Leaders in Congress are being criticized after speaking at a Zionist rally in Washington, D.C. that featured white supremacist pastor John Hagee, a well known antisemite who once said that Adolf Hitler was sent by God to carry out the Holocaust.
Zionists marched in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon to express support for Israel and oppose calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel’s current siege has killed at least 11,240 Palestinians so far. The crowd chanted phrases like “no ceasefire” and cheered for Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who appeared via video call to support the rally, called the “March for Israel.”
Featured speakers included prominent members of Congress like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), who pledged that the U.S. would do everything it can to stand with Israel even as it continues to massacre Palestinians.
Speakers also included Hagee, who has made vitriolic antisemitic remarks at many points in his career. In a nine-minute address about an hour after the lawmakers took the stage, Hagee appealed to Zionist and extremist conservative Christian sentiments, saying that Hamas and Hezbollah must be sent to “the ash heap of history” along with people like Hitler, and that those who speak up against Israel are only “speaking of [their] own demise,” to cheers from the crowd.
Hagee, a known ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is the founder of far right organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which has deep ties to the Republican Party. One of Hagee’s most abhorrent statements on Jewish people — of which there are many — was in the 1990s, when he suggested in a sermon that Hitler was sent by God to carry out His will and send Jewish people to the promised land, or Israel.
“God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers…. Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters,’” Hagee said, according to a leaked version of the sermon. “‘And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews…. Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.”
Hagee parrots this claim in his book, in which he also posits that Hitler was a “half-breed Jew” — a group of people who Hagee says God put on Earth to help carry out persecution against supposedly “pure,” non-miscegenated Jewish people. There is little to no historical evidence to back up the claim that Hitler had Jewish ancestry.
As HuffPost has previously noted, this theory is popular among the Christian Identity movement, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labels as “an antisemitic, racist theology” that “asserts that white people, not Jewish people, are the true Israelites favored by God in the Bible.”
As for Hagee, he — along with other far right Christians, like Johnson — appears to adhere to the fringe belief that Israel must exist in order to fulfill end-time prophecies in the Bible that ultimately end in people of all non-Christian faiths, including Jewish people, either converting to Christianity or being exterminated. Hagee has also stated in at least one sermon that he subscribes to the bunk antisemitic conspiracy theory that certain Jewish bankers control the U.S. economy — an extremist form of antisemitism that is popular among some Republican politicians.
Hagee’s address for the Zionist cause comes as pro-Israel groups and institutions ramp up their flagrant suppression of pro-Palestine speech, hurling accusations of antisemitism at anyone who opposes Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and revoking jobs and job opportunities from people who support Palestinian rights.
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