You may have heard the new this past week about the disruption/protest targeting Christians United for Israel, the largest Christian Zionist organization in the world, at its annual conference in Washington DC. Speeches by CUFI founder John Hagee and Vice President Mike Pence were interrupted by a coalition of interfaith activists who called out Israel's human rights abuses. Protesters also blocked one entrance of the conference center and later an intersection, holding posters that read, “Reclaim Our Theology” and “Thou Shall Not Kill.”
These protesters were making a deep and profound statement with their action. Indeed, it is vitally important that we understand the threat that Christian Zionism truly represents. As Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Reverend Graylan Hagler recently wrote:
While their support for Israel is supposed proof that their program is not anti-Semitic, CUFI’s adherents’ interest in Israel is little more than a declaration that Jews are only useful insofar as they trigger the end of days. Palestinian suffering — including that of Christian Palestinians who come from some of the oldest Christian communities in the world — has no meaning in Christian Zionist belief.
Indeed, CUFI has never made a secret of its apocalyptic world view. In his 2007 book “Jerusalem Countdown,” John Hagee wrote that Armageddon might begin “before this book gets published.” He also claimed The Antichrist “will be the head of the European Union,” and that during the final battle, Israel will be covered in “a sea of human blood.” The Jews, however, will survive long enough to have “the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus of Nazareth.” In Hagee’s more recent book, “Four Blood Moons,” he wrote: “In these next two years, we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world.”
While one might expect Jewish leaders to keep their distance from a popular Christian pastor with extremist views such as these, Hagee has been closely embraced by Israeli governments (Netanyahu is a fixture at CUFI conventions), Jewish American politicians (Former Senator Joseph Lieberman has referred to Hagee as a modern-day Moses) and prominent American Jewish leaders (Elie Wiesel once called Hagee “my pastor.”)
In other words, Christian Zionists have little use for Jews - and even less for Palestinians. That's whey I'm particularly heartened by the solidarity embodied by this protest. As Rabbi Gottlieb and Reverend Hagler wrote so eloquently, "those of us whose faith leads us to envision a future that promotes human dignity, safety and security across all borders must actively resist the efforts of CUFI and other white supremacist organizations in the United States to advance their dangerous, regressive agendas."
Amen and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Brant Rosen