Pastor John C. Hagee delivers a stirring defense of Israel at David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend.
[Editors' Note: Below is a speech given by Pastor John C. Hagee at the Restoration Weekend event hosted this past weekend by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Palm Beach, Florida.]
Introduction by Dr. Bob: Thank you, Andrew, and good evening, everyone.
John C. Hagee is a remarkable man, with many talents. He is a pastor, a philanthropist, an author, and an inspirational speaker, as you will hear.
As a young pastor, he founded Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas -- a nondenominational evangelical church which has grown under his leadership to more than 19,000 active members. But in addition to those 19,000 members, he reaches millions of people in 235 countries around the world, through his international television ministry.
As a philanthropist, his focus has been on helping the people of Israel. Over the years, John Hagee Ministries has raised more than $70 million to help humanitarian causes in Israel.
And to further his support for Israel in 2006, Dr. Hagee founded Christians United for Israel, or CUFI. CUFI is a grassroots international organization that has grown in four short years to over 500,000 members.
CUFI provides a platform through which every pro-Israel Christian in America can speak out and act in support of Israel. Each month, CUFI holds 40 pro-Israel events, including events such as Nights to Honor Israel, in cities across America. And in addition, it holds an annual summit in Washington, D.C., where CUFI delegates meet face-to-face with members of Congress to lobby and support [of] Israel, the promised land.
And with all that, he still finds time to write. He is the author of 28 books, including two that were on the New York Times Best Sellers List. His most recent book, “Can America Survive?” was published just a few months ago by Simon & Schuster.
I first heard Dr. Hagee in 2007 at the AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C. Even there, among highly regarded public speakers, he stood out. He was without a doubt the most charismatic and dynamic speaker at the conference. He mesmerized the audience with both the content and the energy of his presentation and received thunderous applause and numerous standing ovations.
I am truly honored tonight to introduce to you this evening a very special man, a man with an important mission, which includes supporting our traditional American values, supporting the Constitution of the United States, and supporting the Jewish State of Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, Pastor John C. Hagee.
John C. Hagee: Thank you for the privilege and pleasure of speaking at this important gathering tonight.
I’d like to begin by thanking David Horowitz and the David Horowitz Freedom Center for all that they have done for the freedom of America, especially on our college campuses.
We all know how hard it is to stand up for truth on America’s college campuses these days, when pro-Israel speakers are being shouted down and pro-Israel students are being publicly ridiculed by professors, unbelievably. This is why I’m so very grateful to have friends like David Horowitz and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, providing invaluable information, training and support for those brave students who are willing to confront the lies and the religious hatred of radical Islam.
We meet tonight at a difficult and dangerous juncture for America and for the cause of freedom around the world. Like many of you here tonight, I have subscribed to the concept that the Jewish people are the West’s canary in the coalmine. History has repeatedly demonstrated that when the Jewish people are singled out for persecution, the freedom of all citizens is at risk.
Therefore, when the Jewish people are being attacked, all Americans should stand up and wake up, and express their outrage because we are next. As Americans, we must snap out of this politically correct fog and admit that we are at war with radical Islam.
This is a war of survival. This is a war of good versus evil. This is a war of light versus darkness. This is a war between those who love life and those who worship death. It’s an easy choice. But that’s the reality. And the reality is, like it or not, you and your children and your grandchildren are in this war. There will be a winner, and there will be a loser. And to the winner goes our children and our grandchildren.
And tonight, we must commit ourselves to absolute victory over radical Islam. No exception.
Today, the Jewish people are still our canary in the coalmine. It is the Jewish State in particular that serves as the West’s warning system. America must wake up to the understanding that Iran fully intends to destroy the United States of America. When someone threatens to kill you, you should take it seriously.
We must recognize those who threaten Israel have the United States in their sights. To anyone with eyes to see and ears that hear, it is clear that Israel is in the greatest danger it has faced since six Arab armies tried to strangle the Jewish State in the birth canal in 1948.
I know that during difficult days such as these, when it seems that the whole world is against Israel, many friends of Israel such as yourselves nervously scan the horizon for friends. You look toward the United Nations, which Dore Gold calls the Tower of Babel. And I agree. You look at Europe, where the ghost of Hitler is again walking across the stage of human history.
You open your newspapers and read about America’s universities, where Israel is being viciously vilified by students taught by American -- taught by professors whose Middle Eastern chairs are sponsored by Saudi Arabia, whose fees are paid with petrol dollars that went through our gas tank. You look to America’s mainline churches and their initiatives to divest from Israel. You go to the bookstore, and you see slanderous titles from a former US President, and you feel very much alone.
I came here tonight to speak about Christians United for Israel, and the millions of evangelicals in America who have a deep, faith-based belief, to love Israel, to speak up for Israel, to stand up for Israel; to stand up enough to, once a year, annually, charge up Capitol Hill with 5,000-plus delegates from every state in the Union, visiting as much as 87 percent of the US Congress, saying, Stop pressuring Israel to give land to terrorists who will not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
I came here tonight to deliver a message from those 50 million of -- for those 50 million evangelicals. And I want to say this very clearly. Tonight, Israel is not alone. Your fight is our fight; your enemies are our enemies. We’re in this together to the end.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a new day in America. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. Christians are joining Jews in speaking out against militant Islam. As you know, Ahmadinejad poses a threat to the State of Israel that promises nothing less than a nuclear holocaust.
I have been saying on national television, in churches and auditoriums across America, it’s 1938 all over again. Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler of the Middle East.
We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat. And candidly toothless, limp-wristed sanctions from Washington is simply not going to get it done.
The only way to win a nuclear war is to make certain it never starts. Iran’s president has not limited his maniacal threats to Israel; he’s also asked fellow Iranians to imagine a world without America. That’s pretty clear. It’s a clear threat to destroy the United States of America.
I have something to say to the president of Iran. Mr. Ahmadinejad, do not threaten the United States of America. Do not threaten the State of Israel. Do not threaten the State of Israel, saying, “They will pass in a sudden storm.” In the Bible, whenever Pharaoh threatened the Jews of Egypt, he became fish food in the Red Sea. Whenever Haman threatened the Jews in Persia, which is modern-day Iran, he and his sons hung on the very gallows he built for the Jewish people.
Our message, Mr. Ahmadinejad -- that threats against Israel have a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may be well speaking about your own demise when you say, “Israel will pass away with a sudden storm.” But you are not talking about Israel’s demise. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching you. King David writes, “The God that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Christians believe there’s a spy in the sky, and he’s Jewish.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, the Christians of America will not sit by in silence and watch you plan and plot a nuclear holocaust. There will never be another holocaust, not on our watch, not ever.
Beyond the threat from Iran, there’s another, more subtle threat that concerns me. I am concerned that in the coming months yet another attempt will be made to parcel out parts of Israel in a futile attempt to appease Israel’s enemies in the Middle East. I believe that the misguided souls in Europe, the political brothel that is the United Nations, and sadly our own administration will once again try to turn Israel into what Churchill called crocodile food. Winston Churchill, one of my favorite statesmen of all time, said -- and I quote -- “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile in the futile hope that it will eat him last.”
In 1938, Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland was turned into crocodile food for the Nazi German beast. The Nazi beast smelled the weakness in the appeasers, ate the food, and then marched on to devour most of Europe and systematically slaughter six million people. Six million Jewish people.
We are again hearing calls to appease the enemies of Israel. Once again, those who would appease seek to do so at the expense of Israel. Israel is always the one called upon to sacrifice. They tell us that if we want the Sunnis and the Shiites to stop massacring each other in Iraq, then Israel must give up land. And if we want the Syrians and Hezbollah to stop murdering the leaders of Lebanon, then Israel must give up land. And if we want the Saudis to permit women to drive or vote, the obvious answer is that Israel should give up more land.
And if we want the sun to rise in the east and set in the west, the obvious answer is Israel should give up some more land.
Let me be very clear about this -- Israel is not the problem here. Scapegoating Israel is not going to solve the problem. The problem is Arab rejection of Israel’s right to exist.
The problem is Israel does not have a legitimate partner for peace. The problem is radical Islam’s bloodthirsty embrace of a theocratic dictatorship that believes they have a mandate from God to kill Christians and Jews. The problem is the failure of moderates in the Arab and Muslim world to stand up and rein in these Islamic terrorists.
If the moderate Arabs believe that murdering Christians and Jews is wrong, then stand up and speak up. Your silence is deafening. Appeasement, my friends, is not the answer. To quote the great evangelical abolitionist [William] Wilberforce -- he said, “Appeasement is nothing more than surrender on the installment plan.”
America should not pressure Israel to give up more land. And America must never pressure Israel to divide the city of Jerusalem.
What the Jewish people do with the city of Jerusalem is the business of the Jewish people, not the United States of America.
So I’m often asked this question -- why do Christians support Israel? We support Israel because the Bible is a Zionist text, and we believe the Bible. There are only two ways to live -- the Torah way, and the wrong way. And we choose the Torah way.
Genesis 12:3 says, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” You don’t need to be a rocket scientist in theology to figure that out. Good happens to those who bless Israel; bad things happen to people who attack the Jewish people. History proves that. Where are the nations that have persecuted the Jewish people? Where is Pharaoh and his army? Where are the Babylonians? Where are the Greeks? Where’s the Roman Empire? Where are the Romans? Where is that goose-stepping lunatic Adolph Hitler and his Nazi hordes? All are historic footnotes in the bone yard of human history.
Where is Israel? Where are the Jewish people? They are alive and well, they are thriving, they’re prospering, they’re growing. Even in adversity, they are advancing better than any nation in the world. Where is Israel? Where are those who were scattered throughout the Diaspora? The mighty right hand of God has gathered them from the nations of the world, and Israel was reborn May 1948.
Therefore, we can say Israel lives. We can shout it from the housetop that Israel lives. We can say it until every Islamic terrorist group hears it -- Israel lives. Let every tinhorn dictator in the Middle East hear it -- Israel lives. Let it be heard from the halls of the UN. Let it echo down the marble halls of the presidential palace in Iran -- Israel lives. Let it ring in the terrorist camps of Osama bin Laden -- Israel lives, Israel lives, Israel lives.
So why do we support Israel? Not only because of biblical fact, but because Christians owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. Everything that we have, you gave us -- the Torah of God, the patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- the prophets -- Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zachariah, Amos, Josiah, Joel -- not a Baptist in the bunch -- all of them Jewish.
The first family of Christianity, Mary, Joseph and Jesus; the apostles. That’s why a rabbi by the name of Jesus Christ said, Salvation is of the Jews. That’s not a text you hear very many Christians quote, but it’s very much in the New Testament.
The point is, if you take away the Jewish contribution to Christianity, there would be no Christianity. The point is, Judaism does not need Christianity to explain its existence, but Christianity cannot explain its existence without the Jewish experience.
Now, say that on national television, and that’ll get you more mail than a truck full.
The bottom line is this -- I support Israel for the same reasons that most Jewish people do. The fact is that what we have in common as Christians and Jews is far greater than the things we’ve allowed to separate us over the centuries.
But now, in the United States of America, for the first time in our history, Christians are rallying to the cause of Israel in greater numbers, with greater rapidity, than ever in the history of the United States of America.
Let me give just a short history of the birth of Christians United for Israel in America. For many years, Christians went to Washington singing “Amazing Grace” out on the mall. I didn’t go because I told them it’s a waste of time. They said, “Why?” I said, “Because Congress could care less about your singing ‘Amazing Grace’ out on the grass. But when you walk into their office, 75, 80 of you, and say, ‘I live in your district, and I vote for you or against you based on your support of Israel,’ now you’re moving the ball down the field.”
That’s what we’ve begun doing for the first time ever in our history. As the Iranian threat began to loom ever larger, I decided that the time had come to unify America’s pro-Israel Christians in a massive, proactive, national movement. To accomplish this goal, I launched Christians United for Israel in February 2006 and invited 400 major Christian leaders from around the country. They were the pastors of the largest churches, owners of the radio, television networks; presidents of universities and owners of publishing companies. If you’d have dropped a bomb on that church that day, evangelical faith in America would’ve been backed up 100 years.
It was my wondrous privilege to ask them if they would join in this effort to assist the Jewish people -- listen to what I’m about to say -- without any conversionary attempt being made. And if they would, would they please raise their hand? And 400 strong immediately raised their hand and said, We will stand with Israel unconditionally.
In less than five years, we have grown to become the largest pro-Israel organization in the world. We currently have over 500,000 members, including thousands of America’s top spiritual leaders. Through these leaders, our message concerning Israel reaches millions of Christians in America and around the world. Not through the New York Times, but through Christians United for Israel.
I had dinner with, supper with Dore Gold this past Monday night. And I was talking to him that it would be good if the Israeli government would form a media war room, where they would release the stories they have first to 400,000 spiritual leaders in America, let us have it for 24 hours to send it to our people, and then send it to the New York Times and see what they could do with it to destroy it.
This year, we began two important initiatives -- a Hispanic outreach to bring America’s rapidly growing Hispanic churches into the pro-Israel camp, and an African-American outreach to bring even more of America’s black churches into the pro-Israel camp.
We have formed an alliance with over 25,000 Hispanic churches in one year. Listen to that. Many of these new CUFI members are committed Democrats. And that’s important. We are a one-issue organization -- Israel. Israel. Israel.
When I looked at those 400 leaders and said, We’re not going to Washington to discuss all of the hot-button issues we like to get hot under the collar about -- we’re going to talk about one thing from the time we arrive and the time we leave -- Israel. Then, we can recognize that as these new CUFI members are coming on -- and many of them are Democrats -- that they must confront those in their political party who would abandon the Jewish State in their time of need.
Our campus program, CUFI On Campus, has continued to grow and flourish, as we have currently a CUFI presence in over 350 college campuses, and our numbers are growing daily. We have sent two student groups on leadership missions to Israel. And next month, we will be hosting 70 student leaders in San Antonio for our first Winter Student Leadership session.
As has been stated tonight, CUFI conducts an average of 40 pro-Israel events in cities across America every month. Every month, 40 pro-Israel events.
In church after church, pastor after pastor -- they’re telling their congregations for the first time in their history the truth about Israel. Our members are then leaving those churches and sharing that truth with their family members and their friends and their neighbors. That’s why today, just today, our membership has grown over 20,000 members. It is growing that rapidly. And every July, we gather in Washington to let Congress know that we as Christians are standing with Israel through thick-and-thin.
In conclusion, -- almost 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy flew to the divided city of Berlin at the height of the Cold War. He flew there at a time when West Berlin was a tiny outpost of freedom surrounded by Communist tyranny. He flew there at a time when West Berlin was surrounded, hounded, boycotted and hungry. He flew there to send a strong message of solidarity and resolve to the brave people of West Berlin.
Here’s what John F. Kennedy said in that place, at that time -- “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum (I am a Roman citizen). Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'” I am a Berliner. “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'” We need to remember President Kennedy’s words and actions now more than ever.
Today, I stand in the greatest nation on the face of the earth, the United States of America. I’m here with people who cherish our nation, people who cherish our Judeo-Christian heritage and our ally, Israel. I stand here at a time when Israel is a tiny outpost of freedom and democracy in a sea of tyranny. I stand here as Israel is surrounded, hounded, boycotted and threatened. I stand here with a strong message of solidarity with my Jewish brethren, the apple of God’s eye, the people of covenant and the cherished people. And that covenant has not been broken.
At this difficult juncture in our history, permit me to say something straight from the heart -- today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is, “I am an Israeli.” All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Israel. Therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, “I am an Israeli.”
When international bodies ignore the world’s genocides, massacres and racism to attach Israel, we must stand together and proclaim as one body, “I am an Israeli.” When college professors teach lies about Israel, and students loudly call for Israel’s destruction, we must proclaim, “I am an Israeli.” When flotillas filled with militants seek to turn Gaza into an Iranian port, we must stand together, saying, “I am an Israeli.” When the world condemns Israel for defending itself from thousands of missiles and mortar attacks, we must proclaim, “I am an Israeli.”
When terrorists threaten to kill Israeli men, women and children, we must proudly proclaim, “I am an Israeli.” When madmen threaten to destroy the Jewish State, we must proudly proclaim, “I am an Israeli.”
Israel and America share the same love of freedom. Israel and America share the same passion for democracy. Israel and America share the same Judeo-Christian values. Israel and America share the same love of life. Israel’s enemies are our enemies. Israel’s fight is our fight. If a line has to be drawn, draw the line around Christians and Jews. We are united, we are one, we are indivisible. We will not be discouraged. We will not be defeated.
In the end, when the last battle has been fought and the last bullet has been fired, the flag of Israel will still be flying over the ancient walls of the holy city of Jerusalem. The lion will lie down with the lamb. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more. And Israel will still be the praise of all the earth.
May God bless each of you, God bless Israel, and God bless the United States of America.
* The video of Pastor Hagee's speech: