WASHINGTON (JTA) — Pastor John Hagee “clarified” that he did not mean to call President Obama anti-Semitic but anti-Israel.
Hagee, the Christians United for Israel founder, in a statement Friday said he was issuing a clarification to comments he made Nov. 23 to the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner in New York following “conversations with friends in the pro-Israel community.”
The “friends” included Robert Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, respectively the chairman and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“The prepared text of my remarks before the Zionist Organization of America called President Obama one of the most ‘anti-Israel’ presidents in U.S. history,” Hagee said in his statement. “During my speech, I inadvertently called him one of the most ‘anti-Semitic’ presidents in history.”
The statement added, “While I regret my misstatement, I stand behind my prepared remarks. I am alarmed by the policies of this Administration and the contempt it has shown towards Israel’s democratically elected government. I believe that those of us who love Israel must be aggressive in our criticism thereof.”
The Anti-Defamation League had slammed Hagee for calling Obama anti-Semitic, saying it was a “serious denigration and distortion of the term.”