Ehud Barak’s Cousin (Mis)Directs America’s Christian Zionists
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 22, 2012
In an attempt to direct attention away from their influence over U.S. Middle East policy, the predominantly Jewish pro-Israel lobby sometimes points to the passionate support of many Christian evangelicals — usually referred to as Christian Zionists — for the Jewish state. The largest of these Christian Zionist groups, with over one million members, is Christians United for Israel (CUFI); thereby, also making it the largest U.S.-based pro-Israel organization. Most people familiar with the hardline pro-Israel group associate it with John Hagee, the theatrical San Antonio-based Christian Zionist pastor who heads CUFI. Less well known, however, is CUFI’s executive director.
Revealingly, the person directing America’s leading Christian Zionist group is not even a Christian. In a Q & A with readers of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper some years ago, David Brog was asked if his theology required Israel to be in control of the entire Holy Land. “Just to clarify,” Brog replied, “the evangelical theology I write about is not my theology ? I’m Jewish.”
While the executive director of Christians United for Israel may not be Christian, there’s no questioning his pro-Israel credentials. When another reader asked if he was related to the current Israeli Defense Minister, Brog congratulated him on his perspicacity. Explained the CUFI leader:
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak is my cousin. He changed his last name from “Brog” to “Barak” during his time in the army. Given Barak’s illustrious career in the Israeli army and government, this is a relation of which I’m very proud.
Given such close relations — pun intended — between the Israeli government and the man directing much of America’s Christian Zionists, it’s no wonder that Israeli leaders can afford to laugh at the carefully cultivated beliefs of these Zionized Christians. As former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, considered by a prominent insider to be the “father of the modern Christian Zionist movement,” reportedly once joked:
I tell you if the Christian fundamentalists support us in Congress today, I will support them when the Messiah comes tomorrow.
Perhaps Arlen Specter, another pro-Israel stalwart, is also smiling at the thought of his longtime aide and chief of staff going on to have so much influence among the Christian Right which the late senator denounced during a 1995 presidential bid as an extremist “fringe” that plays too large a role in setting the Republican Party’s agenda.
Update: According to an article in the Jewish Georgian Newspaper in Atlanta, whenever Ehud Barak visits Washington he always spends time with his cousin David Brog.