McCain and Lieberman Frolic At CUFI's Festival Of Hate
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 12:13:21 PM EST
Recently, Democratic Leadership Council member Harold Ford has accused some bloggers of anti-Semitism. So, since Mr. Ford seems to be in the business, I thought I'd air my (belated) impressions of what some might call a rather egregious anti-Semitic event, in the broadest sense. CUFI 2007 was a festival of hate - overtly trained on Arabs and Muslims, covertly trained on Jews. Bestowing their blessings, and prostrating themselves before the architects of that hatred, were US Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain. First, some overt hatred:
"The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It's the difference between good and evil [applause].... this is what we're witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no SOUL !, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call "Allah" which is very different from the God we believe....[applause] because our God is the God of love."

[to listen to excerpt from Bridgette Gabriel's CUFI speech, mouse over the area under the picture, right]

With a few quick rhetorical strokes, CUFI speaker Bridgette Gabriel had stripped the soul from Muslims across the whole Middle East, casting them as collectively subhuman. Later on that day, US Senator McCain gave a speech reinforcing the proposition that America was engaged in a total war against an utterly evil, hence inhuman, foe. [scroll below pictures to listen to audio excerpts] But Muslims were not the only group the event's leaders seemed to view as guilty of collective spiritual taints, and almost at the very moment Bridgette Gabriel was stripping the soul from Mideast Muslims, two Jewish journalists were being evicted from the conference, for interviewing conference goers about their apocalyptic religious beliefs and confronting the conference leader about writing of his that blamed Jews themselves for the Holocaust. Welcome to the second annual "Christians United For Israel" conference, held at the Marriott Wardman hotel in Washington DC. on the 16th through the 18th of July 2007.

BBC REPORTER 1: You know, some people listening to your beliefs will be concerned that such as the black and white, good against evil; the global confrontation that youíre talking about, itís inflammatory. Itís dangerous.

PASTOR HAGEE: No, itís not dangerous. When you know the future, thereís no reason to consider it inflammatory. Itís going to happen. These things that Iím speaking of have been clearly predicted in Scripture as clearly as the sun shines at noonday. And when you study the Scripture in a scholarly fashion and understand that both Old and New Testament link together in a mesh work of prophetic logic that very clearly portrays the future, then there is no reason for concern. Thereís absolute reason for confidence in knowing that, yes, the world is getting ready to go through the birth pains of sorrow, what the Bible calls it. But on the other side of the birth pains will be the Messianic era of Jesus Christ and a thousand years of peace in the millennial reign.

Bridgette Gabriel's diatribe, painting a wide swath of humanity as subhuman, would have been well at home in Goebbel's Reich and should have been denounced for the hate speech that is was rather than sanctioned by the presence of national politicians and presidential candidates. But such expressions - leveled towards Islam - rarely are denounced at present. And, perhaps such dehumanization of Muslims is not surprising in a climate that allows, to little question, supposed key supporters of Israel such as Pastor John Hagee to blame the Holocaust on Jews. If CUFI's leader can state that millions of Jews were themselves guilty for their own horrible deaths, it should come as little surprise that CUFI speakers declare millions of Muslims and Arabs to be, for all intents and purposes, subhuman. Many American nonprofit organizations with noble sounding mission statements which would seem to demand their denunciation of such hate speech routinely turn a blind eye to such excretions, highly prominent, that smear the entire Islamic world and thus a substantial portion of humanity. But, they also turn a blind eye to hair raising public declarations of anti-Semitism.

"200 Million Radical Muslim Extremists" Want To Kill Us ?

CUFI founder, fundamentalist pastor John Hagee, both warns of the immanent threat to the United States of an "army" of several hundred million Muslims who are duty bound, based in a literal ( fundamentalist) reading of the Koran to kill Muslims and Jews, and implies that non-fundamentalist Muslims are less than fully "faithful"; "faithful" (fundamentalist) Muslims are depicted as killers while moderate Muslims, inclined towards a less literal reading of the Koran, are tarred as lacking in religious devotion and so in Hagee's view the entire Islamic world is suspect. Hagee routinely meets with the most powerful of American politicians and has been heavily courted lately by presidential candidate John McCain who, during his 2000 presidential bid, called Fundamentalists such as John Hagee "agents of intolerance".

While I was listening to Bridgette Gabriel's depiction of a maximally bloodthirsty Islamic world populated with Muslim mothers everywhere piously sending their sons out on suicide bombing missions, Max Blumenthal was at a CUFI press conference confronting the organization's founder, Pastor John Hagee, with Hagee's own recent writing that seemed to place the blame for anti-Semitism, and even the Holocaust , squarely upon Jews themselves, for an alleged collective Jewish transgression, against God, thousands of years ago.

Joe Lieberman Likens Pastor John "What End-Times Prophecy?" Hagee To Moses

Less than 24 hours previously, at a Monday night kickoff fundraising dinner for the CUFI event, US Senator Joe Lieberman had compared Pastor John Hagee to Moses:

"I want to take the liberty of describing Pastor Hagee in the words that the Torah uses to describe Moses; he is in , a man of God. And those words really do fit him. And I'd add something else; like Moses, he's become the leader of a mighty multitude, even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the promised land"

Image, below : Pastor John "Moses" Hagee explains the nuances of Christian apocalyptic dispensationalism

"This Sunday morning we will begin a Bible teaching series on the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ and the things that are to come. What is going to happen? When is it going to happen? Why is it going to happen? How will civilization as we know it come to an end? Understand that the world will never come to an end! It will be recreated just before the millennial reign to resemble the Garden of Eden. That will be necessary because there will be a nuclear exchange in the Middle East in the near future. Bring your Bible and donít miss one of these teachings. These Bible truths will bless you for the rest of your life" - John Hagee, Cornerstone Church publication dated October 10, 2006.

Jews Blamed For Holocaust, Evicted For Questioning That Proposition ?

The following Tuesday, after Lieberman had sanctified John Hagee as a second Moses to the Jews, at CUFI's press conference, things were a bit rockier. First, Pastor John Hagee made the absurd claim that CUFI's motivations were not based in apocalyptic theology [ link to Alternet piece by sara Posner ], stating:

"our support of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with end times prophecy. It has absolutely nothing to do with eschatology."

Then, Max Blumenthal racheted things up a bit by asking about a passage from Pastor John Hagee's book, "Jerusalem Countdown: Prelude To War", which seemed to suggest Hagee feels that Jews are themselves to blame for anti-semitism and the Holocaust : Asked Blumenthal : "On page 92 of "Jerusalem Countdown" you write "It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenental responsibility to serve the one and only true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day." Blumenthal went on, "Can you explain your support for Israel and the Jewish people in the context of that quote ?"

Hagee replied "Well, yes. That's out of the book of Deuteronomy. Have you read it ?" "Yes I have, I've read the Bible", replied Blumenthal, to which Hagee retorted "Well it's just as true as when Moses read it as it is right now". Trying another tact, Blumenthal asked, "I just wanted to clarify if, by quoting Deuteronomy or by using this quote you are holding the... you are blaming the persecution of the Jewish people on the Jewish people, for the rejection of Christ." Seeming a bit rattled, Hagee replied "I'm not blaming... that is an absolute stretch. I never wrote that in the book."

Max Blumenthal's fingernails-on-a-blackboard question had raised an issue that, quite inexplicably, had never been aired before - isn't there a bit of a contradiction between professing love for Jews and blaming the for the Holocaust ?

Now, CUFI members say they LOVE Jews and fiercely support Israel, but they also tend to believe the apocalyptic Middle East conflagration they are rooting for and egging on will kill most Jews on earth ( a "remnant" will survive by converting to Christianity ) and wipe Judaism from the face of the planet.

But apparently, as far as CUFI's leadership seems to think, Jews aren't supposed to ask questions about getting forcibly converted or incinerated in CUFI's expected nuclear "holocaust" :

On Tuesday, around noon, journalists Sara Posner & Max Blumenthal were booted from the CUFI event, by off-duty DC police called in by CUFI's PR people, apparently for interviewing CUFI members regarding the apocalyptic theological agenda that underlies CUFI's goals for the Middle East. Later, the two were readmitted to the conference, per orders from on high. Presumably, someone with a bit of political savvy realized that it would look bad for Jewish reporters to be barred from a conference that was supposed to express love for Jews.

image, right: Sept/Oct. issue of the bimonthly publication from John Hagee's Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas

Whether intentional or not, there was a stark implied message : Jews should just shut up and wait to be incinerated or, if they're so lucky, converted to Christianity.

Max Blumenthal and Thomas Shomaker have created a short video documentary ( here's Max's full Huffington Post piece, with accompanying commentary ) about their CUFI expedition and it's well worth a look, not the least of which for Pastor John Hagee's absurdly mendacious claim that CUFI is not about apocalyptic theology. As Blumenthal's interviews with CUFI's rank and file demonstrates, CUFI's members disagree with Hagee. For them it's apocalypse 24-7.

CUFI Members Love Jews To Death !

[image, above: CUFI members wave flags at the 2nd annual national "Night To Honor Israel". Some 4-5 thousand attended, and there was even a smattering of Jews]

The sincerity and depth of feeling CUFI's Christians hold towards Jews cannot be questioned ; it is heartfelt. They love Jews to death, literally. Members of CUFI's board of directors have made numerous statements on, and even written books about, the coming "Holocaust", "Second Holocaust", or "Final Holocaust" they anticipate will kill off the majority of Jews on Israel ( probably worldwide as well ).

That slaughter is viewed as a regrettably necessary price Jews must pay so that CUFI's Christians can be "raptured" up to Heaven to look down upon, from a safe distance, a nuclear conflagration that incinerates Jews and Muslims alike at the battle of Armageddon. [ here's an audio series, called "The Next Holocaust", by Dr. Chuck Missler, CUFI director for Oklahoma and author of the books "The Next Holocaust" and "The Final Holocaust".

Typically, Jewish allies of CUFI, happy for the "no land for peace" and "Israel has the right to all the Mideast land Israel had in Biblical times" positions CUFI advocates and lobbies for, dismiss the end-time beliefs of CUFI's Christian Zionists as "nonsense". But, theological beliefs are only "nonsense" to the extent they don't get translated into government policy or have an effect on international politics. There's a good deal of evidence that CUFI and its allies do have an impact.

Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a newly formed political organization that tells its members that supporting Israel's expansionist policies is "a biblical imperative." CUFI's Washington lobbyist, David Brog, told me that during the meetings, CUFI representatives pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah....

CUFI's advice to the Bush Administration reflects the Armageddon-based foreign-policy views of its founder, John Hagee.....The only way to defeat the Iranian evildoers, he [ Hagee ] says, is a full-scale military assault.

"The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty," Hagee wrote this year in the Pentecostal magazine Charisma. "Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide." [ From Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism, by Max Blumenthal ]

No Souls For Muslims, Tainted, Cursed Souls For Jews

So if, according to Bridgette Gabriel, Arabs in the Middle East had no collective soul, Pastor Hagee's position seemed to put Jews in perhaps a worse position.

Hagee seems to feel that Jews have a lot of collective soul : bad soul. Cursed in fact.

John Hagee's speculation, in his book "Jerusalem Countdown: Prelude to War" (which features a large mushroom cloud on the front cover) is that anti-semitism stems from a generational curse, going back thousands of years, placed by the God of The Old Testament upon the Jewish people, for betrayal of him through their worship of idols.

In other words, Hagee appears to feel that anti-semitism is the Jews own damned fault.  As an important technical point, it wouldn't be actually the fault of Jews currently alive but, rather, the fault of their very distant ancestors.

Generational curses are a popular notion in the Christian Pentacostalist and charismatic traditions, and one could argue that the idea is dramatically anti-democratic, that it runs counter to basic ideals that have been in place more or less since the Enlightenment - if generational curses are possible, why not generational blessings ? From there, it's actually a short hop to the Divine Right Of Kings.

John Hagee's alleged Jewish soul-taint comes with more baggage ; it carries a geographic curse (also a popular Charismatic and Pentacostalist notion) :

Since God gave the land of Israel, in a covenant, to Jews (so the reasoning goes) God wants Jews to live in Israel. But Pastor John Hagee seems to feel that Jews, whom he goes to great lengths to proclaim uniquely blessed for having had God as, in effect, their personal real estate broker, also have a unique responsibility to live in Israel...... and nowhere else on Earth.

In "Jerusalem Countdown", John Hagee runs that idea out to the disturbing speculation that the coming of Hitler and the Nazis was foretold in the Biblical parable of the "Fishers and Hunters" and that the Nazis acted as divinely sent "hunters", to chase Jews towards Palestine where Hagee and other Christian Zionists seem to feel they truly belong.

The supposition that God needs to kill millions of Jews to drive a few thousands, a small fraction at best, towards Palestine seems to imply that either that God is incompetent (hence less than fully divine, omnipotent) or that God actually has it in for the Jews. God couldn't figure out a more efficient means to motivate Jews to move to Palestine and found a new Jewish state ?

John Hagee's speculation that Theodor Herzl ( unbeknownst to him) was sent by God, as a "fisher", to lure Jews to Israel, degenerates, as does the "generational taint" idea, into a picture of God punishing the Jews for, once again, disobedience :

God sent a "fisher" and few Jews listened, so God therefore sent Hitler and his Nazis to incinerate and slaughter millions of Jews in order to chase a handful to settle in their "covenantal" land so beneficently provided by God, thousands of years ago. It amounts to a double whammy - Jews suffer the Holocaust and STILL are disobedient.

Hagee, along with many other Christian Zionists, appears to feel that it is God's will that Jews have no right to live anywhere on Earth but in Israel, and that sentiment flows in some ugly directions.

If, as Hagee speculates in his book "Jerusalem Countdown", Hitler and the Nazis were doing "God's work" then the jist is that the Nazis, even if they represented at a certain level the incarnation of absolute evil (and Hagee says as much, constantly and with gusto), had a divinely mandated mission. In other words, Hitler may have been a bastard, and more, but he was God's bastard doing God's work.

Beneath any interpretation of such a position as anti-Semitic, lies the disturbing suggestion that Jews do not possess the right to live anywhere on else Earth but in Israel, and although Christian Zionists construe that as some sort of special "privilege" the thrust is that Jews should move to their Biblically mandated Bantustan of Israel or else face persecution and death at the hands of God's "hunters".

The creepy implications could be drawn out endlessly, but here's where such thought can flow:

Creepy Implications Worth Considering

  1. Anti-semitism is evil and should be decried at every possible opportunity.

  2. But, anti-semitism is also essential to traditional Christian apocalyptic dispensationalist eschatology. In order for the "Rapture" to occur, there has to be, first, an "ingathering" of Jews in Israel and then the reestablishment of the Jewish state. There are other preconditions, but let's start there.

  3. Therefore, it's imperative that Jews be "driven", "hunted", coerced, cajoled, motivated, or tricked into moving back to their (allegedly) "covenental" land and, because John Hagee has observed that Jews don't necessarily want to move to Israel, coercion is necessary in order that the divine end-time plan can come to fruition. Anti-semitism, even if despicable, is an absolutely essential element in making the "end-times" happen. The "divine plan" demands it.

  4. In other words, for Christian Zionism anti-semitism is actually essential. But, there's a problem - it's also stigmatized.

  5. There's a simple way around that dilemma - of how to ensure the proper level of anti-semitism necessary in order to drive Jews to Israel for the "ingathering" : encourage it out of one side of the mouth while decrying it from the other side.

To CUFI, Jews are only valued to the extent they are props and extras in CUFI's Armageddon scenario. Gershom Gorenberg rightly condemned this mindset in his book The End of Days.

Brigitte Gabriel has a book out titled Why They Hate. To hear her tell it, the United States' policies in the Middle East have no bearing on how the people in the Middle East see us. She couldn't be more wrong about this.

by khughes1963 on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 12:44:28 PM EST

His take was that for Christian Zionists, Jews are props in their play, mythologized actors who do not get to be actual individuals and who will magically disappear before the play's final acts.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 02:01:38 PM EST

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