Jewish Forward Helps Hagee Wash Away His Sins
Many Jews know John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel and leading Christian Zionist zealot, as an anti-Semite who believes Hitler was sent by God to help create the State of Israel. They may also know he supports an Israeli attack on Iran and that he likens Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler. They may also know that he is a pro-settler, not-one-incher, who believes every bit of Biblical Israel was given to the Jewish people by God. Hagee condemns any peace settlement or Israeli leader who considers withdrawing from a single settlement and labels withdrawal or territorial compromise a betrayal of God’s covenant with Israel. Perhaps he is most notoriously known for embracing an End Times narrative that calls for Jews who refuse to convert to be killed with the remaining remnant coming to Jesus to be reborn in the blood of the Christian lamb. Less well-known is his classical anti-Semitic view that the world economic order is controlled by a group like the Illuminati, one of whose primary members are the Rothschild family:
Our economic destiny is controlled by the Federal Reserve system that is now headed by Alan Greenspan. Think about this. It is not a government institution. It is controlled by a group of Class A stockholders including the Rothschilds of Europe…So get this one thought : The value of your dollar is controlled by an organization that is not controlled by America.
Jewish leaders like Rabbi Eric Yoffie have railed against Hagee in the pages of the Jewish Forward, urging their members not to collaborate with or participate in events sponsored by CUFI.
So imagine my surprise when I read John Hagee’s name plastered on The Forward’s website this week. Astonishingly, the liberal Jewish publication had given the uber-Zionist. anti-Semite a platform for his noxious views. The piece the Forward published is extraordinary in so many ways. I have read many speeches and sermons by John Hagee. While they are always deeply disturbing, the Forward op ed is startingly different because it advances a revisionist version of Hagee as philo-Semite, two-stater, land-for peacer that is entirely at variance with his preceding career. It’s as if a plastic surgeon took a flabby, balding, flat-footed, nondescript man and turned him into George Clooney (or to be more political accurate, Charlton Heston–when he was alive at least).
In fact, the Forward column is so poles apart from the Hagee that anyone who’s read him knows that I half-believe it wasn’t written by him; but rather by a Jewish ghost-writer (possibly like his PR flack Ari Morgenstern or political lobbyist, David Brog).
In short, the Forward piece is a tissue of lies easily disproved by the most basic Google searches of his previous writings. For the most detailed and cmprehensive refutation of Hagee’s claims read this primer researched and published by Talk2Action’s Rachel Tabachnick, one of the most authoritative of the former’s Jewish critics. The main howlers are his claim that he is willing to accept a two-state solution (although he doesn’t endorse this path himself even in this column) if Israel itself does:
Another concern that some individuals have expressed is that Christian Zionists will use our influence to stand in the way of efforts to advance a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Such a claim shows a complete disregard for our record.
What is Hagee’s record? Just after 30 evangelical leaders wrote a letter to Pres. Bush endorsing a two-state solution, the good Pastor penned his own letter which laid out his negative views of a two-state solution. It read in part:
Mr. President, we write this letter to state we are opposed to America pressuring Israel to give up more land for any reason.
…Simply stated, land for peace is a policy is a failed policy of the past that has produced nothing but more war.
There will be grave consequences for the nation or nations that attempt to divide the land of Israel… This is not a time to provoke God and defy him to pour out judgment on our nation for being a principal in the division of the land of Israel.”
–from Hagee’s Jerusalem Countdown: a Warning to the World
In this video, Hagee argues that if the U.S. pressures Israel to give up land for peace that God will judge this country be releasing a terrorist who will wreak havoc on us:
To give up more land for peace, Joel 3:2, says any nation that tries to get Israel to divide my land, I will bring it into judgement, I want those of you in the State Department and in Washington to hear this.. If America does not stop pressuring Israel to give up land I believe that God will bring this nation into judgment because I believe what this book says. And if God brings this nation into judgement he will very likely release the terrorist that you’ve already let here through the ridiculous immigration policy that you refuse to stop and this nation is going to go through a blood bath that you have permitted because of what you have done.”
In fact, Hagee defines for us what he believes Israel’s legitimate modern borders should be, which if implemented, would be a whopper of a land for peace deal in Israel’s favor!
“In modern terms, Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia.”
—The Battle for Jerusalem
So, if you read Hagee’s Forward screed carefully you will see what he is really saying is I detest a two state solution and land for peace. But if Israel embraces it, I won’t stand in the way. But even that is undermined by his seeming endorsement of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin as detailed by Max Blumenthal in The Nation:
…In his 1996 book The Beginning of the End, Hagee described the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as fulfillment of prophecy and suggested admiration for Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir.
Imagining Amir’s mindset as he prepared himself to kill Rabin, Hagee wrote, “Tonight, if God was good, an opportunity would show itself. No longer would Rabin be able to transfer Israeli lands to Palestinians. The damage he’d done in the West Bank and Gaza was enough. Israel had a divine right to the land, and to give it away was an act of treason against Israel and an abomination against God.”
Does this suggest to you someone who’s prepared to accept an Israeli peace plan that betrays such principles?
Hagee claims, in the Forward, to be uninterested in the conversion of Jews:
The first rule adopted by Christians United for Israel was that there would be no proselytizing at our events. CUFI exists only to honor and support the Jewish people, never to convert them.
Well, get a gander of this:
“There are several purposes [in the Tribulation which accompanies the End Times], and the first is to bring Israel to the place where she will recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah…
While CUFI itself may not proselytize, Hagee has in fact endorsed a Christian ministry preaching to Jews in Israel:
“Your gift to support the ongoing work of Maoz Israel Ministries enables us to continue on our mission – to bring the Good News of the Gospel of Messiah to the people of Israel until ALL ISRAEL IS SAVED!”
A CUFI director, Stephen Strang, who publishes much of Hagee and CUFI’s materials also brings out a magazine, Charisma, which offered this appraisal of missionary work in Israel :
“In this issue, we offer a look at the Christian peacemakers who are taking the gospel of Jesus Christ not only to Jews and Muslims but also to Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, prisoners, unwed mothers, drug addicts and tourists who visit this unique land. We hope that when you visit Israel you will look beyond the stone monuments, churches and biblical sites to discover the people of faith who are transforming the land.”
Hagee claims to have nothing but respect for the Jewish religion. Yet, this is what he had to say about Rabbi Hillel, perhaps the most important rabbinic figure of the Talmudic era:
“Hillel was an extremist...
—Final Dawn Over Jerusalem
And this concerning those stiff-necked Jews who refused to accept the divinity of Jesus:
“When will the divinely imparted spiritual blindness upon the Jewish people end concerning the identity of Jesus Christ as Messiah?
Do feel some pity for the poor godless Reform Jews Hagee excoriates here:
“I think if I could put a dividing line, the Orthodox and Conservatives who have a Torah appreciation give us wholehearted support. The rest who are not driven by the Word of God have a liberal agenda. And the liberal agenda is they are pro-abortion. They’re pro-homosexual. They’re pro-gay marriage — they want men to marry men and women to marry women…
–San Antonio Express, July 2006
And then there is the whigged-out Hagee devising a theory of Jewish demons so convoluted that it would drive even a conspiracy theorist to drink:
“The case of Esau and Jacob is the pinnacle of divine election. Each was a pure-blooded Jew…Esau’s descendants would also produce a lineage that would attack and slaugher the Jews for centuries…It was Esau’s descendants who produced the half-breed Jews of humanity who have persecuted and murdered Jews beyond human comprehension.
Adolph Hitler was a distant descendant of Esau.”
In the following passage from Hagee’s Forward article, he addresses the End Times scenario of which so many Jews are leery:
Other [Jews suspicious of us] posit that our Zionism is tied to an effort to speed the second coming of Jesus. [This] allegation is flat wrong…
…The fact is that the vast majority of Christian Zionists and Evangelicals do not believe there is anything we can do to hasten the second coming of Jesus. Our theology is clear that we humans are utterly powerless to change God’s timetable. Yes, like many Jews we do believe that the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. And like our Jewish friends we also search the Scriptures to understand what may come next in God’s plans for His creation. But since we are powerless to change these plans, our motives for standing with Israel come from elsewhere.
In other words, Hagee’s belief in an apocalyptic future in which Jews are fated to die (curiously any discussion of this theological belief of his is missing from the Forward) is nothing personal. Rather it is a divine plan over which Hagee has no control. So if Jews have any problem with it don’t take it up with Hagee, take it up with the Guy Upstairs. Further, he would have us believe that he and his followers are quiescent folks who sit back and wait for the Lord’s will to be done. That they do nothing in order to hasten God’s plan. And whatever they do do, they do for the purest of motives having nothing to do with End Times theology.
In fact, this view of Hagee and CUFI flies in the face of everything we know about them. The truth is they are an activist group and the purpose of their activism is to hasten the Second Coming.
Hagee in The Forward is only too happy to play the religious hate card by making Israel’s and America’s chief enemy, Islam:
Christian Zionists also recognize that Israel is not the cause of militant Islam’s hatred of America, but an ally in the fight against militant Islam. Until 9/11 and the ensuing events, Israel largely confronted this threat alone. And to this day the frontline of this conflict remains Israel’s backyard. But Christian Zionists understand that Israel is merely militant Islam’s first target. While American and Israeli soldiers do not fight on the same battlefield, they defend the same values.
In penning this bilge, Hagee is oblivious to the fact that Israel’s chief opponent is not “militant Islam,” but the Palestinian people, who are not motivated primarily by religious hatred, but rather by a political grievance, that is 42 years of Occupation. Even if you argue falsely that Hamas is no different from Al Qaeda and it is motivated by religious hatred of Israel, how do you explain the equally implacable resistance of Fatah and West Bank Palestinians to Occupation? Such nuance is lost on Hagee.
Finally, the idea that American and Israeli soldiers defend the same values is ludicrous, unless you want to argue somehow that U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are parallel to Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian lands. This, of course is Al Qaeda’s argument and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find the latter in agreement with John Hagee, as they are both religious extremists.
Finally, I take strong exception to The Forward’s decision to publish this execrable nonsense. The paper’s op-ed editor, the right-leaning Daniel Treiman commissioned this piece and he should have his license to practice journalism suspended. Did he do any fact-checking before publishing this? Or did he feel his author was of such impeccable reputation that such rudimentary editorial review was unnecessary?
Furthermore, the Forward deleted comments posted by Rachel Tabachnick and Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action, Jewish opponents of Hagee, in the thread for this article. Their contributions offered Hagee quotations like the ones above to rebut the claims he made. I’m assuming that Treiman as op-ed editor made the decision to excise these perfectly reasonable comments. Did he or did someone higher in the food chain? If so, why?
Until recently, Rachel Tabachnick contributed articles twice a month to Zeek, a progressive Jewish publication which shares a website with The Forward, about Hagee and Christian Zionism. Her work on this subject has been suspended by Zeek’s editor, Jo Ellen Kaiser. No one can now write for Zeek about either matter.
This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be writing about Hagee’s relationship with The Forward and Zeek, threats levelled against them by Hagee, and questions raised about the suspension of Tabachnick’s work. Stay tuned…
16 thoughts on “Jewish Forward Helps Hagee Wash Away His Sins – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
I was amazed to also see the piece in Haaretz’s English edition about 10 days ago:
This piece having appeared not only in the Forward but also in Haaretz illustrates that the entire Israeli society is shifting toward the right, sharply, and that this article is meant to influence the opinions of the readers toward acceptance of the Netanyahu government’s agenda, which seems to mesh with Hagee’s sick vision.
i keep asking myself: what is happening to israel? what is happening to the jewish people? how has everything gotten so amped up, so out of control?
i am deeply saddened.
What is happening to Israel is destined to happen because the entire country is based on something inherently evil and wrong – the theft of Palestine from its people. Nothing based on falsehood can endure; and the oppression of the Palestinian people is a heavy debt that must be paid. Zionism is a flawed ideology and anything that it produces is flawed. The ship is sinking.
“Nothing based on falsehood can endure…” Mary, that is a beautiful statement, but, alas, perhaps because I am much older and no doubt much more cynical, I must sadly comment that it is simply not so in reality. The countries of the Americas were founded in blood, theft, genocide. And they endure. Proponents of Israel love to point out that lands like the USA, Australia, New Zealand, were stolen from the aborigines, hence, no inhabitant of these countries should criticise Israel. With all the fanatical support, economic and spiritual, lavished upon Israel, it is highly doubtful that the SS Zionism is even leaking.
You don’t know how old I am. Besides, we are not looking at a scale of 20 years, or 50 years. I see Israel heading west for the sunset, slowly but surely. It’s unraveling faster than anyone can knit it back together. The craziest people are running the country; the ideology of Zionism is proving to be racist and oppressive, and an utter failure. World opinion is turning away towards Israel, and rightly so. There cannot be a Jewish State because demographically and politically it is impossible. Sadly, at this point it appears that the next time Israel attacks anyone it is going to bring on World War III.
RE: “Another concern that some individuals have expressed is that Christian Zionists will use our influence to stand in the way of efforts to advance a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Such a claim shows a complete disregard for our record.’ – Hagee, The Forward, posted 05/12/10
HAGEE’S OWN WORDS AND ACTIONS JUST TWO MONTHS EARLIER: A Serial Obstructionist, By Rachel Tabachnick, ZEEK
(EXCERPTS)…Shortly after Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel [on 03/08/10], Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat were the headliners at Pastor John Hagee’s two-hour Christians United for Israel (CUFI) extravaganza at the Jerusalem Convention Center….
…Monday’s CUFI production was based on the concept of “biblical Zionism,” or the belief that God mandates nonnegotiable borders of Israel, and any leader or nation who thwarts this divine plan will be cursed. Before introducing Netanyahu, Hagee stated, “World leaders do not have the authority to tell Israel and the Jewish people what they can and can not do in Jerusalem.” He added, “Israel does not exist because of a decree of the United Nations in 1948. Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…The settlements are not the problem.”
In his books and sermons Hagee has promoted a “greater Israel,” that will reclaim all of Israel’s former biblical territory, stating “In modern terms, Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia.”
At the Jerusalem CUFI event Hagee described Ahmadinejad as the Hitler of the Middle East who could turn the world upside down in 24 hours, words similar to those he made when lobbying for the attack on Iraq…
…During a performance by singer Dudu Fisher, the God TV camera panned to the audience and centered on Joel Bell, leader of Worldwide Biblical Zionists. WBZ is currently building a center in Sha’ar Benjamin for “facilitating absorption” of Christian Zionists into the West Bank. It was established after a joint meetingheld in Texas of the Board of Governors of World Likud led by Danny Danon, and World Evangelical Zionists led by Joel Bell. Speakers included ZOA’s Morton Klein….
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://zeek.forward.com/articles/116518/
A VIDEO TRIBUTE TO “REVEREND” JOHN HAGEE
There Will Be Blood – Daniel’s Baptism [03:38] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwkP7Gnp7ek
RE: “Other [Jews suspicious of us] posit that our Zionism is tied to an effort to speed the second coming of Jesus. [This] allegation is flat wrong…
…The fact is that the vast majority of Christian Zionists and Evangelicals do not believe there is anything we can do to hasten the second coming of Jesus.” – Hagee
HAGEE TRYING TO BREED A “PERFECT RED HEIFER” TO HASTEN THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST: Pastor Strangelove, by Sarah Posner, The American Prospect, 05/21/06
(EXCERPT)…Besides his million-dollar compensation package, Hagee has a portfolio of other ventures, including a cattle ranch in south Texas that may have religious significance. Many evangelicals believe that the arrival of a “perfect red heifer” will signal the end times. In the Old Testament, burning a red heifer and sprinkling its ashes is described as a purification ritual for priests entering the temple. Ultra-orthodox Jews believe that the birth of a modern perfect red heifer will herald the arrival of the messiah, leading to a confrontation with Muslims over the Temple Mount, where Jews believe the Temple will be rebuilt. Some evangelicals likewise regard the red heifer as a harbinger of the ultimate showdown at the Temple Mount, which they believe will be the site of the Second Coming. And they believe that time is near.
To many other observers, the advent of the red heifer threatens to provoke a violent struggle for control of the Temple Mount, with worldwide repercussions. In the late 1990s, a group of unidentified Texas ranchers reportedly bred a perfect red heifer, which generated excitement in evangelical circles until the animal sprouted some black hairs.
Six years ago, the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust paid more than $5.5 million for a 7,600-acre ranch in Brackettville, Texas, where cattle are raised in a venture with the Texas Israel Agricultural Research Foundation, a nonprofit outfit operated by the pastor…Earl said that Hagee wants to share information to improve the production of livestock, particularly cattle, with an Israeli research project, but otherwise claimed to be unsure of the particulars. Dr. Scott Farhart, an obstetrician and trustee of the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust (and an elder at Hagee’s church), did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the director of the ranch…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=11541
RE: “Perhaps he is most notoriously known for embracing an End Times narrative that calls for two-thirds of the Jewish people to be killed and the remaining one-third to come to Jesus to be reborn in the blood of the Christian lamb.” – Silverstein
FEAR NOT, FOR NOW YOU CAN ‘REST EASY’: ‘Dual Covenant’ Christians ~ Christian Zionists and the strangest alliance in history, by Jon Basil Utley, Counterpunch, 08/02/06
(EXCERPT) The major internal conflict for the strangest alliance in history is about what will happen to Jews who don’t convert to evangelical Christianity. The Armageddonites, those 30 million Americans who happily see Mideast chaos as hastening their one-way trip to paradise, are being increasingly questioned about the fate of Jews whom they urge to help fulfill the prophecies.
Once their death wish agenda is realized, the end-of-the-worlders believe that Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims (of course), other Christians (apparently including Catholics and Orthodox), and all the rest of humanity will be killed. But the born-again will be “raptured” to Heaven.
Now some enterprising Texans have “resolved” the big question. The Jews God kills will go to a parallel heaven, “their” kind of heaven, to enjoy eternity alongside the good Christians. The Jewish heaven will presumably be what “they” would like, perhaps different from the evangelical heaven, where there will be “no booze, no bars, and no need to mow the grass on one’s lawn,” according to a popular Gaither Singers song. (The fact that the Jewish faith has no afterlife at all similar to the Christian one is irrelevant, nor do the faithful Texans probably even know it.) It is called the “dual covenant theory” – the belief that Jews and Christians have separate deals with God. However, Muslims, Hindus, and others have no deal….
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.antiwar.com/utley/?articleid=9456
The above article by Mr. Utley is from Antiwar.com rather than Counterpunch.com as I indicated. Please consider my error proof that I am a human (and a very mistake-prone one at that).
Haaretz reprint from Forward at least allows for comments:
All one can do is write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Forward always allows for comments. The fact that they’ve closed Hagee’s article online to comments is significant.
It sounds like another form of censorship, to limit feedback on an article that way. The Forward knows that people would have had plenty to say about the phony Hagee.
Not always — but it can be hard to figure out the policy about which.
Is the Forward on the take from this wealthy maniac?
To Richard Silverstein,
I received your email early Saturday morning asking to speak with me, and intended to contact you on Sunday, until I read your post of Saturday night titled “Jewish Forward helps Hagee wash away his sins.” Having read your smashmouth treatment of the Forward I saw no point in responding to your request, not even after your second email, on Sunday evening, asking for “an opportunity to hear your side of the matter before I publish.” A peculiar sequence.
But your readers deserve better. I would guess that many of them would welcome a clear expression of John Hagee’s views on issues of concern to Jews in particular, though not only to us. It’s precisely because the op-ed in question is so markedly different in tone and emphasis compared to some of Pastor Hagee’s previous statements that it bears serious consideration by the audience it was addressed to. To be sure, the piece should raise questions in the minds of knowledgeable readers, about the evolution of the author’s own thinking about these issues, about the differences between his views and those of some other spokesmen for Christian Zionists and evangelicals, and indeed about how those views will inform the positions that Pastor Hagee and Christians United for Israel will be taking in the months ahead. I’m proud of our editors’ decision to run the op-ed and eager to see where it takes us. Your readers and ours can be sure that the Forward will continue to report on this subject, and that we’ll continue to do so independent of the forces and agendas arrayed on these issues inside and outside the Jewish community.
I cannot speak for Zeek. We have a co-marketing agreement with Zeek and as part of that arrangement we host that publication on our web site, TheJewishDailyForward.com. That brings the editorial offerings of each publication to the attention of the other’s online readership, but they have no say about our editorial judgments and we have no say about theirs.
Finally, I want to correct just one error of fact in your post, for the record. Neither Daniel Treiman nor anyone else at the Forward removed the comments that had been posted to the Hagee op-ed. We’re still trying to understand how that happened, and how a second, identical version of the op-ed was posted for several days, before we removed it. Our tech team have reason to doubt that it was the result of foul play; they are looking into whether an improper character in one of the tags or in the text of a comment could have taken down the connection between this piece and our commenting system. We’re working to restore that connection.
Samuel Norich, Publisher, The Forward