Organizers of the March for Israel rally are facing backlash for featuring a controversial televangelist with a history of anti-Semitic comments at a protest that was meant to be against anti-Semitism.
Alongside Democratic leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Pastor John Hagee spoke at the rally on Tuesday near Capital Hill, supposedly to speak out against bigotry. Hagee has been widely criticized for his past anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Semitic comments, some so controversial that other Republicans have distanced themselves from him.
In 2005, Hagee preached during a sermon that God sent Adolf Hitler to carry out the Holocaust. He said that "God sent a hunter" and that millions of Jews were killed "because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel."
Hitler as “a half-breed Jew,” and has used several anti-Semitic tropes, such as the idea that Jewish bankers control the economy, and that the Antichrist meant to destroy the world will be gay and Jewish.
Israel raids Gaza's largest hospital
Following the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, Hagee said that the storm was punishment for the expansion of LGBTQ + rights. He also said in 2005 that legalizing gay marriage "will open the door to incest, to polygamy, and every conceivable marriage arrangement demented minds can possibly conceive. If God does not then punish America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
He also once said that “women are only meant to be mothers and bear children.”
Hagee's extreme comments prompted Republican John McCain to
reject his endorsement
while running for president in 2008. He has since walked back his comments about Hurricane Katrina and Hitler, but
continues to condemn
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement Wednesday that Hagee’s history of "Islamophobia and anti-Semitism" should have disqualified him from speaking at the March for Israel. Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the council's national deputy director, called on Schumer and Jeffries to "renounce his bigotry."
"Hypocrisy does not begin to describe the decision by pro-Israel groups to invite an anti-Semite to speak at a rally against anti-Semitism after they spent weeks falsely accusing every pro-Palestine march of being anti-Semitic," he said. "Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism are unacceptable. Period. So is anti-Semitism, regardless of whether an anti-Semite like John Hagee supports the Israeli government."
- Queering the Map in Gaza: LGBTQ+ Palestinians Pay Tribute to Deceased Loved Ones ›
- Being Pro-Palestinian Does Not Equal Being 'Anti-Semitic:' Queen Rania of Jordan ›
- Here Are Ways You Can Help Palestinian Civilians That Aren't Just Donating ›
- Pro-Palestine Protests Erupt Worldwide as Growing Majority Call For Ceasefire ›