We have pointed out repeatedly that evangelical Christian voters are highly engaged on foreign policy and will play a key role in electoral politics. There is no better example than Christians United for Israel, the United States’ largest pro-Israel group. On Thursday, it announced a nationwide ad campaign, a first for the group. In a press release it announced full-page ads in the Thursday print editions of The Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. The release continued:

epa04323605 An Israeli tank manuevers at a staging area along the border with the Gaza Strip, inside southern Israel, 20 July 2014. Israel announced a total of five soldiers have been killed in Operation Protective Edge, two early 20 July when an anti-tank missile was fired at them by by Palestinian fighters form the Gaza Strip. Israel was pressing its ground operation into southern Gaza, after infantry soldiers entered the coastal enclave three days ago in order to end rocket fire and destroy tunnels leading into Israel, the army said. EPA/JIM HOLLANDER
An Israeli tank at a staging area in southern Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip.  (EPA/JIM HOLLANDER)

On Friday full page ads will run in USA Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Denver Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Simultaneously, CUFI is running web-based advertisements on several top news and Christian websites including Fox News, the Christian Post, and Beliefnet, among several others, and has launched an email action alert to its 1.8 million members.

The campaign seeks to accomplish two goals. The first is to eliminate the moral confusion in the American media when it comes to the true nature and goals of Hamas. The second goal is to remind Secretary of State Kerry of the true nature and goals of Hamas. CUFI asks readers to visit and email Secretary of State John Kerry, informing him in part ‘Now is not the time to ease the legal and justified blockade of Gaza. Now is the time to destroy Hamas’ terror tunnels, remove Hamas’ missile stockpiles, and demilitarize Gaza.”

Right Turn has learned that the group will be taking to Israel 50 pastors, one from each state, as part of a solidarity trip. The itinerary, barring unforeseen developments due to the war, includes meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli soldiers. CUFI’s executive director, David Brog, told me, “Since Israel’s efforts began earlier this month, we’ve had a number of our leaders call us with the same question: ‘What can we do for Israel?’ As Hamas fires thousands of rockets at Israel and the world condemns Israel for defending itself, these pastors want to speak out. They want the world to understand the justice of Israel’s fight. And they want the Israelis to know that the haters in Gaza, Ankara and Paris do not speak for all of us.” The trip affords CUFI a vehicle for expressing solidarity with Israel and then informing and energizing their flock back in the U.S. “Since we can’t bring all of our leaders to Israel, we’re going to bring one pastor from each of the 50 states who will represent the millions of Christians across the country who share their support for Israel,” he said. He adds that “we will make sure our voices are heard back home.”

That is a whole lot of energized, informed Christian voters who rank foreign policy high on their priority list. They aren’t taken with President Obama’s “lead from behind” philosophy or, in the case of Gaza, his administration taking sides with Turkey and Hamas-funder Qatar in trying to broker an early truce. (The ads point out: “Hamas terrorists have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in suicide bombings. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and its allies have fired thousands of missiles at Israeli cities. Hamas has dug dozens of multi-million dollar terror tunnels into Israel attack Israeli civilians.”)

The group already managed to flummox the State Department spokeswoman who on Thursday called the accusation that Kerry carried Hamas-favored proposal that disregarded Israel’s security interests “an absurd statement.” (Kerry has been widely criticized in the U.S. and Israeli media as well as by the Egyptians and Palestinian Authority for doing just that.) She then gave the standard response from the administration when challenged on its Israel policy, namely that it should not become a “partisan” issue. (CUFI is not affiliated with either major party.) No criticism is legitimate in their eyes, it seems.

CUFI members are highly engaged and knowledgeable voters who understand that “standing with Israel” requires more than a self-affixed label. They are extremely concerned about the persecution of Christians in Arab lands (such as Iraq) and have little tolerance for the idea that the war against jihadists is exaggerated or over. If, like pro-life and pro-Second Amendment groups, they choose to engage fully in elections, that will have a significant impact in both primaries and general elections. And yes — that was 1.8 million voters it counts as members.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.