Kudos to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, who has publicly spoken out against Jewish political cooperation with those Evangelicals who label themselves "Christian Zionists," with their most prominent organization - Christians United for Israel - and with its leader, Rev. John Hagee. Yoffie's words:
The heart of Pastor Hagee's message is to be found in these words: "Stop giving the land away. The land belongs to you. Keep it."
...mainstream Christian Zionists are, by their own admission, not "advocates" of Israel but "Biblical advocates" of Israel, and this means that they oppose any territorial concessions by the Government of Israel for any reason whatsoever. It follows that their vision of Israel rejects a two-state solution, rejects the possibility of a democratic Israel, and supports the permanent occupation of all Arab lands now controlled by Israel.
Are they entitled to such views? Of course. But we are entitled to say, and are obligated to say, that such views may advance their theology but they do so at the expense of Israel's security and well-being. If implemented, in fact, these views would mean disaster for Israel...
Hagee's intolerant views of Catholicism have received considerable attention since his public endorsement of Sen. John McCain. The Texas mega-church pastor's views on Israel and Judaism have received less srutiny - in part because some pro-Israel activists have given him their seal of approval. Hagee spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference last year. Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, has used that fact to defend McCain's acceptance of Hagee's support:
"The fact [Hagee] has been kashered by AIPAC makes it very difficult to attack him," he said.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, another McCain backer, not only spoke to Christians United for Israel's big gathering last summer, he compared Hagee to the biblical Moses as someone who "has become the leader of a mighty multitude in pursuit of and defense of Israel."
But Yoffie, leader of the largest Jewish denomination in America, is right: Hagee's views on Israel are pernicious. In fact, Yoffie could have said more. As I've written elsewhere, Hagee has expressed uncommon sympathy for Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. His enthusiasm for Israel is predicated on the belief that its existence heralds the "terminal generation" of history - when Jews will all accept Christianity. Now that's love for Israel and Jews.
Yoffie, speaking at a Reform rabbinical meeting, also criticized televangelist Rod Parsley for his vitriol against Islam. Parsley, too, is in the McCain camp. Yoffie didn't mention McCain; he didn't need to.
Are you listening, Joe Lieberman?
Cross-posted at South Jerusalem.