls of Congress to have our official voice be heard on legislative matters that maintain our freedom, and the safety of Israel, we are mistaken.
This is an interesting, shall we say, trick question that often arises, but the answer is clear and simple. Yes, the Bible is clear that all the nations will come against Jerusalem and in the Quartet dictating an end to the growth of Jewish communities in much of biblical Israel and Jerusalem, we already see this unfolding. Nonetheless, we believe that, as was said in another context in scripture, these things must come, but woe to them by whom they come. We therefore believe that there is merit and benefit in delaying that day when the United States fully commits to attacking or opposing Israel as most of the other nations already appear to be doing or poised to do. In fact CIPAC’s unique role in lobbying the Congress and especially the House of Representatives is as a blocking force, a delaying force, to protect Israel and prevent the erosion of support for Israel in the Congress especially now when the State Department is pressuring Israel to make suicidal concessions to her enemy.
That is an honest admission that many American Christians and others would make. This is where I personally was when I went to Israel more than thirty years ago, to serve as a consultant, helping Israel with environmental laws and policies. Nonetheless today it is easier than ever to learn about Israel, become knowledgeable, to make decisions and to take action which can help Israel in real and practical ways. First and foremost you can go to our web sites: www.cipaconline.org and www.mercl.org. There and at related sites to which we are linked, you literally can get an almost overwhelming abundance of data, knowledge and understanding about Israel, the Middle East and how America and other nations relate to Israel.
The important thing, however, is not just to become educated in an academic or intellectual sense, but to derive information which supports and undergirds, what I’m sure is your basic heart-felt belief: that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people through eternal promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph and Moses. You can therefore with confidence and assurance, answer the questions that arise from detractors, enemies and opponents of Israel and the Jewish people, including the continuing plague of anti-Semitism, which never seems to abate. You also can rest assured when you go to our Legislative Action Center at www.cipaconline.org, take your actions to urge your representative and senators to take actions on pending legislation, you will fully bless Israel and comfort her people.
Yes, indeed! The Constitution, in the First Amendment of what we call the Bill of Rights, affirms not just our rights to freedom of press, assembly and religion, but the freedom to petition our government. You as an American citizen have a constitutional right to go to your representatives, your senators, to the President and to his appointees, such as the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and other officials, to urge action based on what you know is good for America. While they are not compelled to take your advice, in our democratic system, if they disregard your counsel they do it at their own peril and may even be voted out of office.
Go to Capitol Hill and lobby! The doors are open! You can make appointments, telephone, email, fax or otherwise contact your member’s offices, either in your home district or home state or in Washington, D.C. Make an appointment and come here to Washington, D.C. to lobby, to make your case for Israel! Be an advocate for Israel and the Jewish people!
It is more needful than ever before. In this you are like Oskar Schindler, in the movie Schindler’s List. Although not Jewish, he stood up for the Jewish people and rescued, literally bought, all that he could to keep them from perishing in Hitler’s death camps of the Holocaust. We also must be like Peter Bergson, who came to America and pleaded with President Roosevelt, his Cabinet and the Congress to see what was happening in the Holocaust in Europe; to see what America could do to prevent the worst ravishes of the slaughter that eventually consumed six million Jews. You even may be called to act like Simon Wiesenthal, whose life work included the indictement and arrest for war criminals who had helped kill six million Jews in the Holocaust.
Once again today Israel faces a holocaust, a threat to her existence, which is more clearly stated by such leaders of Iran as President Ahmadinejad, even then what Hitler threatened in the 1930’s and accomplished in the 1940’s. Iran’s leaders are developing nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them to carry out their genocidal threats to eliminate Israel.
In light of these compelling facts we not only can but must go to Capitol Hill and lobby, the Congress, White House and the State Department. In the meantime you can take action, right this moment, go to www.cipaconline.org, click legislative alerts and send your email letters to your Senators and Representatives to urge Action!
There was an area in the Bible called Philistia, which ran along the coast of Israel. In biblical times it was the territory where the Philistines lived, but no Arabs today are descendents of the Philistines. The first time “Palestine” was used was in the days of the Roman Empire, when Rome sought to annihilate the Jews and to eliminate Israel and Jerusalem from the map. They changed the name of Israel to Palestina. Then around the turn of the 20th century the term emerged again and was used to describe the colonial mandate Britain received from the League of Nations to develop a homeland for the Jewish people. The Arabs, however, thought of the region as an extension of greater Syria. Only since the PLO was created in Egypt in the mid 60’s has the name Palestine been used for an Arab homeland.
First, there never was a Palestinian state. The Jews have never left Israel. There has always been a Jewish presence there. And for 100 years up until recent years no Arab ever thought to have any Palestinian state (until 1964). The Bible tells us the geographic borders of Israel, e.g. in Joshua 1:3-5; “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. Thee shall not any many be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” The Bible also tells us the land God allotted to the Arabs, which is Mount Seir in Jordan and no one else can have one square inch of their land. God gave the Arabs a territory also, e.g. Deuteronomy 2:4, 5 “And command now the people saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and they shall be afraid of you; take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them, for I will not give you their land, no not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.”
Palestinian Arabs have received more funding by a factor of more than six times as much as the Europeans received per capita in the Marshall Plan and yet there is little or no evidence of economic development in the Palestinian Arab region. Despite this there is virtually no hunger, no homelessness, and no lack of free public education, and free medical care for the Palestinian Arab population. Sadly we cannot say that about many areas of America. And yet constantly the cry goes out that we must give more aid to the Palestinian Arabs. Something is wrong here.
First, there is still a great deal of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in the Palestinian Authority; which is basically run by the Fatah Party of the PLO. Not to mention the corruption and waste and brutality of Hamas that rules the Palestinian Arab population of Gaza. We are putting money into a bag with a hole in it, like putting coins into a sock with a hole in it, so that it runs out and little or no economic development takes place.
Frankly, this U.S. foreign aid is an ill-disguised bribe to keep the Palestinian Arab leaders at the bargaining table in the hope of creating some kind of agreement or accommodation with Israel. The worst aspects of this are the U.S. aid that goes to fund the Palestinian security forces sadly are arming and training tomorrow’s terrorists, and the money that goes to the UNRWA refugee camps, where we are funding schools in which children are taught to hate, terrorize and wage war against Israel, the Jewish people, America and the West. This must stop! And I believe that as the American public comes to understand what’s happening, it will stop.
Today when we are so concerned about waste, fraud, abuse, overspending and the great increase in the United States debt from domestic programs, how much more should we be opposed to throwing money down rat holes overseas? Instead of such spending, foreign aid should go to help the poor or those afflicted by natural disasters, situations in which Americans are generous and wish to help. Instead it is just going to bribe the corrupt PLO leadership to keep them talking instead of shooting. This must stop!
Some time after the takeover of Gaza by the Hamas terrorists in 2007 we stopped funding the rebuilding of Gaza. Now, however, the United States is fostering the inflow of goods, material and funds to Gaza under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, another name for the PLO, to build up its “goodwill”, vis a vis Hamas, which we have designated as a terrorist organization. This is not going to succeed. It won’t work for America to prop up the Palestinian Authority because then Hamas and other radical Islamists in Gaza and the other areas say that the PA is just a front for America and Israel. It really is counterproductive. Gaza, it also should be noted, is not among the poorest areas in the world as we often hear or read in the media. There are a lot of developments, new buildings and even modern shopping malls. There is no pervasive hunger, in fact there is no famine, no systemic disease and no homelessness, no one who is not clothed, or who doesn’t have a means of transportation. There is free public education right through college and university and free public health care. I think that the public perception, in most of the world, fostered by Arab and Moslem propaganda and the left-wing press, is an unfair exaggeration of the problems of poverty and crowding in Gaza.
How can the U.S. tell Israelis not to defend themselves against Iran or its Hezbollah, Hamas and their agents? Don’t they have their own nation?
This is a dilemma that Israel faces. Although Israel is a sovereign, independent nation, some in the United States feel they have a right to tell Israel what to do and when to do it, subsequent to the foreign aid we provide Israel.
For example, the President tacitly warns Israel not to defend itself against Iran’s genocidal leaders. I believe it will increasingly take Israel’s assertiveness in standing up to America and saying, we are a sovereign independent nation and we must do what is necessary to defend ourselves if America, NATO, and the free nations of the world do not, for example, disarm Iran’s genocidal leaders.
We strongly support the right of Israel to defend herself, for example, in supporting New York Rep. Steve King’s H. Res. 500, asserting this vital right of every sovereign nation for Israel.
Your representative or senator will take notice of what you say if you send your email or fax or make your telephone call and get two or three, hopefully even ten others from your congressional district to do so. They have to take this into account and they have to give you an answer, whether it is totally satisfactory or not, in writing or orally over the phone, through the urging, the petition that you bring to their attention. This is extremely important. Experts in lobbying, advocacy, public efforts to affect our government and our nation’s policies say that if an organization, has even a handful, three, five, ten souls in each of the 435 congressional districts, they have immense opportunity, almost a surety, that they can change the nation’s policies in specific ways and thereby benefit the nation or in this case, the United States and Israel and the Jewish people. So it is extremely important that you make your telephone calls, and send your emails from our website, www.cipaconline.org which lends weight to all the emails coming from CIPAC to your representatives and senators. Also get your friends and neighbors to do so.
It’s very simple and you are more than able to do it. You can invite your neighbors in for coffee just as you would do with any issue about which you are concerned, whether it is some development or nuisance in your neighborhood or something related to your school district for your children or something that otherwise concerns you as a citizen. Our National Outreach Coordinator, Rev. Lisa Ives, or another one of our leaders can provide you with a simple, easily understood kit of materials that help you to organize, and mobilize your district to have a chapter. So if there is not a CIPAC chapter in your district today, perhaps the Lord is calling you to form that chapter simply by calling a few of your neighbors and friends together for coffee. Then in the natural way such things go, you can help the chapter grow, develop and become a viable entity that your United States representative and your two senators must listen to.
Clearly, most of us are Bible-believing Christians regardless of what church we may attend. Others are Jews, some from other religions and some not particularly religious at all. One of the most important things to understand is that the survival of Israel and the Jewish people is the focus of CIPAC. This is important not just for biblical reasons, although that is key to those of us that are believers, but also because Israel is a true friend and ally of the United States and the only vibrant democracy functioning in the Middle East. Israel is in fact one of our best friends and allies in the entire world. Israel had been with America, both in terms of providing support in wars and conflicts, even in the two wars in Iraq. Also during the Cold War Israel tested our weapons against the Soviet-supplied weapons that their Arab opponents were using. Israel benefits America in more ways than we can describe in a few words. The survival of Israel is as the longshoreman philosopher, Eric Hoffer said more than fifty years ago, “As it goes with Israel so it will go with all of us.” In other words if this small free independent bastion of democracy and liberty in the Middle East could survive, then there was hope for America and other western nations. That gives you some of the reasons why CIPAC is important even if you aren’t religious.
A grassroots movement is one that is not started from the top down in Washington, but instead grows up spontaneously from American citizens like yourself in each district in the United States who want to see policy change in Washington. This is the same kind of dynamic that we see evident in the Tea Party Movement and other essentially grassroots movements that are springing forth here and changing the American political landscape.
Your recent petition says you want to arrest the President of Iran for genocide, but who would arrest him?
Under the International Convention on the prevention and prosecution of genocide, to which most of the nations of the world have subscribed, the President of Iran and other Iranian leaders clearly are guilty of incitement to genocide. Under the Theory of Universal Jurisdiction, which is observed in many parts of the world, any national court that has as a part of its jurisdiction the protection of human rights could theoretically arrest President Ahmadinejad or other Iranian leaders who are threating genocide when they come to that nation or travel through that nation. More realistically it would be the International Court of Justice at The Hague or the International Criminal Court, both of which are adjuncts of the United Nations. These entities could issue papers for his arrest, just as in the arrests of the perpetrators of genocide in the Balkans and Africa
Sadly the United Nations is dominated numerically in the General Assembly by the less developed and Third World nations that are in the majority. These nations are beholden to the Arab and Moslem forces that have most of the oil and much of the money in the world. In the Security Council, China and even Russia aren’t inherently democratic, liberty-sponsoring nations. France and Britain have their own concerns as past colonial powers that today see themselves as globalists. The U.S. State Department, sadly, often seems to be more concerned about what other nations think than about what American citizens and voters believe. The United Nations has always been more favorable to the Arab and Moslem cause, for these and other reasons, than it has been to the survival and well-being of Israel. This is particularly ironic because the United Nations came into existence in great part to prevent the recurrence of the Holocaust, which was extremely fresh and current in the mind of everyone at the time in 1947 and 1948. Nonetheless, the U.N. seems to be standing by today while another holocaust is threatened by Iran, more explicitly and with the development of weapons that are more likely to be able to fully eliminate Jewish Israel than Hitler’s weapons.
CIPAC has had a number of significant accomplishments over the last twenty years. Notably we have been in the forefront of advocating the full rights of Israel in American policy, for example, the placement of our United States Embassy in Jerusalem, where it belongs, the capital of Israel, not in Tel Aviv. We sponsored the development of the 1995 Jerusalem Act and are continuing action today to see that the intent of the law is accomplished, with no more six month extensions of the movement of the embassy.
We also were instrumental in the passage of the Syria Accountability Act in 2003 that has helped to bring Syria to account regarding its illegal influence upon Lebanon, which Syria virtually occupies through its military and security forces, its sponsorship of Hezbollah and other terrorist elements in the land, and its continuing threats to Israel.
CIPAC also resolutely opposed the elimination of the permanent ban on the PLO’s having a diplomatic presence in the United States and receiving U.S. aid and other help from the United States. This means that the President has to certify, every six months, that any actions of this type that favor the PLO are done for the U.S. national security interest. This is not a perfect result, but at least we have kept some of the bars on and are working to increase the pressure on the PLO, for they have shown no real peaceful intent to live with and stop attacking Israel.
CIPAC was in the forefront of development of the most notable piece of legislation to date regarding the genocidal intent of Iran’s leaders. H. Con. Res. 21 in the last Congress passed the House 411 – 2, stated explicitly that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad was threatening genocide against Israel and developing nuclear weapons to effectuate that, to eliminate Israel, Iran therefore was in violation of the Genocide Convention, and the Security Council should take the matter to the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court and prosecute him for it.
These are only a few of the achievements of CIPAC over the last twenty years. We also have opposed the continuation of the full measure of aid to Egypt and other nations that are not carrying out their obligations of peace respect the rights of their citizens, including Christians and Jews.
As a minister, I’m afraid of mixing politics with my 501(c)(3). How can I let my voice be heard and influence my congregation without jeopardizing my ministry?
This is a fear that we often hear expressed. We know that it may exist even when a minister does not say it explicitly. This is an unfounded fear as long as you as a minister do not endorse a candidate for office from the pulpit or oppose a candidate in that way. In other words you as the leader of your flock are not supposed to be campaigning politically. That is a red line you shouldn’t cross. Beyond that when you say you are mixing politics with the pulpit you may be speaking of what we call lobbying. Lobbying or advocacy for legislation means explicitly saying to your representative or your senators, vote for this bill or don’t vote for that bill. That is lobbying. Anything short of that is not lobbying. Even explicit lobbying, such as I have described, in other words advocating the passage of one bill or opposing action on another, can be done by your congregation as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity, so long as it doesn’t use a substantial part of your budget. You only must be careful not to do more of this than is allowed under IRS regulations. These set a sliding scale for what percentage of funds you may spend on such activities. For a small organization, for example, it might be that no more than twenty percent of your funds could be spent advocating for or against legislation, i.e. lobbying. As you can readily see this is a high threshold and you would not normally be spending twenty percent of the funds of your congregation in advocating for, say, a bill to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or opposing a bill that would provide for some action opposed to Israel. You certainly can urge your congregants to become involved with pro-Israel organizations like CIPAC and MERCL without doing anything to jeopardize your tax-exempt status. If you have any questions on this line I encourage you to consult your legal counsel or your CPA or other tax advisor.
I’ve heard the Islamic Lobby is the largest lobby registered in the U.S. How did this happen? And how is it affecting the U.S.?
The so called Islamic Lobby, which really is a mixed conglomerate of a number of organizations that basically advance the cause of the Arab and Moslem nations and people, is in fact very large and very powerful. It is funded by Middle Eastern oil, basically the funds we provide when we use energy in the United States that is produced in the Middle East by nations that still oppose Israel and are at war with Israel to this day. In addition, such U.S. corporate interests, as energy companies, or manufacturers of arms and purveyors of other equipment and services, want favor in the Arab and Moslem world to sell their products. Therefore they lobby for the enemies of Israel and against Israel. Also, some mistakenly believe that if United States stops what they see as excessive support for Israel the Arab and Moslem nations will do more to stop the terrorist forces that have come against America, for example, in the 9/11 attacks, the destroyer Cole bombing and the Embassy bombings in Africa. This is a vain hope. We have seen respect for America among the Arab and Moslem people not increase, but decrease as we continue to seek to curry favor with them under the current U.S. Administration and water down our support of Israel. What is respected in the Middle East is strength and support of friends, not weakness or feigned respect or affection.
Begin by joining your voice with CIPAC’s by becoming a member of the lobby with a donation of $10. Then exercise your democratic right to petition your senators and representatives on the issues CIPAC is addressing. Send your emails through CIPAC’s website; www.cipaconline.org. Call your representatives and senators, tell them you are a member of CIPAC and let them know what we are asking for. Next become a part of a local CIPAC Chapter in your district or start a Chapter yourself in your state. Contact CIPAC we will help you mobilize your area. CIPAC will train you, and stand by your side as you exercise your official voice in our nation. Finally, continue to allow yourself to be educated and informed on the issues so that you can exercise your constitutional right to petition your government in an intelligent manner.