Israeli Ambassador, Equality Forum Speaker Michael Oren Plays For Both Teams

The Equality Forum ruffled the feathers of anti-pinkwashing activists when it announced Israel would be the “featured nation” at its annual Global LGBT Summit, held last weekend in Philadelphia. But what was missed by many was that the event’s keynote speaker, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, has also been booked as a speaker at a homophobic summit later this summer.

At the Forum’s International Equality Dinner on Saturday, Oren spoke of Israel’s commitment to LGBT rights—deflecting comments from a protestor and even inviting participant to Israel for Pride on June 8.

Sounds like the usual hard-court press but Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., will be talking out of the other side of his mouth on July 16, when he takes the stage at the Christians United for Israel Summit, run by nutjob minister John Hagee.

As Mondo Weiss’ Phan Nguyen reminds us, Hagee has a long history of attacking gays, Jews, women, Muslims and any number of other groups:

* Hagee said Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans because the city was planning a Pride parade: “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God…There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades…  I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was in fact the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”

* Hagee stated that the Antichrist would materialize as a “a blasphemer and a homosexual,” as well as “be partially Jewish, as was Adolf Hitler.”

* Hagee’s 2004 book, What Every Man Wants in a Woman, warns that: “Homosexuality means the death of society because homosexuals can recruit, but they cannot reproduce. Once homosexuality gets out of the closet, it becomes aggressive…[Homosexuals] do not want mere acceptance; they want to be in charge.”

* What Every Man Wants also explains that “the word abomination in Hebrew means ‘something disgusting, abhorrent,’ the strongest Bible word for the denunciation of sin. It is impossible to call yourself a Christian and defend homosexuality. There is no justification or acceptance of homosexuality. How many ways can you say ‘abomination’ in Hebrew?”

If you’ll recall, Hagee is so toxic that then-GOP presidential nominee John McCain refuted the pastor’s endorsement in 2008 after a recording surfaced of Hagee claiming that God made Hitler order the Holocaust in order to force Jews to move to Israel. Lest you think Oren is just ignorant of his host’s views, this is the fourth time he’s spoken at a CUFI summit.

It’s clear Israel is making some strange bedfellows in order to improve its p.r. image on the international front, but it seems to us like Oren is sleeping with the enemy.

Photo: Anne Mandlebaum

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  • Fodolodo

    John Hagee is also an anti-Semite.

  • Alexi3

    Fundamentalists and especially those of the Hagee stripe are pro-Israel to the point of madness. They believe the Second Coming of Christ can only happen after the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. The site is currently occupied by a Mosque holy to Islam; where the Prophet Mohammed was said to have ascended into Heaven; and so must be destroyed so that the Jewish Temple can be built. There are Orthodox Groups in Israel who believe that this is the only site for the Temple (obviously for different reasons than their Christian allies) and have been working toward that end for decades. These fundamentalist groups funnel tens of millions of dollars to Israel every year and are Israel’s most vociferous allies in Congress. It is not hard to understand why the Israeli Government sends its Ambassador to speak to such groups. For the record: I am pro-Israel because it’s the only actual democracy in the region, but, like many in Israel itself (witness the new coalition government which hopes to blunt the harsh policies of the ultra-Orthadox) I am not blind to the unhelpful policies of the religous right in Israel. As for Hagee himself, one wishes one could dismiss him as just a nut on the lunatic fringe of American politics, but, he heads a mega-church and via tv., radio, books, speeches and the internet his Hate Speech reaches and is believed by millions. I spent the first two years of my collegiate career at a fundamentalist University and I know these people are true believers and they are a real and present danger to civil liberties in this country. You should take the time to listen to one of Hagee’s “sermons”; there is very little about Christ’s Love, in fact very little of what one could honestly call a religous sermon at all, most of it is political speech of the far Right masquerading as religion. He should have his tax-exempt status yanked. For someone who claims to be following the teachings of Christ, an apostle of the virtues of the simple Life if ever there was one, Hagee lives very high on the hog.

  • pedro

    @Fodolodo: Well I don’t know if he qualifies as an anti-semite…He firmly believes that Jews, being God’s chosen people, will willingly and joyfully convert to Christianity at Armageddon or die…Does that count as anti-semitism…He fully supports anything Israel does, since he is convinced that in order for Christ to come back, the Jews have to be on that tiny piece of land…In practical terms, he supports the Jews…In impractical, fantastical terms, he thinks they will go to hell if they do not convert to Christianity…If you’re Jewish should you care…

  • Uncle Mo

    Oh gee, another poorly researched, outright unintelligent article at Queerty. They come along every so often and always seem deal with one subject in particular.

    Professor Oren represents the State of Israel, not the LGBT community. He has no obligation to fight our fight. He will go to Hagee’s shindig, be polite, give a speech full of pleasantries, then go home. Much as he will do at the Equality Forum. This is the difference – I can’t think of a single rightwing nutbag media outlet that would begrudge him attending a gay event and promoting his country.

  • jason

    I get so annoyed by people who play both teams. It shows they’re about politics, not principle.

  • Mikel D McGrew

    I agree with Jason. Such people are bottom feeders, seeking only their own advancement at the cost of others.

  • Anonymous

    Haggee is not an anti-Semite, but he is anti-gay.

    If you read his books or books about him, such as David Brog’s Standing With Israel, you’ll find out that Alexi3’s characterization is not true.

    Hate him for being anti-gay, but be fair about the other stuff… isn’t that what you want people to do to you?

  • Daez

    I actually love people like Haggee. I love him because he is so completely polarizing. For everyone one person he wins to his side, he alienates five to ten people. Having completely crazy lunatic fringe people spouting off has done more to help the cause of gay rights than to harm it. Think of how many people started thinking seriously about the matter because of people like Haggee and Fred Phelps.

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