Christian Extreme Right and AIPAC

AIPAC Goes All the Way with Hagee

 

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Rev. Hagee Does AIPAC

A real historic turning point came for aipac when it opened up its coveted platform to Rev. John Hagee, who is founder of the organization "Christians United for Israel" (CUFI)  at their annual Policy Conference (March 2007) in Washington DC . He was a keynote speaker on Sunday night, and the response to his speech (that can be read in full here) was enthusiastic overall.   Yet even among aipac faithful there was trepidation.  After all, Hagee's agenda, like that of the Christian Zionist Right in general, is extremely militaristic (he believes that the coming "nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty").  He even has implied support for Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.  He opposes any compromise with Palestinians.  Hagee's ideology also is anti-Semitic in that he believes that the "rebellion" of the Jews caused the Holocaust, and that the Holocaust was God's way of forcing Jews to move to Israel.  So this is a new and dangerous alliance, an embrace of a real loony ideology. Thanks to the leadership of AIPAC, the likes of Hagee has now been brought to the mainstream. He shares a stage not only with Dick Cheney but also with "liberal" Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Strange bedfellows indeed.

Below are various perspectives on what this means. 

AIPAC Cheers an Anti-Semitic Holocaust Revisionist
(and Abe Foxman Approves)

Max Blumenthal

Evangelical leader's speech
backing Israel alarms some

Jewish Journal

AIPAC Hijack: With Friends Like These…

Ameinu

Lobbying for Armageddon
 
Alternet
Rev. John Hagee's War
The Manchurian Clergyman
 
CounterPunch
Birth Pangs of a
New Christian Zionism
 
Max Blumenthal

Christian Zionists

Jews on First

AIPAC Cheers an Anti-Semitic Holocaust Revisionist
(and Abe Foxman Approves)

Max Blumenthal, Huffington Post- March14,2007

"I think there is a role for [Pastor John Hagee]. He has earned a certain recognition with the community because of his support for Israel."
--Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman, 3/9/07

"It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day..."
--Pastor John Hagee, "Jerusalem Countdown," pp. 92-93

It does not necessarily matter to AIPAC if you preach "New World Order/Illuminati" conspiracy theories involving "international bankers," a classic coded anti-Semitic trope. Nor does it necessarily matter to them if the rhetoric you have spewed about the Holocaust sounds like a Christian version of Mahmoud Ahmadenijad. AIPAC doesn't even necessarily care that you've lionized Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. What matters more to AIPAC and its allies -- all that matters perhaps -- is that you back the hardline Israeli government without reservation, support the institutionalized dehumanization of Palestinians and offer crucial moral support for the illegal usurpation of Palestinian land. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that you lust for war with Iran.

It should come as no surprise then that an anti-Semitic Holocaust apologist like Pastor John Hagee was invited to AIPAC, and was given a raucous ovation. As I reported for the Nation last year, through his new lobbying organization, Christians United for Israel, Hagee is emerging as the most influential leader of the Christian Zionist movement, which has bolstered the Israeli right with the grassroots muscle of the evangelical right. I go on to explain in detail that Hagee is a dangerous crackpot whose stated desire is to see Israel engage in an apocalyptic nuclear war with Iran.  (more here)
 

Evangelical leader's speech backing Israel alarms some

James D. Besser, Jewish Journal  March 30, 2007

The tent-revival pro-Israel speech by the Rev. John Hagee thrilled many delegates at the recent policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

However, others were alarmed. It was not by Hagee's message, which was hardly new, but by the reaction of a pro-Israel community that chooses to see only one side of a man and a movement with a complex agenda and a knack for recasting it for different audiences.

Jewish leaders say that with Israel increasingly pilloried by mainline Protestant groups, the motives of the evangelicals don't matter, just the ardency of their support. So do many on the Israeli right. This week, the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, in partnership with a Christian group that is working for the "restoration" of Israel, held its first Jerusalem Assembly for Christian Zionists.

But that reaction ignores the fact that Christian Zionists like Hagee are increasingly trying to affect U.S. Mideast policy. The biblical perspective shaping that activism offers only more war and new holocausts for the Jews, not the peace that Israelis crave.
  (more)

AIPAC Hijack: With Friends Like These…

By Gidon D. Remba, Ameinu  March 20, 2007

AIPAC has long portrayed itself as 'the pro-Israel lobby' representing the entire pro-Israel American Jewish community. As the primary pro-Israel voice in Washington, AIPAC should reflect what is common to all who support Israel, a nonpartisan consensus between Zionists of the left, right and center. But AIPAC has been hijacked by the neocons and the radical right. It no longer represents the majority of American Jews, who are overwhelmingly liberal, centrist on foreign policy and vote Democratic. Pro-Israel Jews need an alternative, a new vehicle for voicing their moderate, pragmatic views on Israel to elected officials in Washington.

I ventured to Washington last week to attend, for the first time in my life, AIPAC’s vaunted national policy conference, a 3-day political pageant which drew some 6,000 people this year, culminating in a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. I had the privilege of attending not only as one of the throng of Israel supporters who flocked to DC, but as the official representative of a major Jewish organization. I am now the national executive director of Ameinu: Liberal Values, Progressive Israel, the organization which represents Labor Zionism in America, the leading progressive Zionist voice in the American Jewish community.

In this new role, I am one of 50-odd delegates of major Jewish organizations who sit on AIPAC’s Executive Committee. In reality, AIPAC stacks the deck by including in the Committee many more AIPAC leaders and activists than heads of major Jewish groups, thereby insuring that no decision will be taken which flouts the wishes of its hard-line big donors. The AIPAC conference opened with a meeting of the Executive Committee devoted to approving AIPAC’s “action agenda” for 2007. Three days later, a citizens’ army, mostly American Jews, marched on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress, armed with talking points emanating from the order of battle we had approved—over my dissenting vote, and the objections of others. (more)

Lobbying for Armageddon

Sarah Posner, AlterNet.  August 3, 2006

In a perfect world, a reporter at last week's press conference with George Bush and Tony Blair would have asked Bush, in the presence of his principal European ally, if he believes the European Union is the Antichrist.

Although it sounds like the kind of Pat Robertson lunacy that makes even the wingnuts run for the nearest exit, it's a question Bush should be forced to answer. Bush and other leading Republicans have lined up behind a growing movement of Christian Zionists for whom a European Antichrist figures prominently in an end-times scenario. So they should be forced to explain to the rest of us why they're courting the votes of people who believe our allies are evil incarnate. Could it be that the central requirement for their breathlessly anticipated Armageddon -- that the United States confront Iran -- happens to dovetail so nicely with the neoconservative war agenda?

At the center of it all is Pastor John Hagee, a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee has long prophesized about the end times, he ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which, as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."  (more)

Rev. John Hagee's War   The Manchurian Clergyman

By WERTHER, Counterpunch July 29/30 2006

In the 1920s, explaining the growing phenomenon of religious fundamentalism and how it battened Prohibition upon a suffering nation, H.L. Mencken described Southern Baptism as "a theology degraded almost to the level of voodoo." Eighty years on, we could remark, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," but we would be wrong.

Things have not remained the same, they have deteriorated. For if there is one thing worse than Elmer Gantry, it is Elmer Gantry with a foreign policy. Not content with polluting the fields of evolutionary biology and stem-cell research with Stone Age dogmas, these zealots have now tried their hand at statecraft.

The latest specimen in Barnum's traveling museum of oddities is John Hagee, director of Christians United for Israel. As profiled in The Wall Street Journal, this dervish from the West Texas wastes seemingly lives, breathes, and excretes but one obsession: his love of Israel, above and beyond anything else, including, apparently, the country of which he is nominally a citizen.

We will not provide a comprehensive summary of the article other than to note that he and his followers are particularly active in cheering on the carnage in Lebanon. To that end, he was in the imperial capital of Washington last week to hound Congressmen about their duty of fealty to Israel ­ as if those gunsels of AIPAC needed any instruction. Apparently, the bigger and bloodier the war, the closer the day of Armageddon looms. And the end of the world is what he seeks. (more)

Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism

by Max Blumenthal The Nation August 8, 2006

Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a newly formed political organization that tells its members that supporting Israel's expansionist policies is "a biblical imperative." CUFI's Washington lobbyist, David Brog, told me that during the meetings, CUFI representatives pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah.

The White House instructed Brog not to reveal the names of officials he met with, Brog said.

CUFI's advice to the Bush Administration reflects the Armageddon-based foreign-policy views of its founder, John Hagee. Hagee is a fire-and-brimstone preacher from San Antonio who commands the nearly 18,000-member Cornerstone Church and hosts a major TV ministry where he explains to millions of viewers how the end times will unfold. He is also the author of numerous bestselling pulp-prophecy books, like his recent Jerusalem Countdown, in which he cites various unnamed Israeli intelligence sources to claim that Iran is producing nuclear "suitcase bombs." The only way to defeat the Iranian evildoers, he says, is a full-scale military assault. (More)

 

Christian Zionists again in the news
Jewish newspapers write of dissent over cooperation with Pastor Hagee, whose group holds event in Madison; Congresswoman opposes Hagee; Israeli religious authorities ban contact with Christian Zionist group

by JewsOnFirst.org, May 8, 2007

Reports in two important Jewish newspapers show that cooperation with Christian Zionist leader Pastor John Hagee remains an unsettled issue among Jewish organizations and congregations.

Hagee's organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), has become the most prominent Christian Zionist organization in the country (more here). We have posted links to the two news reports and a related exchange of opposing views on a rabbis' listserv. Click here.

Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat of Minnesota, has released a letter expressing strong opposition to cooperating with CUFI.  (McCollum's letter and more here.  The event she refused to attend was co-sponsored by the local Jewish Community Relations Council and AIPAC. )

Meanwhile, when CUFI held , "A Night to Honor Israel," the event it holds in successive cities, in Madison, Wisconsin, last weekend, some Jews protested outside the church hosting the event, while other Jews attended. There are links to news reports as well as a Madison rabbi's message to her congregation here.

Lastly, Israel's chief rabbis issued a ban on attending a women's conference under the auspices of the Christian Zionist group Bridges for Peace. The ruling is worth noting because the rabbis' authority is more respected by the settler movement than by mainstream Israelis. Bridges for Peace has supported the settlers, as have other Christian Zionists, in keeping with their opposition to trading land for peace. The rabbis expressed concern that the Christians' real intent was to get Jews to accept Jesus. There are links here.  
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