Unity Can Overcome Hate

Unity Can Overcome Hate

Voice  |  December 9, 2019  |  By Shari Dollinger Executive Director, Christians United for Israel
Seven words that changed a community and the future of Jewish-Christian relations… “What if this man is a friend?”

The cornerstone of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is unity through shared experiences. Since our inception 13 years ago, we have built unity not just amongst Christians and the State of Israel, but also among Christians and Jews (both at home and abroad). CUFI holds on average 50 events across the country every month. These events are done in partnership with the local Jewish community and bring Christians and Jews together, resulting in deep and lasting relationships.

These thousands of shared experiences all stem from one event in 1981, when CUFI’s Founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee brought together the Christian and Jewish communities in San Antonio.

Pastor Hagee was irate when Israel received international condemnation, rather than praise, for destroying Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. But instead of shouting at the TV and moving on, Pastor Hagee channeled his energy into holding a Night to Honor Israel for protecting western civilization. Pastor Hagee approached the Jewish Federation in San Antonio with his plan. The Federation was understandably paralyzed with indecision. After countless meetings, Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg said, “We know how to treat our enemies, but what if this man is a friend?’

Seven words that changed a community and the future of Jewish-Christian relations… “What if this man is a friend?”

Almost 40 years later, Rabbi Scheinberg and Pastor Hagee remain the closest of friends. When Rabbi Scheinberg’s synagogue was vandalized a few years ago, Pastor Hagee was the first to provide comfort and support; they serve as a model for rabbis and pastors across the country. These relationships bring communities together and open up opportunities for critical stories to be told and new relationships to be built. And at CUFI, we believe that this new era of Jewish-Christian relations comes not a moment too soon.

For CUFI, the story of Esther has particular resonance. We look at the world and see Jews targeted in Germany, Pittsburgh and Poway. We see the Jewish State targeted by radicals and an international cadre of diplomatic anti-Semites. And we believe that the relationships that we’ve built in our communities and the impact our united voice can have, exists “for such a time as this.”

At CUFI, we understand that we cannot be indifferent to the global rise in anti-Semitism. We won’t be indifferent to hate speech on campus. We are not indifferent to swastikas on synagogues. And we will never be indifferent to our fellow Americans being attacked in the streets of our great country because they are Jewish.

Anti-Semitism cannot be solved in one sentence, nor in five volumes, let alone 500 words. But we can build upon the cornerstone already laid by broadening our relationships with people of different faiths, backgrounds and even political ideologies.

We understand that no one group can win this battle alone. We must be unified. As Pastor Hagee noted, “Anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish problem, it’s everyone’s problem. And it is not just the world’s oldest hatred, it is sin, and Bible-believing Christians must respond accordingly.”

Through the relationships we’ve built, Jews and Christians can present a united front against the scourge of anti-Semitism, and respond accordingly.