(Mondoweiss) – Reverend Graylan Hagler, a veteran social and economic justice activist and outspoken supporter of Palestinian human rights, was invited by the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and the Rochester, NY chapter of Friends of Sabeel – North America to speak about Palestine on September 24. Mere days before he was going to travel to upper New York state for the talk, Hagler was disinvited.
Hagler told Mondoweiss that pro-Israel groups pressured the divinity school to cancel his speaking engagement.
This past week, Rev. Hagler also says he received numerous death threats via phone and email. In some of the phone calls, Hagler said those threatening him identified themselves as members of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a hard-line right-wing Evangelical Christian Zionist organization. Hagler said they warned him “We are going to kill you in the name of Christ if you come to Rochester” and “I hope you come here so I can spit in your face.”
Rev. Hagler, who serves as Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C., strongly condemned CUFI. “CUFI basically is a white supremacist group,” he said. The organization is led by John Hagee, a megachurch pastor and Holocaust revisionist who blames anti-Semitism on Jews. CUFI’s theology holds that Christians must support Israel no matter what, so that Jesus can return in the Second Coming—at which point he will save the world’s Christians and send people of other religions, including Jews, to Hell. “It’s not mainstream… It’s really not Christian theology at all. It is really imperialistic ideology,” Hagler explained.