Last week, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism Eric Yoffie wrote an op-ed in The Forward criticizing Aipac and other Jewish organizations for their endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, the founder of the Christian Zionist lobbying group Christians United for Israel.
Last March Hagee was invited to speak at Aipac's national convention in Washington where he declared that "the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened." Finding that such right-wing figures alienate the moderate views of most American Jews (especially youth), Rabbi Yoffie would prefer it if this giant would simply sleep in:
We know a great deal about Jewish young adults. We have learned from extensive research that these young people are often more socially liberal than their baby-boomer parents. They are pluralistic in their thinking, and they are tolerant of difference, especially differences in gender and sexual orientation.
They respond negatively to those who disparage other religious traditions and who make exclusivist religious claims. They are insistently centrist in their political views on the Middle East. And they are suspicious of a Jewish establishment that they see as too focused on money and insufficiently focused on values.
And so whom do we offer to these young people as a spokesman for Israel? John Hagee, who is contemptuous of Muslims, dismissive of gays, possesses a triumphalist theology and opposes a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. If our intention was to distance our young adults from the Jewish state, we could not have made a better choice.
To watch the offensive, blood-curdlin', thunder-clappin', table-thumpin' Hagee speech at AIPAC follow this link, but be advised, this should carry a health-warning. The faint of heart might try the transcript.