Speaking at “The Night to Honor Israel” banquet Tuesday at the Christians United for Israel 6th National Summit in Washington, Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, compared the CUFI’s accomplishments with the phenomenon of righteous gentiles such as Major-General Orde Charles Wingate, British Army officer and creator of special Jewish military units in British mandated Palestine in the 1930s and in World War II.
Ambassador Oren said that as a devoutly religious Christian, Wingate became an ardent supporter of Zionism, seeing it as his religious duty to help the Jewish community in Palestine form an independent Jewish state.
Another comparable righteous gentile, Oren said, was the late Washington state senator, Henry “Scoop” Jackson. “As a child Senator Jackson was taught to respect Jews in the Christian home he grew up in,” he noted and credited him with sponsoring legislation aimed at freeing Jews from the former Soviet Union.
In 1974, while in the Senate, Jackson co-sponsored what has come to be known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment with Charles Vanik sponsoring it in the House. The amendment was intended to help refugees, specifically Jews, to emigrate from the former USSR. Oren recalled that Soviet prisoner of conscience Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky, currently chairman of the Jewish Agency in Israel, praised Jackson for helping free Soviet Jewry and called him a “defender of Israel; a torch bearer of faith.”
Oren’s words followed the numerous rousing ovations and thunderous applause which accompanied television personality Glenn Beck’s keynote address. Beck told the audience of over 5000 gathered that if the pernicious trends in global anti-Semitism culminate in another genocide, “then count me as a Jew, and come for me first.”
Beck opened by announcing his donation of $10,000 to the “CUFI On Campus” student organization that battles anti-Israel propaganda on hundreds of college and university campuses across America. Referencing his emotional trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, he stated his of-repeated belief that the inherent rights of the US Constitution and those delineated in the Declaration of Independence were a mandatory requirement for the prevention of evil of this magnitude from occurring. “The founding fathers had the answer 150 years before Hitler showed up,” he said, but reminded his audience that for two millennia, the Jewish people were not accorded those rights in the countries in which they resided.
Until the modern State of Israel was established in 1948, he said, the Jews “have had no home base,” adding that “this is why the nation of Israel is vital. They have been smeared. They have been maligned. But to our shame as human beings most of all, they have been forgotten in times of need.”
Speaking directly to the Jewish people he said, “No one can protect your rights better than you. To rely on others is to ensure economic slavery at best, and death camps at worse.”
Spotlighting the existential siege that the Jewish state finds herself under by the looming Iranian nuclear threat and the forces of radical Islam in the Middle East and throughout the world, Mr. Beck concluded his address by issuing stern warnings to the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people that “times have changed” and the Jews would no longer stand alone in any potential confrontation.
“This is still America 2011.We are not the Christians of the Crusades. We are Christians United For Israel,” he declared.
Reiterating Mr. Beck’s sentiments was Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United For Israel who also delivered an impassioned address. “Mr. Ahmadinejad: Do not threaten the people of Israel and the people of America,” he said. Citing those throughout history who have sought to eradicate the Jewish people, he noted, “Look at Pharaoh of Egypt and Haman of Persia in the story of Purim and you will have some idea of G-d’s punishment for you.”
Advising the President to vent his rancor at those nations that are adversarial to the United States, he said, “Go tell Iran, China and Russia what to do. Israel is not a vassal state of the United States. It is free to determine their borders and their destiny. They are free to retaliate against anyone who attacks them.”
And to former White House Correspondent Helen Thomas who achieved dubious notoriety in June of 2010 when she told an interviewer that “Jews should get the hell out of Palestine” and to “go home to Germany, Poland and the United States,” Pastor Hagee said, “Helen, the Jews are not going anywhere. They are home.”