Sen. Lindsey Graham's attendance at the Christians United for Israel conference last week served as an endorsement for the organization and its demagogic leader, whose inflammatory remarks are counterproductive to U.S.-Middle East relations and American national security interests.
In a classic example of psychological projection against the Islamists he (rightly) despises, CUFI's National Chairman, John Hagee, made his position on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict clear on the opening night of the conference:
"Truth is not what I say it is; Truth is not what you think it is; Truth is what the Torah - the Word of God - says it is. ... The truth concerning who owns the land of Israel ... was settled thousands of years ago by God himself. The land of Israel was given by God, who owned it, by an eternal covenant to the Jewish people.
"That covenant is recorded in the Book of Genesis beginning in the 15th chapter and recorded 22 times more. The boundaries to the land are clearly given. It is clear to anyone who can read that Israel is the place that God intended for the Jewish people to live and it was to be theirs forever. ... God does not break covenant."
He continued, "Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and may it be the eternal and undivided capital with Jewish people in control of [it]. ... America should never pressure Israel to divide the capital of Jerusalem. ... Our president told [Israel] it couldn't build homes in East Jerusalem. Mr. President ... that's above your pay grade."
Sen. Graham not only endorsed CUFI with his presence at the conference but also voiced agreement with the organization's superstitious beliefs, stating during his speech,
"When you honor Israel, you honor a nation blessed by God Almighty Himself. ... Here's a word of advice to America: 'Don't ever turn your back on Israel, cause God will turn his back on us.' "
Graham concluded, "My political goal is to go to heaven and [I] work backwards [from there]. Between now and the day that comes, when I meet my maker, just as surely as everyone in this room will meet their maker, when they ask you what did you do with the time God gave you on earth, you can say, 'I sinned, I'm sorry, but when it came to Israel, I was there.' "
While Graham is right to support Israel's military operation against Hamas and call for the Palestinian Authority to break with it given its refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, he is either naive or cynical to maintain the position that "if a two-state solution is to be had, it will only happen when Israel says yes."
The failed negotiations have clearly demonstrated that the current Israeli government has no intention of compromising in a serious manner on key issues including settlements and East Jerusalem.
The United States will no doubt be left waiting indefinitely for future Israeli governments to negotiate seriously absent substantial external economic pressure. (Congress has applied this same principle to the Palestinians and to Iran.)
Whether Graham actually believes otherwise or whether his religious beliefs preclude him from supporting a viable two-state solution is unclear from his remarks.
His and other legislators' identification with CUFI's policy positions, however, will only serve to perpetuate the downward spiral of humiliation, hopelessness and radicalism among Palestinians and the broader Arab-Muslim world as well as further poison U.S.-Iran relations.
If Graham is serious about peace, he should repudiate his association with CUFI.
If not, the blood of Israelis and Palestinians alike will be on his hands, as it is on Hagee's.
Thomas Buonomo, an Air Force Academy graduate, is a former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer and Middle East specialist.