Knock me over with a feather:
US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain rejected the months-old endorsement of an influential Texas televangelist after an audio recording surfaced in which the preacher said God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the Promised Land.
“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee’s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” the presidential candidate said in a statement issued Thursday.
Hagee quickly responded that he was withdrawing the endorsement.
Still interesting, and perhaps proves my point, that with the exception of Rabbi Eric Yoffie, I don’t know of another Jewish group or leader who publicly objected to Hagee’s Holocaust sermon. I suggested that’s because Hagee’s weird eschatology brings him to a pro-Israel position.
Blogger Volokh states another view, which I suspect is shared by more than one Jewish leader, and that is that the idea that God engineered the Holocaust to either punish or motivate the Jews is a not unheard-of one among Jews themselves:
This is a pretty stupid idea, but I don’t find it “anti-Jewish.” That’s probably because I’ve heard similar statements from Orthodox Jews. For example, when I was in elementary school in an Orthodox day school, we were discussing why the Holocaust happened. One of my classmates volunteered that his father told him something like that it was necessary “for us to get Israel.” As I understood the comment at the time and his further elaboration on it, his father was saying something like “God did something horrible to us for reasons known only to Him, and then paid us back (collectively) with a lasting benefit.”
Volokh runs down the classic theological and theodical conundrums posed by the Shoa:
Either (a) God really hates the Jews (and there are plenty of Orthodox Jewish rabbis who have suggested that the Holocaust was punishment for the sins of the Jewish people); (b) God isn’t all-powerful, or doesn’t care to use His power to prevent horrific crimes against His people; or (c) the Holocaust had to be part of some broader Divine master plan that would ultimately redound to Jews’ benefit. The fact that Hagee takes the latter position hardly makes him an intellectual giant, or speaks well of his moral imagination. But color me unoffended.