Urge Temple Emanu-El To Cancel Their Event, "Christian Zionists-Why Evangelicals Support Israel"
In the wake of Charlottesville, David Brog will be speaking at San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El to preach allyship with far-right Christian Zionists. Brog is the founding executive director of the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic Christians United for Israel, and head of the reactionary Macabee Task Force. The event, called “Christian Zionists — Why Evangelicals Support Israel,” pushes our vulnerable community towards allies that exploit us for hatred, instead of joining our fight against it.
IfNotNow, a movement of young Jews calling for an end to American Jewish support for the Occupation, is hosting an alternative event, entitled “Christian Zionists — Why We Deserve Better Allies.” This is where our clergy and community will be. Encourage Emanu-El to join with us, cancel its event, and unite together as Jews towards a freer and more dignified future for all.
Alternative event details:
6:30PM - Thursday Sept 7
Outside Congregation Emanu-El
Speakers from the community & song
Dear Staff, Friends and Family at Congregation Emanu-El,
We write to you in an auspicious time. The month of Elul has just begun, signaling the coming of the High Holidays – a time of communal introspection and joy, of fast and plenty, of solitude and togetherness.
Propelling us into this moment is the crisis of Charlottesville, which has highlighted the white supremacists and Nazis who put our community – especially those further marginalized within it – in danger.
It is with this gravity and an open heart towards our community that IfNotNow, young Jews calling for an end to American Jewish support for the Occupation, urge you to cancel your event entitled “Christian Zionists — Why Evangelicals Support Israel.” We invite you to join us in programming more suited for our community in this moment, and for our future.
We don’t make this request lightly. Many of us attended services and grew up in Temple Emanu-el or synagogues very similar to it. The roots of our Jewish identities run deep, and many of us owe that to institutions like yours. Our synagogues gave us a love and commitment to Judaism and its future. It is that love and commitment that compels us to speak out in this moment.
Headlining your proposed event on September 7th is David Brog, a founding member of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), and the current head of the reactionary Maccabee Task Force. CUFI is an anti-Semitic and Islamophobic organization. Under the guise of Israel advocacy, its current head, millionaire televangelist John Hagee, promotes racist films with thickly-accented caricatures of Arab leaders. He claims that the West is in a religious war with Islam. He preaches that Hitler was sent by God to murder millions of Jews, in order to chase us from Europe to Palestine, and precipitate his Christian apocalypse.
Brog and Hagee are close allies. Though Brog is Jewish and a cousin of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, he was invited to speak because of the decade he has spent enmeshing Jewish institutions in the coffers of Christian Zionist organizations. The rhetoric of both men shows they don’t have our interests at heart.
In this moment after Charlottesville, the Jewish community will only find safety in fighting alongside all targeted groups. We need to love our allies, and we need allies who love us.
We do not need allies who rationalize our genocide for their Messiah.
We do not need allies who incite Islamophobia.
We do not need allies who use us as pawns in a War on Islam.
We do not need allies who demonize Jews of color.
We do not need their false love or promises of security.
We do not need CUFI.
We need each other.
CUFI may offer Evangelical lobbying muscle and tax-exempt millions, but it is not your community. We are your congregants, your youth, your neighbors and friends. We see this synagogue as a holy place, and know that those who claim its leadership carry with them obligations - a high caliber of speech, dedication to our people’s needs, and a source of love and justice worthy of the bima. Though we don’t advocate censorship, this moment requires strong moral leadership. And we do not believe that Brog, after a decade-long friendship with Hagee, can shoulder the bima’s burden.
Our Jewish values are being strongly tested at this moment. We see Jewish organizations ally with anti-Semites for the sake of “security.” We see these organizations failing to condemn white nationalists because of “support for Israel.” CUFI proudly touts its connection to the Evangelical right in the White House. Yet the president can’t even denounce Nazis. Can these people really be our allies?
As always, our core concern lies with the lives affected by the Occupation and lost to the ongoing injustice in Palestine and Israel. CUFI’s anti-Semitism may distinguish it from our Jewish institutions, but its Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian incitement allow Hagee to receive invitations, and then ovations, at AIPAC - echoing the thunderous applause offered to Trump in the same conference hall. Our generation felt shame for our community in these moments. The next generation will only remember with more regret.
But another future is possible. We ask Emanu-El to look with us, into the eyes of all generations to come, and meet the righteousness of their gaze, together.
As white nationalism puts Jewish lives, especially those of color, in danger, we invite you to lean into our communal trauma with love and care. IfNotNow will host an alternative event, entitled “Christian Zionists — Why We Deserve Better Allies.” Your community, your fellow clergy and your congregants will be there. We hope to see you there too.
IfNotNow Bay Area & concerned community members