the protesters hold up a banner in front of the speaker. banner says "Hagee: 'Hitler was sent by God'" and "Bibi: 'CUFI is our greatest ally.'"
IfNotNow activists Binya Koatz (right) and Adam Hirsch unfurl a banner in front of speaker Victor Styrsky at a CUFI event in Stockton, June 2017. (Courtesy/IfNotNow)

Jewish protesters disrupt Christians United for Israel

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The Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow disrupted a Christians United for Israel event at a Stockton church on June 4.

When the final speaker was introduced at the Jerusalem Jubilee event, eight IfNotNow members maneuvered to the front of the stage and unfurled banners with messages condemning CUFI’s mission.

Christians United for Israel is a conservative, pro-Israel organization with more than 3 million members across the country.

“No one should fear being shouted down, bullied and harassed inside their house of worship, be it a synagogue, church or mosque,” said Pastor Dumisani Washington, CUFI’s diversity outreach coordinator. “CUFI’s event was a gathering of a highly diverse group of Israel’s supporters, including friends from the Hispanic, Asian and African American communities. I and my church members are having a hard time distinguishing between this harassment and the appalling racist harassment we have suffered previously in our lives.  We who seek to protect civil society must be careful not to let differences of opinion grow into this kind of ugly intimidation.”

To counter the protest, the closing speaker, CUFI Eastern regional coordinator Victor Styrsky, sang “Am Yisrael Chai” into the mic in an attempt to drown out the IfNotNow members before security personnel removed them from the premises.

Slogans on the banners included “Jewish Community: Stop Complicity in CUFI’s Hate” and “Young Jews Reject CUFI’s Anti-Semitism.” The action was a part of IfNotNow’s weeklong campaign to protest 50 years of Israeli presence in the Palestinian territories.

max cherney
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a former J. staff writer.