Contextual Content

Christian Zionists target Iran

At the annual meeting of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington its leader, popular televangelist John Hagee, refrained from the kind of controversial comments that have led Senator John McCain to repudiate his endorsement. But McCain’s close adviser, Senator Joe Lieberman, did address the meeting, even though progressive Jewish organizations strongly advised him not to. Lieberman painted a gloomy picture of a "fanatical", nuclear-armed Iranian regime which might attack not only its neighbors but also the United States. Outside the meeting, a number of organizations strongly denounced CUFI and Lieberman as warmongers.

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Story Transcript

PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST: There was love. There was oil. And there was evil.

PASTOR JOHN HAGEE, CHRISTIANS UNITED FOR ISRAEL: Many people are not taking Ahmadinejad seriously, but please be informed he is the new Hitler of the Middle East. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, they will use them against Israel and the United States.

ESCOBAR: There was the annual bash in Washington of Christians United for Israel, the national Christian grassroots movement led by the televangelist mega-pastor from Texas, John Hagee. Someone who constantly whispers on Senator John McCain’s ear did show up.

JOE LIEBERMAN, US SENATOR (ID-CT): I am your brother Joseph.

ESCOBAR: Brother Joseph stayed the course, even though a major petition by the new, pro-peace Jewish lobby group, J Street, tried to persuade him otherwise, and this after John McCain himself had repudiated Hagee and his views about Hitler and the Catholic Church.

~~~

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (R): I admire and respect Dr. Hagee’s leadership of his church. I admire and appreciate his advocacy for the state of Israel, the independence and freedom of the state of Israel. I condemn remarks that are made that has anything to do which is condemning of the Catholic Church. So—.

INTERVIEWER: So [inaudible]

MCCAIN: I’m glad to have his endorsement. I condemn remarks that are any way viewed as anti-anything.

~~~

ESCOBAR: Is McCain that far apart from Hagee when Brother Joseph, a top McCain surrogate, remained so close?

MCCAIN: I’m sorry. The Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.

ESCOBAR: A J Street poll also found out that 60 percent of American Jews have a favorable view of Barack Obama, compared to only 37 percent for Joe Lieberman himself. Brother Joseph was on a mission to denounce the new Hitler.

LIEBERMAN: The president of Iran has made his genocidal intentions to Israel perfectly clear, and you know he regularly leads enormous throngs in Iran in chanting "death to America." A nuclear Iran is a mortal danger. As Iran continues to expand the reach of its missiles, it will soon not just be the Middle East that is threatened but Europe as well and the United States as well.

ESCOBAR: Is this what Americans want? Outside the summit, Brother Joseph would have seen a very different picture.

~~~

ESCOBAR: Joseph Lieberman is very close with Pastor Hagee, and he whispers on McCain’s ear every day. What does that tell you, even after McCain rejecting, I’ll say tactfully, Pastor Hagee’s support?

ROBERT NAIMAN, JUST FOREIGN POLICY: Yeah, it’s very striking. McCain, to his credit, after he was called out [inaudible] presented with it, this is what Pastor Hagee said in the past. You know, he said God sent Hitler to kill the Jews, and they had to go to Israel; you know, the Catholic Church is a whore; and so on and so forth. Finally, McCain said, "I renounce his endorsement." But Joe Lieberman has never renounced Hagee; in fact, he’s continued to praise Hagee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee continues to work closely with Hagee. In this conference, their top policy person is speaking. Mike Pence, the cosponsor of the Iran blockade resolution, is speaking in the conference. The so-called Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai Brith still works closely with Hagee and has refused to renounce him, even though they’ve been called on to do so by progressive Jewish organizations like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace.

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