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Israel’s former Consul General to New York, and now Labor Party parliamentarian, MK Colette Avital, has called on Israel’s leaders to cut ties with Hagee in an op-ed in today’s Haaretz. Colette Avital is one of the most respected members of Labor’s parliamentary faction. She was the party’s first woman candidate for President and has been a leader in fighting for the rights of holocaust survivors, women’s equality, and the well-being of the Bedouin in the Negev.
Today she began what will hopefully be a push from the other end of this equation, from Israel itself, to end the obscene relationship that has been embraced so enthusiastically by so many in the pro-Israel community with Hagee, his Christians United For Israel organization, and the dispensationalist wing of Evangelical Zionism.
As Colette Avital notes in her op-ed,
as someone familiar with the evangelicals' views and beliefs on the second coming of Jesus, there is nothing surprising to me about his statements. It only causes me to sigh in relief because the truth is coming out. This time it was not a slip of the tongue…do we still need to point out that Jesus can return only after Armageddon, and to this end it is best if Israel continues to be at war?Hagee has somehow managed to operate below the radar screen in building one of the most powerful and largest lobbies—but no longer. There now needs to be a drive to politically bury Hagee and what he represents, and that effort includes putting an end to the sick marriage of convenience between certain American Jewish leaders and organizations, and Hageeism. We now know not only about Hagee’s bigotry regarding women, blacks, Catholics, and the gay community, but have also been treated to his views on how Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism, his views on Hitler being on a biblical mission, on Rabin’s assassination, and Max Blumenthal’s latest revelations on the anti-Christ being a fierce, gay Jew.
But what is also interesting, and what Colette Avital tells us, is the following:
The support of American evangelicals does not receive the necessary attention in Israel. The outrageous statement by Reverend John Hagee…is an example of extremist views that are being ignored by those who laud the support Israel gets from evangelicals.This really is a non-story in Israel, but after the latest Hagee outrages, Avital pulls no punches in the demands she makes on Israel’s leaders:
Is it not appropriate then to expect Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to make an unequivocal announcement that they, too, are cutting ties with Hagee and his ilk? After all, the aims of this bear hug are clear.
While Senator McCain saw fit to reject Hagee’s endorsements, Joe Lieberman has yet to do the same, and is also slated to speak at next month’s CUFI Summit in Washington, D.C. (J Street is running a campaign of “Don’t go, Joe” on this issue); New York Democrat Eliot Engel should also be called to task for agreeing to appear at the CUFI Summit (and he is still scheduled to do so); and unfortunately, AIPAC will feature prominently at CUFI, just as CUFI is doing at this week’s AIPAC conference, with speakers including Gary Bauer. By the way, CUFI’s leaders also include the infamous Islamophobe Pastor Rod Parsley.
Decent elected officials who reject Hagee’s brand of bigotry and Armageddonist, pro-Israelism should take their cue from Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN), who declined to speak at a CUFI sponsored so-called “Night to Honor Israel” because “well-publicized statements by Pastor Hagee demonstrate extremism, bigotry and intolerance that is repugnant.”
Just for reminders, here is Hagee on Iran:
*We are on a countdown to crisis. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty...Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons...No prophetic scripture is more crystal clear than Ezekiel's vivid and specific description of the coming massive war that will sweep the world toward Armageddon...If Israel attacks [Iran], there doubtless will be a vast pan-Arabic Islamic army assembled to attack Israel and attempt to drive the Jews into the Dead Sea...we are standing on the brink of nuclear Armageddon...