Welcome back to Washington. We hope you enjoyed your time with your families, and we’re grateful to those of you who returned a little earlier than expected to ensure the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act became law. With the 117th Congress now sworn in, feel free to forward The Update to your new colleagues so they too can hear from the Washington arm of the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization.
merican-Turkish relations have been in a steady decline for the better part of the last decade in large part because Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have found new and creative ways to undercut the relationship. Without a major change in Turkish behavior, the relationship will only get rockier.
As the year winds down, we have taken stock of what we’ve accomplished and what we are focusing on in the year to come. It’s beyond cliché to say that 2020 has been a year replete with challenges, but for Israel and for the Action Fund, the news wasn’t all bad. With the help of America’s leadership, the Israelis have normalized relations with no less than five countries in recent months, with Morocco and Bhutan joining the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, just last week. And for the Action Fund, we’ve seen a host of our top priorities move forward.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We expect the Senate to take up the bill shortly. This legislation contains several provisions of significance to the US-Israel relationship and we strongly support it being signed into law once Congress sends it to the President’s desk.
Over the past week, for better or worse, a lot people’s true colors concerning Israel and the Middle East have been exposed. To her credit, we saw a former US Ambassador to the UN seek to highlight a vital issue President Trump can resolve with the stroke of a pen; to their shame we are seeing members of the Department of Defense continue to ignore a key Congressional mandate; and to our dismay we saw conspiracy theories inundate the discussion about the assassination of a top Iranian general.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, you’ll no doubt be receiving a host of emails letting you know what the groups and organizations in your world are thankful for. And frankly, we’re no different. We talked about it around the office, and cliché as it might be, we’re thankful for you. We are a small group of dedicated professionals who have been blessed with the opportunity to spend every day working on the issue most dear to our hearts. At our core, we are activists, and because of your support, we don’t have to shout from the street hoping leaders will hear us – we are in the room, where the leaders listen. And that is because of you.
It’s hard to believe that Election Day was just two weeks ago. But we’ve learned a lot since then, and with two Senate runoffs in Georgia, the 2020 election is not over yet. We are not a political organization – we choose to be focused on policy, and a single-issue at that. But who runs our country matters, and we believe that the American people have made clear for decades that we want sensible leaders, not fringe activists, to represent us.
At the CUFI Action Fund, our policy positions do not change regardless of who is in power. If an elected official stands with Israel, we will work with them regardless of party. Likewise, if they if they oppose our policy positions, we will stand up to them. And when the last vote is counted, we will remain committed to ensuring the voice of Christian Zionism is heard in our nation’s capital.
This past Sunday, Cornerstone Church in San Antonio held their 40th annual Night to Honor Israel.Cornerstone is the home church of CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee. Four decades ago, when Jews and Christians came together in solidarity for the first Night to Honor Israel, history was made. Over the years, Cornerstone has distributed more than $100 million to Israeli and Jewish charities. And as a direct result of this event, CUFI was founded in 2006. This year, history was made yet again.
Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you’ve been Facebook NATO official for a while. But when your partner’s been consistently disloyal, bullies your friends and is now publicly stepping out with your longtime nemesis, it’s time to move on. He’s just not that into you. Likewise, Turkey’s bully-in-chief, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a smooth talker, and multiple US policy makers have been seduced by his silver tongue. But it’s time to say buh-bye.