As this year's CUFI conference approaches, everyone should be sure to watch "Rapture Ready", Max Blumenthal's "unauthorized" video journal of last year's event for Reverend John Hagee's Christians United For Israel (CUFI). This year's conference is scheduled to take place July 22.
My Congressman, Eliot Engel (D-NY) was scheduled to appear but has been criticized for lending his name to Hagee's controversial cause.
What you'll see in the 2007 video is a celebration of Armageddon theorists dancing in the aisles and praying for the end of the world, including elected members of the US Congress and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman who equates Rev. Hagee with Moses, claiming the CUFI following is "even greater then the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land".
Witness the spectacle, with interviews showing CUFI members to be racist ("We're fighting what is behind the Muslim people, which is Satan"). They also favor "taking out" Iran, and a host of wild-eyed ideas and religio-psychological theories. Also see Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum and more as Blumenthal and his camera crew are ejected from the conference without explanation.
Sadly, the 2007 video did not include coverage of Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), making his second appearance for Hagee at the summit.
Engel's third appearance is mere weeks away but there is outcry by some in his constituency who feel Rev. Hagee's mix of fiery apocalyptic religious stances ("Hitler was sent by God"), aggressive fundraising and lobbying for pre-emptive military strikes against Iran is not an appropriate message to be endorsed by the elected representative of the people in the Bronx, Westchester and Rockland County area in and around NYC.
Further muddying the waters of religion and politics is the news that the CUFI banquet will be sponsored by Zion Oil & Gas, a US-Israeli energy corporation, whose infomercial will be included in CUFI's telecast prior to an on-air interview of Zion's chairman by Hagee himself.
Congresman Engel has yet to announce his updated plans for the conference, but Lieberman is still slated to appear despite heat from the Jewish organization 'J Street' and Howard Dean's Democracy for America who ran a campaign calling for Lieberman to cancel his appearance. John McCain publicly renounced the televangelist's March 2008 endorsement this May.
Eliot Engel, a ten-term Congressman for NY's 17th District is considering his options, doubtlessly weighing his hawkish support for Israel against his duty to US taxpayers. But he should know how calculated and shifty he looks even in the best light, standing side by side with End Days revelers who truly believe Jews will all be annihilated. If Engel feels Israel should live on forever, he should not condescendingly "use" the CUFI folks for their political clout and fundraising.
This only spoltlights Engel's bloodlust for war between the US and Iran, previously opposing Democratic leaders to ensure President Bush retained the right to attack Iran without Congressional approval during the negotiations for the last war appropriation.