15 June 2008

Foxman in Sheep’s Clothing

A.D. Freudenheim, The Editor

Anyone following the Pastor Wars – in which bloggers, and occasionally the “mainstream media,” dig up the most outré remarks made by men-of-faith who have endorsed a presidential candidate – will have heard that McCain “repudiated” comments made by the Reverend John Hagee. Back in 1999, Hagee expressed the belief that god caused the Holocaust in order to nudge along the creation of the state of Israel, which would in turn nudge along the second coming of Christ – because one of the alleged signs of such is the gathering of Jews in the holy land. Indeed, the phenomenon of Christian devotion to Israel is predicated on this point, rather than any true philo-Semitism.

(This is one reason why I maintain that the U.S.-Israel friendship remains so untested: there has been no war in which the U.S. has had to leap to Israel’s defense, or that has challenged devout Christians to fight for Israel. Whether the U.S. would do as it promises is a legitimate question, which in turn raises all sorts of other questions about the American relationship to Israel, the strength and power of the American-Jewish community, and its perhaps-misplaced priorities. But I digress.)

The New York Times’ blog “The Caucus” reported on Reverend Hagee’s comments again on Friday, this time in order to note that Hagee has apologized to the Jewish people by directing an apology to Abraham Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League. The blog post, reported by Laurie Goodstein, also noted that many Jews may not feel Foxman is empowered to accept such an apology on their behalf. I will certainly second that perspective: Foxman does not represent my perspective or my issues.

The most interesting element of the Times’ story is their inclusion of the text of Foxman’s apology acceptance, in which his perspective is once again distilled to its very essence – as if we didn’t know what that essence was already! Part of Foxman’s statement reads:

“Pastor Hagee has devoted his life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the State of Israel. We are grateful for his efforts to eradicate anti-Semitism and to rally so many in the Christian community to stand with Israel.”

In other words: it’s all hunky-dory because, when push comes to shove, Reverend Hagee loves and supports Israel! (For support read: donates $$$.) Well, I’ll be! I guess as long as someone loves Israel, they can be assured that Abe Foxman will be a paper tiger, just full of hot, anti-defamation air.

No word on whether Reverend Hagee’s support also extends to a donation to the Anti-Defamation League. Would anyone like to make a friendly wager? Sorry, that’s not a bet I’m willing to take.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey easy on Foxman. He is the one famous person I met during my Kolver fund internship. Peter let me sit in on a meeting with Foxman and a well dressed aide or two. I recall him asking Peter at the start of the meeting whether it was safe to talk with me present if I could be some sort of spy or run to the press. I also recall nothing of interest being said, not even them asking Peter for a big grant.

Any how, I suppose Foxman is as a good a representative of American Jewry as anyone else, and since Hagee's remarks were offensive the ADL was a good place to apology. Yet I agree with you, Foxman let him off easy. In part because of money and probably also because he favors Mccain over Obama thinking he is better for Israel. All together, a great little article. I like the few other things I had time to read. The story about UPS is great. Makes me wonder if that happens with most things that are shipped.

I hope the whole family is well.
Anyone walking yet.


11:13 PM  

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