defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...
Jews On First!
... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind
by Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst.org, December 23, 2010
In an unprecedented response to an outcry from local Jews, the Denver Allied Jewish
Federation "disinvited" Pastor John Hagee, who was to have been the keynote speaker
at its annual Men's Event November 21st. "What we underestimated was how controversial
and hurtful some of what [Hagee's] said would be perceived by certain members of
our community," Doug Seserman, CEO of the federation, told the Intermountain Jewish News. Hagee has made bigoted statements
about gays, Muslims and Catholics.
JewsOnFirst learned from individuals in the community that the federation's substitution of
David Brog (pictured above), the executive director of Hagee's organization, Christians United for
Israel, mollified some -- but hardly all -- of those who objected to Hagee.
We have posted audio recordings of three of our conversations with Jewish leaders who opposed the Hagee invitation. Each discusses different aspects of the events in Denver
and, more broadly, the implications of Rev. Hagee's acceptance by American Jewish organizations.
Melodye Feldman is the founder and executive director of the internationally known
grass-roots organization Seeking Common Ground and a member of the international
board of the New Israel Fund. In our conversation she emphasizes the harmful impact
of Pastor Hagee's funding of anti-democratic organizations in Israel, including
one group that put up billboards demonizing the New Israel Fund. Feldman also notes
that donations from Christians United for Israel have silenced Jewish protests over
missionary activity in Israel and the US. Click the player below to listen to our conversation.
Rabbi Brian Field
Rabbi Field works for Judaism
Your Way, a Denver-based outreach organization with a dynamic and expansive vision
of Judaism and Jewishness. Thus he speaks of being mindful of the contradiction between Christian
Zionist leader John Hagee's fundamentalist Christianity and his own organization's efforts to build bridges
with Muslims, gays, Christians and fellow Jews. Field also discusses Hagee's lack
of respect for Rabbinic Judaism. Click the player below to listen to our conversation.
Rob PrinceRob Prince is a lecturer at Josef Korbel School of International
Studies, University of Denver where he teaches undergraduates in the International
Studies Program, mostly courses on the global political economy. In addition, he
is an adjunct instructor at the Iliff School of Theology of the University of Denver
and operates the blog
Colorado Progressive Jewish News. Prince questions the Jewish Federation's
alliance with Pastor John Hagee, given Hagee's belligerent foreign policy. And he
cautions that Jews cannot ignore Hagee and his fellow fundamentalist Christians
because of their domestic, theocratic agenda. Click the player below to listen to our conversation.
You can see links to news reports and comment about the withdrawn invitation to Hagee here.
Update: On December 28th, Rob Prince posted a commentary on the three interviews, which we hope you will read here.