Why the love-fest?
Begin with the obvious: the 180-degree disconnect between America’s and so much of Europe’s attitude toward Israel, as evidence, most recently, by Congress’s September 18 unanimous vote declaring Israel a “major strategic partner.”
But in Europe, were it not for lingering (but vanishing) embarrassment over that “Holocaust thing,” it would not surprise this writer to see a vote declaring Israel a pariah sail through at least some European parliaments.
As for America, like Europe, it is overwhelmingly Christian. What, then, explains the affectionate bond between this Christian-majority country and the world’s only Jewish state?
Here are my suggestions:
1. Both America and Israel were founded by people fleeing religious persecution.
Jews, of course, have been persecuted literally for millennia; anti-Semitism has truly earned its characterization as “the world’s oldest hatred.”
But the 16th century saw the advent of a new phenomenon in Europe: the persecution of Christians by other Christians.
The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society… In some areas Catholics persecuted Protestants, in others Protestants persecuted Catholics, and in still others Catholics and Protestants persecuted wayward coreligionists.
No wonder, then, given these Christians’ and Jews’ common historical experience, that the First Amendment to our Constitution prohibited the new government from infringing on the religious liberties of anyone. But the point is, America is unique in having been founded by members of two religions fleeing persecution for their beliefs.
Then there is the Pilgrims’ likening of themselves and their flight from Europe to the New World to the Israelites’ flight from Egypt to the Promised Land.
And that was just the beginning, as proto-Americans continued to identify with the ancient Israelites throughout the Revolutionary War. As historian Don Higgenbotham writes inThe War of American Independence (emphasis mine):
In most of the colonies that had militia, a major part of each training day was a sermon, sometimes called an "artillery sermon," which "literally bristled with Old Testament injunctions in support of a just war."… Several generations of Americans saw themselves transformed into the Biblical David, while France (and later Britain) was Goliath incarnate."
No less a figure than Thomas Paine, in Common Sense, arguably the spark that ignited the American Revolution, cites the Jews as argument both against continued allegiance to a monarch and for independence.
He then ices the cake by further citing his perceived notion of “Jewish exceptionalism” to exhort his countrymen to embrace the concept of American exceptionalism (emphasis mine):
The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous customs of the Heathens, is something exceedingly unaccountable; but so it was, that… they came… to Samuel, saying, BEHOLD THOU ART OLD, AND THY SONS WALK NOT IN THY WAYS, NOW MAKE US A KING TO JUDGE US, LIKE ALL OTHER NATIONS. And here we cannot but observe that their motives were bad, viz. that they might be LIKE unto other nations… whereas their true glory laid in being as much UNLIKE them as possible.
And need I mention that both and America and modern Israel had to wrest their independence not just from a European power, but from the same European power – Great Britain?
2. America and Israel share the same values.
America is commonly, and correctly, characterized as a Judeo-Christian country.
And it is equally accurate to call modern Israel a “Christo-Jewish state.” [Didact: Dude. Have you ever even visited Israel? If not, don't spout such nonsense.]
I am far from the first observer to note the Old Testament (read: Torah) tone to the Gettysburg Address – “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent…,” not to mention Lincoln’s directly quoting Psalm 19:9, from the Hebrew Bible: “[T]he judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” [Didact: So now you're quoting the first true dictator in American history, who almost single-handedly started a war that killed over 10% of the country's population at the time, to support your argument? Wow. And I thought liberals were incoherent.]
But of course, the Second Inaugural contains another memorable passage – one suffused with Christianity:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
That’s Jesus speaking there, not Moses. Or to put it another way, the citizens of Richmond and Atlanta would have gotten a much better deal from Lincoln, had he lived, than the citizens of Jericho got from Joshua. [Didact: Dafuq?!? Did the author of this silliness actually bother to learn what President Lincoln's generals did to the South? Specifically, what General William Tecumseh Sherman did on his March to the Sea?]
And so, too, will the citizens or Ramallah and Gaza City if/when they make peace with the Jewish state. Is there any question that Hamas’s most fervent wish is to destroy the Jewish state? Is there any question that Israel seeks only the same peace she already enjoys with Egypt and Jordan?
If Americans want to be consistent about standing up for people that love them, surely America's political establishment should be working with all possible speed and effort to secure the Kurds a homeland of their own? Preferably by dismantling Iraq, Iran, and Turkey and creating a proper state of Kurdistan? After all, the Kurds know a little something about persecution and mass slaughter at the hands of their oppressors too...
"The Supreme Court of Israel ruled in 1989 that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion, and that people who had become Messianic Jews were not therefore eligible for Aliyah under the law."
This is far more than can be said for the Arabs, of course, who have some admirable qualities, to be sure- but a propensity for hard work, thrift, and tolerance of other religious views are most assuredly not among them.