Religious Right-backed “Christian Zionist” groups have not won the support of most American Jews, a new poll indicates.
A survey of 800 Jews taken by J Street, a group that supports diplomacy to achieve peace in the Middle East, found that 78 percent oppose Jewish groups forming an alliance with Pastor John Hagee and other prominent Christian Zionists.
Hagee, a Texas mega-church minister, was in the news earlier this year after he endorsed Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McCain disavowed Hagee’s endorsement after extreme comments Hagee made about Roman Catholics and Jews came to light.
Hagee and other Christian Zionists claim to support Israel, but their main motivation for backing that country is their theological belief that Israel will play a prominent role in end-of-the-world prophecies they say are found in the Bible. Most Christian Zionists believe that Jews will either convert to Christianity when the world ends or be killed in a cataclysmic war between good and evil.
“This is a strong message to the leadership of the American Jewish community that the members of the American Jewish community are not marching in lockstep behind them as they lead us off this cliff,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street. “The alliance that they have struck with [Hagee] over the past few years is one we would like to see brought to an end.”
The poll showed that Hagee is fairly well known in the Jewish community. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they had heard of him, but he also has high negatives. Only 7 percent of respondents said they view Hagee favorably, while 57 were unfavorable.
Hagee’s group, Christians United for Israel, held a national conference in Washington in late July. Among the speakers was U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.).