Jewish Journal

Reform leader asks Jews to abandon Hagee

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 4, 2008 | 3:12 pm

The leader of the Reform movement of Judaism has, not surprisingly, called on his co-religionists to step away from the fire-and-brimstone pastor who leads Christians United for Israel (you know him better as the Rev. John Hagee).

Rabbi Eric Yoffie , who over the past two years made headlines when he spoke at the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America, drew a sharp distinction between dialogue and political alliances which he said “demand of us a higher standard and which require both common values and common interests.” Yoffie made his comments during a panel discussion before the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) meeting here this week.

Hagee founded CUFI two years ago and has, since then, run “Night to Honor for Israel” events across the country, where he has been warmly received by Federation audiences. In his address tonight, Yoffie focused on the problems with Hagee’s form of Christian Zionism and why the Jewish community needs to reject it.

Yoffie gave two primary reasons not to engage in alliances with Hagee. The first is Hagee’s vitriolic attacks on other religious traditions, particularly Muslims and Catholics. But even more important, Yoffie said, is Hagee’s stance on Israel.

“What [Hagee and his allies] mean by support of Israel and what we mean by support of Israel are two very different things,” Yoffie said. 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,” he continued. “If implemented, in fact, these views would mean disaster for Israel, and would lead to diplomatic isolation, increased violence, and the loss of Israel’s Jewish majority.”

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