Moreover, the alternate view that God simply lets all this evil and cruelty go on isn't satisfying either. Whether God directed the Holocaust or just allowed it to happen, in either case, many Jews are angry with Him for that. Anger toward God (as well as love toward Him) has a long history even among devout Jews. Petuchowski cites a medieval prayer by 12th century Jewish poet Isaac bar Shalom, who, after a pogrom, changed one word in a Jewish prayer (from "elim" to "ilmim'). As a result, "Who is like you among the gods, oh Lord" became "Who is like you among the silent, oh Lord."
I have written my own beliefs about the reasons for the Holocaust and all of anti-Semitism in the book I co-authored with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, "Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism" (Simon & Schuster, paper, 2003). They are, in short, that the Holocaust, like all Jew-hatred, is an inevitable result of the hatred by the evil of the world of God's Chosen People, who introduced to humanity a morally demanding God who judges the behavior of every individual.
Whatever one's views, however, what Hagee once said in a sermon is completely unworthy of the condemnation that it has received from critics who are obviously motivated by politics rather than by truth. Forcing the man to deny he is an anti-Semite is like forcing a kind and decent man to deny he is a bank robber.
Hagee is one of the most pro-Jewish Christians alive. No living Christian has devoted more of his life to combating anti-Semitism. He has received death threats from anti-Semites, and they have attacked his home. To accuse such a man of anything anti-Jewish renders both truth and anti-Semitism meaningless. Calling people who help Jews anti-Semitic is a gift to real anti-Semites. With no exception I am aware of, those who imply some anti-Jewish animus in Hagee do so in order to undermine an evangelical conservative and to manufacture a right-wing equivalence to the America-cursing, race-based Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
But as Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League, who had been very critical of Hagee for his strong criticisms of the Catholic Church -- for its historical treatment of Jews, no less -- said of Hagee: "I found him to be the strongest Christian defender of Israel I have ever met, and that is why attempts to portray him as anything but a genuine friend to the Jews -- one for whom the Holocaust is the horror of horrors -- is despicable."
Why God allowed the Holocaust and other evils is a mystery. What is not a mystery is why some people on the left, including some Jews who care far more about the left than about Jews, smear a courageous and good Christian pastor.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”
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