Jewish Standard: The
Rev. Hagee has assured people that there will be no proselytizing or
missionizing associated with his organization, Christians United for
Israel. Do you believe he is sincere?
There is a Hebrew saying, "Kabdehu vechashdehu" [respect him but
suspect him]. We welcome the support and we watch him. When you study
his Website and his history - there is proselytizing. He promised some
people that he won’t — but that is contrary to what his mission is. His
Christian mission is to bear witness — first to Jews. If he can
restrain himself, fine. But we have to watch him. I’m not, God forbid,
saying, "Don’t do what your doing." We welcome it. Israel can use his
support, it’s important. But chances are he has an ulterior motive....
We will be watching.
JS: What do you think about the Christians who follow the dispensationalist theology and their support of Zionism?
They have another agenda. For Jews, Zionism means to go back to our
Jewish homeland, to have our own sovereignty and identity. For them
this [Zionism] is a way station either to hasten the second coming or,
for a minority, leading to the [apocalyptic] war of Gog and Magog. For
most of them, a strong Israel will hasten the coming of their messiah
and they are entitled to [believe] this.
love and their enthusiasm do have ulterior motives. When politicians
pledge support of Israel, do we ask them what’s in their kishkes? No.
Do we know that they are doing it because they want votes? Sure they
want votes and financial support. If it is okay for them to have
ulterior motives, why shouldn’t it be okay for religious leaders to
have ulterior motives? I don’t negate it.
JS: What is your opinion of the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson?
I think the time has come for Israel to say to Pat Robertson Baruch
"shepotrani" [the blessing for separating us from responsibility for
his transgressions]. His outrageous judgment on [Prime Minister Ariel]
Sharon, when he said God punished Sharon [with a stroke] for giving
away God’s land — I don’t think he should have been forgiven. He showed
what kind of a character he is by going to Israel, praying with Olmert,
and then, when the cease-fire came, he made nothing of it. He has a
different agenda. It’s not our agenda. He wants Israel in all its glory
to serve his agenda.
is a lot more careful. The last time that he crossed the line is on
[his statements concerning] the anti-Christ. He tries to be sensitive,
but it is difficult. Evangelicals are struggling with a religion of
bearing witness with the purpose of attracting and converting. This is
a major principle of their faith....
Do you find that the Christian Zionists understand the dramatic impact
of the suffering of the Holocaust and the salvation of modern Israel?
AF: Who knows?
JS: Is George Bush a Christian Zionist?
He is supportive, but not everything he does is based on religious
spirituality. He has a clear moral compass. He knows the differences
between good and evil and friend and foe. We are part of the good and
the friends. We fit into his world based on his moral compass, not
necessarily based on religion. Evangelicals have been critical of him
because he hasn’t been tougher on Israel. They say he shouldn’t have
supported Sharon on disengagement. God promised [the land to] Abraham
and man cannot abrogate that.
JS: In light of recent events in Israel, what kind of impact do you expect Christian Zionists to have on public policy?
AF: They are supportive.
JS: Do you harbor an ongoing suspicion of any Christian group that supports Israel?
Yes, but it doesn’t interfere with my ability to say, "Welcome, thank
you, we appreciate it." The only problem I have is those who say, "I
support Israel, therefore you need to support my social agenda." Or
some of them said to me, "Gibson is important to me. Why don’t you shut
up? We are friends of Israel."
wrote to Pat Robertson several years ago about a cartoon on his 700
Club that was anti-Semitic. His answer to me was, "Why are you wasting
time on this? I support Israel." If they use their support of Israel as
a quid pro quo demanding or expecting us to do x, y, or z, or as a
shield against their insensitivity, then I don’t need their support of