A far-right evangelical pastor is scheduled to take the stage at Tuesday’s “March for Israel” rally on Washington’s National Mall, despite a history of controversial remarks that include claiming Jews were responsible for the Holocaust.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to attend alongside televangelist Pastor John Hagee, a reputed antisemite, including numerous politicians from both sides of the aisle like House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Israel’s President Isaac Herzog.
“I am horrified that he was given this platform,” said Hadar Susskind, president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now. “His history of hateful comments should disqualify him from decent company, much less from speaking on stage. He is not welcome and should not speak.”
Such comments were enough to sour public opinion on Hagee in the past. In 2008, GOP presidential nominee Senator John McCain ultimately shirked Hagee’s endorsement after reports emerged that the minister believed Adolf Hitler had fulfilled God’s will by becoming a “hunter,” driving Jews back to Israel.
“‘Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after that I will send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them,’” Hagee said during a sermon, referring to Jeremiah 16:16. “That would be the Jews.… Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter,” Hagee said, according to a transcript of his sermon.
McCain subsequently called the comments “deeply offensive and indefensible.”
The war between Israel and Hamas is now in its sixth week. Gaza’s Health Ministry has reported that more than 11,100 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far—or one out of every 200 people—with most of the dead being women and children. Approximately 240 hostages still remain in Gaza after Hamas militants attacked a music festival in southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people.