This has got to be the most craven, shameful, disgusting thing Lieberman has done — and there is a lot of competition for that honor:
John McCain might be fleeing from Pastor John Hagee, but one of his strongest Capitol Hill supporters, former Democratic VP candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), seems to have no problem standing beside the controversial clergyman.
Lieberman will join Hagee on stage at a Christians United for Israel Washington summit July 21-24, joining a roster of speakers that includes former Sen. Rick Santorum, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and nationally syndicated radio host Dennis Prager.
Speaking before the same conference last year, Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, spoke reverentially of Hagee: “I would describe Pastor Hagee with the words the Torah uses to describe Moses, he is an ‘Eesh Elo Kim,’ a man of God, because those words fit him; and, like Moses, he has become the leader of a mighty multitude in pursuit of and defense of Israel.”
He went on: “Pastor Hagee, I pray that God will bless you with all that you pray for, and I do so with great confidence because I know what the Lord said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. If ever there was a man who will be blessed because he has blessed Israel, Pastor Hagee, it is you.”
I want to be very clear in my position about the beliefs that “Pastor” Hagee encourages, and how he has been treated by the far right Bush-supporting crowd, and by the media. Here is some of what Hagee believes and has publicly stated:
But none of the above was enough to get John McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement and cut ties with him. As The Progressive points out, “Not until Hagee suggested that Hitler and the incineration of 6 million Jews was God’s way of forcing Jewish people to return to the promised land did McCain renounce Hagee from Florida, where he was seeking support from Jewish voters.”
Indisputably, Hagee’s view that the Holocaust was part of God’s loving plan for the Jewish people is repulsive beyond words. But why was it more repulsive, more outrageous, more unacceptable than all the things Hagee has said, and clearly believes, about gays and lesbians, about Palestinians, about Muslims, about war and calling for the destruction of entire other nations because a book in the Bible supposedly called for such destruction?
And having said that, there is also the question of why it took McCain so long — why it should have taken anyone so long — to figure out that the “Pastor” John Hagee is rabidly anti-Semitic. His Holocaust comments are just the tip of the iceberg. We can start off with Hagee’s pronouncements about the Jewish people being responsible for all the bad things that have happened to us over the millenia. Jews are “spiritually blind” and even “subhuman” because we do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, and we will remain so until we do (two Thursdays from never, I say).
It’s awful enough that John McCain accepted the support of a man like this. At least he did the right thing in the end, although unquestionably he did it only because the latest bit of poison to surface was hateful toward Jews, and being associated with anti-Semitism is much more politically risky in this country than being associated with homophobia or anti-Islamic prejudice.
But for Joseph Lieberman — not just Jewish, but deeply committed to Judaism and the Jewish people, at least in his own self-image — to agree to speak at a Christianist conference organized by Hagee is appalling. And that’s not all Lieberman has done. He actually compared Hagee to Moses:
“He is a Ish Elokim, a man of God and those words really fit him…like Moses he’s become a leader of a mighty multitude, even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the promised land.”
Moses in Jewish tradition was the greatest of all the prophets. John Hagee is like Moses? What an obscene notion. And what a disgrace Joseph Lieberman is to Jewish ethics and Jewish integrity — not to mention common decency.