A dovish pro-Israel lobby wants U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman to cut ties with the Rev. John Hagee.
J Street, the recently established dovish pro-Israel group, launched a petition drive Tuesday to get Lieberman (I-Conn.), the first Jew selected for a realistic spot on a national ticket when he was Democrat Al Gore’s vice presidential nominee in 2000, to distance himself from Hagee.
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, last week rejected the endorsement of the founder and leader of Christians United for Israel when it emerged that in the 1990s Hagee had espoused a theology that depicted Adolf Hitler as a “hunter” spurring Jews to return to their ancestral homeland.
Lieberman (I-Conn.), who backs McCain for the presidency, remains close to Hagee and is scheduled to speak at his organization’s Washington conference this summer.
“With McCain’s renunciation of Hagee last week following his remarks that Hitler was just doing God’s bidding, the new campaign takes Sen. Joe Lieberman to task for continuing to stand ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with the pastor and to vouch for his ‘pro-Israel’ credentials,” a J Street blast e-mail said. “This, despite the fact that the primacy the pastor places on Israel has everything to do with his apocalyptic vision of the hereafter and nothing to do with Israel’s best interest in the here-and-now.”
Hagee says his support for Israel is based more on shared values than it is on eschatology.