It’s the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, so in the interest of a happy one amidst the gathering global gloom can I make a request of Republican Christian evangelical politicians professing to be Friends of Israel? Next time the temptation to sound off on the best interests of the Jewish state strikes, CAN IT! Israel has enough on its plate without being exploited as campaign fodder by blowhards who, every time, they open their mouths on the subject reveal their shocking ignorance of its past history, present political reality and future security.
There are, of course, those among the most feverishly intransigent and irredentist Jewish settlers who dream and speak of nothing else and, like the Christian evangelicals, invoke the scriptural covenant promising “Judea and Samaria” to the Jews as enough of a warrant on which to base foreign and domestic policy. There is however another Israel entirely, one that’s increasingly impatient with the settlers and with the ultra-orthodox who bear none of the burdens of serving in the military, yet sustain their religious schools from public funds while the rest of Israel’s people live in increasing economic distress as the furious mass demonstrations against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government made abundantly clear.
If these were normal times and the likes of Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann were just a pair of doctrinally-driven fundamentalists we could leave them, and rest of the evangelical tribe to their own imaginings. But they are aspiring to the presidency of the United States and are in a position, even before the campaign gets going in earnest, to do terrible harm to the people they profess to hold so close to their hearts. Continue reading »