Rabbi Eric Yoffie objected to Jewish cooperation with some Christian Zionists, and also called the Palestinian movement one of the “ugliest and stupidest” in modern history. In a speech Wednesday evening to a convention of Reform rabbis in Cincinnati, the leader of the largest Jewish denomination in the United States said Jewish groups should not ally themselves with Christian Zionists despite their shared concern for Israel’s welfare.
The president of the Union for Reform Judaism devoted the bulk of his remarks to arguing against Jewish partnerships with Christian Zionists, contending that Jews should not enter any alliances “with those who do not speak respectfully of other faith communities.” Yoffie also said Jews should avoid partnering with Christian Zionists because they advocate for a particular religious-political view that rejects any territorial compromise with the Palestinians — a view Yoffie described as out of step with the dominant view of American Jews and American society as a whole. Pastor John Hagee and his organization, Christians United for Israel, are “extremists” on Israeli-Palestinian issues, Yoffie said.
Yoffie’s harshest remarks were reserved for the Palestinians. “These are challenging times for Israel and her people,” Yoffie said, according to a prepared text released prior to his speech. “Israel’s government is not blameless, to be sure, but from the Palestinians we see only relentless terror. Surely the Palestinian national movement, in its various manifestations, is one of the ugliest and stupidest national movements in modern history.”