NEW YORK — 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.
Reform Judaism supports creating a Palestinian state; Hagee sees a biblical mandate for the territory so End Times prophecy can be fulfilled.
Yoffie also condemned Hagee's views on Roman Catholicism and Islam. The San Antonio pastor has suggested that Catholic anti-Semitism shaped Adolf Hitler, among other comments.
Hagee has vehemently denied he is anti-Catholic and said his remarks have been mischaracterized.
But Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, distanced himself from Hagee last month, after the pastor endorsed him, following an uproar over Hagee's views of Catholicism.
"On Israeli-Palestinian politics, John Hagee and the CUFI are extremists," Yoffie said, in a speech to Reform rabbis meeting in Cincinnati. "In expressing contempt for other religions and rejecting territorial compromise under any and all circumstances, their views run against the American grain."
The Union for Reform Judaism represents more than 900 North American synagogues.