Are You Listening, Joe Lieberman?

Kudos to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, who has publicly spoken out against Jewish political cooperation with Christian Zionists, their most prominent organization – Christians United for Israel – and its leader, John Hagee:

The heart of Pastor Hagee’s message is to be found in these words: “Stop giving the land away. The land belongs to you. Keep it.”

…mainstream Christian Zionists are, by their own admission, not “”advocates” of Israel but “Biblical advocates” of Israel, and this means that they oppose any territorial concessions by the Government of Israel for any reason whatsoever. It follows that their vision of Israel rejects a two-state solution, rejects the possibility of a democratic Israel, and supports the permanent occupation of all Arab lands now controlled by Israel.

Are they entitled to such views? Of course. But we are entitled to say, and are obligated to say, that such views may advance their theology but they do so at the expense of Israel’s security and well-being. If implemented, in fact, these views would mean disaster for Israel, and would lead to diplomatic isolation, increased violence, and the loss of Israel’s Jewish majority.

In his speech at a Reform rabbinic convention, Yoffie also criticized televangelist Rod Parsley – like Hagee, a supporter of John McCain. He didn’t mention McCain; he didn’t need to.

Are you listening, Joe Lieberman?

4 thoughts on “Are You Listening, Joe Lieberman?”

  1. It may be just me, coming from an American perspective – we believe in liberty, freedom and Democracy – but the ending of the quote was quite disturbing.

    “[sic]…and the loss of Israel’s Jewish majority”

    That one piece of a sentence may well point out a lot of people’s problem with Israel. Various nations throughout history have tried to keep certain ethnicities as majority – or at least majority shareholders in their governments. Jews regularly denounce anyone who compares Israel to those nations though…

  2. jonolan points to the modern paradox at the centre of the Jewish state. However the paradox is there and it can’t be wished away. So I find the fact that people find such self-evident truths disturbing highly disturbing. As much as those forging Israel’s future have to come to grips with the paradox, people criticizing Israel have also to come to terms with it. The people that make up Israel clearly see Israel in these terms, as a Jewish state, and the historical treatment of the Jews by Europeans, culminating in the Holocaust–itself unique–has not a little to do with our arrival at this point. I repeat this is a reality that can’t be wished away whatever people’s dogmatic notions.

    In any situation, boundary changes that convert an ethnic majority into a minority have the potential for seriously destabilising consequences and it should be obvious to all that this is particularly true of Israel but none of this will be of the slightest concern to the likes of Hagee. The breakdown of boundaries between US and Israeli interests will probably hurt Israel much more in the long run. As painful as their involvement in the Middle East is to Americans (and to a lesser extent Europeans) Israel has to live there; American Presidents move on to fund and build their libraries in peace (which to be fair is a whole lot better than putting discredited Prime Ministers in charge of Peace in the region).

    Whether it is the above kind of comment, often used to support the Palestinians (though I am not saying jonolan was doing this), or Hagee’s fake support of Israelis, it seems to me that local surrogates are being used to advance quite separate agendas. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians are being served by it.

  3. Yoffie’s speech was excellent as far as Hagee & the Christian Zionists, but I discovered, I think in either JTA’s or Jpost’s coverage, that Yoffie made one astonishingly awful statement (not related to the Hagee issue):

    …From the Palestinians we see only relentless terror. Surely the Palestinian national movement, in its various manifestations, is one of the ugliest and stupidest national movements in modern history.”

    To which I replied in my blog: “Uglier and stupider than the terror employed by sectors of the Jewish national movement before 1948? The good rabbi seems to have a case of historical amnesia.”

    But that isn’t even what the main pt of criticism should be. Eric Yoffie knows how to write a stunningly nuanced affirmation of Muslim-Jewish dialogue. Yet why does he make the ever so common mistake of Palestiniaphobes in claiming all Palestinians either are terrorists or support terror. Besides, I’d say that the Jewish national movement doesn’t look terribly attractive or intelligent right around now either.

  4. After returning from Israel after 16 days of structured and non-structured visiting and doing what I like to do best talking to theperson on the street ; Jew, arab christian,Palestinian et. sec, I know that the propaganda line of both the U.S. and Israeli governments have “feet of clay” The good Rabbi has made some valid points but he does gloss over the actions of the”Stern Gang et.al.” The Hegge gang are really reactionary thugs hiding behind a trumped version of the Book of Revelations to gather in the gullable Southern illiterates.( BIG SURPRISE) What most Jews who welcome these so- called Christian Zionists forget is that Hegge says when the ‘BIG GUY’ comes all Jews who don’t convert will be eliminated ” beware of fundamentalists bearing gifts “

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