Why has Elie Wiesel, the renowned author of Night, a book which many consider to be part of the canon of 2oth century literature spoken at a CUFI (Christians United for Israel) conference? This is astounding considering that CUFI is an apocalyptic organization which holds some very strange, some would characterize Anti-Semitic views. It is also an organization that is virulently anti-Muslim and Islamophobic.
This is a letter that some concerned individuals in the Jewish Community sent to Mr. Wiesel in the hope that he would cancel his speech at CUFI.
Dear Mr. Wiesel,
Your years of tireless campaigning for human rights and against anti-Semitism have earned our deepest respect. For this reason we have written the following letter in hope that you will reconsider your support of events sponsored by John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. We realize that the outward show of support for Jews and Israel, on display at Hagee’s CUFI events, can be very enticing but there is another aspect of Christian Zionism which we believe runs strongly counter to Jewish and Israeli interests.
John Hagee teaches “theological racism,” the idea that the destiny of peoples is based on their biblical genealogy. Hagee claims Jewish souls are different from those of gentiles and that, according to divine plan, Jews have no right to live anywhere on Earth but in Israel. Hagee’s fellow Christian Zionists predict that a coming, divinely ordained paroxysm of anti-Semitic violence, a “second Holocaust,” will be necessary to force all Jews to make aliyah. From the pulpit, pastor Hagee and his fellow Christian Zionists preach their theological racism that risks provoking such a catastrophe.
When you attend CUFI events, you will receive a great deal of outward affection and participate in singing and celebration that looks and sounds Jewish. However, this is a manifestation of a volatile millennial cycle, an exuberant embrace of “Hebrew roots” founded on the expectation that this generation will bring about the fulfillment of “God’s plan for Israel.” There is some argument among Christian Zionists about the exact timing and details of this plan, but on one point they are absolutely consistent; the ingathering of Jews to Israel, and the elimination of Rabbinic Judaism as part of Israel’s “restoration,” are required for the 1000 year reign of Christ.
Our combined years of research have produced a substantial body of documentation on the anti-Semitic face of Christian Zionism. Last May, one small piece of that documentation was widely publicized through a video by Bruce Wilson that included a quote, from a sermon John Hagee gave in 2005, in which pastor Hagee stated “…then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.” Amidst the ensuing publicity, presidential candidate John McCain rejected Hagee’s political endorsement.
John Hagee’s attacks on Judaism are well documented and have included calling Hillel an extremist whose followers incited both the killing of Jesus and centuries of anti-Semitism. From the pulpit Hagee has claimed that the anti-Christ is “partially Jewish, as was Adolf Hitler.”
Hagee also preaches that European-based Rothschilds control the US economy, through the Federal Reserve, and conspire to attack the American middle class by devaluing the dollar. According to the ADL, this class of Federal Reserve conspiracy theory, which names Rothschilds, is a “classic anti-Semitic myth.” ADL traces it to Christian Identity, one of the most overtly anti-Semitic sectors of American society but one which uses “Hebrew” symbols and Christianized version of Jewish holidays because, according to Identity theology, Christians, not Jews, are the “true Israelites.”
Christian Identity’s roots are based a millennial movement that was “philo-Semitic,” but which in the early 20th century rejected Jews as impostors descended from Esau and the Edomites. This narrative can still be seen throughout Identity media. In his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee promotes a similar theological claim, that a lineage of “half-breed Jews,” descended from Esau and which included Adolf Hitler, have persecuted full-blooded Jews throughout history. Hagee writes that God intends to exterminate that “half-breed Jew” line.
Christian Identity’s overt anti-Semitism has very limited appeal and reach. Cloaked in the guise of “love” for Jews and Israel, John Hagee’s conspiracy theories and theological racism can be consumed without guilt by listeners in the 190 nations Hagee claims to reach through Christian television and radio broadcast networks.
How can John Hagee so sincerely and convincingly claim to love Israel while introducing theological racism to a international audience?
The widely taught prophecy narrative of the “fishers and hunters” of Jeremiah 16 helps to explain this paradox. Christian Zionists see themselves as the “fishers” who must befriend and cajole Jews, through emotional and financial support, to fulfill their prophetic destiny. Meanwhile, the “hunters” are overt anti-Semites who will force the remaining Jews of the world to flee to Israel. In order for the Christian Zionist prophecy of the “restoration of Israel” to be fulfilled, there must be a future wave of violent anti-Semitism in which the world will turn on Jews and Israel.
The quote which our research team provided to the press from Hagee’s 2005 sermon series, “Jerusalem Countdown,” concerned Hitler’s role as a “hunter” in the “fishers and hunters” narrative. But Hitler did not succeed in forcing all Jews to flee to Israel, and even those Jews who have settled in today’s modern state of Israel have not met the prophetic requirement of “spiritual restoration,” which is acceptance of Jesus. In his 2005 sermon Hagee also stated, “they [the Jews] are physically alive but they’re not spiritually alive. Now how is God going to cause the Jewish people to come spiritually alive…”
Many Christian Zionist leaders describe their prophecy of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” as the second or final holocaust of the Jews. Tom Hess, in Let My People Go, pleads with Jews to leave the U.S. before it is too late, and Hess details his vision of trains all over the world taking Jews from major cities. In her best-selling fictional portrayal of the Jewish people, Israel My Beloved, Kay Arthur has portrayed the coming persecution to be “beyond the horrors of Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz.” Richard Booker’s Blow the Trumpet in Zion features a list, on the back cover, of the book’s topics, including “Why Christians Should Love Jews” and “The Jews’ Final Holocaust.” Booker explains that nothing less than this “final holocaust” can bring the Jews back to God, and Jesus can not be king of all the world until Jews accept him. Paradoxically, these Christian Zionists seek to “bless Israel” and show their “love” for Jews through fulfillment of a prophecy in which Judaism is eradicated.
All three of these Christian Zionist leaders have become involved in the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, which is working to raise millennial expectations to a fevered pitch – with the endorsement of the Israeli government. Some may view their support as politically valuable, but Christian Zionists are helping to spread around the globe a dangerous obsession with Jews and Israel.
Mr. Wiesel, you have spent your life teaching the world about the dangers of anti-Semitism. Please do not provide legitimacy to John Hagee and other Christian Zionists who have spent their careers teaching that the elimination of Judaism is the will of God and the divine plan for Israel. Yes, the exuberant singing, dancing, and tears of Christian Zionists are indeed a celebration of their love for Israel – but that is a strange and terrible love, not too far from hate, which seeks a very different Israel than the one of Jewish hopes and a very different future for the world than the vision of peace and coexistence for which you have fought all of these years.
Elie Wiesel is scheduled to speak at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church on Sunday, October 25 for a CUFI Night to Honor Israel event.
Bruce Wilson is the co-founder of Talk2action.org and produced the nationally televised video clip on Hagee’s 2005 sermon series, “Jerusalem: Countdown To Crisis”. (Despite Hagee’s comments, the quote came from a 2005 sermon in which Hagee later referred to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.)
Rachel Tabachnick also contributes to Talk2Action.org and is the author of “God’s Plan for Israel, The End Times Prophecy Narrative of Christian Zionism,” a free teaching resource on CD.