An Open Letter To Elie Wiesel: Please Don't Legitimize John Hagee

Dear Mr. Wiesel,

Your years of tireless campaigning for human rights and against anti-Semitism have earned our deepest respect. For this reason we have written the following letter in hope that you will reconsider your support of events sponsored by John Hagee's Christians United for Israel.

We realize that the outward show of support for Jews and Israel, on display at Hagee's CUFI events, can be very enticing but there is another aspect of Christian Zionism which we believe runs strongly counter to Jewish and Israeli interests.

John Hagee teaches "theological racism," the idea that the destiny of peoples is based on their biblical genealogy. Hagee claims that Jewish souls are different from those of gentiles and that, according to divine plan, Jews have no right to live anywhere on Earth but in Israel. Hagee's fellow Christian Zionists predict that a coming, divinely ordained paroxysm of anti-Semitic violence, a "second Holocaust," will be necessary to force all Jews to make aliyah. From the pulpit, Hagee and his fellow Christian Zionists preach their theological racism that risks provoking such a catastrophe.

When you attend CUFI events, you will receive a great deal of outward affection and participate in singing and celebration that looks and sounds Jewish. However, this is a manifestation of a volatile millennial cycle, an exuberant embrace of "Hebrew roots" founded on the expectation that this generation will bring about the fulfillment of "God's plan for Israel." There is some argument among Christian Zionists about the exact timing and details of this plan, but on one point they are absolutely consistent; the ingathering of Jews to Israel, and the elimination of Rabbinic Judaism as part of Israel's "restoration," are required for the 1000 year reign of Christ.

Our combined years of research have produced a substantial body of documentation on the anti-Semitic face of Christian Zionism. Last May, one small piece of that documentation was widely publicized through a video by Bruce Wilson that included a quote, from a sermon John Hagee gave in 2005, in which pastor Hagee stated "...then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter." Amidst the ensuing publicity, presidential candidate John McCain rejected Hagee's political endorsement.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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