CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS VIGOROUSLY PROTEST REV. JOHN HAGEE’S “2011 NIGHT TO HONOR ISRAEL”

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Christian Zionist John Hagee Draws Fire

ALBUQUERQUE – Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundationand member of the JewsOnFirst advisory board, and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, Co-Director of www.JewsOnFirst.org, vigorously protest the participation of the New Mexico Jewish Federation in Rev. John Hagee’s “2011 Night to Honor Israel,” which takes place tonight, Tuesday, January 11, in Albuquerque. We urge that people not attend the event nor support the misguided work of Christians United for Israel.

Mikey Weinstein and Rabbi Haim Beliak express their shock that the Jewish community of New Mexico would associate with Rev. Hagee and Christians United for Israel. Weinstein and Beliak reject the attempt to cast the conflict between Israel and Palestinians into religious language as unhelpful and misleading. Weinstein and Beliak point to the intolerance and bigotry of Hagee’s expressions as out of sync with the values of America and Judaism.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org), a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the first New Mexico organization ever to be so nominated in the state’s history, has been described by Harper’s Magazine as the “Constitutional Conscience of the (United States) Military.” JewsOnFirst.org is a web site that defends the First Amendment and encroachment by the Christian right.

By blaming the victim (the Jews) in his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War, Hagee repeats a pattern of thought that is unacceptable.

Hagee claims that the Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves by rebelling against God (which is code language for not accepting Jesus as their Messiah). Hagee claims that the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis was God’s way of forcing Jews to move to Israel. Further, Hagee’s theological and material support of Israel seeks to foster the conditions for a cataclysmic world war. Hagee’s theology ignores the pursuit of peace but seeks instead, the mass death of the world’s people including most Jews. John Hagee believes “end-times war is a necessary precondition for the ‘Rapture’ that will lift Christians, but not Jews, bodily into Heaven.” In an interview with Terri Gross, Hagee depicts Jews as Christ killers, an ancient lie about Jews. (http://www.jewsonfirst.org/audio-video/Display5.aspx?id=5149)

Last week in a conference call to Christian supporters Hagee repeated his claim that “land for peace” was Biblically unjustified. Again, Hagee incorrectly cast the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as a religious one. (http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110107/hagee-asserts-dividing-israel-is-not-gods-will-evangelicals-disagree/)

In televised sermons broadcast all over the world, Hagee has called the Catholic Church, “the Great Whore.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/opinion/
04rich.html?_r=4&pagewanted=print
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Hagee blames the misery of the Katrina disaster on plans for a gay pride parade. Even Dennis Prager, one of the speakers at tonight’s event, was astonished at Hagee’s claims. (http://thinkprogress.org/2008/04/23/hagee-katrina-mccain/)

Christians United for Israel helped to distribute an anti-Islamic film. (http://www.jewsonfirst.org/08a/cufi_obsession.html)

Hagee regularly expresses disdain for Reform and Conservative Jews (http://www.jewsonfirst.org/07b/yoffie.html). Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the leader of the Union for Reform Judaism, has expressed severe reservations about any connection to Hagee or CUFI. (http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06b/fp012.html)

Weinstein and Beliak approached the organizers of “2011 Night to Honor Israel” event asking that they inform the public of Hagee’s remarks and that these expression of hate did not bring honor to Israel. Weinstein and Beliak also demanded that the event be cancelled. Robert Efroymson, the chair of the event, offered to debate the issues but did not substantively respond to what Hagee was saying or to the request to cancel.

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, Co-director of JewsOnFirst.org, can be reached at 310-592-8960.

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/)

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