Is Abe Foxman having second thoughts about John Hagee? Back in March, after charges of anti-Catholicism unsettled Hagee’s endorsement of John McCain, the ADL’s national director waved away the controversy as “not a Jewish issue,” telling the Forward, “Are we troubled by Hagee’s support of McCain and McCain’s acceptance? The answer is no, and that’s where it ends for us.” But now the shoe is on the other foot and Foxman believes that relations between the Jewish community and Hagee’s pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, should be be on “hold” pending clarification of his views, according to the New York Jewish Week.
It’s now necessary for us to look at the totality of (Hagee’s) views, said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a Jewish Week interview on Thursday….Hagee has “started to deal with some of the issues” raised by his controversial books and sermons, which deal extensively with Biblical prophecy and the role of Israel and the Jews, “but not in a satisfactory manner; it’s not quick enough and not sufficient,” Foxman said.
I’m guessing that the relationship will be patched up pretty soon, though working out mutually acceptable theological language may take some work.
What exactly were Hagee’s offensive words? Exegeting a passage in Jeremiah (interesting how often that prophet has been surfacing this election season), Hagee said:
A hunter is someone with a gun, and he forces you….Hitler was a hunter….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.”?
So let’s see. Will Hagee have to say that he no longer believes that God allowed the Holocaust to happen? Or that He allowed the Holocaust to happen, but not in order to hasten the return of the Jews to Zion? Or must Hagee lay out a kosher messianic scenario, such as in Zechariah 14:16-17?
All who survive of all those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King Lord of Hosts and to observe the Feast of Booths.
Any of the earth’s communities that does not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow low to the King Lord of Hosts shall receive no rain.
For what it’s worth, Hagee’s former chief religious antagonist, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, having made his peace with the good pastor, is now standing up for him:
One week ago today, I met with Pastor Hagee in my office. I found him to be sincere, apologetic and friendly. I also found him to be the strongest Christian defender of Israel I have ever met, and that is why attempts to portray him as anything but a genuine friend to Jews—one for whom the Holocaust is the horror of horrors—is despicable.
That actually shows a good deal more in the way of interfaith concern than Foxman has demonstrated in this affair.