CUFI confab pushes halt to U.S. funding for Palestinians

WASHINGTON (JTA) — More than 4,000 activists attending the annual Washington conference of Christians United for Israel cheered calls to stop funding for the Palestinians.

Pastor John Hagee, who founded the movement, said at its “Night to Honor Israel” on Tuesday night that the United States should “shut off the foreign aid to the Palestinians until they publicly recognize the right of Israel to exist, the right to defend themselves against all of their enemies and the right to secure borders.”

To more cheers, Hagee also called for “red lines” to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The messages echoed in legislation that activists lobbied for in congressional offices on Wednesday, including bills that would tighten Iran sanctions and enhance the U.S.-Israel relationship.

A new emphasis for the group, which describes itself as the biggest pro-Israel group in the United States, was on protecting religious minorities.

Activists backed legislation calling for a special envoy on religious minorities in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Speakers at the conference included radio and web personality Glenn Beck; Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the leader of the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas); and Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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