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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

Christian Zionists

Fundamentalist Christians' support of Israel could blunt Jewish opposition to religious right agenda

JewsOnFirst.org reporters were inside CUFI's Washington conference.

See also How Jews See It: Foreign Policy and Christian Zionists.

Below on this page: Christian Zionists lobby for US attack on Iran | John McCain rejects Christian Zionist leader John Hagee's endorsement | Christian Zionist leader John Hagee endorses John McCain | Christian right urges no concessions at Annapolis | In the News |Christian Zionist Hagee holds Israel event |JewsOnFirst discussion about Christian Zionists | Eyewitness to a Hagee sermon | Pastor Hagee depicts Jews as Christ killers | News reports on Pastor John Hagee | Rabbis disagree on cooperation with Christian Zionist group | Journal of Lutheran Ethics special edition on Christian Zionism | Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his International Fellowship of Christians and Jews | Eagles' Wings Ministries | More on Christian Zionists

Recently posted (late 2008)

Yom Kippur Sermon 5769

A critical analysis of the Jewish alliance with the Christian Right regarding Israel

By Rabbi Caryn Broitman, Yom Kippur 2008

Caryn Broitman is the Rabbi of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center and has served there since 2003.

In one of the more surprising speeches of 2007, Joe Lieberman, the most well-known and most observant Jewish member of the Senate, used a Hebrew phrase from the Torah reserved for Moses and applied it to Evangelical Pastor John Hagee: “He is an ‘Ish Elokim,’ a man of God,” Lieberman said, “and those words really do fit him; and, I’d add something else,” Lieberman continued, “like Moses he’s become the leader of a mighty multitude, even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the promised land.

Pastor Hagee, the “ish elokim” or man of God to whom Senator Lieberman referred, is the leader of an 18,000 member Evangelical Church in San Antonio, Texas. The great multitude Lieberman referred to is the organization Hagee created 2 years ago called Christians United for Israel or CUFI. The lobbying organization boasts a membership of over 50,000 pastors and their congregations. Their “Nights to Honor Israel” are held at evangelical Churches all over the country. Lieberman gave his speech at such a “Night” held in Washington.

What is so surprising about Lieberman’s words? Certainly people of other religions can be people of God. Perhaps it surprising because John Hagee is a literal believer in apocalyptic prophecies that predict violent punishment at the end of time for Jews who reject Jesus. That would include Joe. Continue.

Christian Zionism: An Historical Analysis and Critique

Rev. John Hubers, paper delivered at Christian Zionism, Rapture and The Holy Land conference, Pasadena, California, October 4, 2008. John Hubers is writing his doctoral dissertation on the interfaith dimensions of the first Protestant-American mission to Palestine. From 2001-2006 he served as the Reformed Church in America's Mission Coordinator for the Middle East and South Asia. He is also the RCA representative on the Interfaith Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA).

In this paper, which was drawn up at the request of his denomination's theology commission and serves as the official statement of the Reformed Church on this topic, Hubers sketches the rise of unique theological concepts in American Christian Zionism. These concepts, which arose in the 19th and 20th centuries with a theology that applied a novel interpretation to the apocalyptic passages of scripture related to the return and rule of Jesus, are, according to Hubers, a break from traditional Christian thought.

Hubers argues that Christian Zionism came to manipulate and interpret mainline Jewish Zionism's secular achievements. He points to a range of views within Christian Zionism that confuse the modern secular state of Israel with Biblical prophecies while disregarding the presence of Palestinians -- including Christian Palestinians. Hubers concludes the essay with a discussion of the theological implications of Christian Zionism for the Reformed Church. Continue.

Presentation for Christians Concerned about Christian Zionism

By Amy Frykholm, for the Christian Zionism, Rapture & the Holy Land, Conference at Fuller Theological Seminary, October 4, 2008

One key difficulty in confronting an apocalyptic culture like Christian Zionism is not falling into patterns of apocalyptic thinking yourself. In the more than a decade that I have been studying Christian apocalypticism in America, I have been struck by how often critics' dislike of dispensationalism becomes a kind of apocalypticism of its own. We heighten the dangers; we indulge the sense that it is us vs. them and that is we don't stop them, they will destroy us and everything that we stand for.

I want to suggest that instead, we take a lesson from the natural landscape where I live. I live in a small community in Colorado that was formerly sustained by mining. To many, this might be considered a post-apocalyptic landscape. In many places, the ground is covered in slag, devoid of undergrowth and trees; there are abandoned mine shafts so deep in some places that people are afraid to walk their dogs. But nature has been—very slowly—reclaiming this land. Sage, juniper and evergreeen grow wherever they can. Raspberry and strawberry grow out of the slag piles.

Unlike apocalypticism, this landscape is not an either/or proposition. It is opportunistic, seeking openings wherever it can find them. In considering how to understand, evaluate and perhaps even to intervene in rapture culture, I propose that we take nature to be our model. We look for cracks and openings. We think cyclically, and we restrain, whenever possible, our own tendencies to absolutes or certainties. Apocalyptic thinking reinforces apocalyptic thinking. Each side underlines the other. Continue.

A Personal Story of the Journey Out of Christian Zionism

By Don Thorsen Ph.D, Christian Zionism, Rapture & the Holy Land, Conference at Fuller Theological Seminary, October 4, 2008

Let me share with you the story of how I first embodied and then repudiated the beliefs, values, and practices of Christian Zionism. Of course, when I developed my view of eschatology, neither I nor others with whom I was familiar used the terminology of Christian Zionism. Instead my view was best described as premillennial and pretribulational eschatology, including belief in a secret rapture of Christians that would imminently occur. But my largely subconscious view of Israel and the United States' involvement in Mideast politics was essentially that of Christian Zionism. I gave unconditional preference to biblical prophecies thought to be predictive of Israel's nationalistic resurgence, and the coming of Armageddon and the cataclysmic end of the world as we know it.

Although I grew up with Christian Zionistic beliefs, values, and practices, I rejected them because of my increased study of scripture and because of the disgraceful social implications of a premillennial and pretribulational eschatology. I will share my journey chronologically, beginning with the formation of my earliest thoughts about the end times and ending with my professional development as a professor of Christian theology. Continue.

John Hagee's Christians United for Israel Conference Mixes End-Times Prophecies With Lobbying
JewsOnFirst.org Reporters Were Inside CUFI's Washington Conference

by JewsOnFirst.org, July 24, 2008

Even though televangelist John Hagee barred reporters from the conference of his Christians United for Israel (CUFI), reporters for JewsOnFirst.org covered most of the sessions of the conference at the Washington Convention Center, which concluded yesterday.

According to a document distributed at the conference, "CUFI is a national, grassroots organization which unites all pro-Israel Christians in America under one umbrella." JewsOnFirst.org estimates that as many as 3,000 people attended the conference. Please click here for our report, which includes video and audio clips of the conference.

Christian Zionist Leader Hagee in Unprecedented Appearance at Reform Temple

By Robin Podolsky, March 17, 2008. Special to JewsOnFirst.org

On Tuesday, March 11, the Reverend John C. Hagee spoke as a guest at Stephen S. Wise, a Reform Temple in West Los Angeles—the first time, the Reverend said that he had spoken at a Reform Temple in more than 20 years. The event was billed as a ‘dialogue’ between Reverend Hagee and Rabbi David Woznica, and the format was that of a long interview in which Rabbi Woznica asked questions that Reverend Hagee answered. The audience had no opportunity to ask questions of its own.

When asked to identify himself theologically, Reverend Hagee said that he is Evangelical, which means that he “reads scripture” and then simply “does it.” He said that he is not fundamentalist, because he does not wish to be identified with the sort of people who handle snakes. (This was not the only time when Reverend Hagee appeared to cater to a prejudice that he expected his audience to share. At one point, he invited the mixed audience of Jews and evangelicals to commiserate with the difficulties of winning Texas “rednecks” to the task of combating anti-Semitism; he also described a rushed, hurried prayer as being like that of “a Presbyterian late for lunch.”) Continue.


Christian Zionist group meeting in Washington downplays end-times prophecy
CUFI lobbying conference soft-pedals apocalyptic talk, drills on "talking points"

by Jane Hunter, JewsOnFirst.org, July 17, 2007

Washington DC Even though it was closed to the news media, a "Talking Points" briefing at the Christians United for Israel conference this afternoon lacked the characteristic apocalytpic talk about Iran sparking the battle of Armageddon. Predictions that Israel and the Jews will figure prominently in an end-times scenario culminating with the return of Jesus have been staples of CUFI's leader, televangelist John Hagee.

CUFI, the nation's newest and most active Christian Zionist group, brought several thousand people to its second annual lobbying conference this week. Almost one thousand people filled the room at a hotel across from the National Zoo for the Talking Points briefing; an announcement suggested that more people were in a second room. Continue.

Leading evangelicals counter Christian Zionists with call for Palestinian State

August 2, 2007. More than 30 prominent evangelical Christians have sent a letter to President George Bush supporting a Palestinian state as part of a two-state Middle East peace settlement. The letter comes ten days after the leading Christian Zionist group, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), convened in Washington and denounced Bush's new initiative on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Obliquely referring to CUFI in their letter, the evangelicals said it was "a serious misperception...that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution." Please click here for links to documents and reports on the letter and CUFI's response.

Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, July 29, 2007

In recent years, conservative evangelicals who claim a Biblical mandate to protect Israel have built a bulwark of support for the Jewish nation -- sending donations, denouncing its critics and urging it not to evacuate settlements or forfeit territory.

Now more than 30 evangelical leaders are stepping forward to say these efforts have given the wrong impression about the stance of many, if not most, American evangelicals. Continue.

JewsOnFirst Conversation: Rabbis discuss Reform Judaism leader's call to shun CUFI events

by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst.org, May 25, 2007

Rabbi Beliak hosts a recorded conversation reviewing the May 18th Forward op-ed by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism, discouraging cooperation with Christians United for Israel's "Nights to Honor Israel." Participating in the conversation are Rabbi Paula Reimers of Congregation Beth Israel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and Rabbi Jonathan Biatch of Temple Beth El in Madison, Wisconsin. Rabbi Biatch declined to participate in a recent CUFI "Night." We posted his sermon explaining his reasons for not participating. Rabbi Reimers is a member of the JewsOnFirst advisory board.

Leader of Reform Judiasm discourages cooperation with Christians United for Israel
High-impact op-ed published days before CUFI event in Washington DC

by JewsOnFirst.org, May 21, 2007

In a major development in the debate raging over participating in Christian Zionist "Nights to Honor Israel," the leader of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, has sharply criticized the involvement of local Jewish federations in the events. Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism, wrote in the national Jewish weekly Forward that the federations' cooperation with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is alienating the upcoming generation of Jewish community leaders.

Yoffie's op-ed appeared the Friday before two Conservative movement rabbis took part in a May 20th CUFI "Night to Honor Israel" in the Washington DC area. One of those rabbis told JewsOnFirst that he was participating despite his disagreement with the organizers' politics, because of their support of Israel. Continue.

When We Let John Hagee Speak for Us

Opinion article by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Forward, May 18, 2007

"The American Jewish community must decide: Does it want to connect young Jews to Israel, or does it intend to drive them away?" asks Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, in this much discussed op-ed. "These future Jewish leaders are not hostile to Israel, and many have positive memories from Birthright or youth-movement trips, but Israel today is a marginal part of their Jewish consciousness," he writes, continuing:

There is no single explanation for their disaffection, but surely one important reason is the increasingly right-wing and even reactionary tone that some elements of the organized community have adopted in their pronouncements on Israel. American Jews have always been moderate in their views on Israel, and this is especially true for the young.

Of course, the fact that some national and umbrella bodies express hard-line sentiments that do not reflect majority opinion is not new. What is new and deeply disturbing is that local communal bodies are now following their lead. Proof of this trend, as reported in these pages earlier this month, is the willingness of some local Jewish federations to support and endorse events sponsored by Pastor John Hagee and his lobbying group, Christians United for Israel.

Yoffie argues that young Jews are repelled by intolerance such as Hagee expresses toward Muslims and gays. He urges "our federations to conduct broad-based discussions to determine if a consensus really exists on endorsing Christians United for Israel events." Click here.

Christian Support For Israel

Editorial, New York Jewish Week, June 1, 2007 (partway down page)

Like many Jews who worry about Israel in these dangerous times, we are ambivalent about the growing involvement of some Christian Zionists in the pro-Israel cause. Leaders like Pastor John Hagee offer a counterweight to “mainline” Protestant churches that claim to care about Middle East peace, but whose one-sided positions and indifference to Israel’s security makes peace even more elusive. Continue.

Churches for Middle East Peace Thanks Rep. Betty McCollum

Representative Betty McCollum, April 30, 2007

Churches for Middle East Peace wrote Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL-MN-4) today thanking her for her April 25th letter to a local Minnesota pastor regarding an event organized by Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and for her work on behalf of Israeli-Palestinian peace. In her letter, Rep. McCollum brought attention to statements by CUFI founder, Pastor John Hagee, that demonstrate "extremism, bigotry and intolerance" and expressed her support, in contrast to Pastor Hagee, for "working for the ‘roadmap for peace’ in the Middle East, Israel living side-by-side in peace and security with an independent Palestinian state." Click here to read the PDF document.

George Washington Against "Christian Zionism"

By Stan Moody, Christian Policy Institute, April 24, 2007

"George Washington, arguably the most effective of the 'Founding Fathers,' offered in his farewell address a few thoughts on the dangers of ideological ties or antipathies with any nation," writes Moody, who intersperses this essay on Christian Zionists, with Washington's thoughts on keeping passion -- and religion -- out of foreign policy. Continue.

Pushback on Armageddon

by Jane Hunter and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst.org, March 7, 2007

As the nation turns against war in the Middle East, Christian Zionists continue their agitation for attacking Iran as a way to hasten Armageddon, the end-time. And the most prominent Jewish organizations continue to embrace Christian Zionists as supporters of Israel, which Christian Zionists believe will be the scene of the end-times return of Jesus.

Meanwhile, some Christians are warning of the consequences of the Christian Zionists' agenda. Dr. Stan Moody, author of Countdown to Armageddon, which we've just posted, writes with concern about a fundamentalist drive "to focus American hegemony on the Middle East to orchestrate the return of Christ."

The Jewish organizations are silent about the fundamentalist Christian domestic agenda of their Christian Zionists allies. But that does not mean that Jews around the country are at ease with it. Continue.

Jewish-Christian Difficulties in Challenging Christian Zionism

by Rev. Robert O. Smith, February 6, 2007, introduced here by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst.org

"In our post-Holocaust era, many Jews have identified with the State of Israel as their last line of defense should the community again come under the threat of eradication. Most Christians, especially in North America, are unable to begin fathoming this possibility. Their communities simply have not been under such a threat."

So begins Rev. Robert O. Smith in this essay. Writing as a committed Christian and academic, Smith reminds Christians that, to borrow Rabbi Leo Baeck's phrase, "Jews look at history with old eyes." (Baeck [1873 - 1956] was the leader of German Jews until 1942, when he was taken to Terezin concentration camp.) For Baeck, Jewish memory served as a cautionary and an antidote to despair. Smith is cautioning Christians that, no matter how well intentioned their theology, there is a complexity that must be acknowledged and they must be patient in building their post-Holocaust relationship with Jews.

Currently Jews are seeking political support in an increasingly hostile world for Israel. Many Jewish leaders are not hearing Christians who offer responsible criticism of the Israeli government's policies. Instead they are embracing other Christians, Christian Zionists, who are seeking their vision of the return of Jesus through the end-times battles.

Jews reading Smith's essay might wonder, which is better: The old pre-World War II "replacement" theology, in which Christians take over Jews' role as the "chosen" people -- or the new Christian Zionist theology? Replacement theology, teaches that Jews do not have a role in history. They are superceded and superfluous. Christian Zionism grants Jews a temporary "stay," until the demand for Jews to cease being Jews -- conversion -- is issued by a returning Jesus. Smith writes that most Jews will say neither choice is a good one. He seems to be searching for a third alternative on which to build a just mutuality for Jews and Christians. Please click here to read Smith's essay.

The Dangers of Christian Zionists: Conversation with Mel White

by JewsOnFirst.org, February 6, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, a co-founder of Soulforce and author of Religion Gone Bad, talks with Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst about Christian Zionists -- and in particular Rev. John Hagee, the leader of Christians United for Israel. White spent years working for some of the biggest names on the religious right before coming out as gay. He attends the church of one of his former employers, Rev. Jerry Falwell, where he has seen Hagee preach. White sums up Hagee's hawkish position on Israel: Jews and Palestinians "can't reconcile because God wants that part of the world to burst into flames," presaging the return of Jesus. White also notes that Hagee is connects a personal prosperity gospel to the passage in Genesis in which God promises to bless those who bless Israel. Later in the conversation, White and Beliak discuss how fundamentalist leaders like Hagee work under our radar to reach millions attuned to their message.

This is JewsOnFirst's second conversation with White. Click here for his discussion about televangelist Pat Robertson's predictions of a terrorist attack.

Countdown to Armageddon!

by Stan Moody for JewsOnFirst.org, March 7, 2007

I believe that history will mark September 11, 2001, as the date that America lost its spirit, but for reasons that have little to do with terrorism. That was the date that galvanized a vocal segment of American Evangelicals to forsake their God and look to politics to implement their agenda – America as a theocracy and the Middle East as its final battleground.

The 2006 national election was a small victory for the voice of reason, but objective reason is no worthy warrior in the battle against ideas and ideologies. Whether in religion or politics, unless you appeal with the passion of belief, you cannot speak to the hearts of people longing for deliverance. Continue.

In the News

CUFI pleads for support of Hagee in wake of McCain's rejection
Christians United for Israel director says "attacks" on Hagee intended to "silence" Christian Zionists

Email from David Brog, CUFI executive director, May 26, 2008

JewsOnFirst has obtained and posted a copy of an email that Christians United for Israel Executive Director David Brog sent out on the Memorial Day holiday. Brog states: "Pastor Hagee has come under an angry attack by many in the media. They have ignored his fifty years of ministry. They have overlooked his lifetime of loving-kindness and charity. And they have horribly twisted his decades of zealous support for Israel and the Jewish people. And," continues Brog, "make no mistake about it, many who attack Pastor Hagee seek not only to hurt him, but to silence all Christian friends of Israel." Brog encourages CUFI supporters to respond by registering for the group's annual conference in Washington. Please click here.

On the Road to Armageddon
How evangelicals became Israel's best friend

Timothy P. Weber, Beliefnet.com, 2006

In a recent Time/CNN poll, more than one-third of Americans said that since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, they have been thinking more about how current events might be leading to the end of the world.

While only 36 percent of all Americans believe that the Bible is God's Word and should be taken literally, 59 percent say they believe that events predicted in the Book of Revelation will come to pass. Almost one out of four Americans believes that 9/11 was predicted in the Bible, and nearly one in five believes that he or she will live long enough to see the end of the world. Even more significant for this study, over one-third of those Americans who support Israel report that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return.

Millions of Americans believe that the Bible predicts the future and that we are living in the last days. Their beliefs are rooted in dispensationalism, a particular way of understanding the Bible's prophetic passages, especially those in Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. They make up about one-third of America's 40 or 50 million evangelical Christians and believe that the nation of Israel will play a central role in the unfolding of end-times events. In the last part of the 20th century, dispensationalist evangelicals become Israel's best friends-an alliance that has made a serious geopolitical difference. Continue.

Evangelical Split Seen Fueling Giuliani Bid
Rudy benefiting from tough talk on terror, which is emerging as key ‘values’ issue for conservative Christians.

James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, September 28, 2007

A behind-the-scenes struggle among politically active Evangelicals could boost former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s 2008 presidential ambitions.

Some Christian conservative leaders now say the global fight against Islamic extremism trumps the social issues, such as opposition to gay rights and abortion, that pushed the religious right into the political big leagues — a fight they depict as a to-the-death clash of civilizations.

Giuliani’s tough talk and artful positioning on the issue and carefully nurtured 9/11 reputation have won him strong support from that faction despite a personal history that offends many “values voters” and his relatively moderate positions on hot-button issues like abortion. Continue.

Rabbis Ban Participation in ICEJ Conference

by Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva News (Israeli settler news organization), September 17, 2007

(IsraelNN.com) The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has issued a ruling welcoming the Christians arriving for the annual Feast of Tabernacles conference - and banning Jews from participating.

Feast of Tabernacles is sponsored by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, self-described as the world's largest Christian Zionist organization. The annual get-together is a week-long multicultural event held during the Sukkot holiday, which begins this year on Sept. 27. It draws tens of thousands of Christians from around the world for a week of teaching, worship, and prayer, and culminates with a march through the streets of Jerusalem. Continue.

'Convert-or-Die' Minister to Lead Visit to IDF Army Base

by Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva News (Israeli settler news organization), September 20, 2007

(IsraelNN.com) A Christian group led by a minister who teaches that ten million Jews are destined to be killed plans to visit an IDF base next week. A Jerusalem City Council member is trying to stop the visit.

The group leader is Richard Booker, a Christian minister and the Founder/Director of the Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies who will be participating in the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Feast of Tabernacles extravaganza this coming Sukkot holiday. First, however, he will lead a tour of devoted followers on a tour of northern Israel - including a visit to an Israeli army base. Continue.

A New General for God's Army?

By Bill Berkowitz, Common Dreams, June 14, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. - In recent appearances on two U.S. cable news networks, he was slinging and zinging - the well-rehearsed pitchman for the Biblical "End Times" was dead certain that "Iran is going to have to be attacked" before 2008.

He also claimed that during a recent visit to Iraq, he was told by intelligence sources that Iran had given the green light to Hezbollah to unleash suicide bombers in the United States this summer.

Mike Evans is a shock jock for Armageddon, a cheerleader for the apocalypse. These days, the bestselling author and head of the "Jerusalem Prayer Team", a U.S.-based pro-Israeli Christian evangelical organization, is at the top of his game. On Jun. 3, his new book, "The Final Move Beyond Iraq: The Final Solution While The World Sleeps", made it onto the New York Times bestsellers' list at number one in the paperback category.

Evans's publisher bills him as "one of America's top experts on the Middle East" and "a personal confidant to most of Israel's top leaders." He has several bestselling books under his belt, including "Beyond Iraq: The Next Move" and "The American Prophecies". Continue.

Growing Acceptance Seen Of Fiery Pastor
Jewish mainstream rushing to embrace Hagee and his controversial brand of pro-Israel activism.

James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, May 4, 2007 This report quotes JewsOnFirst.org co-director Haim Dov Beliak

Rabbi Jack Moline is a Jewish centrist in almost every respect. He is leader in the Conservative movement, a crusader against intermarriage and a fierce opponent of the religious right’s growing influence on American life.

And the Washington-area rabbi is on the board of the Interfaith Alliance, a relatively new group that has taken the lead in holding the line on church-state questions. Continue.

As Evangelical Firebrand Hooks Up With Federations, Liberals Speak Out

Rebecca Spence, Forward, May 4, 2007

Pastor John Hagee, the firebrand evangelical Christian minister from San Antonio, Texas, had thousands of pro-Israel activists standing, clapping and chanting at this year’s annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Hagee’s virtuoso performance at the conference in March underscored his emergence as a linchpin in the growing political alliance between Jewish and evangelical pro-Israel activists. Less well known is that Hagee, who in February 2006 founded the first Christian pro-Israel lobbying group — Christians United for Israel — is working to extend his influence beyond power centers in Washington, to Jewish and evangelical communities across the country.

In little more than a year since its inception, Hagee’s Christian Zionist group — with an almost entirely volunteer staff of 13 regional directors, 46 state directors and more than 85 city directors — has hosted 40 dinners in cities nationwide, well-attended by Jews and evangelicals alike. To date, the events, billed as “Nights to Honor Israel,” have raised more than $10 million for charitable causes in the Jewish state. Continue.

Jews should embrace evangelicals despite their differences, group told

By Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 26, 2007

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Got a problem with evangelicals cozying up to the Jewish community? That’s perfectly understandable, their representatives say.

And here’s their solution: Cozy on up.

Two prominent representatives of the evangelical community who addressed a panel Sunday at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ annual plenum said that if Jews feel uncomfortable with evangelicals, the solution is to expand the dialogue, not limit it.

“Our community does not know how to dialogue,” said Susan Michael, U.S. director for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. “We are very good at preaching, we are very weak at dialogue.”

Her appeal: “Help us to learn.”

David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, acknowledged missteps by evangelical Christians who appear overzealous in their embrace of the Jewish community. But, he added, evangelicals who have encountered Jews are much less likely to offend them. Continue.

'Jerusalem Post' Launches Christian Edition
Why is Israel's oldest English language daily courting American evangelicals? Tourism, along with that group's strong support for the state of Israel, has a lot to do with it.

By Suzanne Rosenberg, Editor and Publisher, February 5, 2007

Israel's oldest English language daily, The Jerusalem Post, has a new product. While across the world printed newspapers are declining in pages, consolidating or going out of business altogether, The Jerusalem Post came out earlier this past year with the Jerusalem Post Christian edition.

The Jerusalem Post introduces itself as a widely recognized and trusted source for news on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world," and suggests that now, it is "offering Israel's Christian friends a special edition published monthly dedicated to their unique interests." Continue.

Christian Zionist leader mobilizes against the Iraq Study Group: warning evangelicals to "Beware Baker"

By H. Malone for JewsOnFirst.org, December 19, 2006

Televangelist John Hagee recently added his voice to the conservative chorus slamming the findings of the Iraq Study Group. Hagee, founder of the Christian Zionist lobbying group Christians United for Israel (CUFI), emailed a warning to his evangelical supporters saying they should "beware" the group's chairman, former Secretary of State Jim Baker.

Hagee slammed Baker for supposedly promoting the position "that America's problems can be settled if the Israel-Arab affair is settled." Hagee also claimed that, as Secretary of State in the George H.W. Bush administration, Baker enlisted Syria's support for the first Iraq war by giving Damascus "a free hand" in Lebanon. Continue.

Jewish group honors Hagee, Butler for pro-Israel efforts

Jenni Parker, OneNewsNow.com, February 3, 2007

During a recent "Night to Honor Israel," the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews presented its Ambassador's Award to TV evangelists Pastor John Hagee and Bishop Keith Butler for their dedication and service to the Jewish nation and people.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) has presented its highest honor, the Ambassador's Award, to American television evangelists Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church of San Antonio, Texas, and Bishop Keith Butler of Word of Faith International Christian Center of Southfield, Michigan.

The Fellowship, which works to promote understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and to build support for Israel and the Jewish people, made the presentations during the January 7 "Night to Honor Israel," held at the Word of Faith Center. The award from the pro-Israel group and its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, cites Hagee's and Butler's outstanding support, leadership, and dedication to Israel. Continue

As Bush's War Strategy Shifts to Iran, Christian Zionists Gear Up for the Apocalypse
Is Bush pushing for a second war or a Second Coming?

Sarah Posner, Alternet, January 18, 2007.

Christian Zionists are dancing the hora in San Antonio. Armageddon appears to be at hand.

As George W. Bush sets his sights on Iran, even Republicans are wondering how to constitutionally contain the trigger-happy king. But for an influential group of Christian fundamentalists -- White House allies that garner not only feel-good meetings with the President's liaisons to the "faith-based" community but also serious discussions with Bush's national security staff -- an attack on Iran is just what God ordered.

Biblical literalists, convened together through San Antonio megapastor John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI), are now seeing the fruits of their yearlong campaign to convince the Bush administration to attack Iran. Continue

Poll: One in Four Says Jesus May Return in 2007

By Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service via BeliefNet, January 2007

Twenty-five percent of Americans believe it is at least somewhat likely that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in 2007, a new poll from the Associated Press and AOL News shows.

The poll, conducted by the international polling firm Ipsos, looked at the public's predictions about what will occur in 2007.

Pollsters found that 11 percent of those surveyed said it is "very likely" that Jesus will return to Earth this year. An additional 14 percent said it was "somewhat likely." Continue.

Christians seek recall of Left Behind video game

by JewsOnFirst.org, December 5, 2006

A video game that arms young people to kill those who resist conversion to fundamentalist Christianity hits the market just in time for Christmas gift-giving. Was this bad judgment or was it deliberate?

The creator of the game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, makes clear that it was entirely intentional -- a smart business move to ride the $500 million surge of profit for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ with a new genre, "God Games." Left Behind Games, a publicly traded company, also anticipates a ready market among the millions who bought 63 million Left Behind novels; the game company holds the license to create games based on the books.

In contrast to the meetings, previews, media debates and warnings that preceded Mel Gibson's film, Left Behind: Eternal Forces has rolled out discreetly, apparently avoiding Jewish scrutiny. A coalition of progressive Christian groups held a news conference last week to warn of the game's perniciousness and call for its withdrawal from the market. Continue.

Separated by faith, clergy bond over Israel
Pastors, rabbis from Nashville tour Holy Land

By Anita Wadhwani, The Tennessean, November 17, 2006

They disagree on a multitude of core beliefs, but not this one: the preservation of Israel.

A group of Nashville rabbis and evangelical Christian pastors have somewhat different motivations for their budding alliance, which this week has taken them on an unusual joint tour of Christian and Jewish holy sites in Israel.

For the Christian pastors, it's their view of Israel and the Jewish people as integral to God's design for Christians and in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. Continue.

Effect of socially conservative 'values voters' in question

By Peggy Fikac and Gary Scharrer, The San Antonio Express-News, November 5, 2006

"Gov. Rick Perry, campaigning for re-election, sat on a stage at the left hand of San Antonio minister John Hagee on Sunday as the televangelist urged the estimated 90 million viewers of his ministry to go vote Tuesday." So begins this report which also quotes Hagee saying "If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God Almighty through the authority of Christ and his blood, listen to me, I'm going to say this very plainly -- you are going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket." Gov. Perry said his faith agreed with that statement. Continue.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, leader of Reform Judaism, debates Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Christian Zionism? Is it good for North American Jews and good for Israel?

Speech by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism at the Central Conference of American Rabbis Convention, April 2, 2008

Let us imagine the following: A group of Christian Americans affirm their deep love for the State of Israel. This love, rooted in their Evangelical Christian faith, is expressed through concrete acts of support and commitment. While remaining resolutely non-political, these Americans visit Israel whenever they can, condemn acts of terror directed at Israeli citizens, provide generous financial support to Israelis in need, and are the first to raise their voices when Israel is under military attack.

If this were to happen, what should we as Jewish Americans be saying to this group of our fellow citizens? The answer, it seems to me, is quite simple. We should be saying: Thank you.

I don’t deny that I would have some concerns. Knowing something about their religious beliefs, I would wonder if they were trying to bolster the Jewish state in order to fulfill their prophecies of Armageddon and the Second Coming. And I would wonder too at what it might mean to make common cause with those who oppose both a woman’s right to choose and basic justice for gays and lesbians. Continue.

Leader of Reform Judaism's warns against embracing Christian Zionists
Rabbi Yoffie's speech in Cincinnati underscored the danger to American Jews

By Marji Mendelsohn for JewsOnFirst.org, April 6, 2008

This past Wednesday, April 2 Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, spoke in Cincinnati with great courage and insight at the Annual Central Conference for American Rabbis. Debating Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Yoffie was unsparing in expressing his concern about the risks and dangers inherent in the thriving Jewish partnerships with-Christian Zionists such as John Hagee, leader of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), and Rod Parsley, who heads the World Harvest megachurch in Columbus, Ohio and the international Breakthrough Ministries. Continue.

After their verbal sparring, Hagee and Yoffie may meet

By Ron Kampeas, JTA, April 8, 2008

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Now that they've called each other disrespectful, Rabbi Eric Yoffie and the Rev. John Hagee are ready to meet and discuss their differences -- respectfully.

The two religious leaders have been squaring off for the past week.

Yoffie in a major speech April 2 called on Jews to dissociate themselves from Hagee and the organization he founded, Christians United for Israel, asserting that the pastor did not respect other faiths or the right of Israeli leaders to make territorial concessions.

Five days later Hagee, a San Antonio-based evangelical mega-church leader and arguably the country's most influential Christian Zionist, fired back in a conference call with reporters.

"Rabbi Yoffie’s speech demonstrates not only a lack of respect for me but a troubling lack of respect for the truth," he said Monday.

Hours after Hagee's media call, however, both men were sounding a more conciliatory note.

"I was told he was interested in meeting with me," said Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism, in an interview with JTA. "I'd be delighted to sit down and talk to him." Continue.

Gentler Hagee Seen Gaining New Traction
Shift in rhetoric having impact in pro-Israel community.

by James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, April 9, 2008

Despite withering criticism from the leader of the Reform movement, there is growing evidence that America’s leading Christian Zionist, Pastor John Hagee, is winning acceptance in pro-Israel circles. And some politicians are taking note.

While nervously distancing himself from the controversial Hagee’s endorsement when addressing other audiences, Sen. John McCain last week raised the Hagee connection in an interview with a Jewish newspaper. Continue.

Hagee answers Yoffie

By Ami Eden, JTA Blog, April 7, 2008

Pastor John Hagee took 15 minutes today during his trip to Israel to hold a conference call with reporters from JTA, the Jerusalem Post, the Associated Press and the New York Times. Hagee, responding to questions that were submitted ahead of time, defended himself against Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Reform movement and other critics who accuse the mega-church leader of being anti-Catholic and bent on stopping Israeli peace moves. Continue to JTA, where you will find links to the written statement released by John Hagee and an audio of Hagee's statement and his prepared responses to questions submitted earlier. Please Click here.

Pastor Hagee and Israel

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, April 10, 2008, signed by Harold Tanner, James Tisch, Mort Zuckerman, Mel Salberg, Lester Pollack, Shoshana Cardin, Ken Bialkin (full text)

To the Editor:

Re “For McCain, Little Talk of a Controversial Endorsement” (news article, April 8), about the Rev. John C. Hagee and the organization he founded, Christians United for Israel, and the reaction to his efforts on behalf of Israel:

Pastor Hagee has been a true friend of Israel for many years. Christians United for Israel is among the strongest supporters of Israel in the United States.

The signers of this letter have been chairmen of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and we appreciate and respect Pastor Hagee’s dedicated efforts and those of Christians United for Israel. Click here.

VOICES: Hagee, Yoffie and the Jews: Values Count

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, The Atlanta Jewish Times, May 5, 2008

It has been a long time since I have read such a mean-spirited assessment of a Jewish leader's words as those that emanated from Michael Jacobs ("Reject Yoffie, Embrace Christian Zionists," April 18). I was in Cincinnati to hear Rabbi Eric Yoffie's remarks, and I would like to offer a slightly different, more balanced interpretation.

The column failed to mention the context of Rabbi Yoffie's remarks about evangelical Christian support for Israel. The program was a dialogue between Rabbi Yoffie and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who has worked with many Christian Zionist groups for many years. Rabbi Yoffie did not issue a blanket condemnation of all Christian Zionists but rather was particularly critical of Pastor John Hagee's role in this movement. Continue.

VOICES: Reject Yoffie, Embrace Christian Zionists

Michael Jacobs, The Atlanta Jewish Times, April 18, 2008

Rabbi Eric Yoffie doesn't like Pastor John Hagee. That is clear after the president of the Union for Reform Judaism blasted the founder of Christians United for Israel specifically and Christian Zionists generally April 2.

That much of his speech at the Central Conference of American Rabbis convention in Cincinnati was unsurprising. Rabbi Yoffie has long tried to drive a wedge between Christian Zionists and at least Reform Jews, if not all American Jews. At the Reform biennial in Houston in 2005, he spent a portion of his State of the Movement sermon decrying the political ascendancy of the religious right and reminding the world that the left has its religiously motivated activists as well, led by the Reform movement's Religious Action Center. Continue.

For McCain, Little Talk of a Controversial Endorsement

By Neela Banerjee, New York Times, April 8, 2008

When Senator John McCain won the endorsement of the Rev. John C. Hagee in February, his campaign hoped it would shore up his conservative credentials among evangelicals and build enthusiasm among a voting bloc that would be critical for him in November.

But since then, Mr. Hagee has been on the defensive over some of his views about Catholics and Jews, and he and Mr. McCain’s campaign have been silent about his endorsement.

The controversial endorsement points to Mr. McCain’s tenuous relationship with conservative evangelicals, a group that President Bush courted with tremendous success and that Republicans have come to view as vital to their prospects in many states. Continue.

US Evangelicals March Through Jerusalem

By The Associated Press, New York Times, April 7, 2008

JERUSALEM (AP) -- American televangelist John Hagee led several hundred flag-waving followers across Jerusalem on Monday, a colorful display of the growing alliance between Christian evangelicals and Israel.

Hagee, who calls himself a Christian Zionist, pledged his unconditional backing for the Jewish state. He also vehemently denied he is anti-Catholic, telling reporters that comments attributed to him were either false or mischaracterized. Continue.

Jewish Leader Calls Hagee 'Extremist'

Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, April 2, 2008

(04-02) 17:19 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) --The leader of the largest branch of American Judaism said Wednesday that synagogues in the movement shouldn't work with the Rev. John Hagee, a Christian Zionist, calling him an "extremist" on Israeli policy who disparages other faiths.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, said Hagee and his group, Christians United For Israel, reject any Israeli land concessions to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Continue.

"Allying with Christian Zionists is bad for Israel"

Shmuel Rosner Blog, Haaretz.com, April 3, 2008

New York - "No, we cannot." We cannot cooperate with the Christian Zionists, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, told the annual conference of the movement's rabbis Wednesday night in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to copies of the speech distributed ahead of time to the press.

Not an easy thing to say, considering their powerful numbers and the depth of the Evangelicals' support for Israel. But Yoffie thinks it is important - not because of their stance on abortion, their policies against homosexuals or the fact they do not respect members of other religions.

These elements certainly add to the argument, particularly the last factor, but they are not the main reasons. "What they mean by support of Israel and what we mean by support of Israel are two very different things," Yoffie says, highlighting the real reason. Continue.

Reform leader: 'Christians for Israel' hurt country

Michal Lando, Jerusalem Post, April 2, 2008

As 1,000 Christians tour Israel with Christians United for Israel, the head of the Union for Reform Judaism called Wednesday night on the union to reject alliances with the group, which - he said - "advances their theology at the expense of Israel's security and well-being."

Addressing the annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rabbi Eric Yoffie addressed his disagreement with colleagues who say that the connection with Christians United for Israel is needed in a time where Israel needs all the support it can get.

"The concerns expressed here are reasonable," said Yoffie, "but I would draw precisely the opposite conclusion." Continue.

Are You Listening, Joe Lieberman?

Gershom Gorenberg, The Huffington Post, April 3, 2008

Kudos to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, who has publicly spoken out against Jewish political cooperation with those Evangelicals who label themselves "Christian Zionists," with their most prominent organization - Christians United for Israel - and with its leader, Rev. John Hagee. Yoffie's words:

The heart of Pastor Hagee's message is to be found in these words: "Stop giving the land away. The land belongs to you. Keep it." ...[M]ainstream Christian Zionists are, by their own admission, not "advocates" of Israel but "Biblical advocates" of Israel, and this means that they oppose any territorial concessions by the Government of Israel for any reason whatsoever. It follows that their vision of Israel rejects a two-state solution, rejects the possibility of a democratic Israel, and supports the permanent occupation of all Arab lands now controlled by Israel." Continue.

Move over Moses, Pastor Hagee is here

Ellen W. Horowitz, IsraelENews.com, April 4, 2008

Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is in town.

Senator Joseph Lieberman has compared him to Moses (note: McCain is "part Maccabeean" according to Joe).

"Pastor Hagee is a spiritual leader who personifies the words of the living God," according to Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg of San Antonio (the rabbi is also here this week).

Ambassador Daniel Ayalon has told Pastor Hagee, "We love you because you are a man of God" (one wonders when Danny became so religious) Continue.

Rabbi Yoffie Excommunicates Pastor Hagee

Richard Baehr, American Thinker, April 4, 2008

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, seems to think Israel has too many allies in America. In particular, he believes that Israel can do without the support of evangelical Christians, and especially Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel.

At a convention of reform rabbis in Cincinnati this week, Yoffie lowered the boom on Hagee and urged Jews to no longer attend Hagee's series of "Nights for Israel", which have helped raise tens of millions of dollars for the Jewish state, and strengthened the connection between Jews and Evangelicals around the country.

Yoffie must think that the pro-Israel community has a lot of other places to turn for support in America. Maybe he is foolish enough to think the mainline Protestant churches will take up the slack. The problem is that while Evangelicals come to Washington to lobby Congress on behalf of a strong US Israel relationship, the mainline churches are busy passing resolutions calling for boycotts and divestment from Israel . Continue.

John McCain rejects John Hagee's endorsement

Reports on Jewish reaction to Hagee's Holocaust statement are here.

McCain Cuts Ties to Pastors Whose Talks Drew Fire

By Neela Banerjee and Michael Luo, New York Times, May 23, 2008

Senator John McCain on Thursday rejected the endorsements of two prominent evangelical ministers whose backing he had sought to shore up his credentials with religious conservatives.

Mr. McCain repudiated the Rev. John C. Hagee, a televangelist, after a watchdog group released a recording of a sermon in which Mr. Hagee said Hitler and the Holocaust had been part of God’s plan to chase the Jews from Europe and drive them to Palestine.

Later in the day, he also rejected the endorsement of the Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio, whose anti-Muslim sermons were broadcast on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday. Continue.

McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God's Will (AUDIO)

Sam Stein, The Huffington Post, May 21, 2008

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel. Continue.

CUFI pleads for support of Hagee in wake of McCain's rejection
Christians United for Israel director says "attacks" on Hagee intended to "silence" Christian Zionists

Email from David Brog, CUFI executive director, May 26, 2008

JewsOnFirst has obtained and posted a copy of an email that Christians United for Israel Executive Director David Brog sent out on the Memorial Day holiday. Brog states: "Pastor Hagee has come under an angry attack by many in the media. They have ignored his fifty years of ministry. They have overlooked his lifetime of loving-kindness and charity. And they have horribly twisted his decades of zealous support for Israel and the Jewish people. And," continues Brog, "make no mistake about it, many who attack Pastor Hagee seek not only to hurt him, but to silence all Christian friends of Israel." Brog encourages CUFI supporters to respond by registering for the group's annual conference in Washington. Please click here.

The politician's pastor

The editors, The Christian Century, July 1, 2008

It's been an odd season for pastors and would-be presidents. The latter have been renouncing the former faster than you can say "damage control." Barack Obama quit his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago after Catholic priest Michael Pfleger delivered a sermon there in which he mocked Hillary Clinton for her alleged racism. Having already endured several rounds of controversy over Trinity's retired pastor, Jeremiah Wright, Obama decided he was not interested in defending his congregation from any more complaints about extremist statements. John McCain's renunciation of pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley, who had both endorsed him for president, received less hyperventilating media coverage, though Hagee's contention that God used the Holocaust to gather the Jews to Israel and hasten the end times and Parsley's comment that Islam's Muhammad is "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil" are wackier than anything Wright said. Continue.

Hagee reaffirms pledge to defend Israel

JTA, May 25, 2008

Rev. John Hagee reaffirmed his pledge to combat anti-Semitism and defend Israel following controversy over his Holocaust theology. Continue.

Hagee bows out of '08 race, but vows to fight on for Israel

By Ben Harris, JTA, May 27, 2008

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Controversy may have driven the Rev. John Hagee from an active role in the presidential race, but the high-profile pastor is vowing to push forward with his pro-Israel activism. Continue.

Hagee Still Has Strong Support In Community
Foxman backtracks from tough stand; others ambivalent but standing by fiery Evangelical leader.

by James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, May 28, 2008

Pastor John Hagee may be politically treif after his stinging repudiation by Sen. John McCain, but there are few signs that mainstream Jewish leaders who have warmed to his ardent support for Israel are turning away from the controversial Evangelical leader — despite theological views of the Holocaust that several have termed offensive.

Last week Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman told The Jewish Week that Jewish groups should put on “hold” relations with Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) after new revelations of 1990s-era sermons in which the apocalypse-minded televangelist suggested that Adolf Hitler was sent by God to spur the rebirth of Israel.

But while calling it a "perversion of Judaism to say God sent Hitler," Foxman this week said he is advocating only caution, not a broad retreat from dealings with Christian Zionist groups.

“There is no reason for us to reject Christian support for Israel,” he said. "But when those who say they are our friends say offensive things, we have to ask them: What does this mean? Do you understand its implications?"

A leading Hagee critic said that’s not enough. "What does someone have to do say or do to prove that they’re a bigot in the eyes of the official Jewish community?” asked Rabbi Haim Beliak, co-founder of the JewsOnFirst Web site, which opposes the agenda of the Christian right. "Hagee is someone our parents would have instinctively understood is outside the pale of acceptable company for Jews. But now we have leaders of the community who are afraid to acknowledge that." Continue.

Hagee Quoted as Blaming Jews for Holocaust: Yoffie’s Letter Calls for Explanation

News Release, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, May 21, 2008

Washington, DC, May 21, 2008 – In response to reports that Pastor John Hagee has made statements suggesting that Jews are responsible for the Holocaust, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, sent the following open letter calling for an explanation. Continue.

Hagee's Jewish Endorsers

by David Saperstein, Washington Post On Faith blog, May 23, 2008. David Saperstein is director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Fundamentalist religious leaders who believe not only that God controls everything that happens but that they are able to see God’s explicit plans within the context of their own political and cultural views should raise alarm bells for those who would ally with them. Senator John McCain faced this dilemma starkly yesterday, and ended up, rightly, repudiating Pastor John Hagee’s assertions that Hitler was foretold in a verse in Jeremiah and that Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God’s plan to force the Jewish people back to Israel.

Jews can empathize with Sen. McCain because we have faced the same dilemma with Rev. Hagee. No fundamentalist Christian is more overtly supportive of Israel, raised more money for Israel, nor used his religious and political clout to more energetically mobilize support in America for Israel. Further, he was an evangelical who made clear that his relations with Jews over Israel would not be used to try to convert us. Yet, his fundamentalist views had led to reprehensible statements about gays, Catholics, and even the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Continue.

Breaking: Foxman Calls for "Hold" on Hagee Ties

James Besser, The Jewish Week, May 21, 2008

As Sen. John McCain was cutting ties to Pastor John Hagee, the controversial Christian Zionist leader whose endorsement he sought, a top Jewish leader also changed course and called for ties to Hagee's pro-Israel group to be put on "hold," the Jewish Week has learned.

"It's now necessary for us to look at the totality of (Hagee's) views, said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a Jewish Week interview on Thursday. In the past Foxman has defended the growing nexus of relations between Jewish and pro-Israel groups and Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Continue.

We Need Lots More Than the Holocaust

Column by Leonard Fein, Forward, June 5, 2008

Let’s talk about Jeremiah.

Well, not exactly about Jeremiah, but about Jeremiah’s mindset — specifically, about the prophet’s punishing predictions regarding the future history of our people.

What makes the matter pertinent just now is the controversy surrounding Pastor John Hagee. I wrote in this space recently, and quite critically, of Hagee’s “explanation” of the Holocaust. There are two overlapping parts to his explanation, one general, the other specific.

It was, says Hagee, our “own rebellion [that] birthed the seed of antisemitism that would arise and bring destruction to them [the Jews] for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people.” And then, referencing Jeremiah, the Holocaust itself: “How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, ‘My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the Land of Israel.’” In context, what Hagee means here is that Hitler was sent, by God, to get us to go to Israel. Continue.

Our Hagee Problem Has Yet To Be Addressed

Column by Leonard Fein, Forward, May 29, 2008

By now, Pastor John Hagee has been revealed as a theological boor and John McCain has deftly, if belatedly, stepped away from the Hagee embrace he had earlier so assiduously sought and so gratefully welcomed.

“Boor” is a rough word, I know. So let Hagee speak for himself: “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. How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of antisemitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people.” Continue.

5 questions about Pastor Hagee and the Holocaust
Presidential candidate last week publicly rejected pastor's endorsement over 'God made Hitler' jibe.

By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz, May 25, 2008

In this written interview with David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, Rosner asks the right questions about CUFI President John Hagee, who was dropped by John McCain on May 22nd. (Example: "In a speech a couple of months ago, rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Jewish Reform movement has said this: "By what right do we expect others to walk away from those who make anti-Jewish or anti-Israel statements when we will not walk away from those who make anti-Islam or anti-Catholic statements?") Brog's answers run mostly to excusing Hagee's statements because Israel is in need of friends. Brog completely ignores Rosner's references to Hagee's anti-Muslim rhetoric. Click here.

Hagee's publicist releases statements by Hagee, supportive San Antonio rabbi
Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg's statement justifies Hagee's Holocuast remarks

Statements by John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg, May 23, 2008

John Hagee's publicist 5W Public Relations released as a Word document the statements with no identifying information, attached to an email stating "Today, May 23, 2008, at 2:00PM Pastor John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg delivered the below statements in a media availability." We have posted the Word document as a PDF. Click here.

Spotlight Recasts Church Leaders and Their Support

By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, May 24, 2008

When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, an influential megachurch pastor from Texas made an early endorsement that helped him win over skeptical evangelical conservatives.

That pastor was the Rev. John C. Hagee.

At the time, Mr. Hagee was pretty much the same public person he is today: a hard-line pro-Israel preacher and best-selling author whose evangelistic enterprise was built on apocalyptic prophecies that many Jews, Roman Catholics and other Christians found disturbing. Yet it was never an issue when Mr. Bush’s campaign trumpeted the support of Mr. Hagee, as well as that of multimedia evangelists like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Eight years later, Mr. Hagee’s presidential endorsement is suddenly more a curse than a blessing. Continue.

Sen. McCain’s Agents of Intolerance

Editorial, New York Times, May 24, 2008

It took a long time for him to do it, but Senator John McCain has finally rejected the endorsements of two evangelical ministers — one whose bizarre and hate-filled sermons deeply offended both Catholics and Jews and the other who has used his pulpit to attack Muslims.

Mr. McCain had it right in his unsuccessful primary campaign eight years ago when he denounced the Christian right’s Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” who exercised an “evil influence” over the Republican Party. It was particularly disturbing to see him cynically pander this year for the support of that same Christian right.

His belated decision to distance himself from two of the most extreme ministers was long overdue — and we suspect driven more by political ambition than by the principles he espoused in the past. Continue.

Hagee, McCain, Aipac: The Audacity of Cynicism

Gershom Gorenberg, SouthJerusalem.org, May 25, 2008

John McCain was shocked, shocked to know that there were horrid thoughts going on around Rev. Hagee’s brain about the positive side of the Holocaust. These comments, from a sermon on how God used Hitler to get the Jews to return to their land, in case you missed the news all weekend, include:

“How is God going to bring them back to the land? The answer is fishers and hunters,” Mr. Hagee said, referring to how Jews ended up in the modern state of Israel. “A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and forces you. Hitler was a hunter.” Continue.

Hagee, McCain part ways

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 22, 2008

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Hagee, a pro-Israel pastor, cut off ties over the revelation of Hagee's Holocaust theology.

"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them," McCain said in a statement Thursday. "I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."

Reports emerged this week on the Huffington Post blog that Hagee, who founded and heads Christians United for Israel, outlined a theology in the 1990s which described Adolf Hitler as a "hunter." Continue.

McCain's Latest, Biggest, Religious Stumble

Dan Gilgof, Beliefnet, May 22, 2008

John McCain's rejection of John Hagee's endorsement today is the starkest example yet of McCain's ham handed approach to dealing with the Christian Right and with handling religious matters generally. It's a striking contrast to era of George W. Bush, whose political rise was largely a result of having mastered Christian Right and evangelical outreach, in connecting with believers personally and mobilizing them organizationally.

McCain's deficiencies in those areas also contrast sharply with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, whose sophisticated campaigns to win evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, and other religious voters just four years after John Kerry refused to engage in faith-based organizing and messaging suggest that both learned more from Bush about religion's role in American politics than McCain did. Continue.

Reverend John Hagee's statement withdrawing his endorsement of John McCain
John Hagee: “I Have Received Death Threats”

by John Hagee, May 22, 2008 via Christian Broadcasting Network

Pastor John Hagee's statement is posted on a blog on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Hagee begins: "The past 24 hours have been extremely disappointing ones to me. My disappointment has nothing to do with the fact that I parted company with John McCain – this was best for both of us and for the country. It is time the candidates and the media turn their attention back to the pressing issues of our day and stop focusing on what I did or did not say decades ago." Click here.

McCain rejects Hagee's endorsement

David Edwards and Muriel Kane, the Raw Story, May 22, 2008

John McCain's rejection of John Hagee's endorsement came on the heels of two powerful video presentations of Hagee's own words captured by Dan Abrams on MSNBC's Verdict and ABC's Good Morning America. Links to both recordings are posted on the MSNBC's Raw Story blog. Click here.

Below are links to a sermon and a report posted by JewsOnFirst.org in 2007, both of which included Hagee's statements on the Holocaust.

Abandoning Our Archaic Fears
A High Holiday Sermon for 5768/2007 The American Jewish Community's Future Direction in a Christianizing America

Haim Dov Beliak, www.JewsOnFirst.org, September 2, 2007

Hagee qualifies his professed love for the Jewish people even further when he writes in his book Jerusalem Countdown that Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust as a punishment for not accepting Jesus. The chutzpah displayed here would normally put a person beyond the pale occupied by Iran's Ahmadinejad. But Israel's US lobby, the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, invited Hagee to give a keynote speech at its 2007 conference. Continue.

Pushback on Armageddon

Jane Hunter and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, www.JewsOnFirst.org, March 7, 2008

Christian Zionists believe that Armageddon awaits the immigration of all the world's Jews to Israel. That explains Hagee's demand that Israel keep all the land it occupied in 1967. And it also undoubtedly explains -- though hardly excuses -- his statement in Jerusalem Countdown that the Holocaust resulted from Jews' refusal to move to Israel when bidden by Theodor Herzl: God then sent the hunters. The hunter is one who pursues his target with force and fear. No one could see the horror of the Holocaust coming, but the force and fear of Hitler's Nazis drove the Jewish people back to the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have -- Israel. I stand amazed at the accuracy of God's Word and its relevance for our time. Continue.

Christian Zionist leader John Hagee endorses John McCain

McCain's Evangelical Problem

Commentary by Robert Novak, Washington Post, June 9, 2008

Shortcomings by John McCain's campaign in the art of politics are alienating two organizations of Christian conservatives. James Dobson's Focus on the Family is estranged following the failure of Dobson and McCain to talk out their differences. Evangelicals who follow the Rev. John Hagee resent McCain's disavowal of him.

The evangelicals are not an isolated problem for the Arizona senator. Enthusiasm for McCain inside the Republican coalition is in short supply. During the four months since McCain clinched the nomination, he has not satisfied conservatives opposed to his positions on global warming, campaign finance reform, immigration, domestic oil drilling and how to ban same-sex marriages. Continue.

John Hagee shouldn't be rattling sabers in the Mideast

Michael Felsen, The Boston Globe, June 9, 2008

In February, John McCain eagerly accepted the endorsement of megachurch televangelist and Christian Zionist leader John Hagee. But almost immediately, the presumptive Republican nominee was under siege by Catholic advocates grossly offended by Hagee's characterization of their church as "apostate" and "the great whore." McCain wavered and Hagee publicly apologized; a close call, but the relationship survived.

A few weeks ago, a Hagee sermon from the late 1990s surfaced. In it, Hagee interprets Jeremiah 16 as foretelling Theodor Herzl's efforts to shepherd Diaspora Jews back to the Land of Israel. When Herzl's attempts proved inadequate, Hagee tells us, God ushered Hitler, the "hunter," onto the scene, because "God said, 'my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the Land of Israel.' Continue.

Hagee Down But Not Out

Bill Berkowitz, Religion Dispatches, June 9, 2008

Despite the public flogging that Pastor John Hagee has recently received, it is too early to cast him off to the dustbin of history. While he may no longer be accepted aboard Senator John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express“ nor have such easy access to the congressional offices of a bevy of Jewish legislators—many of whom have welcomed him with open arms in the past—it is unlikely that either Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) or his San Antonio mega-church will be closing its doors anytime soon. Continue.

CUFI pleads for support of Hagee in wake of McCain's rejection
Christians United for Israel director says "attacks" on Hagee intended to "silence" Christian Zionists

Email from David Brog, CUFI executive director, May 26, 2008

JewsOnFirst has obtained and posted a copy of an email that Christians United for Israel Executive Director David Brog sent out on the Memorial Day holiday. Brog states: "Pastor Hagee has come under an angry attack by many in the media. They have ignored his fifty years of ministry. They have overlooked his lifetime of loving-kindness and charity. And they have horribly twisted his decades of zealous support for Israel and the Jewish people. And," continues Brog, "make no mistake about it, many who attack Pastor Hagee seek not only to hurt him, but to silence all Christian friends of Israel." Brog encourages CUFI supporters to respond by registering for the group's annual conference in Washington. Please click here.

Support Hagee by going to Washington

Steve Strang, Charisma, June 5, 2008

This is a very strange election season. Who would have thought last summer that Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama would be their respective party nominees? Didn't the media nearly coronate Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton as the nominees?

You may remember that I endorsed Gov. Mike Huckabee to be president and I still hold out hope that he may be the vice presidential nominee. I will write about this in an upcoming Strang Report.

But now the focus is on John McCain who received and then rejected endorsements from two friends of mine--Pastor John Hagee and Pastor Rod Parsley. Continue.

John Hagee is No Anti-Semite

Mike Evans, Charisma, June 5, 2008

John Hagee is no anti-Semite. The secular, liberal, God-hating media has been obsessed with Pastor John Hagee, insinuating that he condones the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler’s actions.

I have been a credentialed Middle East journalist for more than thirty years and I am very familiar with the games the secular media play, especially during election years.

Anyone with a brain knows that when you have a liberal Democratic presidential candidate, Barak Obama, whose pastor Jeremy Wright has, in fact, made numerous anti-Semitic statements, the strategy of the liberal Left media is to find a conservative, Republican-supporting pastor and use him as a scapegoat, no matter what the truth is. Continue.

McCain Backer Regrets Comments on Catholics

By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, May 14, 2008

The Rev. John C. Hagee, whose anti-Catholic remarks created a controversy when Senator John McCain received his endorsement for the Republican presidential nomination with fanfare, has issued a letter expressing regret for “any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.”

The letter was issued after weeks of conversations between Mr. Hagee and Roman Catholic Republicans about repairing the damage to Mr. McCain’s campaign and the alliance built over many years between conservative Catholics and evangelicals.

Mr. McCain said Tuesday that he had not been involved in brokering the apology letter from Mr. Hagee, a megachurch pastor in San Antonio who broadcasts to 200 countries, but that he found it "a laudable thing." Continue.

McCain Backer John Hagee Apologizes to Catholics

Elizabeth Holmes, The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2008

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical pastor who endorsed John McCain, will issue a letter of apology to Catholics today for inflammatory remarks he has made, including accusing the Roman Catholic Church of supporting Adolf Hitler and calling it “The Great Whore.”

“Out of a desire to advance greater unity among Catholics and Evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful,” Hagee wrote, according to an advanced copy of the letter reviewed by Washington Wire. “After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.”

In the letter, addressed to Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League and one of Hagee’s biggest critics, Hagee pledges “a greater level of compassion and respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.” Continue.

Letter of apology to Catholics

John Hagee, via Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2008

In a letter addressed to Willian Donohue of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, Rev John Hagee offers an apology to the Roman Catholic church. He explains specific references that he made in past lectures as well as accepts responsibility for not giving Catholics their just due in irradicating anti-semitism. Hagee praises the church's pro-life advocacy as well as record of support for defending life from "conception to natural death." Continue.

Pastor Hagee apology good enough for Catholics, but not for the DNC

By Klaus Marre, The Hill, May 13, 2008

The Democratic National Committee called on Sen. John McCain to "have the courage" to demand that Hagee also apologize for his comments about women and Hurricane Katrina. "Unless John McCain’s idea of being a new kind of Republican includes cozying up to radicals who compare women to dogs, hold racially insensitive fundraisers and call one of the worst natural disasters in our country’s history God’s punishment, he should renounce John Hagee’s endorsement immediately,” a DNC spokeswoman told The Hill. Continue.

How the Rev. John Hagee got religion (the Catholic kind)

Wayne Slater, Dallas Morning News, May 16, 2008

AUSTIN – Here's the backstory on how the Rev. John Hagee got religion (the Catholic kind).

When the San Antonio televangelist burst onto the national political scene in February with his endorsement of John McCain, it wasn't pretty.

Instantly, the Internet was filled with snippets from sermons and provocative YouTube clips of the portly pastor calling the Catholic church "the great whore" of Revelations and suggesting the Vatican was complicit in the Holocaust.

Catholics, particularly Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, howled in protest. Publicly, Mr. McCain scrambled to distance himself from the pastor, whose endorsement was aimed at winning evangelicals.

Behind the scenes, there's been a campaign to repair the damage. Continue.

Hagee Regrets Offending Catholics; Controversy Ends

Website of the Catholic League, May 13, 2008

The concluding paragraph of the letter from William Donohue reads: The tone of Hagee’s letter is sincere. He wants reconciliation and he has achieved it. Indeed, the Catholic League welcomes his apology. What Hagee has done takes courage and quite frankly I never expected him to demonstrate such sensitivity to our concerns. But he has done just that. Now Catholics, along with Jews, can work with Pastor Hagee in making interfaith relations stronger than ever. Whatever problems we had before are now history. This case is closed.” Continue.

Mr. Obama and Rev. Wright

Editorial, New York Times, April 30, 2008

At the end of an editorial about Sen. Barack Obama's repudiation of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., the Times states: "It is an injustice, a legacy of the racist threads of this nation’s history, but prominent African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden.

"Senator John McCain has continued to embrace a prominent white supporter, Pastor John Hagee, whose bigotry matches that of Mr. Wright. Mr. McCain has not tried hard enough to stop a race-baiting commercial — complete with video of Mr. Wright — that is being run against Mr. Obama in North Carolina." Click here.

McCain's faith, pastor hard to pigeonhole

Greg Warner, Christian Century, May 20, 2008

John McCain has a deep and personal Christian commitment despite his reluctance to speak publicly about it, according to the man that the Arizona senator and presumed GOP presidential nominee claims as his pastor.

Dan Yeary, pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, described the senator and his wife, Cindy, as "very unobtrusive" people who don't seek special attention when they are able to come to worship. "They come in the side door. They're very pleasant. They talk to people. They're very approachable."

But the man McCain calls "my family's pastor" said his relationship with the candidate is not a particularly close one. Yeary said he's done "no more [for McCain] than I would do for any church member" in the 7,000-member congregation. Continue.

The All-White Elephant in the Room

Frank Rich, The New York Times, May 4, 2008

Bored by those endless replays of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? If so, go directly to YouTube, search for “John Hagee Roman Church Hitler,” and be recharged by a fresh jolt of clerical jive.

What you’ll find is a white televangelist, the Rev. John Hagee, lecturing in front of an enormous diorama. Wielding a pointer, he pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is “the Great Whore,” Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking “the blood of the Jewish people.” That’s because the Great Whore represents “the Roman Church,” which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.

Mr. Hagee is not a fringe kook but the pastor of a Texas megachurch. On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him over the religious conservatives’ favorite, Mike Huckabee, who was then still in the race. Continue.

Why No HageeGate? Russert Explains

Liz Cox Barrett, Columbia Journalism Review, May 6, 2008

On Imus in the Morning yesterday, Tim Russert supplied an answer to that question — bubbling online and, yesterday, on the New York Times’ op-ed page — given WrightGate, where is HageeGate? You know, not that it’s an apples-to-apples comparison (Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and McCain’s relationship with Rev. John Hagee) but why have Wright’s way-out words received wall-to-wall coverage while Hagee’s hateful homilies have hardly been mentioned?Continue.

A Turbulent Pastor
John Hagee has his share of out-there opinions, but lucky for the candidate, he's in a moment of silence.

Holly Bailey, Newsweek, May 12, 2008

John McCain likes to think of himself as a straight shooter—a man of honor who doesn't duck tough questions. But at least one question does get him bobbing and weaving: why doesn't he renounce the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, the San Antonio televangelist who has offended Roman Catholics and other groups?

On the trail, McCain tries to stay away from talking about Hagee. In New Orleans last month, he grew irritated when asked about the pastor's views on Hurricane Katrina. "It's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense," McCain said when a reporter drew attention to Hagee's 2006 statement to National Public Radio that New Orleans had suffered "the judgment of God" because of its "level of sin." McCain refused to disavow Hagee's support. "Would I consider repudiating his endorsement?" McCain said to reporters on the back of his bus. "I certainly condemn those parts of his remarks. [But] I continue to appreciate his support for the state of Israel and for many of the good things that he and his church have done." Continue.

McCain backer John Hagee tempers Hurricane Katrina comments

Don Federick, Los Angeles Times Blog, April 26, 2008

Pastor John Hagee has revised his view of God's wrath, and chances are John McCain couldn't be happier.

Without fanfare, in an e-mail sent the latter part of Friday, Hagee backed off his assertion that Hurricane Katrina was the Almighty's punishment of New Orleans because it had planned to host a gay pride parade. Continue.

McCain Surrogate Brownback Downplays Hagee's Bigotry

Jason, The Huffington Post, May 6, 2008

MSNBC's Brian Williams came perilously close to applying actual press scrutiny to one of John McCain's most beloved supporters, evangelist minister John Hagee, when he asked McCain enthusiast Senator Sam Brownback if Hagee was the "albatross" around McCain's neck. Continue.

Michael Moore, Frank Rich, Jeremiah Wright and John Hagee

Dennis Prager, Townhall.com, May 6

It is with no pleasure that I put in writing what I have long believed: Though many individual liberals have only goodwill toward black Americans, the liberal world since the late 1960s (i.e., after the major civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s) has done incalculable damage to black America and to race relations in this country. Whether out of guilt or because of its own racist views (i.e., the unspoken but regularly implied belief in the inferiority of African-Americans), the left-of-center's general attitude toward black Americans has been that they cannot be judged by the same standards as others.

From lowering standards of admission to universities to blaming the high number of black men in prison for violent crimes on white racism to decades of cultivating black victimhood and the subsequent Wright-like rage against America, liberals and their party, the Democrats, have immeasurably hurt African-Americans and America. Continue.

MoveOn.org Asks McCain To Drop Pastor Who Blamed Victims For Katrina

Sarah Lai Stirland, Wired.com, April 24, 2008

The liberal activist group MoveOn.org on Thursday planned to use the internet and media coverage to cement the idea in voters' minds that Arizona Republican senator John McCain is associated with the bizarre and extreme views of an evangelical pastor named John Hagee.

The group on Thursday sent out an e-mail petition to its 3.2 million members. It asks them to sign on to demand that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee drop Hagee's support.

During an interview with National Public Radio's Fresh Air program in 2006, Hagee said that Hurricane Katrina was the result of God's judgment against New Orleans for hosting a gay pride parade. Continue.

Hagee retracts Katrina comment

Foon Rhee, Boston Globe Blog, Political Intelligence, April 25, 2008

The Rev. John Hagee, whose endorsement of John McCain has caused headaches for the presumptive Republican nominee because of some controversial statements he has made, retracted one of them this evening.

Hagee, who has also been criticized for his remarks about the Catholic Church, suggested this week that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a planned gay-pride parade. "What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God," the Texas televangelist told a radio show host. "It was a city that was planning sinful conduct." Continue.

Hurricane Hagee

David Kurtz, TPM (TalkingPointsMemo), April 24, 2008

John McCain is in New Orleans' 9th Ward today as part of his "poverty tour," which prompts TPM Reader BM to recall McCain's endorsement by the Rev. John Hagee: It's probably folly to think that a member of the press corps would ask McCain about whether he believed that New Orleans' sinfulness is responsible for the damage inflicted by the hurricane, as his endorser continues to allege. Continue.

McCain, Hagee and the Politics of God's Wrath

John Nichols, The Nation, April 24, 2008

The whole controversy about John McCain's ties to radical preacher John Hagee has been miscast, both by McCain's critics and supporters – not to mention by our ministerially-obsessed media.

There is not really a comparison between the McCain-Hagee link and the relationship between Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. Obama, the Illinois senator who leads in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, looks to Wright for personal and spiritual counsel but does not have a political relationship with the man.

Indeed, as concerns about some of Wright's statements have been voiced, Obama has gone out of his way to distance himself politically from his former paster – while at the same time voicing his regard and respect for a religious leader who has been a part of his life for two decades. Continue.

Rev. John Hagee on the Dennis Prager Show, April 23, 2008

The Dennis Prager Show, posted on the TownHall.com website, April 23, 2008

In its introduction to Prager's interview with Hagee, TownHall says: "Pastor Hagee has been called John McCain’s Jeremiah Wright. Dennis talks to the Pastor and asks him about the various charges made against him." Click here for a link to a recording of the program, (but don't expect probing questions).

McCain Admits Hagee Endorsement Was A Mistake

ABC News, April 20, 2008

ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., admitted this morning that it was a mistake to accept the endorsement of Evangelical pastor Rev. John Hagee. When asked in an exclusive "This Week" interview with George Stephanopoulos if it was "a mistake to solicit and accept his endorsement", McCain replied "oh, probably, sure." Despite admitting his error, McCain made clear he's still "glad to have his endorsement."

McCain spoke out against Hagee's "condemning of the Catholic church," but added that "I admire and respect Dr. Hagee's leadership... I admire and appreciate his advocacy for the state of Israel, the independence of the state of Israel." McCain has previously admitted to soliciting Rev. Hagee's endorsement. Continue.

Pastor John Hagee, Chistian Zionist leader, endorses McCain
McCain rebuffs Catholic pleas to reject endorsement

Background by JewsOnFirst.org, March 3, 2008

San Antonio televangelist John Hagee endorsed John McCain for president last week. McCain eagerly accepted the endorsement from Hagee, who heads the leading Christian Zionist organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI). McCain has refused demands by Catholics, citing Hagee's anti-Catholic statements, to reject the endorsement.

Hagee also disparages Muslims (most recently by teaming up with the Republican Jewish Coalition to mail an anti-Muslim video to Jews), and his view of Judaism is hardly reassuring. He has, in addition, disparaged Jews who are not Orhodox or Conservative, saying they are "not driven by the Word of God."

Last July, JewsOnFirst reported on McCain's remarks at a closed CUFI briefing.

Most of the major Jewish organizations have embraced Hagee because of his support of Israel. Please click here.

For McCain, Little Talk of a Controversial Endorsement

By Neela Banerjee, New York Times, April 8, 2008

When Senator John McCain won the endorsement of the Rev. John C. Hagee in February, his campaign hoped it would shore up his conservative credentials among evangelicals and build enthusiasm among a voting bloc that would be critical for him in November.

But since then, Mr. Hagee has been on the defensive over some of his views about Catholics and Jews, and he and Mr. McCain’s campaign have been silent about his endorsement.

The controversial endorsement points to Mr. McCain’s tenuous relationship with conservative evangelicals, a group that President Bush courted with tremendous success and that Republicans have come to view as vital to their prospects in many states. Continue.

McCain, Hagee, and Sympathy for the Assassin

Gershom Gorenberg, SouthJerusalem.org, March 2, 2008

John Hagee - pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, founder of Christians United for Israel, and eager herald of End - has endorsed John McCain for president of the United States. One reason that Hagee gave for his choice was McCain’s “support of the state of Israel.” Hagee also claimed that he personally backs Israel because it is a democracy, not because of its place in apocalyptic scenarios. One must presume that after saying these words at a San Antonio press conference, the good minister turned and gave an immense wink to anyone who has read his books.Continue.

Pro-Israel evangelical leader endorses McCain

Andy Sullivan, Reuters, February 27, 2008

San Antonio (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain won the endorsement of Texas evangelical leader John Hagee on Wednesday, which could boost his standing among religious conservatives who have been reluctant to embrace the likely nominee.

Hagee, who heads a 19,000-member church in San Antonio, is best known for his outspoken support of Israel and writings on the Middle East, where he envisions a blood-soaked clash between East and West leading to the return of Jesus Christ.

"I'm very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement today," McCain said at a news conference. "He has been the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement in many areas, but especially, most especially, his close ties and advocacy for the freedom and independence of the state of Israel." Continue.

Hagee Endorses McCain

By Michael D. Shear, The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008, Washington Post, February 27, 2008

SAN ANTONIO -- Sen. John McCain picked up the support of Texas pastor John Hagee, an evangelical Christian who has made support for the state of Israel a centerpiece of his ministry.

Hagee endorsed McCain today, saying he did so because McCain is a pro-life, pro-Israel politician who has pledged to secure the country's borders. Continue.

Hagee endorses McCain

JTA, February 28, 2008

The evangelical leader who founded Christians United for Israel endorsed John McCain.

Pastor John Hagee, the founder of a 19,000-member megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday endorsed the Republican U.S. senator from Arizona in his bid for the presidency.

Hagee has made support for Israel a centerpiece of his ministry and his endorsement may be helpful in shoring up McCain's support among conservative Christians. Continue.

McCain's Own Endorsement Controversy

James Besser, The Jewish Week, Political Insider Blog, February 29. 2008

While Sen. Barack Obama continues to face questions about the unsolicited endorsement by Minister Louis Farrakhan, Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, faces his own endorsement controversy - one that will put pro-Israel leaders in an awkward spot.

This week McCain was endorsed by Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, an open advocate of preemptive war with Iran who believes that will start the ball rolling for a great apocalyptic conflagration that will engulf the Middle East.

Hagee is a particularly controversial figure among Catholics because of his views on the role of the Church in "end-time" prophecy. Continue.

Hypocrisy flies as McCain faces firestorm on Hagee endorsement
John Hagee, a pro-Israel televangelist and mega-church leader, has created a storm with his endorsement of John McCain for president.

By Ami Eden, JTA, March 4, 2008

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Many conservatives, not to mention Clinton supporters, were smiling wide last week during the Democratic debate in Ohio when MSNBC's Tim Russert asked Barack Obama about being praised by Louis Farrakhan. But the controversy faded almost before it started after Obama denounced the Nation of Islam leader's anti-Jewish remarks and, with a little prodding from Hillary Clinton, rejected his words of support as well.

Instead, even as he moved to secure the Republican nomination with primary wins in all four states that voted Tuesday, it was John McCain who has spent the past week on the defensive over an endorsement from a controversial clergyman, John Hagee. Continue.

Jewish Leaders Split on Hagee Endorsement Controversy

Jennifer Siegel, The Forward, March 5, 2008

Jewish leaders are divided over whether Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain should reject a recent endorsement from the Rev. John Hagee, with one prominent rabbi taking the leader of the Anti-Defamation League to task over his refusal to criticize the GOP candidate.

Hagee, an evangelical Christian minister from San Antonio, Texas, has long courted controversy with fiery denouncements of immigration, homosexuality and Catholicism. His endorsement of McCain last week has spurred an array of critics — including the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, as well the Democratic National Committee and a number of liberal bloggers — to call for the Arizona senator to reject the endorsement, as Democratic hopeful Barack Obama did recently when he received unsolicited support from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“We’re saying to McCain, ‘Listen, Obama denounced and rejected Farrakhan’s antisemitism, yet McCain hasn’t even brought himself to acknowledge what it is about Hagee that he may not agree with,’” Kiera McCaffrey, a spokeswoman for the Catholic League, said in an interview with the Forward. According to statements released by the Catholic League, Hagee has called the Catholic Church as “the whore of Babylon” and other derogatory terms, and misrepresented the Church’s treatment of Jews historically — charges Hagee refutes. Continue.

Why Do We Fawn Upon John Hagee?

Column by Leonard Fein, The Forward Forum, March 3, 2008

Of politics, bedfellows and such: The dustup over evangelical Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement of Senator John McCain would not have attracted the attention it did had it not come in the wake of the Tim Russert-provoked controversy regarding Senator Barack Obama, the pastor of his church and Louis Farrakhan. In the aftermath of the revelation of the Hagee endorsement, much attention has understandably been focused on McCain’s reaction and on the distinction between an unsolicited and unwelcome endorsement (Farrakhan) and an endorsement that was actively solicited and only partially rebuffed (Hagee).

My concern here is with Hagee and those who have endorsed him, but I pause to note that the Hagee-McCain association antedates Hagee’s formal endorsement last week. In fact, in South Carolina back in September, Hagee was invited to introduce McCain at a pre-primary rally entitled “No Surrender;” his full-throated introduction was until recently featured on McCain’s campaign Web site. Continue.

McCain seeks distance from pastor

Libby Quaid, Associated Press, Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 1, 2008

Phoenix -- John McCain is refusing to renounce the endorsement of a prominent Texas televangelist who Democrats say peddles anti-Catholic and other intolerant speech.

Instead, the Republican presidential candidate issued a statement Friday afternoon saying he had unspecified disagreements with the San Antonio megachurch leader, John Hagee. Hagee endorsed him at a news conference Wednesday in San Antonio.

"However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not," McCain said in the statement.Continue.

McCain says he's proud of John Hagee's support

Blip.tv, McCain Townhall event, February 28, 2008

A brief video from the McCain Townhall event in Houston Texas in which he expresses his pleasure at receiving Rev. John Hagee's endorsement. Continue.

Catholics United Asks John McCain to Distance Himself from Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Catholic United Web site, February 28, 2008

Catholics United has issued a letter to the John McCain campaign asking him to publicly distance himself from Pastor John Hagee's anti-Catholic rhetoric and reject his endorsement.

On Wednesday, Senator John McCain was “honored” to receive the endorsement of the Evangelical pastor John Hagee. Pastor Hagee is well known for his anti-Catholic rhetoric such as past suggestions that the Catholic Church gave Adolf Hitler inspiration and support for the Holocaust. In a letter to John McCain’s campaign, Catholics United is asking the Senator to distance himself from Pastor Hagee’s anti-Catholic comments and reject the endorsement.

Pastor John Hagee has a long history of criticizing the Catholic Church. In his book, Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee has a chapter entitled “Centuries of Mistreatment” where he makes derisive claims against the Catholic Church. In one alarming and unsubstantiated passage, Hagee suggests that Hitler’s attendance at a Catholic grade school produced Hitler’s anti-Semitic world view. This rhetoric is part of a pattern of behavior employed by Pastor Hagee to discredit the Catholic faith. Continue.

John McCain: Running with the Christocrats?

Marji Mendelsohn, BuzzFlash, March 3, 2008

Now that John McCain has tempered his lovefest with end-timer John Hagee by claiming distance from some of Hagee's words, he has hardly renounced either the big man or the powerful and cultic movement that hopes to see the world end. What is being overlooked is the big picture -- John McCain is playing ball with not only John Hagee, but also with several other big fundamentalist players. Are we to believe that Senator McCain thinks fundamentalism is good as long as it is homegrown? It's sure looking that way.

Last Tuesday, there was outrage and apology from McCain for his slimy, smarmy warm-up act, right-wing radio shock jock Bill Cunningham. According to Cunningham, he was only doing what he'd been asked; providing red meat to ramp up excitement pre-McCain. And so he did, only to be soundly spanked by the good senator.

What the media did not notice, but the Christian Fundamentalist world surely did, was that Christian Right superstar Rod Parsley, had ridden into town Tuesday with John McCain on his "Straight Talk Express" bus. This would be the same Rod Parsley who, in 2006, emphatically proclaimed to his Columbus, Ohio congregation at his World Harvest Church: "Americans must be 'Christocrats' -- citizens of both their country and the Kingdom of God"; "And that is not a democracy; that is a theocracy"; "That means God is in control, and you are not." Continue.

NY Times' standards for Catholic League's Donohue: Three articles for criticism of Edwards, two paragraphs for criticism of McCain

Media Matters for America, March 2, 2008

The York Times has devoted only two paragraphs and 102 words thus far to Catholic League president Bill Donohue's criticism of Sen. John McCain for his failure to repudiate the support of evangelist John Hagee, who has made statements Donohue considers anti-Catholic, and McCain's ensuing response. By comparison, the Times published three separate articles on Donohue's criticism of former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign for hiring two bloggers who Donohue contended were "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," and the Edwards campaign's subsequent reaction. Continue.

Catholic Group Hits McCain Endorsement

Newsmax, February 28, 2008

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been accused by the Catholic League of embracing a “bigot” — Texas evangelical leader John Hagee.

McCain said on Wednesday that he was “very honored” to win the endorsement of pro-Israel Hagee, who heads a 19,000-member church in San Antonio.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement: “There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Continue.

Rabbis disagree on cooperation with Christians United for Israel


Rabbis disagree on cooperation with Christian Zionist group
Debate flourishes on rabbis' listserv on whether to participate in events with Pastor John Hagee's Christians United for Israel

Edited by Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst, October 31, 2006

Following the gala weekend held earlier this month by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in San Antonio, a rabbis' listserv became the forum for discussion about the value of participating in such events. CUFI, founded by San Antonio megachurch pastor John Hagee, is led by some of the biggest names on the religious right. It has scheduled similar galas in other cities and rabbis in those cities are being pressed to participate. Some rabbis have no problem with the events, while others object. We have posted some of their letters. Please click here.

Knights in shining armor or Trojan horses?

By Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, Israeli Insider, June 19, 2007

Lately there has been high praise from many Jewish circles for Christian support for Israel. Some Jewish supporters call the Evangelical Christians, 'Our best friends'. I am often asked if Evangelical Christians really our friends, or do they have a hidden agenda?

There is irrefutable evidence that many evangelicals who support Israel have implemented a new "soft-sell" approach to proselytizing Jews for conversion.

In the words of Joe Dean, founder of an American Christian-Zionist organization, "By standing with the Jewish people in love and support, we can provoke them to jealousy, as the apostle Paul said, 'so as to win them to Christ.' Not by cramming the gospel down their throats, but by showing that our faith produces faithful works. I have told the Jewish agencies that we are not an evangelical group as such, and this is true. We are not actively trying to win Jews to Christ -- but by taking this stand, the Jewish people don't run away from us, and we are able to witness to them indirectly." Continue.

Christian Zionist Hagee holds Israel event (October 2006)

Comment: Christian Zionism raises questions among Jewish community

by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak and and Jane Hunter, San Antonio Express-News, Web Posted: 10/19/2006

The leaders of major Jewish organizations have enthusiastically welcomed the Rev. John Hagee's Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, which is holding a "Night to Honor Israel" in San Antonio this weekend. But some aspects of Hagee's effort do not bode well for Israel or American Jews.

CUFI brings together powerful leaders of the Christian right (the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Benny Hinn and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, to name a few) whose domestic agenda is opposed by the majority of American Jews. Continue.

5,000 pack church in Israel's honor

By Abe Levy, The San Antonio Express-News, October 23, 2006

Five thousand people packed Cornerstone Church on Sunday night, clapping and cheering for Israel with speeches and songs of solidarity led by a Christian congregation thankful for its Hebrew roots.

On the stage sat about 20 men, a mix of Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis and leaders who have united in a special service of Judeo-Christianity started 21/2 decades ago and called the Night to Honor Israel.

And while much time was spent honoring the Jewish people and their homeland, the main message of the night was the global war on terror and Israel's role as the key defender of freedom.Continue.

Christian Zionists rally in San Antonio
Speakers say Islam is the enemy and advocate attacking Iran

Margot Patterson, The National Catholic Reporter, November 3, 2006

In 1981, Texas pastor and televangelist John Hagee put on the first Night to Honor Israel at his church in San Antonio. Israel had a few months before bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, and the Christian Zionist preacher wanted to show his support for Israel after its destruction of the nuclear reactor had been criticized around the world.

Twenty-five years later, Hagee, who now advocates a strike by the United States or Israel on Iran’s nuclear installations, observed the silver anniversary of the Church of the Cornerstone’s annual Night to Honor Israel, an event that was part of a three-day celebration Oct. 20-22 designed to show solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people and to advance the message that Israel and America are in danger.

For the first time, Christians United for Israel, CUFI, a lobbying group Hagee established nine months ago, presented the event. It was billed as the first "national" Night to Honor Israel, an event that CUFI directors are taking to other U.S. cities. Such evenings have already been held in Berkeley, Sacramento and Pasadena, Calif.; St. Louis; Arvada, Colo.; and Carlsbad, N.M., and are scheduled for several other cities. Continue.

Observer returns to Cornerstone Church

Rev. Art Preisinger, a Lutheran pastor who reported on Pastor Hagee's "Night to Honor Israel" last month, reports on a second visit to Hagee's Cornerstone Church. "If John Hagee downplays, yea ignores, Christianity when he is with his [Christian Zionist and Jewish] friends," writes Preisinger, "he reverts to 'end time' type among his local followers on Sunday morning and evening." Click here.

Responses To Hagee's "Night To Honor Israel"

A report from the CUFI event and an essay, The Institute For The Study Of Christian Zionism, October 2006

The Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism has posted two major articles on CUFI's "Night to Honor Israel," held the weekend of October 21st.

  • From Religious Rant to Political Bombast , by Rev. Art Preisinger, a Lutheran pastor who attended the meeting and writes: "If John Hagee’s “Night to Honor Israel” extravaganza is any indication, Christian Zionism is a misnomer. From happy-clappy Jewish praise music, to love songs crooned to and about Israel, to a kitschy Hava Nagila; from invocations and benedictions that turn out to be sermons; from Muslim-bashing to Israel lauding; from dramatic processions to keynote addresses; from offerings taken and offerings given – there was not a shred, a trace, a scintilla of Christianity in the proceedings. It could well have been sponsored by the PTA or the Rotary Club."
  • How About a Night to Honor the Kingdom of God? by Dr. Donald Wagner, Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism, writes: "When Rev. Hagee launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington , D.C. in July, he claimed to speak for over 40 million Evangelical Christians. I prefer to be omitted from that number and would seriously question the 40 million figure. Rev. Hagee does not speak for me nor does his interpretation of Jesus’ message and his Middle East policy resonate with the beliefs of the Evangelicals I know and associate. Hagee’s is a militant, Crusader type of Christianity that seems to have missed the central themes of reconciliation, forgiveness, and non-violence that are at the heart of Jesus’ message and ministry."

To see both these articles, please go to the home page of the Institute's website, Challenging Christian Zionism, and look in the center column.

'Night' for Israel actually 3-day event

By Abe Levy, The San Antonio Express-News, October 19, 2006

The contributions of Jewish people to Christianity will take center stage this weekend at Cornerstone Church as it celebrates an event now in its 25th year. The Night to Honor Israel is expected to fill Cornerstone's 5,000-seat auditorium this Sunday and draw thousands to events Friday and Saturday.

For the first time, the event is described as "national" in scope and presented by Pastor John Hagee's 9-month-old lobbying group, Christians United for Israel, which aims to unify Christian Zionists as a political force.

Speakers this year include James Woolsey, a former CIA director; Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a former Republican presidential candidate; and Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, a former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff. Continue.

Christian Zionist Hagee on Fresh Air

Christian Zionist leader Hagee depicts Jews as Christ killers

by JewsOnFirst, September 26, 2006

John Hagee, the megachurch pastor who is the current face of Christian Zionism in the United States, depicted Jews as Christ killers in a recent interview. Hagee also stated that Muslims have a "mandate" to kill Christians and Jews and that God caused Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans to prevent a scheduled gay parade. Continue.

Christian Zionists mobilize against Iran

Christian Zionist leader mobilizes against the Iraq Study Group: warning evangelicals to "Beware Baker"

By H. Malone for JewsOnFirst.org, December 19, 2006

Televangelist John Hagee recently added his voice to the conservative chorus slamming the findings of the Iraq Study Group. Hagee, founder of the Christian Zionist lobbying group Christians United for Israel (CUFI), emailed a warning to his evangelical supporters saying they should "beware" the group's chairman, former Secretary of State Jim Baker.

Hagee slammed Baker for supposedly promoting the position "that America's problems can be settled if the Israel-Arab affair is settled." Hagee also claimed that, as Secretary of State in the George H.W. Bush administration, Baker enlisted Syria's support for the first Iraq war by giving Damascus "a free hand" in Lebanon. Continue.

Take Ahmadinejad At His Word

Opinion article by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, New York Jewish Week, November 11, 2007

Of all the challenges facing Israel, perhaps none looms larger than the threat of Iran. The Islamic republic is known as one of the major funders of terrorists from Hezbollah to Hamas, and is a primary source of Middle East instability. Tehran’s insistence that the nuclear technology it is developing will be used only for peaceful purposes flies in the face of numerous threats Iranian leadership has made against Israel, the United States and Western interests.

There are signs that the world is beginning to understand the necessity of doing something about Iran’s reckless pursuit of nuclear technology. In the U.S., Americans appear to be leaning toward decisive action that goes beyond toothless United Nations resolutions and sanctions. One recent poll shows that 52 percent of all Americans would favor a military strike to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Among Jewish Americans, that number rises to more than two-thirds. Their heightened willingness to strike is understandable, considering Iran’s proximity to Israel and its open hostility toward the Jewish state, as well as the not-so-highly-publicized issue of the state of Jews in Iran, a community of approximately 25,000 — the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel. Continue.

Apocalyptic man releases new DVD
Joel Rosenberg, the Christian bestselling author and close friend to Israeli officials, wants the Bush Administration to deal forcefully with Iran

Bill Berkowitz, Talk to Action, June 11, 2007

According to OneNewsNow.com - a news service run by Donald Wildmon's American Family Association -- "`Epicenter: Why The Current Rumblings In The Middle East Will Change Your Future," released last year by Joel Rosenberg, has been released as a DVD.

Featuring interviews with Israeli leaders like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the crisis in the Middle East, the DVD, timed to correspond with the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, focuses on the threat of Iran and that country's growing relationship with Russia. "Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, seems to be leading his country away from friendship with the West and toward an alliance with radical Islamic regimes such as in Iran," says Rosenberg.

In a blog post from Jerusalem late last year, Rosenberg, the bestselling Christian novelist, wrote: "The buzz here in the last few days is that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and ballistic missile sites." Given Israel's less than sterling performance against Hezbollah this summer, Rosenberg is not convinced that Israel "has the capacity -- or the will -- at the moment to neutralize the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile threat." Continue

Joel Rosenberg: Apocalyptic man
Bestselling Christian author of apocalyptic novels/political potboilers and close friend to Israeli officials sets his sights on Iran

by Bill Berkowitz, Bend Weekly (Bend, Oregon), February 16,2007

In a recent blog post datelined Jerusalem, Joel Rosenberg wrote: "The buzz here in the last few days is that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and ballistic missile sites." Given Israel's less than sterling performance against Hezbollah this past summer, Rosenberg wasn't convinced that Israel "has the capacity -- or the will -- at the moment to neutralize the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile threat."

However, with "a new Hitler rising in Iran," it is up to President Bush, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Washington in mid-November, to deal with the Iranian threat: "If President Bush believes Iran needs to be neutralized (and I believe he does), and he is convinced that military action is the only way (I don't believe he is there right now), then the U.S. should take the lead." Continue.

Holy Warriors Set Sights on Iran

by Bill Berkowitz, InterPress Service via AntiWar.com, December 20, 2006

In this report on Christian Zionists' push for action against Iran, author Berkowitz quotes JewsOnFirst Co-Director Haim Dov Beliak, commenting on best-selling end-times novelist (The Last Jihad, The Ezekiel Option) Joel Rosenberg. A Jewish convert to Christianity, Rosenberg previously worked for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, talk host Rush Limbaugh and the Heritage Foundation, Berkowitz reports. Here's where he quotes Beliak:

"Rosenberg chooses to trade in his private salvation narrative as way of winning readers, exploiting contacts, and most dangerously – political ventriloquism," said Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, the co-founder of JewsOnFirst.org, a Web site devoted to protecting free speech, and the rabbi of Beth Shalom Temple in Whittier, Calif.

"In this case, political ventriloquism is using the 'voice' of Jews to their eventual detriment – while claiming it is for their benefit – and seeking, what I as a believing Jew, must describe as apostasy against Judaism and God," he told IPS. "Rooting for war with Iran and lobbying for world destruction using Israel, as catalytic agent, is no longer 'entertainment' – it is obscene."

Click here to read Berkowitz's report.

Christian Zionists lobby for US attack on Iran
Right-wing Christian Evangelicals, End Times and Israel

by JewsOnFirst, July 31, 2006

Christian Zionists -- Christian evangelicals who avow support of Israel based on a belief in Biblical end-times scenarios -- are whipping their followers into a fervor in favor of an attack on Iran. In a related development, conservative commentators like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have been beating the drum for a US attack on Iran, characterizing the current conflict in Lebanon as the start of “World War Three."

The calls for aggressive action against Iran wouldn’t amount to much more than laugh lines for Comedy Channel newscasts, were it not for the involvement of some highly influential, right-wing Christian evangelical leaders in a new Christian Zionist organization, Christians United for Israel, or CUFI.

Religious right groups typically support aggressive foreign policies because of their identification with the Republican Party and their interest in missionizing where the US intervenes. But CUFI, which recently brought 3,500 citizen-lobbyists to Washington, is advocating confrontation with Iran based on "cherry-picked" Biblical interpretations. Continue

For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign Policy’

By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, November 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 -- As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel.

At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them "to let Israel do their job" of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.

He called the conflict "a battle between good and evil" and said support for Israel was "God’s foreign policy."

The next day he took the same message to the White House. Continue.

On hot day in D.C., evangelicals remind Israel that it is not alone

David J. Silverman, JTA, July 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 19 (JTA) — As the American Jewish community mobilizes to defend the embattled Jewish state, more than 3,500 evangelical Christians converged on Washington to remind them that they're not alone.

Representing all 50 states, delegates to the first annual Christians United For Israel summit flooded the halls of Congress on Wednesday in a spirited lobbying campaign to boost American support for Israel.

Israeli and American lapel flags were in abundance, as were red, white and blue buttons that read, "I vote the Bible."

"We as Christians have come to Washington, D.C. today, 3,500 of us, for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to go see every senator and every congressman and tell them that 40 million Christians in America stand with the State of Israel," the Rev. John Hagee, the group's founder, told a crowd of approximately 1,500 supporters of Israel, most of them Jewish, at a Washington rally Wednesday. Continue

Is this the start of World War III?

By Sheera Claire Frenkel and Gil Hoffman, The Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2006

Looking to their American counterparts on Monday, Knesset members were surprised at the solidarity and support being shown among key US politicians.

Several top US political figures, including Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Rep.) called the current Middle East crisis the beginning of "World War III" and said they were "gravely concerned" in an interview on CNN's Larry King Live. Continue

Christians have a biblical duty to support Israel in time of need

John C. Hagee, JTA, July 18, 2006

SAN ANTONIO, July 18 (JTA) — This week, more than 3,000 Christians representing all 50 states gathered in Washington for a truly historic event. Without the traditional rally on the Capitol steps or demonstrations that bring Washington traffic to a halt, Christians United for Israel held a banquet saluting the State of Israel and met with members of Congress to urge greater support for the Jewish state.

Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, is not a lobbying group; we are a national Christian organization that urges stronger U.S. support for Israel, especially in light of growing international tensions. Delegates came to Washington at their own expense to exercise their right to meet with members of Congress. Continue

When friends aren't really friends: Be wary of evangelical support for Israel

Barry Block, JTA, July 9, 2006

American Jews should be wary about engaging with extreme right-wing Christian supporters of Israel.

As a congregational rabbi, serving in San Antonio — home of the leader of Christians United for Israel, the Rev. John Hagee — I am most wary of these efforts. No, I am not worried that Hagee will try to convert us in the process. The entire American Jewish community may trust the reliable testimony of my Orthodox colleague in San Antonio, Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, who insists that Hagee doesn't utilize his pro-Israel activities to proselytize Jews. Hagee has earned the enmity of some colleagues in the process. Continue

‘Christians are hearing the message’: An interview with David Brog

By Tzvee Zahavy, New Jersey Jewish Standard, August 31, 2006

The Rev. John Hagee wrote the foreword to your book. He assured people last week that there would be no proselytizing or missionizing associated with his organization, Christians United for Israel. Do you believe he is sincere?

David Brog: I do believe that he is sincere. He has believed as a core principle for over 25 years that his work should not lead to any efforts at converting Jews. When he first tried to organize Christians for support of Israel 25 years ago, he met with uniform resistance from Christian pastors on this issue. When he spoke recently to several hundred Christian pastors in San Antonio Texas in an effort to enlist their support for Israel, all of them agreed to refrain from using these activities as a means of converting Jews. Continue.

Evangelicals rally for Israel, warn of Iran threat

By Margot Patterson, National Catholic Reporter, Issue of July 28, 2006

Washington. Thousands of Christians met here last week to declare their unwavering support for Israel and to warn of the threat posed by Iran.

Five months after its founding, Christians United for Israel brought 3,500 Christians to Washington July 18-20 to lobby Congress on behalf of Israel. The political action group aims to become the Christian equivalent of the influential Jewish lobbying organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The opening banquet July 18 gave the delegates their talking points. Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon set the tone when he declared that Israel and America alike are under attack by a common enemy. "Ladies and gentlemen, radical Islam is on the march," said the ambassador, who went on to name Iran as the locus of "Islamo-fascism" and a clear danger to both Israel and the United States. Ayalon said a non-nuclear Iran was brazenly funding terrorism and asked what Iran would do when it acquired nuclear weapons. "Iran must be stopped," he declared. Continue

Evangelical Christians plead for Israel
Delegates believe it is vital to campaign on behalf of Israel

By Richard Allen Greene, BBC News, Washington, July 19, 2006

A week into one of the most severe crises the Middle East has seen in years, Israel is getting an influx of support from an unusual source.

More than 3,400 evangelical Christians have arrived in Washington to lobby lawmakers as part of the first annual summit of Christians United for Israel. Continue

Christians United For Israel Rapid Response Update

Email sent by Pastor Hagee on April 24, 2006

Greetings to all of our CUFI Rapid Response Partners across the nation.

This past Sunday morning as I was preaching on the topic of Esther going before the king in behalf of Israel, I said something that I believe will prove to be prophetic for America.

The point was that Esther went before the king when Israel was in a time of crisis because the Hitler of the Old Testament (Haman) planned to exterminate the Jews. Continue

CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Hezbollah Rockets Hit Deeper Into Israel; Eight People Killed in Haifa; Death Toll from Israeli Attacks in Lebanon Tops 100; World Leaders at G8 Summit Call for Peace

CNN, July 16, 2006

This is the transcript of the full program from which the segment in the box above is excerpted. Click here.

Christians United For Israel to Hold First-Ever Washington Summit
Historic Gathering of 3,000 Delegates to Urge Congress, Public to Strengthen Defense of Israel

News release, CUFI, July 12, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A new association of 3,000 Christians will converge on Washington July 18 and 19 to urge stronger U.S. support for the State of Israel in light of recent international tensions.

Delegates to the group Christians United For Israel (CUFI) will attend an international banquet July 18 titled "A Night to Honor Israel," featuring leaders from the Christian and Jewish communities. The following day they will meet with members of the House and Senate. It is believed to be the first time that Christian leaders from across the nation have come to Capitol Hill to meet directly with members of Congress to discuss support for Israel. Continue

Christian group lines up behind Israel

By Alison Hoover, The Washington Times, July 20, 2006

Leaders of the five-month-old movement Christians United For Israel and evangelicals expressed support for Israel yesterday at a press conference in the Capitol, urging Congress to follow suit.

They explained their stance to a standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people. Continue

Christian Zionists Hit The Hill

James Besser, New York Jewish Week, July 14, 2006 (second item in article)

Organizers of next week's Washington mission by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) — which aims to be the Christian version of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby — are scrambling to cope with a deluge of registrations.

Originally, planners expected 200-300 participants. But David Brog, the executive director of the group founded by evangelist and mega-church pastor John Hagee, said that he expects up to 3,000 participants next Tuesday. Continue

A gift horse or a Trojan horse?
Pro-Israel preacher goes a-lobbying

Ron Kampeas, JTA, July 3, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 3 (JTA) — A Texas preacher is coming to Capitol Hill later this month with a present for the Jews: some 2,000 heartland Americans lobbying for Israel.

The question dogging the Jewish community now is what kind of gift horse Pastor John Hagee will be riding: The kind with the mouth better left unchecked, or the Trojan kind, unwrapping relations with the Christian right that many Jews would rather avoid.

Hagee, a televangelist who leads the 19,000 member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, has made his case to Jewish groups nationwide, most recently on a tour of Jewish communities in southern California. Continue

San Antonio pastor a champion for Israel

By Abe Levey, San Antonio Express-News, July 22, 2006

Interview with San Antonio megachurch pastor John Hagee about his activities on behalf of Israel and his foreign policy views. Click here.

Mr. Hagee Draws Evangelicals By Arguing Jewish State Fulfills Biblical Prophecy
'End of World as We Know It'

By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2006

WASHINGTON -- After Israel sent warplanes into Iraq in 1981 to bomb a nuclear reactor, Texas televangelist John Hagee sent letters to 150 fellow Christian preachers to rally support for the Jewish state.

He got just one positive response. When Mr. Hagee pressed ahead with plans for a pro-Israel gathering in a San Antonio theater, he says he got a death threat on the phone and someone shot out all the windows of his station wagon parked in his driveway.

Last week, as Israel's armed forces pounded Lebanon and worries of a wider conflagration mounted, Mr. Hagee presided over what he called a "miracle of God": a gathering of 3,500 evangelical Christians packed into a Washington hotel to cheer Israel and its current military campaign. Standing on a stage bedecked with a huge Israeli flag, Mr. Hagee drew rapturous applause and shouts of "amen" as he hailed Israel for doing God's work in a "war of good versus evil." Calls for Israel to show restraint violate "God's foreign-policy statement" toward Jews, he said, citing a verse from the Old Testament that promises to "bless those who bless you" and curse "the one who curses you." Continue

Defining Christian Zionism

Donald Wagner, www.ChristianZionism.org

Briefly stated, Christian Zionism is a movement within Protestant fundamentalism that understands the modern state of the country-region Israel as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and thus deserving of political, financial, and religious support. Christian Zionists work closely with the Israeli government, religious and secular Jewish Zionist organizations, and are particularly empowered during periods when the more conservative Likud Party is in control of the Knesset. Continue

Holy War
As the Middle East burns, GOP pols, neocon pundits, and a powerful Christian right leader all sing the same (crazy) tune

By Sarah Posner, American Prospect, July 19, 2006

In the June issue of the Prospect, I wrote about Texas televangelist John Hagee, an Armageddon prophesier who insists that military confrontation with Iran is foretold in the Bible as a necessary precondition for the Second Coming.

Using his best-selling book, Jerusalem Countdown, his internationally broadcast television program, and the viral marketing offered by a network of mega churches whose pastors have signed on to his new lobbying effort, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), Hagee has spent the past six months mobilizing popular support for a war with Iran. Based on his end-times prophecy, a supposed love of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, and false claims that Iran is just months away from a viable nuclear weapon, Hagee maintains that confrontation with Iran is necessary to fulfill God's plan for the future of the world. Continue

Pastor Strangelove

Sarah Posner, American Prospect, June 6, 2006

Texan John Hagee may not have his "perfect red heifer" yet. But he does have a huge following, the ear of the White House -- and a theory that an invasion of Iran was foretold in the Book of Esther. Continue

Pastor John Hagee spearheads Christians United for Israel
CUFI to set up working groups in all 50 states, lobby Congress, become Christian AIPAC

Bill Berkowitz, WorkingforChange, April 13, 2006

Charismatic televangelist Pastor John Hagee thinks that the Rev. Pat Robertson's suggestion that Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was payback from God for withdrawing from Gaza was "insensitive and unnecessary." But he nevertheless appears to share Robertson's concern that Israel may be giving up too much land to the Palestinians.

To prevent the Bush Administration from pressuring the Israelis into turning over even more land, Hagee, the pastor of San Antonio's Cornerstone Church, and the head of a multi- million dollar evangelical enterprise, recently brought together 400 Christian evangelical leaders -- representing as many as 30 million Christians -- for an invitation-only "Summit on Israel." Continue

'End Times' Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon
'End times' religious groups want apocalypse sooner than later, and they're relying on high tech -- and red heifers -- to hasten its arrival.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2006

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah.

For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon. Continue

'Can I get a Hallelujah?'
Israel gets 24/7 evangelical broadcast

Ilan Chaim, JTA, May 16, 2006

JERUSALEM, May 15 (JTA) — Shortly before Passover this year, the Jewish state inaugurated something decidedly non-Jewish — an evangelical channel preaching the Gospel around the clock.

The Communications Ministry confirmed that it issued a license to Daystar, the second-largest U.S. Christian television network, whose evangelical programming kicks off with a half-hour show produced by its Jerusalem affiliate, Tarshish.

The remaining content is supplied from Daystar's home base in Texas through the company's worldwide satellite network. It will be carried in Israel via cable providers HOT, which reaches about 1 million households, and YES, which reaches 500,000. Continue

As evangelical Christians cheer, preacher gives money to back Israel

Barbara Richmond, JTA, November 25, 2002

SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 25 (JTA) — They came to honor Israel, at a time when the Jewish state feels particularly isolated in the world.

Some 5,000 cheering parishioners of the Cornerstone Church here watched Sunday night as Pastor John Hagee presented $1.5 million for Israel-related causes to the president and CEO of the United Jewish Communities, Stephen Hoffman. Continue

The End Times Agenda

by Bill Berkowitz, IRC Right Web, October 5, 2006

This past June, the Israeli Embassy in Washington held a reception for several high-powered leaders of the Christian right. Among those attending the so-called Israel Solidarity Event were former presidential candidate Gary Bauer; Rev. Ted Haggard, head of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Glenn Plummer of the Fellowship of Israel and Black America; and Rev. John Hagee, chairman of Christians United for Israel (Washington Times, June 12, 2006).

That the Israeli government would go out of its way to court U.S. Christian leaders is hardly surprising. Over the past dozen years, as the Christian right has taken a leading role in the Republican Party, some Christian Zionists have grabbed a seat at the foreign policy table, with many of its leaders forging relationships with other factions of America's right-wing political spectrum. One of the most potent partnerships has been that between rightist Christian and Jewish leaders, who since the turn of the 21st century have jointly launched several organizations to support Israel. Christian support for Israel is not only growing—it is also becoming an influential political factor. Continue.

Chris Hedges: Bush’s Nuclear Apocalypse

by Chris Hedges, Truthdig.com, October 9, 2006

Truthdig Editor’s Note: The former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” reports on Bush’s plan for Iran, and how a callous war, conceived by zealots, will lead to a disaster of biblical proportions. .Continue

JewsOnFirst discussion about Christian Zionists

JewsOnFirst discussion: Dealing with Christian Zionists and their "Nights to Honor Israel"

Recorded conversation led by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, August 18, 2006

Following up on our July 31st report, Christian Zionists lobby for US attack on Iran Right-wing Christian Evangelicals, End Times and Israel, Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst co-director, moderated a discussion about how rabbis are dealing with Christian Zionist "Nights to Honor Israel."

These "nights" are a project of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), an agglomeration of powerful religious right leaders assembled by San Antonio televangelist John Hagee. Most commonly, local Jewish federations and congregations jointly host the Night to Honor Israel with CUFI.

Participating in the hour-long conversation are: Rabbi Barry Block of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio; Rabbi Neal Katz of Congregation Beth El in Tyler, Texas; Rabbi Paula Reimers of Congregation Beth Israel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania; Prof. Yaakov Ariel of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Rabbi Jeffrey Ronald of Beth Israel Congregation in Florence, South Carolina (who was on the call, but unfortunately, the audio on his line did not work). Rabbi Beliak introduces all the participants several minutes after the recording begins.

Their discussion ranged beyond the honor-Israel nights to a discussion of Christian Zionism which touched on dissent in the Jewish community, the religious right and inter-religious relations.

Eyewitness to a Hagee sermon

Eyewitness: Sunday morning at Christian Zionist organization leader's church
Pastor John Hagee, head of Christians United for Israel, preaches hatred of Islam

By an anonymous attendee, special to JewsOnFirst.org, August 23, 2006

I was at Cornerstone Church last Sunday -- this for the fourth time, which means I must be some kind of masochist. The "sermon," lasting over an hour, was the first of a three part series entitled, "A Family Feud." I expect you will know that refers to Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael. Sunday's diatribe featured an analysis of the current political situation, next Sunday (dare I go again?) will tell us how it all started and who's to blame, and on Sept. 3 the true believers will be treated to the Armageddon scenario.

First, the whole thing was purely political; nothing "religious" whatsoever, except the repetitious excoriation of Islam. Of course, there was a nod to "good Muslims," but the constant reminder that the enemy is Islamo-fascism (and you should hear how Hagee pronounces "fascism"; just as he mispronounced "Martin Niemoeller") lets it be known to his hearers that really all Islam and all Muslims are the enemy. He skewed history time and again, e.g., he said Hamas was led by Arafat. Continue.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

IFCJ suspends Jewish Agency payments

JTA, May 14, 2008

A Jewish-Christian group suspended its monthly $1.5 million payments to the Jewish Agency for Israel.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews suspended its May 1 payment on a $45 million charitable commitment it made to the agency this winter.The IFCJ's founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, told JTA in an interview Wednesday that the payment was suspended because the Jewish Agency had not yet fulfilled its end of the partnership. Continue.

The Highest Bidder

Editorial, The Forward, January 4, 2008

A flurry of protest is rippling through the Jewish community over last month’s decision by the Jewish Agency for Israel, the venerable, Diaspora-funded social-service agency, to appoint a spokesman for evangelical Christian donors to its executive committee.

Some of the opposition arises from a bigoted, anti-gentile impulse that too often lurks somewhere inside even the best of us. There’s a big piece of the emerging protest, though, that comes from a finer impulse.

It represents a rear-guard effort to preserve a disappearing chapter in Jewish history: the institution of worldwide, democratic Jewish community decision-making. It’s a losing battle and it may be time to give up, but it’s worth stopping first to acknowledge what’s at stake. Continue.

Jewish Agency Gives Boardroom Clout to Ally of Evangelicals.

Anthony Weiss, The Forward, December 26, 2007

About a decade ago, the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel refused to be photographed taking a check from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. This past week, the agency accepted a hefty donation from the evangelical-backed organization and offered Eckstein a seat on two of its most powerful committees.

Eckstein’s organization and the Jewish Agency, which helped found the State of Israel, announced that IFCJ would donate $45 million to the agency over the next three years, almost all of it raised from evangelical Christians in North America. As part of the agreement, IFCJ will be declared a funding partner of the Jewish Agency. Eckstein will also receive new voting powers that will include spots on the committees that oversee the agency’s budget and that meet with the prime minister and his Cabinet.

“For the first time, Christians, who are mainly my constituency, will have a seat at the table,” Eckstein told the Forward. Continue.

Evangelicals’ New Reach In Jewish Agency Criticized
Expanded role for Christian Zionists’ emissary ‘appalling,’ says pol; pact puts Eckstein on JAFI’s executive committee.

Joshua Mitnick, The Jewish Week, December 26, 2007

Tel Aviv — An accord expanding U.S. Evangelical Christians’ stake in the innermost sanctums of the Zionist movement has produced an undercurrent of unease in Israel and North American Jewish leadership circles.

Under the new "strategic partnership" announced late last week, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) will donate $45 million over three years to the struggling Jewish Agency in return for a spot on the executive board for President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, ICJF’s president and a pioneer fostering the alliance between Christian Zionists and Israel.

Just as telling, however, was the relative indifference of the Israeli press to the news of the partnership and the praise for Rabbi Eckstein — a leader in the much-debated interfaith alliance who has moved from the margins of the Jewish community to the heart of the establishment.Continue.

Jewish Agency gives evangelical Christians powerful seat at table

Jacob Berkman, JTA, December 27, 2007

New York (JTA) -- Thousands of evangelical Christian donors now have a powerful seat at the table of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the vanguard of the Zionist movement.

The Jewish Agency announced last week it has forged a "strategic partnership" with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization that depends primarily on conservative Christian donors to raise tens of millions of dollars per year to help Israel and impoverished Jews in the Diaspora. Under the new deal, the fellowship will supply the Jewish Agency with $15 million annually for the next three years to help cover its core budget, with most of the money going for immigration and absorption programs.

In exchange, the fellowship's founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, will be given a seat on the Jewish Agency's highest governing committee, its executive, which until now has been restricted to leaders of the World Zionist Organization, the United Jewish Communities of North America and its affiliated network of local Jewish charitable federations, and Keren Hayesod, the organization that raises money for the Jewish Agency from Jewish communities outside the United States. As part of the arrangement, he will also be able to appoint a member to the agency's budget and finance committee and its committee charged with coordinating relations with the Israeli government. Continue.

Christian Zionists Gain Israel's Inner Sanctum

By Bill Berkowitz, Inter Press Service, January 3, 2007

OAKLAND, California, Jan 3 (IPS) - After raising more than two hundred million dollars for various projects in Israel, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), the organisation he founded and is president of, has hit pay-dirt.

In late December, the Jewish Agency for Israel, which helped found the State of Israel, announced that the IFCJ "will be declared a funding partner of the Jewish Agency... [and] Eckstein will ... receive new voting powers that will include spots on the committees that oversee the agency's budget and that meet with the prime minister and his Cabinet," the Jewish Daily Forward reported. Continue.

Charity-sponsored Jews from Iran arrive in Israel

Rory Kress, Associated Press, The San Diego Union-Tribune, December 26, 2007

Tel Aviv, Israel – Greeted by joyous relatives and a crowd of reporters, about 40 Iranian Jews landed in Israel yesterday, leaving behind their lives in the Islamic Republic for new homes in the Jewish state.

Family members screamed in delight and threw candy at the newcomers as they emerged into the airport reception hall after a long bureaucratic procedure. No details about their route of exit from Iran were given.

The new arrivals were sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that funnels millions of dollars from evangelical donors each year. Continue.

Jerusalem & Babylon - Despite benefits, few Iranian Jews want to live here

Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, December 28, 2007

It should have been a fantastic public relations coup for the Jewish Agency. Dozens of reporters, photographers and camera crews were on hand to chronicle their latest operation, easily outnumbering the 40 new immigrants from Iran and the family members awaiting them.

So eager were the assembled forces of the media for this story that no one was even thinking of arguing with the censorship over the restrictions, don't show their faces, no full names and all details about their route from Persia to Zion to be left out. And still, for at least one senior agency official, this was a hollow victory. When it was all over, and the Iranians were being bundled off to the buses about to take them to an absorption center in Be'er Sheva, he smiled bitterly and said, "we offered them everything possible and still we got such a pitiful number."

The official press release, of course, told a different story. "Immigration from Iran tripled this year," was the message, statistically correct, since in 2006 only 65 arrived and this year we're up to a couple of hundred. But how can that compare to the estimated 28,000 Jews still living in Iran? It would be more accurate to say that over 99 percent of Persian Jews still prefer to remain under the rule of the Ayatollahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than to come to live in the democratic Jewish homeland. Continue.

Take Ahmadinejad At His Word

Opinion article by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, New York Jewish Week, November 11, 2007

Of all the challenges facing Israel, perhaps none looms larger than the threat of Iran. The Islamic republic is known as one of the major funders of terrorists from Hezbollah to Hamas, and is a primary source of Middle East instability. Tehran’s insistence that the nuclear technology it is developing will be used only for peaceful purposes flies in the face of numerous threats Iranian leadership has made against Israel, the United States and Western interests.

There are signs that the world is beginning to understand the necessity of doing something about Iran’s reckless pursuit of nuclear technology. In the U.S., Americans appear to be leaning toward decisive action that goes beyond toothless United Nations resolutions and sanctions. One recent poll shows that 52 percent of all Americans would favor a military strike to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Among Jewish Americans, that number rises to more than two-thirds. Their heightened willingness to strike is understandable, considering Iran’s proximity to Israel and its open hostility toward the Jewish state, as well as the not-so-highly-publicized issue of the state of Jews in Iran, a community of approximately 25,000 — the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel. Continue.

Jewish group honors Hagee, Butler for pro-Israel efforts

Jenni Parker, OneNewsNow.com, February 3, 2007

During a recent "Night to Honor Israel," the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews presented its Ambassador's Award to TV evangelists Pastor John Hagee and Bishop Keith Butler for their dedication and service to the Jewish nation and people.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) has presented its highest honor, the Ambassador's Award, to American television evangelists Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church of San Antonio, Texas, and Bishop Keith Butler of Word of Faith International Christian Center of Southfield, Michigan.

The Fellowship, which works to promote understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and to build support for Israel and the Jewish people, made the presentations during the January 7 "Night to Honor Israel," held at the Word of Faith Center. The award from the pro-Israel group and its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, cites Hagee's and Butler's outstanding support, leadership, and dedication to Israel. Continue

Pro-Israel interfaith pioneer brings his message to German Christians

Toby Axelrod, JTA, April 28, 2003

Berlin, April 28 (JTA) — Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein rarely feels uneasy. But standing in Berlin’s Sudstern Church recently, with an Israeli flag at his feet and a gigantic cross behind him, Eckstein felt a minor tremor.

It’s not that his purpose was unclear. Eckstein, 51, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, was launching an appeal to German fundamentalists to support Israel with cold, hard cash.

His sermon in Germany earlier this year was part of a groundbreaking joint campaign with Keren Hayesod, the main fund-raising arm for Israel outside the United States. Continue.

Christian right urges no concessions at Annapolis

Christian right urges no concessions at Annapolis

Background by JewsOnFirst.org, December 11, 2007

Three leaders of the Christian right joined a delegation of right-wing Jews in a meeting with President Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley just before the Annapolis peace conference last month. The group urged the Bush administration not to press Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.

According to two Israeli reports, the Christian contingent included David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, and a representative of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Brog said that Bauer was also representing CUFI.

Brog (who is Jewish) wrote after the meeting that "We stressed that we and our membership do not want the Administration to pressure Israel into making territorial concessions at this juncture." He added: "The response we got from Mr. Hadley was encouraging."

In a recent email to its supporters, CUFI encouraged emails to the White House opposing pressure on Israel. A subsequent email, posted here, asks supporters to stand ready to lobby against pressure for Israeli concessions -- and to send donations to CUFI!

Meanwhile, Evangelicals for Social Action issued a statement supporting the work of the Annapolis conference.

Jewish, Christian leaders to U.S.: No compromise on Jerusalem

Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz English editiion, November 27, 2007

Washington - Representatives from Orthodox Jewish organizations and Christian organizations met with President Bush's National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley along with other senior White House officials Monday, and raised concerns regarding the diplomatic meetings in Annapolis.

The members of the group oppose future Israeli concessions in Jerusalem. According to some participants, Hadley told them that Jerusalem is not on the negotiating table now. He also told them that no American pressure was applied before Israel decided to attend Annapolis. The participants got the impression that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was the enthusiastic partner behind this process.

The group was led by Nathan Diament, public policy director of the Orthodox Union, and included representatives from Agudath Israel, the National Council of Young Israel, Christians United for Israel represented by David Brog, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Coordinating Council for Jerusalem, headed by Jeff Ballabon. It also included Christian leader and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer. Continue.

Olmert to World Jewry: Israel Makes Sole Decision on Jerusalem

Hana Levi Julian, Arutz Sheva, IsraelNationalNews.com, November 27, 2007

Arutz Sheva, an Israeli settler news operation, reported that Christian right leaders joined a delegation of right-wing Jews for a meeting with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on the eve of the Annapolis peace conference. The report said that the Christian group included David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and a representative of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Arutz Sheva reported that Olmert's delcaration that Israelis -- not American Jews -- have the sovereign right to negotiate peace terms, was "seen as a slap to American Jewish leaders who oppose tentative plans by the Olmert administration to put Jerusalem on the negotiating table." Click here.

CUFI Goes to the White House

By David Brog, Brog's Blog, December 3, 2007. (Full text)

On Monday, November 26th, Gary Bauer and I represented Christians United for Israel at a meeting with President Bush's National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, and other senior Administration officials. We were glad that Mr. Hadley was willing to listen to the concerns that we and some Jewish representatives had about the Annapolis Peace Summit. We also appreciated the fact that Mr. Hadley made time available to us the very night that the Summit was beginning, shortly before he had to go to the opening dinner.

Speaking for CUFI, we told the National Security Advisor that we were worried that Palestinian President Abbas lacks both the will and the ability to stop terrorism against Israel from territory under his control. In the absence of such prerequisites, we stated, concessions on the West Bank were likely to produce the same results as the withdrawal from Gaza: increased terror against Israel. We stressed that we and our membership do not want the Administration to pressure Israel into making territorial concessions at this juncture.

The response we got from Mr. Hadley was encouraging. Speaking at Johns Hopkins University on November 28th, Mr. Hadley echoed what he told us that afternoon when he said: "President Bush believes that only Israelis and Palestinians meeting together can resolve their differences -- only they can negotiate an agreement that both their peoples can accept. The President will not force a resolution of differences, nor impose a peace plan with his name on it."

We were glad to hear that there are no current plans to pressure Israel. But we also know that the peace process has only just begun. As the talks continue, there will no doubt be many opportunities and requests for the US to push Israel into making a wide array of concessions. In fact, the dynamic of these peace talks make such requests inevitable. The various Arab representatives almost always agree that Israel is obstructing the process, and they inevitably ask the United States to get Israel to accept their "consensus" position.

While we appreciate Mr. Hadley's encouraging words, we know that we need to remain vigilant in the months to come. Christians United for Israel intends to watch the process closely. And we intend to hold the Administration to its commitments. Click here.

Why Annapolis Won’t Work

Gary Bauer, Human Events.com, December 7, 2007

The last time a major, headline-making conference was held in Annapolis, Maryland -- a constitutional convention in 1786 to address trade between the largely independent states under the Articles of Confederation -- every state in the union was invited. There was only one problem: only twelve delegates from five states showed up, and the convention adjourned early as commissioners determined that too few states were represented to make any substantive agreement.

Against this standard, last week’s Middle East peace conference in Annapolis can be considered an unmitigated success: nearly everyone showed up! In fact, although most were clearly motivated more by fear of Iran’s emerging dominance in the Middle East than by a genuine desire for peace in that region, 49 countries, including Syria and Saudi Arabia, participated in the summit.

There is, however, little reason to believe that anything positive will come out of this new round of talks. There’s a basic disconnect when discussing the conflict. Most people believe disagreement over the details of a peace agreement (the refugee question as well as the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank) is the greatest obstacle to peace. But, at its core, the conflict arises from a more fundamental issue: Israel’s right to exist. Continue.

Bill Moyers' Journal reprises report on Christians United for Israel

Bill Moyers Journal, November 30, 2007

The day after the Annapolis meeting Bill Moyers re-aired an October 5th report on Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which opposes Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and envisions Israel as the final battleground in its end-times theology. As part of his post-Annapolis report, Moyers interviewed M.J. Rosenberg, the director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action. Please Click here and look for the link to the Sider-Rosenberg segment in the strip at the top of the page.

An Evangelical Statement on Israel/Palestine

Evangelicals for Social Action, Evangelical Leaders Statement, November 28, 2007

As evangelical Christians committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, we feel compelled to make a statement together at this historic moment in the life of the Holy Land

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is near a momentous turning point. The strife has continued–sometimes simmering, sometimes exploding in terrible conflict–for decades.

In the context of our ongoing support for the security of Israel, we believe that unless the situation between Israel and Palestine improves quickly, the consequences will be devastating. Palestinians–especially the youth who have no economic opportunity–are increasingly sympathetic to radical solutions and terrorism. As a result, the threat to Israel’s security is now greater. Continue.

Evangelical Leaders Reiterate Call for Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine
Over 80 educators and ministry heads affirm efforts to negotiate lasting peace, and warn of consequences of failure.

David Neff, Christianity Today, December 4, 2007

This week the Bush State Department is devoting its full diplomatic efforts toward bringing a two-state resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Over the past few months, they have put on a full-court press to gather a broad representation of Arab world leaders to join Israeli and Palestinian negotiators for a historic meeting in Annapolis, Maryland. Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to a program of sustained and focused negotiations throughout 2008. With these cautious but hopeful beginnings, over 80 evangelical leaders have signed a statement indicating their belief "that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution."

These leaders—including Christian college and seminary presidents, denominational heads, and other ministry leaders—pledge their "ongoing support for the security of Israel," and state that "unless the situation between Israel and Palestine improves quickly, the consequences will be devastating" for Israel. Palestinians with little economic opportunity "are increasingly sympathetic to radical solutions."

The full text of their statement and the list of signatories follow. Continue.

CUFI Is Going to Stand with Israel during the Middle East Peace Process
Will You Help Us?

Email from Christians United for Israel, ca. December 12, 2007

The Annapolis Summit has ended. The leaders and dignitaries have boarded their planes and headed back to the Middle East. But Annapolis was not the end of a renewed peace process, it was only the beginning. The Annapolis Summit was the kickoff of what will be many months of negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering filled with requests that Israel give up strategic territory and divide Jerusalem. Continue.

The Lynching Date is Set

Jan Markell, The Olive Tree Ministries, November 13, 2007

So it is settled and the date is November 27. The date of Israel's lynching while all the world cheers. The much-heralded Middle East summit at Annapolis which has stalled a dozen times is now going to happen it would appear.

So, name one concession Israel has made in recent years that has been reciprocated by its sworn enemies. This is not a trick question. There are none.

That's why this month's announced "Middle East Summit" in Annapolis, Md., should be viewed as one more installment payment in the sellout of Israel and of American interests in the Middle East. While the United States continues to struggle to shore up democracy in Iraq, the Bush administration - like administrations before it - proceeds in undermining the likelihood that the region's first democracy will endure. Continue.

Zev Chafets book extolls Christian Zionists

On Fresh Air Chafets shrugs off Christian Right agenda, Israeli attack on Iran

Terry Gross interviews Chafets on Fresh Air, January 18, 2007

In this interview, focused on his book, A Match Made in Heaven, which extolls Christian Zionists, Gross asks Zev Chafets he feels about having an alliance with Christian Zionist leader John Hagee, a pastor who said on Fresh Air last fall that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment of New Orleans for a planned gay parade. Chafets brushed off the question, saying:

Well, look, one thing has nothing to do with the other as far as I'm concerned. You know, in a war, you take the allies that you have. Continue.

Jews and Evangelicals: Support for Israel Isn't Everything

Op-ed by Abraham H. Foxman, Time Magazine (counterpoint to Zev Chafets op-ed) January 16, 2007

At a time when Israel is once again under siege — physically from terrorists and Iran's nuclear threat, and psychologically from Islamic extremists and other anti-Israel forces around the world — the pro-Israel perspective of Evangelical Christians is much appreciated. The theological reasons for why they stand with Israel, as a precursor to the Second Coming and Armageddon, take a backseat to current realities. The support comes voluntarily, and we welcome it, as long as it comes without a quid pro quo.

Still, none of this obscures our concerns about certain views among the religious right. Unfortunately, there are elements in the Evangelical community who would like to impose Christianity by government edict. Some openly call for the Christianization of America, claiming that America has always been a Christian nation and that all institutions should be Christianized. Others, less dramatically, are calling for policies that would amount to religious coercion. Continue.

Can Jews and Evangelicals Get Along?

Op-ed by Zev Chafets, Time Magazine (Counterpoint with Abraham Foxman of ADL)

In early November 2005, the Prime Minister of Iran stated his intention to wipe Israel off the map. At almost exactly the same time, leaders of the American Jewish community declared war on the Christian Right.

Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, issued the first call to arms. The Jews, he said, faced an organized, sophisticated coalition of enemies. He described as "openly arrogant" the supposed Evangelical goal: "To Christianize us, to save us!" Within a few weeks, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, leader of the liberal Reform Movement, America's largest Jewish denomination, and Rabbi James Rudin of the ultra-establishment American Jewish Committee, reprised Foxman's complaint.

Never before in U.S. history had Jewish leaders shown such bold hostility toward Evangelical Christians, the largest Protestant community in America and, by most measures, the most philo-Semitic and pro-Israel. In normal times, this would be paradoxical. In an age of jihad it was dangerously perverse. Continue.

News reports on Pastor John Hagee and CUFI

Gary Bauer tells BBC television that Obama has suspect Muslim background

Stephen Sackur, HardTalk, BBC News, October 16, 2008

In an interview aired on BBC's international news channel, Christian right leader and CUFI executive board member Gary Bauer repeats discredited allegations that Sen. Barak Obama was once a Muslim. Bauer says: "Do you know whether radical Islam was part of Barack Obama's background? He went to a religious school in Indonesia. Nobody's been able to find out how things were run in that school." Bauer also says: "The people that were in the school at the time say it was a typical religious Muslim school, and they were being taught the things that we've seen being taught in many Muslim schools around the world that are troubling."

Please click here to go to a page with links to the video interview and Sackur's reflections on his interviews with Bauer and Bill Kristol.

Hagee's attorneys get YouTube videos removed

Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service, USA Today, July 10, 2008

Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee has successfully worked with copyright lawyers to get more than 120 videos featuring him removed from YouTube.

The development was reported by The Huffington Post, whose blogger Max Blumenthal discovered that a video he had made at Hagee's Christians United for Israel conference last year was among those removed from the popular video website.

Juda Engelmayer, a spokesman for Hagee, confirmed that the videos had been removed. Continue.

YouTube removes Hagee videos

JTA, July 9, 2008

YouTube removed some 80 videos featuring controversial pro-Israel pastor John Hagee.

Lawyers for Hagee, saying they violated copyright restrictions, requested the removal from the sharing site, according to the Texas pastor's spokesman, Juda Engelmayer.

The removal comes barely two weeks before Hagee's organization, Christians United for Israel, holds its third annual summit in Washington. Continue.

After their verbal sparring, Hagee and Yoffie may meet

By Ron Kampeas, JTA, April 8, 2008

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Now that they've called each other disrespectful, Rabbi Eric Yoffie and the Rev. John Hagee are ready to meet and discuss their differences -- respectfully.

The two religious leaders have been squaring off for the past week.

Yoffie in a major speech April 2 called on Jews to dissociate themselves from Hagee and the organization he founded, Christians United for Israel, asserting that the pastor did not respect other faiths or the right of Israeli leaders to make territorial concessions.

Five days later Hagee, a San Antonio-based evangelical mega-church leader and arguably the country's most influential Christian Zionist, fired back in a conference call with reporters.

"Rabbi Yoffie’s speech demonstrates not only a lack of respect for me but a troubling lack of respect for the truth," he said Monday.

Hours after Hagee's media call, however, both men were sounding a more conciliatory note.

"I was told he was interested in meeting with me," said Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism, in an interview with JTA. "I'd be delighted to sit down and talk to him." Continue.

US Evangelist Gives $6 Million to Israel

By The Associated Press, New York Times, April 6, 2008

JERUSALEM (AP) -- American evangelist John Hagee announced donations of $6 million to Israeli causes on Sunday and said that Israel must remain in control of all of Jerusalem.

Hagee, a Christian Zionist who has been in the spotlight lately for endorsing presidential candidate John McCain and criticizing the Catholic Church, brought hundreds of backers on a solidarity trip to Israel.

Hagee and his group, Christians United for Israel, joined keynote speaker Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel's hard-line opposition Likud Party, at a rally in support of Jerusalem remaining united and under Jewish control.

''Turning part or all of Jerusalem over to the Palestinians would be tantamount to turning it over to the Taliban,'' Hagee told an audience filled with Americans who waved Israeli flags and cheered. Continue.

Huckabee angers some Catholics

Jim Forsyth, Reuters, December 23, 2007

San Antonio (Reuters) - Rising Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee risked his standing with Catholic voters on Sunday by courting his evangelical base at the church of a controversial preacher accused of disparaging Catholics.

There are a few remnants of anti-Catholicism among evangelical Christians in the South but the two sides have found much common political ground over the past three decades in their strident opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

But the visit to Cornerstone, pastor John Hagee's imposing "mega-church" in the Texas city of San Antonio, was fraught with political perils for Huckabee given his efforts to woo conservative Catholics. Continue.

Hagee: Jimmy Carter is Israel's 'enemy in America'

IsraelToday.com, July 23, 2007

American Christian leader Pastor John Hagee this month labeled Jimmy Carter as Israel's "enemy in America," and demanded the former president reveal the anti-Israel sources of funding for his foreign policy research center.

"I call on former president Carter to publicly disclose how much of the Carter Center's funding is coming from anti-Israel sources in the Middle East," Hagee demanded during an address to the annual Washington, DC gathering of his new organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Hagee cited a recent article in the conservative magazine National Review that revealed Carter receives the bulk of his funding from Saudi Arabia.

Carter has raised the ire of American Evangelical Christians with his recent attacks on Israel's settlement policy, defensive measures and isolation of the Hamas terrorist organization. He has long been an outspoken advocate of Israel surrendering to all Arab demands in the name of "peace."

Hagee hopes to use CUFI to harness Christian support into an effective counterbalance to the influence of Carter and like-minded enemies of the Jewish state in the American capital. Continue.

Evangelical Skeptic

By David Suissa, Jewish Journal, June 1, 2007

Suissa writes of his dinner with Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz who leads Jews for Judaism and is skeptical of Christian Zionist pledges not to evangelize Jews. Kravitz quotes from an email from Pastor John Hagee, leader of CUFI: "Keep in mind that God has 'blinded the eyes' of the Jews and hardened their hearts for having denied Christ. Pastor [Hagee] believes that one-on-one witnessing is more effective than targeting the nation as a whole." Click here.

Christian Zionist leader Hagee disparages high school bible text approved by Jewish groups

In statements quoted by USA Today (March 7, 2007), Pastor John Hagee, currently the most prominent Christian Zionist leader in the US, disparaged a textbook approved by Jewish organizations for use in public high school courses on the bible. Hagee reportedly called the book, The Bible and its Influence, "a masterful work of deception, distortion and outright falsehoods" planting "concepts in the minds of children which are contrary to biblical teaching."

According to USA Today, "Hagee wrote to the Alabama legislature opposing adoption of the text, citing points such as discussion questions that could lead children away from a belief in God. Example: Asking students to ponder if Adam and Eve got 'a fair deal as described in Genesis' would plant the seed that 'since God is the author of the deal, God is unfair.'"

According to the paper "Hagee prefers the Bible itself as a textbook for Bible classes, used with a curriculum created by a group of conservative evangelicals, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, based in Greensboro, N.C." Click here to read the USA Today report.

See also: Hagee's March 2006 letter to the Alabama legislature, from which these quotes are drawn. Click here to see a PDF copy of the letter on the website of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools..

Bible Literacy Project Corrections to Bible Textbook are Non Sequitur

News release from Wiley Drake, 2nd Vice President of The Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Newswire, March 20, 2007

Dr. John Hagee, of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Tx., called "The Bible and Its Influence" "a masterful work of deception, distortion and outright falsehoods." Bible Literacy Project Communications Vice President Sheila Weber has claimed that "misrepresentations" about the textbook "The Bible and Its Influence" have been corrected. However, many of Hagees' strongest concerns remain unchanged.

Page 29 of the Bible Literacy Project textbook reads "other origin stories tell of many gods who are created, etc." Hagee says this "plants the concept in the mind of children that polytheism is just as acceptable as monotheism, which is contrary to the Bible." Also unchanged is a Bible quotation from an interpretation by Dr. Robert Alter, an endorser of and contributor to the textbook, saying God created the world "out of welter and waste." Hagee contends this leaves a "completely wrong" impression of the creation account. Hagee says the unchanged phrase on page 34 promotes polytheism: "By contrast, some traditions and philosophies see humans as no more or less sacred than other living creatures." Continue

See also: Hagee's March 2006 letter to the Alabama legislature, from which these quotes are drawn. Click here to see a PDF copy of the letter on the website of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools..

Hardline Pastor Gets Prime AIPAC Spot
Rev. John Hagee’s appearance drawing criticism on eve of policy conference
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James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, March 9, 2007

Growing ties between pro-Israel forces and a controversial, hardline “Christian Zionist” movement will move into the national spotlight at next week’s policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel lobby.

One keynoter at the event, which annually draws hundreds of lawmakers, administration officials, diplomats and political hopefuls, will be Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), author of several books about biblical prophecy and an opponent of new territorial concessions to the Palestinians on biblical grounds.

Rev. Hagee, who will speak at a Sunday plenary, was also a leading backer of a controversial Christian broadcast venture in Israel that critics charge sought to convert Jews.

And a time when pro-Israel forces are being accused of beating the drums for war with Iran, Rev. Hagee seems to believe such a conflict is both inevitable and necessary. In his apocalypse-oriented book “Jerusalem Countdown,” he predicted a nuclear showdown with Iran and said, “The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching ... rejoice and be exceedingly glad, the best is yet to be,” according to a Wall Street Journal report posted on the CUFI Web site.

Last year, Rev. Hagee told the Jerusalem Post that “I would hope the United States would join Israel in a military pre-emptive strike to take out the nuclear capability of Iran for the salvation of Western civilization.” Continue.

We Might Be Chosen, But We're Still Going to Hell: Jews and the Christian Right

Michelle Goldberg, The Huffinton Report, November 15, 2006

Tuesday's New York Times had an interesting article about John Hagee, the San Antonio pastor who has emerged as America's most influential Christian Zionist. I was especially intrigued because, when I travel around the country speaking about my book Kingdom Coming , some of my most impassioned challengers have been Jews who are grateful for the Christian right's zealous support for Israel.

As many point out, Hagee is a major fundraiser for pro-Israel causes -- at his "Night to Honor Israel" celebration last month, he gave out $7 million to various Jewish and Israeli charities. Continue

Journal of Lutheran Ethics special edition on Christian Zionism

Introduction to the "Christian Zionism" Issue

Edward Schneider, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, May 2007. Edward D. Schneider is a retired ELCA pastor and ethicist, and serves on the JLE editorial council.

In our time, when the Israeli/Palestinian conflict occupies such a prominent place in our political discourse, the topic of Christian Zionism has become a critical matter for theological and ethical deliberation. In this issue, the Journal of Lutheran Ethics is pleased to provide a contribution to this important discussion. Continue

Jewish-Christian Difficulties in Challenging Christian Zionism

Robert O. Smith, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, May 2007. Robert O. Smith is Lutheran Campus Pastor at the University of Chicago. Beginning July 1, 2007, he will become Continental Desk Director for Europe and the Middle East in the Global Mission unit of the ELCA.

In our post-Holocaust era, many Jews have identified with the State of Israel as their last line of defense should the community again come under the threat of eradication. Most Christians, especially in North America, are unable to begin fathoming this possibility. Their communities simply have not been under such a threat. The typical American lack of historical literacy makes it difficult for many of us to comprehend the Jewish community’s active memory of the Holocaust—even among Jews who did not have family members directly affected by those horrible events. Given the active nature of Holocaust memory and what for many Jews is therefore a deeply existential attachment to the State of Israel (even if they have no intention of becoming Israeli citizens), mainline Christians working to responsibly critique Israeli policies affecting Palestinians are often surprised at Jewish suspicion or immediate rejection of their efforts. Continue

Palestinians, Christian Zionists and the Good News Gospel

John Hubers, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, May 2007. John Hubers is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

What is striking in the large body of writing and activity related to the development of Christian Zionism, particularly in its more extreme manifestation rooted in American pop culture dispensationalism, is how little is said about those who were most affected by the establishment of the Jewish state and its subsequent expansion. Many of those whose families had been resident in the land for many years -- in some cases many hundreds of years -- before the advent of Zionism and its colonizing venture were forced to leave their homes and give up their property during the wars that Christian Zionists celebrate as the miraculous outworking of God’s purposes which brought the modern state of Israel into existence. Although precise numbers are difficult to ascertain as this, like everything else connected to this conflict is used on both sides for polemical purposes, most reliable sources would agree that between 600,000-750,000 non-Jewish residents were forced into refugee status in the 1948 War. [1] In addition, 413 of the villages they had called home were razed to the ground by the Israeli army to make sure the former residents could never return, and homes owned by Palestinian Arabs in urban neighborhoods were confiscated and turned over to Jewish families. This tragedy was compounded when several hundred thousand more Palestinians became refugees after the 1967 War. Efforts to blunt the ethical dilemma this represents with reminders of the equally tragic expulsion of Jewish residents of Middle Eastern states during the same period of time as an unjustifiable act of reprisal does not erase the fact that we are looking at a great human tragedy. Continue

An Ethical Critique of Christian Zionism

Bishop Munib Younan, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, May 2007. Bishop Munib Younan is Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and a Vice President of the Lutheran World Federation

As an Arab Palestinian Evangelical Lutheran Christian who grew up as a refugee, questions about the land and theology of Palestine/Israel are not just theological or philosophical exercises to me. They involve all that I am and all that I hold sacred in my life as a Palestinian Christian. I have had to come to terms with these questions personally at an early age in my faith journey to make sense of my own family's history.

My father was one of the 6,500 refugees driven out of Beersheba in 1948, and my mother was from West Jerusalem. She remembers fleeing her home after the Haganah told her family to go and it would be safe for them to return soon, only to look back and see they had bombed her house and it was engulfed in flames. Their families became part of the 800,000 Palestinian refugees that were driven from their homes, more than 200,000 of whom left before May 1948 or before any of the more organized neighboring Arab armies came in. Continue

Christian Zionism

JoAnn G. Magnuson, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, May 2007. JoAnn G. Magnuson is a writer and lecturer who currently serves as Director of Interfaith Relations for Bridges for Peace, U.S.A

What is Zionism? What is Christian Zionism? Let’s try to develop some working definitions before we visit the pros and cons of a movement that seems to be attracting a fair amount of attention today.

A simple definition could be, "Zionism supports the return, or the various returns, of the Jewish people to Zion, to the land of Israel; to the land promised by God to Abraham and his descendants forever." These promises appear often in the Scripture, but we find the first reference in Genesis 12:1-3; enlarged by Genesis 15:7: "God said unto Abraham, I am the Lord who brought you out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees to give this land to you to inherit it." Continue

Eagles' Wings Ministries

Christian Students to Learn About Israel from MKs

by Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva News (Israeli settler media outlet), July 22, 2007

(IsraelNN.com) Two dozen top Christian students will spend Sunday at the Knesset, meeting with MKs and training to return to their campuses as informed Israel advocates.

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) will host the Christian students, participants in the Eagles' Wings Ministry's Fourth Annual Israel Experience College Scholarship Program. The program is sometimes known as the "Christian Birthright" in that it trains students to speak up for Israel and explain its policies. Continue.

Evangelical prayer banquet promotes love for Israel

By Brad A. Greenberg, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, May 25, 2007

They poured into the Beverly Hilton like young politicos at a national convention, in awe at the feet of religious icons and ready to go forth from the Jerusalem Prayer Banquet to promote the gospel of God's love for Israel.

Talking last Thursday about God's chosen people, comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler and lamenting the indifference others express about Israel, these 300-plus Christians each spent at least $125 to pray for peace in the Holy Land and commiserate with Jews about the seemingly never-ending threats to Israel's existence.

This was no fringe gathering. The Rev. Jack Hayford and the Rev. Robert Stearns -- co-chairman of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, a worldwide effort among some evangelicals on the first Sunday of October -- were joined by Consul General Ehud Danoch and Knesset member Gilad Erdan, among other members of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

"God has ordained Israel as a favored nation, and it is important for us to support it," said Fred Broling, a 72-year-old evangelical Christian who flew with his wife from Chicago for the dinner and donated $5,000 to Eagles' Wings Ministries, the organization that hosted the event, placing the couple in the Guardian circle, alongside televangelist Pat Robertson. "God has told us we will be blessed by the fact that we support his people." Continue.

More on Christian Zionism

Prince of Peace is being asked to promote war

By Steve Gushee, The Palm Beach Post, August 18, 2006

A growing number of benighted Christians promote the God of peace as a blood-thirsty warmonger. A profoundly misguided preacher from Texas leads them.

John Hagee is the latest cheerleader of a belligerent and wholly non-Christian God. Nevertheless, many evangelical Christians agree with him. Continue.

'End Times' Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon
'End times' religious groups want apocalypse sooner than later, and they're relying on high tech -- and red heifers -- to hasten its arrival.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2006

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah.

For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon. Continue

The World: Prophecies; Doomsday: The Latest Word if Not The Last

By Michael Luo, The New York Times, October 16, 2005

WORD spread quickly in some conservative Christian circles when Israeli troops captured the Old City of Jerusalem from Arab forces in June 1967. This was it: Jesus was coming.

But Jesus did not return that day, and the world did not end with the culmination of that Arab-Israeli war.

Neither did it end in 1260, when Joachim of Fiore, an influential 12th-century Italian monk calculated it would, nor in February 1420, as predicted by the Taborites of Bohemia, nor in 1988, 40 years after the formation of Israel, nor after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But after last week's devastating earthquake in Pakistan, coming as it did after a succession of recent disasters, the apocalyptic speculation, bubbled up again with impressive fervor on many Christian blogs, in some pews and among some evangelical Christian leaders. Continue.

Roadblock to Peace
Anxious for Armageddon, Colorado's Christian Zionists oppose the

by Terje Langeland, Colorado Springs Independent, July 17-23, 2003

Lief Carter didn't set out to stoke the fires of apocalyptic fervor. A year ago, the Colorado College political science professor was putting together a symposium on international affairs -- a commonplace type of campus event that rarely stirs much excitement in the outside world.

Within weeks, however, the symposium was making national headlines -- before it had even taken place. Carter was fielding thousands of angry e-mails. And by the time the symposium kicked off on Sept. 12, politicians from Colorado Gov. Bill Owens to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had joined the chorus criticizing the event.

The controversy centered on the college's choice of a prominent Palestinian leader, Hanan Ashrawi, as one of the keynote speakers at the symposium. Conservative Jews, led by the Denver Metro area Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, mounted a campaign against Ashrawi's appearance, calling her a supporter of terrorism and arguing it was inappropriate for her to speak the day after the first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

On the surface, it seemed like just another case of inflamed passions over the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. What went largely unnoticed, however, was the significant role played by a non-Jewish constituency with its own distinct reasons for opposing Ashrawi: evangelical Christians. Continue.