Ed Koch: "I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel"

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JobK's picture

Our government has never backed Israel for religious reasons because our government has never respected religion (except for maybe freemasonry). It was for strategic economic and military reasons, especially during the Cold War when Iran and the PLO backed the Soviet Union. Actually, as eastern Europe was in the Soviet bloc and much of Africa was also either sympathetic to the Soviets or vulnerable to Marxist coups, Israel was badly needed. Also, though the American left was divided on the Cold War, they generally supported Israel because the Israeli government at the time was secular, socialist and had a lot of Sephardic Jews (North African = minorities) in its leadership. Also, paleoconservatives (mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics) were anti-Semitic and despised Israel, so supporting Israel was logical for any good civil rights minded liberal in response. 

But after the Cold War, priorities changed. Improving relations with the Muslims and Arabs became in our economic interests. Also, regarding the left Israel became far more capitalistic, religious and led by Ashkenazi (European) Jews. Plus the American conservative movement shifted to pro-Israel neo-conservative leadership (including premillennial dispensationalists displacing the mainline Protestants). The left didn't want to join ranks with the neocons - especially the rapture ready evangelicals - in the "we support Israel" rallies, and plus backing Muslims became "cool" for left after 9/11. 

Honestly, before the dust and debris from the falling of the Berlin Wall was carted off, America began pushing Israel towards giving the Palestinians a state. George H. W. Bush, Dennis Ross, Condi Rice etc. created the first roadmap in 1991. It or some version of it has been the official policy of the United States ever since. Yes, this includes the George W. Bush administration, as he brought back a lot of the people who helped write the original policy under his father's term, and he also gave Condi Rice the task of achieving a Palestinian state by the end of his second term. Evangelicals and fundamentalists who believe that there is any real difference between the GOP and Democrats on the Israel issue are just getting played like band instruments, and in many instances because they choose to. It requires things like pretending that George W. Bush's statement to the media that the failure to achieve a Palestinian state was the biggest failure of his administration didn't happen. (You know, along with his calling Jesus Christ a philosopher, saying that the Bible wasn't literally true, claiming that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and that there were multiple paths to heaven, and that he opposed overturning Roe v. Wade ... stuff like that.) It also requires overlooking how the party machinery - including the talk radio types and the big donors - who really run the GOP made sure that a legitimate Israel backer like Mike Huckabee never came anywhere close to winning the nomination (Huckabee would have crushed Obama and everybody knows it). 

If supporting a Palestinian state makes you an enemy of Israel, then America has been Israel's enemy since at least 1991, and the party that occupies the White House and Congress doesn't change that fact. 

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura

G. N. Barkman's picture

Well, that's an interesting perspective by JobK. 

I'm a bit puzzled by a number of statements.  For example, how does one conclude that the US government has "never" respected any religion except maybe freemasonry?  We clearly have growing hostility in recent days towards conservative Christianity, but there seems to be plenty of respect for Islam and for liberal Christianity.  Indeed, how long is "never"?  The history of the United States documents a great deal of respect for religion in general, and Christianity in particular.  There are too many evidences to start a list, but the paid chaplains in our military would be a good place to begin.

With such a questionable broad generalization introducing these remarks, I'm left with a healthy measure of skepticism regarding this viewpoint, in spite of the evidence that the author does know a great deal about this subject.  Nevertheless, it is an interesting read, and I am still learning.

G. N. Barkman