Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Zealotry Begats War

On the way to work today I listened to the tail-end of Terri Gross' interview with Abe Foxman, wherein he accuses critics of the Israel lobby of anti-semitism (more detail here) and now I run across this article in The American Conservative about the Christian zealots who sincerely wish American policies in the Middle East mirrored Israel's most hawkish tendencies:

Images of rabbis teaching in Israel flash across giant screens, as the crowd starts to rock and wave, lifting their voices, “Sing Us a Song of Zion.” A young man dressed as an IDF soldier appears on the stage. He appears to be hurt and remains on his knees. The music begins to fade. Another young man dressed as an American soldier comes over, lifts up his Israeli counterpart, and salutes him. The hall fills with the sound of the electronic keyboard and the crowd punctures the night air with waving palms and a smattering of “hallelujahs.” Some raise tear-streaked faces, others bow their heads in ecstatic prayer, all are resolute and ready for battle. They sing as the music lifts them higher: “Great is the army that carries out His Word.”

What is God's word? To use American military might to enforce Israeli hegemony over the Middle East. Why? Because Israel must exist so that the last battle can be fought there and Jesus' return can be assured. Every little threat to Israel is a threat to this vision, which is why compromise with the Palestinians is impossible and we are being driven to war with Iran. The people infected with this belief constitute a minority of Christians, but they wield influence disproportionate to their numbers in the administration, in Congress and in the media. Iraq has hardly dimmed their desire for war, and quite frankly the only hope we have is to elect a Democratic president who isn't afraid to marginalize this group and restore some sanity to American foreign policy.

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