Pro-Israel pastor apologizes for hosting event where Michael Flynn called for US to have ‘one religion’
JTA noted our condemnation of Michael Flynn's hateful comment at a far-right rally that "we have to have one religion" in America.
The Christian Zionist pastor of a major church asked forgiveness for allowing the church to host an event where Michael Flynn said that the United States should only have one religion.
“Last week I allowed an event to be held at Cornerstone Church by an outside organization,” Pastor Matt Hagee said in a statement Thursday. “Regrettably, the organization was not properly vetted. It was not appropriate to allow this event at our church. The Church is not associated with this organization and does not endorse their views.”
Hagee’s father is Pastor John Hagee, who founded Christians United For Israel, the powerhouse Christian pro-Israel group.
The event took place on Saturday and was part of ReAwaken America, a Christian-themed speaking tour backed by the Christian news network America Faith. Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, gave a speech at the event calling for a single U.S. religion.
Flynn is also one of the most ardent defenders of Trump’s false claim that he won last year’s presidential election.
“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” Flynn said. “One nation under God, and one religion under God.”
The church distanced itself from the rally earlier this week, but video subsequently emerged of Matt Hagee greeting the rally at its outset, which spurred the stronger statement on Thursday. The rally had come under fire from other evangelical Christians because it was political in nature and held in a church, and because it embraced some of the most vituperative themes of the current moment. The crowd chanted “Let’s Go Brandon,” a euphemism for an obscene phrase targeting President Joe Biden.
“I was invited to welcome the crowd where I thanked veterans for their service and thanked the crowd for their commitment to their faith,” Hagee said in his statement. “I deeply regret, and ask forgiveness, for what took place in the Cornerstone sanctuary as a result of my oversight. In the future, Cornerstone Church will ensure that organizations using our facility are an appropriate reflection of our mission and vision.”
Hagee’s father founded Cornerstone and launched his signature “Nights to Honor Israel” at the church in the early 1980s. Those rallies and their popularity led the elder Hagee to found CUFI in 2006.
Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and B’nai B’rith International have condemned Flynn’s remarks.
B'nai B'rith International condemned the song and commended the university for seeking to overhaul the band's culture. The organization's statement was featured in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, excerpts of which can be found below:
The song, titled “Goodbye Kramer,” appeared in a book of parodies updated in 2012 and circulated privately by members of the university’s marching band, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The lyrics, to be sung to the tune of the 1981 Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believin’,” include references to Nazi soldiers “searching for people livin’ in their neighbor’s attic” and a “small town Jew … who took the cattle train to you know where.”
B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish human rights and advocacy group, condemned the song’s authors and praised the university’s response.
“It is never acceptable to trivialize Holocaust imagery,” B’nai B’rith said in a statement Thursday. “To do so in a jovial tone and completely for the sake of offending is even more abhorrent.”
B'nai B'rith International joined a chorus of Jewish organizations that voiced displeasure at a recent Vatican's move on the recognition of a "State of Palestine.”
In follow-up analysis, B'nai B'rith Director of United Nations Affairs David Michaels examined the history of the terminology, noting that the Vatican has made prior references to the "State of Palestine," and concluding that the move, while disappointing, is unlikely to affect Israelis or Palestinians.
Read media coverage from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on B'nai B'rith's statement on the Vatican:
A May 13 announcement on an agreement regarding the functioning of the church in areas under Palestinian control raised eyebrows in its reference to the “State of Palestine.”
The upset was compounded by confusion over whether Pope Francis, in a meeting over the weekend with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, praised him as an “angel of peace” or urged him to attain that vaunted status. On Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman said it was “very clear” that the pope was “encouraging a commitment to peace.”
But the Vatican’s shift from terming its Palestinian partner as the Palestine Liberation Organization — the designation Israel accepts — to calling it Palestine comports with a shift in Europe toward accommodating Palestinian statehood aspirations, the Jewish officials said.
Daniel Mariaschin, the director of B’nai B’rith International, said the recognition of Palestine raised concerns, but they must be seen in the context of an increased willingness in Europe to recognize Palestinian statehood and not of Jewish-Catholic relations.
He likened it to the French and British parliaments recent nonbinding recognition of Palestine and Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestinian statehood.
“It’s important, I won’t dismiss it, but it shouldn't be seen outside that broader context,” Mariaschin said. “It raises the expectations of Palestinians to un-meetable levels and frustrates the Israelis who say we can’t get a fair deal in the international community.”
In addition to this historically significant prediction at the 1941 convention, Weizmann also appears in the B'nai B'rith history books alongside B'nai B'rith member Eddie Jacobson.
Jacobson, a long-time business partner and friend of President Harry Truman, arranged a secret meeting between Weizmann and Truman that is said to have turned the president's opinion in favor of the partition plan and recognize the state of Israel.
Read coverage of his 1941 speech via the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's archive:
March 31, 1941
B’nai B’rith’s triennial national convention today heard Dr. Chaim Weizmann predict a Palestine Jewish commonwealth side by side with an Arab federation after the war and Vice-President Henry A. Wallace stress the importance of equality for all races and religions in the Western Hemisphere.
Addressing a luncheon session at the Drake Hotel, Dr. Weizmann asserted that “the floating and homeless five millions of Jews” could not survive without Palestine. “We have before us the greatest problem of salvaging the lives of Jews in the entire history of Jewish dispersion,” he said.
Speaking of the “difficult Arab problem,” the world Zionist leader asserted: “A solution to that problem must be found in order to achieve our objective. The Jews and the Arabs must live side by side as neighbors and cousins.
“After the victory of the democracies there must come a federation of the great Arab countries. This confederation will extend from the Euphrates to Libya. The democracies too, will realize the historic connection between the Jews and Palestine and that we are entitled to develop an autonomous Palestine, free from shackles, where we can bring these millions of our suffering people so that they can build a country that can fructify and revitalize the whole Middle East. It is possible to have a Jewish commonwealth side by side with this Arab federation.”
“The 500,000 Jews in Palestine who are ready to lay down their lives represent a great arsenal of human freedom as we stand sentinel at the entrance to the Suez Canal,” he declared. “Every man, woman and child in Palestine would rather die than to yield that frontier which is one of the most strategic approaches to the Western Hemisphere.”
Stressing the necessity of “unity of purpose as we prepare against the time when we shall have a word to say in the settlement of our destiny,” Dr. Weizmann urged that Jews be united “on two great purposes–on the restoration of the Jewish rights of which we are brutally deprived outside of Palestine and on the affirmation of a right to build our homeland, unshackled and unfettered, in Palestine.” Dr. Weizmann was introduced by Dr. Solomon Goldman.
Vice-President Wallace addressed 4,000 delegates and guests of the convention at the “inspirational session” at the Civic Opera House this evening. His speech was broadcast over a CBS network and rebroadcast in Spanish to Latin American countries. The subject was “Democracy and the Dignity of Man.”
“The cost of Nazi terrorism in terms of suffering to Europe is great beyond measurement,” he asserted, “but we in the New World owe a great debt of gratitude to the Nazis for forcing us to make clear our thinking about the meaning of democracy and the part which racial and religious groups must contribute if democracy is to be worthy of its name.
“B’nai B’rith, I know, has caught this vision and will work for it whole heartedly in all of the hemisphere. The New World is a chosen land, not for the Jew or the German or the Anglo-Saxon of the Spaniard or any other one people. The New World is a chosen land in which all of us, tolerantly living together, can allow the dignity of man to be expressed, free from the compulsions of the Old World, but with that sense of duty which is necessary to preserve that which is precious beyond life itself–an efficient yet tolerant constitutional democracy, free from the Gestapo and a greedy ruling class.”
A message was read from President Roosevelt, who praised B’nai B’rith’s splendid work in the fields of charity and philanthropy” and said “its activities in advancing education and promoting true Americanism are likewise widely known and appreciated.”
B'nai B'rith expressed optimism that Noah would be responsible and sensitive in his new role. Read highlights from the news coverage below:
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (and other outlets) highlighted B'nai B'rith's remarks, an excerpt of which can be found below:
Ninety-two years ago, The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith in Texas conducted a social experiment with Jewish immigrants that had landed in Mexico with the intention of crossing the border into the United States.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency vault revisits the experiment, which inspired many of the immigrants to put down roots south of the border. As of 2010, more than 67,000 Jews call Mexico home.
Read excerpts from the JTA Vault article, below:
Large numbers of Jews who entered Mexico with intention of crossing into the States from there are now prospering in Mexico and entirely contend to remain there. A report to this affect has been received by the Independent Order B’nai Brith from Rabbi Martin Zielonka of EL Paso who conducted an investigation for the Order.
In the last two years more than 800 of these Jewish immigrants have landed in Mexico, Rabbi Zielonka hears. “The only problem seems to be that all the young men want to get married and from all conversations with them they want wives of their own nationality, “writes Ed. Saunders of El Paso who has met the young men.
“The work of the B’nai Brith should convince the most sceptical that Mexico offers opportunity to immigrants willing to work, to suffer some privation and to settle in a strange environment. The opportunities are especially good for those whose relatives can give them a sufficient fund to start their business.”
Following the tragic and mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January, just hours before he was scheduled to deliver his findings on the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, a new name has been introduced to the case.
Daniel Rafecas, a respected human rights and Holocaust expert and former B'nai B'rith Argentina honoree, has assigned the next step of the investigation, according to articles by Arutz Sheva (English), Agence France-Presse (Spanish) and Agence France-Presse (Portuguese).
Separate investigation continues into the circumstances of Nisman's death, details of which are included in the full coverage below:
Por otra parte, el juez Daniel Rafecas, experto en derechos humanos y en el Holocausto, tomará la causa del supuesto encubrimiento de la presidenta Fernández a exgobernantes iraníes.
Rafecas juzgó a militares de la dictadura (1976-83) por delitos de lesa humanidad y por sus estudios sobre la Shoá que perpetraron los nazis recibió los premios Derechos Humanos de la Fundación B’nai B’rith, Moisés 2011 de la Sociedad Hebraica Argentina y Gilbert Lewi de la Fundación Museo del Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
O juiz Daniel Rafecas, especialista em direitos humanos e sobre o Holocausto, acolherá a denúncia de suspeita de acobertamento contra a presidente Cristina Kirchner a favor de ex-governantes iranianos, supostamente envolvidos em um atentado antissemita em 1994, em Buenos Aires.
Rafecas julgou militares da ditadura (1976-83) por crimes contra a humanidade e foi agraciado por seus estudos sobre a Shoá praticada pelos nazistas com os prêmios de Direitos Humanos da Fundação B'nai B'rith, Moisés 2011 da Sociedade Hebraica Argentina e Gilbert Lewi, da Fundação Museu do Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
More on Nisman's Death Below
On this date in 1965, B'nai B'rith International was cited in an article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for its efforts to end all religious intolerance in the United Nations.
The advocacy efforts were later detailed by Dr. William E. Korey, director of the New York Bureau of the B'nai B'rith International Council, in the February 1965 issue of the National Jewish Monthly, a publication produced by B'nai B'rith:
This month, the United Nations General Assembly will be deeply involved in creating a historic and powerful legal instrument directed against discrimination on racial and ethnic grounds. The so-called 'Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination' will bind all states that ratify it to take specific measures aimed at removing barriers to human dignity.
The end goal of the Convention was to ensure religious freedom throughout the world. This is a policy upon which the organization has made great strides, and is still vigorously pursued by B'nai B'rith International 50 years later.
Read the JTA article in its entirety, below:
U. N. Body Hears More Jewish Pleas to Protect Religious Rights
January 20, 1965
Two international organizations–one of which has the American Jewish Committee as an affiliate, and the other representing B’nai B’rith and the Board of Deputies of British Jews–urged a United Nations body here today not only to adopt an international convention calling for the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance, but also to formulate procedures of implementation which would put enforcement teeth into a UN document guaranteeing religious freedom throughout the world.
The steps were taken here before the United Nations Sub commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. This 14 member body has before it several preliminary drafts of a religious freedoms convention which became international law when finally adopted by the UN General Assembly and ratified by a sufficient number of member states.
The statements were submitted by the International League for the Rights of Man, represented here by Sidney Liskofsky, a staff member of the American Jewish Committee, which is affiliated with the League; and by Gustav Warburg, representing the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, comprised of the B’nai B’rith and the British Board.
With full-time representation at United Nations agencies around the world, B’nai B’rith is able to present its concerns at every level of the United Nations. B'nai B'rith International leaders met with U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the U.N.'s role in the Israel-Gaza conflict.
B'nai B'rith was joined by several other American Jewish advocacy organizations, and the meeting was covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Read an excerpt of the article below:
Leaders of several Jewish organizations met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express concerns about recent actions and comments made by U.N. officials.
According to participants in the meeting, the organizational leaders raised several issues, including the recently announced U.N. Human Rights Council investigation into Israel’s conduct in the fighting in Gaza, which the communal leaders argued had been framed in a biased fashion against Israel, and the appointment of Canadian legal academic William Schabas to the probe given his past criticisms of Israel and its leaders.
The Jewish leaders also objected to critical statements made about Israel by officials with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency and expressed concern about UNRWA facilities in Gaza being used to store rockets. They also objected to Moon’s recent statement accusing Israeli of committing a “criminal act” in shelling a U.N. school.
“The secretary-general reiterated that he fully understands Israel’s legitimate security concerns but also stressed the need to show restraint in their actions in Gaza so as to avoid civilian casualties,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, according to a report by The Associated Press.
B'nai B'rith International joined a group of 20 international Jewish organizations that signed a letter addressed to President Obama, calling for a holistic solution to the U.S. border crisis “that prioritizes safety and opportunity.”
The story was covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and The Forward
According to recent figures by HIAS, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children have crossed into the United States along its southern border in the past nine months and another 80,000 to 90,000 are expected by the end of the current fiscal year.
Read highlights from the JTA article below:
The statement released Tuesday, which was written by the refugee resettlement agency HIAS, calls on the government to “welcome the stranger” in dealing with those entering the United States through Mexico from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“The safety and well-being of these migrants – and particularly the unaccompanied children – must be at the heart of every policy decision made in response to this humanitarian crisis,” according to the statement, which was signed by such groups as the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Federations of North America.
In the statement, the Jewish organizations call for a long term, holistic solution “that prioritizes safety and opportunity.” They call for increased border enforcement in connection with measures to ensure that those in danger of persecution in their homeland can seek asylum in the United States.
The Jewish groups also are calling for increased funding for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Policy.
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