Press Release

ADL Says Pastor Hagee’s Remarks Criticizing President Obama “Offensive and Misplaced”

New York, NY, November 24, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged Pastor John Hagee to reconsider his remarks calling President Obama “one of the most anti-Semitic presidents in the history of the United States of America,” saying the comments were “offensive and misplaced.”

Pastor Hagee, the leader of a San Antonio, Texas mega-church and Chairman of Christians United for Israel, the largest Christian Zionist group in the U.S., made the remarks Sunday night in a speech to the Zionist Organization of America. In his speech Pastor Hagee also mocked the president’s track record of support for the state of Israel, whom he accused of trying to “break (the relationship) for the last five years.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We understand and appreciate that Pastor Hagee has strong opinions and is genuinely concerned for the well-being and safety of the Jewish state of Israel. That said, the pastor’s remarks about President Obama were offensive and misplaced. One can agree to disagree about the president and his administration’s record in dealing with Israel, but to apply the label of “anti-Semitic” is a serious denigration and distortion of the term.

As we witnessed from the horrific killings in a Jerusalem synagogue last week, there are many, myriad and serious threats to Jews around the world. Anti-Semitic is a term that should never be used lightly, or applied to exact a political score or make a political point. I recall how the same label was once applied, in a much different context, to President George H.W. Bush.  We spoke out then, and we must speak out again now.

We need to keep things in perspective and avoid generalizations when it comes to the realities of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The president continues to be a staunch ally and friend of Israel and friend of the Jewish community. And while we and members of the Jewish community have not always seen eye-to-eye with this administration on certain issues involving the Jewish State, the fact remains that this administration has continued the strong and unwavering alliance with Israel.

Updated: January 01, 1970

In a subsequent statement issued December 6, Pastor John Hagee clarified that he did not mean to call President Obama anti-Semitic, but anti-Israel. In the statement, Hagee said his prepared text of his remarks called President Obama "one of the most 'anti-Israel' presidents in U.S. history," and that he inadvertently substituted the word "anti-Semitic" while delivering his speech.