Press Release

Released: July 21, 2008

New Poll Shows Overwhelming American Jewish Opposition To Alliance With Hagee, CUFI

WASHINGTON Today, activists delivered a petition with over 42,000 signatures to Senator Joe Liebermans office demanding that he cut ties with Pastor John Hagee and his organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

The petition delivery comes as CUFI today begins its annual Washington-Israel Summit. Sen. Lieberman is the most senior elected official confirmed to address the conference and has been actively involved in raising money for CUFI. The Senator will speak Tuesday evening at a dinner that is the only event of the conference open to the media.

The purportedly pro-Israel views of Rev. Hagee and his supporters bear little to no resemblance to the consensus of the vast majority of American Jews, who strongly support a negotiated, two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and active engagement by the United States to facilitate it, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.

CUFI which describes itself as pro-Israel, opposes efforts by the Israeli government to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through territorial compromise. Trading land for peace is viewed as antithetical to Gods will and as an impediment to the groups apocalyptic quest to precipitate the biblical Battle of Armageddon, in which all Jews will either be killed or converted to Christianity in advance of Jesus' return.

The Dont Go Joe campaign, launched jointly by J Street and Democracy for America, gathered the signatures after footage surfaced last month of Rev. Hagee preaching that Hitler was doing God's bidding. In response to these remarks, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain severed all connections to Rev. Hagee. To date, Senator Lieberman, who has likened Rev. Hagee to the biblical prophet Moses and called him a Man of God, has steadfastly refused to follow suit.

Joe Lieberman still has a chance to do the right thing, said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. Pastor Hagee is a bigot and a sexist. If Joe Lieberman speaks at his conference, he is giving a seal of approval to a man who thinks its fine to use fear and hatred to demonize Americans.

We will not allow such unholy alliances as Senator Liebermans relationship with Hagee, which are inimical to the core values and principles that the Jewish community holds dear, to go unchallenged for the sake of political convenience, said Ben-Ami. With these petitions, we plan to make it loud and clear and very public that, in his unwavering support for Hagee, Lieberman does not speak for us.

A J Street poll of 800 American Jews, conducted by Gerstein/Agne and released last week, found deep disapproval within the American Jewish community for forming with right-wing Christian Zionist organizations, such as CUFI, and with the public figures who cultivate such ties:

Rev. Hagee himself is quite disliked by American Jewish, 7 percent having a favorable opinion of him and 57 percent an unfavorable opinion.

Senator Joe Lieberman, once highly regarded in the Jewish community as the first Jewish vice-presidential nominee, has become a highly contentious figure whose unfavorable now exceed his favorable ratings, 48 percent to 37 percent.

Without any description other than CUFI is led by Reverend John Hagee and works to build support for Israel among evangelical Christians, 51 percent of Jews have a negative impression of CUFI while only 19 percent have a positive impression.

When presented with CUFIs own words to describe its mission and statements opposing CUFI (one critiquing Hagees public comments about Catholics, women, gays, and Hurricane Katrina and another critiquing his ties to extremists in Israel who oppose the peace process), Jews by a 4-to-1 margin say that Jewish organizations and leaders should not form alliances with the pastor or his organization.

In addition to closing most of the CUFI conference to media, Rev. Hagees lawyers quietly removed from YouTube over July 4th a series of videos concerning the pastor, charging copyright infringement. The clips include J Streets own video tying Sen. Lieberman to Rev. Hagee, as well as footage taken from sermons Hagee had already made public and others filmed by media inside Hagee's conventions. Most had been online for well over a year.

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