Reform leader urges evangelical boycott

By Nathan Guttman, April 11, 2008
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The leader of America’s largest Jewish denomination and a prominent Christian-Zionist figure traded barbs this week following calls to boycott events organised by evangelical supporters of Israel.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, called on Jewish individuals and groups to refrain from attending the “Night for Israel” events organised nation-wide by John Hagee, an evangelical pastor who heads a group known as Christians United for Israel.

“Most of the time, these evenings will not increase our political clout. They will reduce our political clout and drive away our allies,” Rabbi Yoffie told a conference in Cincinnati.

He argued that Mr Hagee and his group oppose a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that if the group’s beliefs were implemented, it would “mean disaster for Israel”.

Responding to Rabbi Yoffie’s call, Mr Hagee convened a telephone press conference in which he argued that the Reform leader had misrepresented his views, since the group states it will support any decision made by the government of Israel regarding its borders and relations with Palestinians.

“Rabbi Yoffie’s speech demonstrates not only a lack of respect for me but a troubling lack of respect for the truth,” said Mr Hagee, visiting Israel this week.

Last updated: 2:14pm, April 10 2008