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July 28, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 28, 2017 PAGE 3A Kasirn Hafeez/CUFI Pastor John Hagee, left, founder of Christians United for Israel, shaking hands with Vice President Mike Pence at CUFrs annual conference, July 17, 2017. By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Barack Obama is gone and the relief among the Christian Zionists and their Jewish friends who peopled certain corners of Washington, D.C., this week was palpable. Gary Bauer, the veteran evangelical activist, laid it out at the opening session of Christians United for Is- rael's annual conference on Monday. A year ago, "from one end of PennsylvaniaAvenue to the next, we had people who were not blessing Israel, they were cursing Israel," said Bauer, who was recently named di-- rector of CUFI's Washington office. Now, Bauer said to ap- plause, Pastor John Hagee, CUFI's founder, was able to attendWhite House meetings. "J Street and their support- ers like George Soros are out and CUFI and Pastor Hagee are in!" he said. The audience let out a cheer, relishing the scathing references to the liberal Jew- ish Middle East lobby and the billionaire funder of liberal causes, including J Street. Some 5,000 activists from across the country attended the 12th conference of the Christian Zionist group, which has over 3.5 million members. Members gathered to hear from top Jewish, Israeli and political leaders; lobby for legislation, including a measure that expands anti- boycott laws and another that cuts nearly all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it curtails incitement, and celebrate the new political climate in Washington. Missing from the proceed- ings, though, was a full- throated endorsement, at least from the leadership, of the change agent: President Donald Trump. On a panel Monday, Ha- gee voiced concerns about Trump's commitment to the conservative group's top priority, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. "Moving to Jerusalem would prove that our presi- dent stands by his word," Hagee said. Allen West, a former Re- publican congressman who is immensely popular in the conservative pro-Israel com- munity, was blunt speaking on the same panel. "If you have spoken about this and don't follow through, then it's a matter of credibil- ity," he said. To be sure, the CUFI repre- sentatives were clear that they preferred Trump to Obama and specified why: Trump opposed the Iran nuclear deal that Obama negotiated, trading sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran's nuclear program (although Trump has yet to withdraw from it). Trump is friendlier with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu, and this was noted by speakers including Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of MajorAmerican Jewish Organizations. Hoen- lein spoke on the panel with Hagee and West. "The U.S.-Israel relation- ship is stronger than it was last year, more vibrant, more committed," the Jewish leader said. Speakers mentioned Pence as soon as they mentioned Trump, reassuring them- selves that they had at least one true friend in the White House. "I believe God Almighty has strategically placed Vice President Mike Pence at the side of President Trump," said Erick Stakelbeck, who hosts a CUFI-affiliated TV show. In describing a visit to the Oval Office earlier this year by the CUFI leadership, Stakelbeck barely touched on Trump, instead lavishing praise on Pence, a Catholic turned evangelical Christian who became one of the coun- try's most socially conserva- tive legislators and governors. "There was no teleprompt- er," Stakelbeck said of Pence. "I can tell you he spoke from the heart." Pence, the star speaker of the conference, was not subtle in drawing the contrast with the Obama administration. "In President Trump, Amer- ica once again has a leader who will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies," he said in his speech Monday. "And this president calls our enemies by their name." Pro-Israel groups to the left of CUFI would contest many of the assumptions underpinning the conference. They would note that Obama substantially increased secu- Christians on page 14A The Sam Norich By Rafael Medoff Is a "mobilized faction" in the American Jewish commu nity attempting to "censor" dovish views? The president of The Forward newspaper thinks so, but other editors and leaders of some left-of- center Jewish organizations see things differently. The dispute arises from the July 12 episode of the Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) television series "L'Chayim," which featured a panel discus- sion on freedom of speech in the Jewish community. At the center of the discus- sion was The Forward's deci- sion to publish a full-page ad in its June 2 edition from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), support- ing imprisoned Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti. At the time, The Forward's publisher, Rachel Fishman Feddersen, said she decided to run the ad because "mass Vice President Mike Pence ( President Mike Pence said Monday that relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is only a matter of time. "I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when," Pence told the 12th annual media itself is on the firing line, and freedom of expres- sion is under pressure from our own government." In the July 12 television seg- ment, however, The Forward's president, Samuel Norich, of- fered a different explanation. He said freedom of speech is "endangered" because "there is a mobilized faction in the Jewish community that is seeking to censor." Asked by to identify the individuals or organiza- tions to whom he was refer- ring, Norich responded, "I have no further comment." Editors deny censorship "I don't feel pressured or censored," Rob Golub, editor of the Wisconsin Jew- ish Chronicle, told JNS. org. "I don't think any al- leged restriction of points Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, D.C. Pence said he and Trump "stand without apology for Israel today," and touted the president's trip to Israel in May. "Standing in Jerusalem, in that ancient and holy city, our president declared for all the world to hear that under his leadership, the United States of America 'will always stand with Israel,'" said Pence. Trump signedawaiverJune I to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, avoiding a move to Jerusalem for an additional six months. Since Congress passed legislation in 1995 au- thorizing the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem, every sitting president has signed successive six-month waiv- ers delaying the move, citing national security concerns. of view can even be much of a meaningful problem in the media today. There's all the opinion you could ever want on Twitter. Nobody is sitting around thinking to themselves, 'Darn, I only wish in 2017 1 could get access to more opinions.'" "Is [Norich] suggesting there is a group who have for- mally joined forces to silence the Jewish press?" asked Ju- die Jacobson, editor-in-chief of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger. "If so, he needs to 'out' that group. Name them. Shame them... It is incumbent upon him to be more specific." Hillel Goldberg, execu- tive editor of Colorado's Intermountain Jewish News; Mordecai Specktor, publisher and editor of Minnesota's American Jewish World; and David Ben-Hooren, publisher of New York's The Jewish Voice, all likewise told that no factions in the Jewish community have attempted to censor their newspapers. "This idea that there is some force trying to censor the Jewish media or com- munity is all in the minds of The Forward's editors," Ben- Hooren said. "It's not reality." Some left-of-center Jewish organizations likewise report no efforts to silence them. Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, said there have been no attempts to prevent officials of his or- ganization from publishing articles or speaking in public forums, nor any pressure on newspapers to reject the group's advertisements. He said there have been instances in which editors turned down APN's op-eds because they were deemed "too sensitive" or "too controversial," although many other newspapers have published them. Controversy over boycot- ting Israelis Partners for Progressive Israel, the U.S. affiliate of - su~ of~ m~n$~ ~ousd~h~ wined. W~ is ii ~,ilh the ~rrogar~e of~h~ ~,~'~ ~ad~e ol~lx'~