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Friday, February 12, 2010

Sarah Palin and Israel

On Monday, I took Sarah Palin to task for endorsing Rand Paul and for her gushing enthusiasm for his father, the isolationist Ron Paul. I have since been taken to task by my friend Michael Fenenbock, who is far more politically savvy than I am (Google his name to see why), who told me "The Paul family. Who cares? If you're looking for purity, go to shul. You won't find it in politics." So with that in mind....

Writing in National Review on Thursday, Jay Nordlinger had this to say about Palin and Israel:
Speaking of Palin: I think I commented once that, while governor, she had an Israeli flag in her office. What does Israel have to do with Palin, and vice versa? Well, nothing. But I imagine she feels solidarity with the country: because it is under siege, defamed, plucky, admirable — often heroic. (Although it would rather not be heroic, believe me. It would rather have a quiet life.) I feel the same solidarity — the same solidarity I’m guessing Palin does. If Israel had no enemies, or the normal quotient of enemies, I imagine I would go months and months without ever thinking of the country, the way I do, say, Uruguay.

I noticed that, at the tea-party convention the other day, Palin wore a “small pin with two flags,” as one account put it: “for Israel and the United States.” This is a little . . . unusual. Some might even find it creepy. But, again, I understand, or think I do. And I thought of something that Charles Krauthammer and I discussed, when I interviewed him for a National Review profile last fall. Hang on, let me just excerpt that profile, if I may:
Many Jews, particularly American ones, are nervous or scornful about the support that American evangelicals have shown for Israel. They say that this support is double-edged, or bad news, or embarrassing. Krauthammer will have none of it. “I embrace their support unequivocally and with gratitude. And when I speak to Jewish groups, whether it’s on the agenda or not, I make a point of scolding them. I say, ‘You may not want to hear this, and you may not have me back, but I’m going to tell you something: It is disgraceful, un-American, un-Jewish, ungrateful, the way you treat people who are so good to the Jewish people. We are almost alone in the world. And here we have 50 million Americans who willingly and enthusiastically support us. You’re going to throw them away, for what? Because of your prejudice.’ Oh, I give ’em hell.”
I bet he does.
Jeff Jacoby, whom I have thus far only eyed from a distance in synagogue in Boston, and to whom I have yet to introduce myself, sent Nordlinger an email in response to that column. With Jeff's permission, Nordlinger shared the email with his readers in The Corner. For those of you who have been critical of Palin, I think the email and Nordlinger's entry are worth reading.

Read it all.
Dear Jay,

Apropos Sarah Palin’s visible support for Israel: It goes deeper than mere support. I was struck, during her debate with Joe Biden in the ’08 campaign, by the way she spoke so unapologetically and matter-of-factly about feeling “love” for Israel. I just looked up the transcript of that debate, and there is a point when she says, “I’m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel, and I think that is a good thing to get to agree on, Senator Biden. I respect your position on that.” She didn’t say it with any pointed emphasis — it came out as if it were the most natural sentiment in the world.

...

Have you ever heard any other American politician speak on a national stage about “loving” Israel? I never have. But such ardor is common among great numbers of Christian Zionists. Like Krauthammer, I am appalled by the hostility or suspicion so many (liberal) American Jews harbor toward evangelical Christians who embrace Israel. When I speak to Jewish audiences, I often tell them about the woman who called me one day from deep in bayou country after reading a column of mine on the Middle East. In her thick Louisiana accent she told me how she prays daily for Israel, and how in her front yard she has two flagpoles: one flying the Star-Spangled Banner and one flying the Israeli flag. And then I ask my audience how many of them fly an Israeli flag in their yard. Of course none of them would ever do such a thing — it would be too awkward, too parochial, too embarrassing. But this Louisiana Christian lady doesn’t worry about such things — she loves Israel and wants the world to know it.

Sarah Palin is like that too, and so are many, many Christian Zionists I have had the honor of meeting. I bless such people. I wish more of my fellow American Jews did likewise.
For the record, Jacoby is Orthodox (as you may have figured out from my saying that I have seen him in synagogue) and Krauthammer grew up Orthodox but is no longer. Maybe that's why they're secure enough in their Jewish identities not to fear that all those Christians who support Israel are not seeking our demise.

Yes, I know, there are Christian missionaries out there who want to convert us. Sarah Palin isn't one of them. Whatever else you may say about Sarah Palin, I want all you Israelis to feel secure - and appreciate - that she LOVES us. Who else in this world loves us other than our families? Maybe it's time we started requiting some of that love.

5 Comments:

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, you just don't get it, do you.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

Shy Guy I watched that video and I tend to agree. I want to say however I refuse to fall all over any non Jew especially in politics who profess to be on the side of Israel.

I have posted many times showing how George Bush was said to be the best friend of Israel and truly in the end worked against Israel.

All politicians court American Jews saying how much they love and honor Jews and Israel and the security of Israel.

I got stung. I grew up and I don't trust.

As for evangelicals support of Israel, in print it looks good and makes us all feel more secure in a world which has right before our eyes turned us into pariahs. Having said that they and most Republicans said little if anything about Bush doing an almost complete turnaround on Israel which began at the height of the intifada.

The proof is in the pudding. I learned a hard lesson and now I sit back and wait and see. Talk is cheap. Politicians are hypocrites who speak from both sides of their mouths.

We Jews have the mindset of tortured and abandoned children and for good reason. When given a pat on the head or an accolade by a non Jew we fall to our knees in submission and thanks. We almost purr like a kitten.

Many partisan Republican Jews still maintain Bush was the best friend of Israel. Perhaps he was a "better friend" but in our thirst for friends be it politicians or evangelicals we let down our guard.

Seeing a politician wear a duel lapel pin makes us kvell with joy and for a moment we forget but we have the perfect right and obligation to be cautious.
We must be cautious.

A mans deeds are judged by his actions not by his words.

 
At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. We "evangelicals" love Israel because we love God. We love Israel because out of her comes our destiny, which is linked with her children. We love Israel because we have been praying all our years, in obedience to God's command, for her peace. We love Israel because she is the apple of God's eye, the jewel in His crown; the Chosen nation. We love Israel because we love God.

Sarah Palin is a woman of deep and abiding faith. I have a personal knowledge and witness of her faith in God. Politics has not changed her, persecution has not shaken her faith in God. This is why the worldly system, inspired by the evil one, hates her with a passion. This same evil system hates Israel because she is God's chosen nation. Yes, we Christians can identify with Israel. Yes, we love Israel and that love is "agape" without any expectation of receiving anything in return. Israel is our foundation.

Our love for Israel stems from the same place as a child's love for her parents. We have sprung up from Israel. True Christians will not abandon her because to do so would be to also abandon the God of Israel.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger bobthepharmacist.com said...

I am a Christian. I am a pharmacist and writer. Below is the link to an article I wrote that may help you to understand why Christians love Israel. "Whose Jerusalem is it?"

Copy and paste this link into your Internet browser > http://bit.ly/d1azq0

Yours in Christ,

Bob Diamond R.Ph

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger Lee Walker said...

Just a piece of advice for the commenters here: Try to kinda recognize the difference between politics and religion. The ONLY reason the State of Israel has the level of support in the U.S. and U.K. that it does is Christian Zionism. Without it, that country would have never been born. None of those Christian evangelists is going to make conversion a precondition to support for Israel (the reason for their support is less about proselytizing than it is about their Savior's bloodline and the fulfillment of prophecies). However, this continued condemnation and repression of their RELIGIOUS activities might eventually drive away their support by driving them into the anti-Judaic Christian movements. Then your little sliver of the Middle East would be dead.

So it's up to you. Do you feed every conspiracy theory and stereotype out there with your biting of the hand that quite literally keeps Israel alive, or do you graciously accept their aid and respect the fact they are simply preaching their faith, even as you are free to hold to and even preach yours?

 

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