Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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June 01
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APRIL 22, 2010 9:43AM

Since when is John Hagee a "true friend" of Israel?

Rate: 11 Flag

Writing today on Ynetnews, an English-language website affiliated with Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely-read newspaper, historian and writer Dan Calic has penned a letter of thanks to “Our True Friends” – Christian Zionists, particularly the Texas-based “Christians United for Israel” under the leadership of the Rev. John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Calic goes on to describe a recent event in Jerusalem called “A Night to Honor Israel,” which was “non-proselytizing and designed to demonstrate genuine love of the Jewish people by Christians who recognize Jews are G-d’s Chosen People. The invocation at the Jerusalem event was lead by Rabbi Schlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat. Keynote speakers included John Hagee, PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.”

John Hagee 
(Source: blog.joelx.com)

Excuse me? John Hagee is a friend of Israel and the Jewish people? Or is Calic talking about some other John Hagee we haven’t heard about yet? In fact, Calic’s eulogy is less interesting for what it says (it mostly denounces Muslim treachery) than what it doesn’t, and even he is cautious in his praise for the wily Texan. “While certain theological statements made by Pastor Hagee will challenge traditional Jews,” Calic admits, “his words regarding Israel’s right to exist, and defend itself are absolutely spot on.” 

Okay, I’m game. Let’s take a look at some of these “theological statements.” (You’ve probably all heard about John Hagee and his ill-advised endorsement of John McCain in the 2008 election, so I’ll just stick to the basics.) In his book “Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude to War,” Hagee argues that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism and their destruction at the hands of the Nazis: “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 anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people.” 

In a sermon he delivered in the late 1990s, Hagee not only claimed that both Theodor Herzl and Adolf Hitler were sent by God to drive the Jewish people out of their homes and back to the Promised Land, but that Jews have no right to live anywhere outside of Israel: 

Now how is God going to bring them back to the land? The answer is fishers and hunters. The answer is given in Jeremiah 16, verse 15 and following. God says in Jeremiah 16 - “Behold I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave unto their fathers” - that would be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - “Behold I will send for many fishers and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them” - that will be the Jews - “from every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.” If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the Holocaust... you can't see that. So think about this - I will send fishers and I will send hunters. A fisher is someone who entices you with a bait. How many of you know who Theodore Herzl was? How many of you don't have a clue who he was? WOO... Sweet God! Theodore Herzl is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew that at the turn of the 19th century said - “this land is our land, God wants us to live there”. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said, “I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel”. So few went, Herzl went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the Holocaust. Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says – Jeremiah, righty? - “they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks,” meaning: there's no place to hide. And that will be offensive to some people. Well, dear heart, be offended: I didn’t write it. Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. 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”. Today Israel is back in the land and they are at Ezekiel 37 and 8. They are physically alive but they’re not spiritually alive. Now how is God going to cause the Jewish people to come SPIRITUALLY alive and say, ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He is God’?” 

Think this is all in the past? Think again. Hagee is also a powerful proponent of a joint US-Israeli nuclear attack on Iran as a prelude to “Rapture.” In a 2006 radio interview with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air,” Hagee said: “Iran's nuclear weapons have been produced with Russian scientists. The Islamic Arabs are using the Roadmap to Peace to get all of the land of Israel they can get. And when Israel finally says, ‘Enough!’ you’re going to see the beginning of the implementation of Ezekiel’s war in 38:39. The critical point is the church is raptured before this war begins. I am telling you that makes this message one of the most thrilling prophetic messages you’ve ever heard in your life.”

But not to worry - the coming war won't kill everyone in the Middle East. In “Jerusalem Countdown” Hagee writes: “"Who is this remnant [those who will survive]? First, it’s obvious that all of that remnant is Jewish...  God promises that by his sovereign grace a ‘remnant’ would be saved by the grace of God, a group of survivors who have the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus Christ.” 

(For much more on Hagee's crackpot statements and personal hypocrisy, click here.)

And on and on and on. So if this nutcase and his Rapture-ready followers are Israel’s “true friends,” than all I can say is: with friends like these… You get the picture.

Calic concludes by writing: Those who will stand with us will be Christian Zionists such as Pastor John Hagee. Some Jews may say the reason the Christian Zionists ‘love’ us so much is more about fulfillment of their own eschatology than genuine love and respect for the Jewish people. While there may be some element of truth to this notion, as a Jew if I have to choose between those willing to stand with us and support our country vs. those who murder our people, wish to destroy our country and believe in a god who curses us, the choice becomes an easy one.

G-d said to Abraham in Genesis “I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you…” Let us work together with those who bless us and support our right to live in the land G-d gave us.” 

So there you have it, folks. It’s all a question of domination or extermination with no middle ground possible. The old zero-sum game that put the Middle East in this situation in the first place. Dan Calic and John Hagee – thanks for nothing.   

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OMG... I was hoping this guy had gone the way of the dinosaurs (and the Bushes).
I guess this falls into the "the enemy of my enemies...." category. You have to wonder if the Israelis realize that people like Hagee only like the Jewish as cannon fodder in their Middle East crusade.
Hagee is ecumenical. He calls the Catholic Church the Whore of Babylon.
The only thing John Hagee is a "true friend" to is his own bank account. Of course that could be said of all televangelists, so Hagee really is just another sheeple
Well-researched and insightful, but not surprising. Israel understands its friendships in the US, both evangelical and secular, are highly conditional. War makes strange bedfellows.
The coalition between the Fundy right and the entrenched Rabbis of the Israeli right is made in heaven, or is it hell? That either side will wake up and see they have nothing in common except literalism, and literalism is the problem is not likely to happen.

The "hope" if it can even be called such is for secularism to be embraced by a voting majority in this country and Israel and the xenophobes chased from the churches and the synagogues. It could take awhile, meanwhile, we can blog a little more "enlightened" view.
99 million people listen to this hideous man and his words of hate every Sunday on television and radio. He is a powerful nutcase and one of the most dangerous, evil men in the world. He wants war with Iran as it will be a sign of the coming Rapture. He is as mentally ill as Jim Jones or any other cult leader in history. I have researched him and listened to his hate speeches. He teams up with Israel even though he thinks Jews need to be saved before the End of Times. He is one sick fuck.
Ask any of these 'friends' of Israel one question: 'Who, in future, do you see running Israel?' They will never say 'Jews'. The end.
There is so much sh-t out there in the name of G-d and religion. Rated.
In Hagee's mythos, Israel has to win in a war against the Arabs, before Jesus can incinerate all the non-believers in him.
Thanks again for your thought-provoking article. A good read about Hagee is Matt Taibbi's ( a contributing editor for Rolling Stone ) book " The Great Derangement".
Ths man Hagee is totally sick. All he does is spew hatred against the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard him ( on TV of course ) ridicule the Muslim word for God, Allah. You saw people in the audience all teary-eyed listening to his codswallop. No one of course had the brains to stand up and say to the Reverend. Excuse me Sir, but as far as I know Jesus Christ was born along the Gaza strip, not in Texas or Tunbridge Wells, his real name was not Jesus Christ and he did not speak English and in the Assyrian language, the Lord is referred to as Ilu, which is closer to Allah than the word God.
Unfortunately for over two millenium we have this myth of associating Christ or Issa with Westerners, when it's a no-brainer that the guy was a middle easterner, who was in fact crucified by the Europeans. Who says racism isn't alive and well.
There's something seriously wrong when some people call Noam Chomsky, " a self-hating Jew" for his dispassionate analysis of the Israeli scene, and yet they cozy up to absolute scumbags like Hagee.
I agree--especially with your ending statement. Are THESE our only choices?
Oh, just a few MILLION Muslims obliterated. Sigh. Nothing to worry about.
Whenever anyone believes that God has one chosen people--and of course I mean when ANY religion thinks this--it scares me. Where do you go from there but down?
The Christian Fundamentalists are true friends of Israel, much in the same way that Farmer Brown is a true friend of the Little Red Hen.
Why isn't he Fallwell's bunkmate already?
OK, let me explain things from the view point of someone who tries to live a Torah lifestyle. First, we have perfect faith that the Jesus character in the Greek Bible is not Melech haMoshiach, we don't worry about people who do. We don't care about how he interprets current events or Torah, nor do we care about some of the stupid things he says.

Really, who cares why he thinks the State of Israel was created?

No, we (I) love the guy because he is the first right-wing Christian leader that I know of, ever, who has renounced converting Jews. I heard him say (words to this effect) that when Moshiach comes, he'll let us know who's right. That's historic, that's wonderful, and that's why he is an honored guest in Israel and Torah-based communities around the world.