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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On evangelicals and Jewish Judea and Samaria

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations honored Elliott Abrams this week, and Jennifer Rubin provides a summary of Abrams' remarks to mark the occasion.
In praising the commitment of the OU to the defense of Israel, Abrams observed that there is one other group whose devotion to Israel, like that of the OU, avoids the ebb and flow of American politics and is founded on faith. That group of course is the evangelical community, whose support for Israel is regularly denigrated by the liberal Jewish community. “But it’s based on their religion!” the liberal Jews complain. Well, Abrams explained, what better reason is there to support Israel? It is, after all, the basis for most Jews’ affinity to Israel. (An interesting fact: only 25 percent of American Jews have been to Israel, a number that, if not already, will soon be exceeded by the number of Christians devoted to Israel who travel regularly to the Jewish state.) So those in the American Jewish community who still view evangelicals with distrust or outright hostility may want to reconsider. There aren’t that many Jews, as Abrams pointed out. We actually need additional supporters for Israel.

But the meat of Abrams’s speech was devoted to American-Israeli relations (which he candidly stated are not good) and the efforts, stretching over multiple administrations, to negotiate a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His point was simple: peace will not be achieved at the bargaining table—not at Oslo or Camp David or Annapolis. (The latter example was a frank acknowledgment that the secretary of state and the president for whom Abrams worked were gripped by this same fixation with fruitless peace conferences.)

Peace, he counseled, will not come from the top down, but from the bottom up. Only when Palestinians put aside victimology and take self-governance seriously, cease to rob their own people, build workable institutions, and control terrorism, will there be a true peace. He proposed that the solution may not necessarily be one in which Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace together, but at least in peace—apart. And he suggested a historical model for the Palestinians to follow: Jewish Zionists who came and built a nation before the nation existed, and prepared for the day when full statehood would be achieved. That hope for statehood, as Abrams pointed out, for decades was not secured with the promise of a fixed time line.
Read the whole thing.

Abrams is pretty much on target, although I don't expect to see peace in my lifetime and I don't expect it to happen in my children's lifetimes either.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Palestinians are not interested in talks, statehood and peace. The only outcome they will accept is an Israeli surrender on their terms. Israel should stop indulging the Palestinians in their fantasy and resume building throughout Yesha. There is no longer a need for Israel to show restraint.


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