J Street, MoveOn Hit McCain on Hagee

J Street, the newly formed pro-peace, pro-Israel PAC/Lobby, has joined forces with MoveOn, to mobilize millions of people across the country to call on McCain to "renounce Hagee once and for all," in light of Hagee's recently surfaced remarks that Hitler was doing God's work.

Says Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street says: “One of the primary reasons John Hagee’s endorsement is sought by politicians like John McCain is his claim to be a friend of Israel and the Jews.No friend of the Jewish people could say that the Holocaust served a higher purpose.”

If you would like to speak in greater detail about the implications of Hagee's comments for Israel, for Jews and for the campaign, I would be happy to arrange for you to interview J Street's executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, or J Street advisory council member, Michelle Goldberg, who is the author of The New York Times bestseller "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism."

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“No Friend of Jewish Americans Would
Say the Holocaust Served a Higher Purpose”

Newly discovered audiotape captures one of John McCain’s prominent supporters, Pastor John Hagee, preaching that Adolf Hitler was actually doing God’s work in the Holocaust by helping to bring Jews to Israel.

MoveOn.org Political Action has joined J Street – a new pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy organization – in launching a major campaign to petition John McCain to renounce John Hagee’s endorsement . The full text of J Street’s alert to its members is reprinted below.

The offensive video can be seen here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErC1IJeHnyc

“This latest audiotape only adds to a long record of offensive remarks of which John McCain should have been well aware,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s Executive Director. “John Hagee’s radical views and theology are so far beyond the mainstream that they should not be welcome in American politics.”

“One of the primary reasons John Hagee’s endorsement is sought by politicians like John McCain is his claim to be a friend of Israel and the Jews,” continued Ben-Ami. “No friend of the Jewish people could say that the Holocaust served a higher purpose.”

“McCain’s pandering has gone too far when he courts people like Hagee to win elections,” said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org. "His willingness to embrace the support of Reverend Hagee – who has expressed contempt for not only Jews, but also Katrina survivors and Catholics – displays terrible judgment on McCain’s part."

J Street has made a central element of its agenda demonstrating that John Hagee and the Christian Zionists who follow his preaching are not true friends of Israel. They oppose the necessary steps to bring peace to Israel, urge military action in Iran and promote counterproductive policies such as further settlement building on the West Bank.

MoveOn.org members previously asked McCain to renounce Hagee’s support last month when the Reverend once again blamed the citizens of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.

J Street, which launched its campaign this morning with support from MoveOn.org, is hoping to present thousands of petitions to McCain in time for Memorial Day – a fitting time for McCain to break with Hagee whose comments dishonor the memory of those who fought and defeated Hitler.

Text of J Street Email:
Have you heard the latest from Pastor John Hagee, John McCain supporter and leader of Christians United for Israel?

Yesterday, audiotape surfaced of Hagee preaching that God sent Hitler to cause the Holocaust so that Jews would move to Israel, in fulfillment of Hagee's conception of biblical prophecy.

This is the same John Hagee whose support John McCain is "glad" to have despite "condemning" some of his views. And it's the same John Hagee who has so far had to apologize for calling the Catholic Church a "great whore" and who said Hurricane Katrina was the judgment of God against New Orleans for planning a gay pride parade.

John McCain justifies his relationship with Hagee based on Hagee's so-called "pro-Israel" credentials. But Hagee's views on Israel have nothing to do with Israel's best interests and everything to do with Hagee's own interest in promoting his own radical viewpoints. Hagee is opposed to territorial concessions for peace and a two-state solution. He is outspoken in his support for military action against Iran. He raises money to build illegal Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and opposes a shared Jerusalem.

Senator McCain's continued embrace of John Hagee not only speaks poorly of his judgment of personal character, it calls into question whether he has any understanding of what it really will take to bring about peace and security in the Middle East. Please join us today in asking Senator McCain to sever all ties to Pastor Hagee, to condemn his words and to demand an apology.

These latest remarks to come under scrutiny are offensive not just to Jewish people who suffered at the hands of Adolf Hitler but to all Americans, their parents and grandparents who fought and sacrificed to defeat Nazi Germany. We hope Senator McCain will use the occasion to honor the memory of those who defeated Hitler by clearly separating himself from Hagee's outlandish views.

J Street - the new political voice for Americans for peace and security in the Middle East - will deliver a petition to Senator McCain before Memorial Day asking him to sever all ties with Pastor Hagee.

Amid the outcry over Hagee's statements, voices from the Jewish community have been surprisingly quiet. Just as John McCain has gotten too close to John Hagee in his quest for political support from evangelicals, so too have some supporters of Israel established a friendship of convenience with Hagee and the Christian Zionists. Yet this alliance runs counter to values and principles deeply held in and traditionally associated with the Jewish community.

That's why J Street is intent on sending a strong message to John McCain and to the broader political system: Not only are John Hagee's words unacceptable but wrapping them in supposed support for Israel doesn't excuse them. In fact, Hagee's views - from his implacable opposition to territorial concessions for peace to his outspoken support for military action against Iran - have nothing to do with Israel's best interests and everything to do with Hagee's own interest in promoting his movement and his own theology.