One of the nation’s leading pro-Israel groups has launched a massive media campaign, buying ads in major newspapers and beginning a letter campaign to stop Secretary of State John Kerry from allying with Hamas over Israel in the ongoing Middle East conflict.
Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a nearly two million member strong movement, has bought full page ads in the New York Times and other top publications calling on the White House to "stand with Israel" and not "hand Hamas a victory," according to both the ad and letter to Kerry.
The substantial media buy comes as the Obama administration is facing criticism in Israel and stateside for efforts to push the Jewish state into accepting a ceasefire deal that has been described as giving in to Hamas’ demands.
CUFI’s ad outlines Hamas’s efforts to "kill all Jews" and "destroy Israel." It then urges readers to go online and sign onto a sharply worded letter to Kerry, one that other top pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) would likely be reticent to pen.
"I’m deeply troubled by reports that you put the prestige of your office and our nation behind efforts to promote a cease fire proposal that specifically addressed key Hamas demands—such as the easing of the Gaza blockade—while largely ignoring Israel's security requirements," the letter states.
"To adopt these Hamas demands is to hand Hamas a victory for its violence," it continues. "To promote such demands will not end the bloodshed—it will merely encourage it."
CUFI’s letter, which is likely to garner tens of thousands of signatures, is tough on Kerry’s ceasefire plan, accusing him of empowering Hamas to "build its military capability."
"Rather than help Hamas build its military capability, we call upon you to use the power of your office to ensure that this violence is never repeated," the letter says. "The only way to achieve the peace you seek is to demilitarize the terrorists of Hamas."
CUFI urges Kerry to allow Israel to continue its military campaign and completely dismantle Hamas’ intricate terrorist infrastructure.
"Now is not the time to ease the legal and justified blockade of Gaza," the letter states. "Now is the time to destroy Hamas' terror tunnels, remove Hamas' missile stockpiles, and demilitarize Gaza."
"We cannot abide the moral confusion that exists when it comes to Israel's conflict with Hamas," said David Brog, CUFI executive director. "We Americans were united in recognizing the evil of al Qaeda. No one equated those murderers with our soldiers risking their lives to defeat them.
"Yet when it comes to Israel's effort to defeat the Palestinian equivalent of Al Qaeda—Hamas—the fools are rushing in to equate the two sides or even single out Israel for blame," Brog continued. "Our ads are designed to inject some much needed clarity into the debate. We hope that they will remind our leadership, including our secretary of state, of the true nature of Hamas."
The ad promoting the letter to Kerry is running in today’s print edition of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A similar version of the ad will run Friday in USA Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Denver Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
CUFI also has purchased online ads on Fox News, the Christian Post, and other news sites, according to sources in the organization.
CUFI declined to reveal the total cost of its campaign. A full-page ad in the Times can cost upwards of $100,000, while one in the WSJ can cost around $150,000.
CUFI, which has taken increasingly bold pro-Israel stances in recent months, appears to be flexing its political muscle as the 2016 elections get closer.
"Apparently CUFI pulled this together in literally a couple of days," one veteran D.C. political operative familiar with the group told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's a shot across the bow aimed squarely at election year candidates."
"If they can turn around a national campaign of this size in that time frame, politicians have to be worried about getting targeted by issue-based ads in Iowa or New Hampshire," the source said. "Given sky-high conservative and Tea Party support for Israel, it could be devastating. I'd hate to be a 2016 Republican having a bad meeting with CUFI these days."