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