The fact that a clown like Walter Russell Mead is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations tells you everything you need to know about the decline of our so-called civilization:
The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American Christians who are nothing like fundamentalists, the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted….
Also too, I’m tired of hearing people whose favored policies would ultimately destroy Israel describe themselves as “pro-Israel”.
Wow, that’s just … Wow.
2,000? I could have sworn palestine was occupied and oppressed prior to the crucifixion.
Over the past few years, thanks to statements such as this, I have come to the conclusion that monotheism is a form of mental illness. The Aeneid says that Rome was founded by Trojan exiles. Thereore, in order to reassure ourselves that the Olympian gods love us and are there for us, we insist that ancient Troy be rebuilt and populated by the descendants of Aeneas.
There are many good arguments in favor of the existence of the state of Israel. This is not one of them.
But, but, but.. the religion of the Bible is christianity and Israel is a jewish state. So if the existence of Israel proves that christianity is the only true religion, what about the Jews? And since Jews don’t believe that Jesus was their savior, what about him???
out of curiosity, how many christians do you think there are in this world, dougj?
a couple dozen? a couple hundred? a few thousand tops?
it’s not 2235, it’s 2011. religious thinking is still very much a relevant parameter for complex foreign policy. separation of church and state isn’t absolute. wishing otherwise doesn’t make that problem go away.
‘Tired’ is a good word for the Israel/Palestine debate. I’ve been reading a history of the peace talks and it literally depresses me to the point where I have to lie down and take a nap. Otherwise it’s just going to ruin the rest of my day.
The ‘arguments’ that are trotted out every time the subject comes up are tired.
God knows the Palestinian refugees are tired.
I have this dream where two informed citizens from each camp are locked inside a room with a giant laminated map of Isreal/Palestine and a dry erase marker.
Work it out fuckers. And stop dropping bombs and blowing up buses with kids on them.
@arguingwithsignposts: If Walter Russell Meade actually read the Bible, he would learn e that Palestine/Israel was always something of a multi-ethnic territory, with lots of different groups living in close proximity to each other. Wasn’t King David’s mother a Moabite or something else not Kosher?
And now we know why Congress and the wingnuts have so much invested in the survival of Israel. If we give them a few armed ballistic missile subs, it’ll further prove the Bible is right.
If I say that God told me that one day I’d eat a banana and I wrote it down, and one day I actually did eat a banana, that proves that God really does exist and my Godly texts are trustworthy?
Fucking gross. Ugh.
Doug Harlan J
I know plenty of Christians who don’t think this way.
That’s funny, because I would have sworn that it was primarily Christians, following the Bible, that were responsible for the vast majority of that two thousand years of oppression of Jews.
Not his mother, his great grandmother (his paternal grandfather’s mother).
@aisce: “how many christians do you think there are?” I think there are too many.
Villago Delenda Est
“What do you think of Christian civilization?”
“I think it would be a good idea.”
More Mead: As the stunning and overwhelming response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Congress showed, Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth.
Too bad we can’t look at Israel like we do every other country: rationally. Our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, matter far more to the security and well being of the United States than any country in the Middle East ever will. Yet they receive a fraction of the attention that the ME does.
A lot of the Jewish historical narrative is centered on their horrible oppression and how God has continued to favor their survival.
In modern Western societies where there is now little physical or economic persecution of Jews, the size of the population of those of Jewish descent grows while the number of religiously observant Jews is in absolute decline.
It almost seems that Judaism needs people who want to kill the adherents to create a solidarity that keeps the religion alive. What better way to do that then squat in the Mid-East and antagonize Muslims.
@Doug Harlan J:
but how many people do you think are out there (of multiple faiths) that consider jerusalem a holy city first, and a capital city second? just for starters?
The CFR is not some exclusive and impressive group, and though it does involve reputable scholars and insightful analysts, it’s one of those organizations which are more significant as networking centers among foreign policy elites and the periphery of experts there.
The funniest (read: saddest) thing about this particular religious ideology is the absolute furor that the Christian right-wing has for American Jews who don’t support unilateral support of Israel, right or wrong. They’re now JINOs (Jews in name only) and the modern-day equivalent of the European Jews that assisted the Nazis in genocide.
@MonkeyBoy: Don’t you ever say that otherwise you would be called antisemitic. Do you know who else was called antisemetic? John Cole, that is who!
Hey Doug, thought you were avoiding this issue. Kudos.
Walter was easily the most open minded guy on a panel with Charlie Rose last week (along with Jeffrey Goldberg). Charlie has hosted him as a VSP 9 times.
Those two dudes would immediately be run out of their respective towns. No matter that their plan meant peace at last.
The problem isn’t that there’s no plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, It’s that EVERYONE has a plan, they’re all different and held on to for dear life with zero room for compromise.
WTF does this mean? Some god allowed twenty million faithful (most) russians die, over six million jews, many millions of others just in the death camps in terrible manners and this ignores the tns of millions from the war. Any one that can accpet a god like that and say it is looking out for its people is insane.
@aisce: About 27% of the population?
If only. The ultra-orthodox are the fastest-growing subgroup both in percentage and absolute numbers. And they’re the most likely to view the State of Israel through the lens of biblical prophesy. As Israeli citizens they’re the most likely to support settlements throughout “Greater Israel” and oppose any kind of two-state solution.
@Joey Maloney: don’t forget groups of ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists like http://www.nkusa.org, who believe that the state of Israel is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Talmud.
No, they’re mostly the same. The plan is that my side gets everything and your side leaves. It’s a very simple plan, but not one that’s likely to be achieved through peaceful negotiation.
I’m talking about the “Jewish” population in Western societies (which does not include Israel), particularly the US.
Here is mention of a 2008 report which says:
Yes the Ultra-Orthodox are the fastest growing Jewish sub-population but in the US they are a drop in the bucket. Wikipedia says:
“How many Christians are there in the world? How many people think Jerusalem is a holy blahblahblah..”
Lots of people believe these unsubstantiated ancient fairy tales, so that makes them real.
Barb (formerly Gex)
I don’t doubt the existence of good Christians. I appreciate the fact that good Christians are nearly invisible because they aren’t always shouting their beliefs at you to tell you how to live. They are just decent people by all appearances.
But good Lord, have I gotten sick of Christianity in the past decade. The people you know for certain are Christian because they wear it like a badge, no they wield it like a sword, run around behaving atrociously and somehow manage to turn that into virtue sicken me.
For many American Christians [insert item of the day here] is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted…
Jay in Oregon
You’ve forgotten the best part; if at some point Israel is destroyed by its neighbors and the Rapture/End of Days doesn’t come, the “pro-Israel” lobby will just move the goalposts. Oh no, the Bible wasn’t referring to that Israel, but some future “new Israel”. Never mind all of the dead Jews in the desert…
Harold Camping at least has the dignity to look embarrassed about the fact that the Rapture didn’t happen on May 21…
I saw a program on US Christians that could be described as end-timers. They think that The End is Near. They also think that God wants them to help things along. According to this program, the end-timers have had a good deal of political influence in the recent past. They had direct access to both of the Bushes and Reagan. Not Jimmy Carter.
However, they don’t have that kind of access to the Obama White House.
I wonder if Carter is EVIL because he did not and does not go along with their crazy games?
I wonder if the fact that Obama would not participate in their insanity is one reason they are trying so hard to label his presidency as illegitimate?
And I also wonder about the utter arrogance that would lead one to assume that the Lord God of the Universe can’t get anything done without their help. What’s the Greek word? Hubris?
You just spoke the Kryptonite word for right-wing ideology. The essence of authoritarian Repuke rule is making issues untouchable, sacred, magical and emotional and attacking the very concept of questioning things.
We can’t have the rabble start to think for themselves or examine issues with logic or reason lest they figure out they’re being conned and controlled for very little benefit to themselves. Keep them stupid, fearful of authority and riled up at scapegoats.
@MonkeyBoy: I’m not sure about those Wiki numbers, but I don’t have any other source to hand. I have a feeling their definition for “haredi” is more restrictive than what I mean by “ultra-orthodox”.
Here’s the problem, though: those who identify themselves as “culturally Jewish” for the most part don’t consider themselves politically Jewish; they can’t be counted on to vote on an issue – on any side – on the basis of their Jewish identity. So they don’t have any kind of unified influence or effect on those issues. On the other hand, the haredi are unified and “full of passionate intensity” and thus wield influence beyond their numbers.
Also, too, a lot of people who call themselves “culturally Jewish” are not halachically Jewish (even by Reform rules) so you’re not dealing with a constant base – not all of that increase you note in that group came at the expense of the others.
I believe that, biblically-speaking, the End Times will begin with Israel signing a peace treaty- the Covenant of Death.
So, if a peace treaty is signed and the Rapture does not occur, then the Bible is wrong and a lotta people have a lotta ‘splaing to do.
Why don’t we try it – obtain a signed peace treaty from everybody – and then wait and see what happens? :-)
I agree completely. I would love to give peace a chance and the added bonus of watching Pat Robertson’s empire fall off a cliff, smashed to smithereens and set ablaze.
Ummm….Their policy seems to be to just double down ad infinitum.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
.ʎʇılɐǝɹ ɯoɹɟ pǝʍǝʞs sǝǝɹƃǝp ʎʇɥƃıǝ puɐ pǝɹpunɥ ǝuo sı pɐǝɥʇıɥs snoıƃılǝɹ sıɥ⊥
The existence of Israel means that people reacted to the horrors of the Holocaust by ensuring that some of the remaining Jews would have their own sovereignty and thus the power to protect themselves from oppression.
But for wingnuts, everything that happens or does not happen is “incontrovertible evidence” that their arguments are correct. It’s all Kool-Aide all the time.
This reminds me of when Bush was talking about Gog and Magog and shit at a state diner with Chirac, and Chirac was basically OMGWTFBBQ, the man is off his meds.
If you read his column you’ll see that he’s not exactly saying that he himself ascribes to what’s quoted above; rather, he’s implicitly speaking for the American People and telegraphing their worldview. It’s something WRM does very, very often — adopt a posture of being the Man of the People amongst elitist intellectuals, telling us what we don’t want to admit to ourselves or hear. I tend to find his conclusions to be far more patronizing and elitist than anything from the evil New York Times — but hey, maybe I’m the idiot and the American People do, as one, believe in various things that I’ve been raised (in American society, no less!) to consider vile.
it makes them relevant. if you’re actually interested in understanding why things happen the way they do, of course.
only after we know ourselves can we work to get what we want. pretending there’s no global (not just regional) religious component that mucks up israel-palestine is absurd.
at least walter russell mead (whoever he is) is honest about it. he’s a jackass and a fool. but an honest one in this case.
Thanks so much for this post. I’m so sick of this narrative going unchallenged.
romanes eunt domus!
Just Some Fuckhead
Pro-Armageddon is a mouthful.
You may be imputing too much compassion to the British. After WWII the UK had about 100,000 Jewish refugees, many who couldn’t speak English. Many Brits were quite happy to have an approach towards getting rid of those S0C1ALIST trouble makers. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was seen by some as a way as dealing with the “Jewish problem” in the UK, rather than stemming from noble principles.
1) most christians rate the sovereignity of the holy lands pretty low on their priorities.
2) you never explained why the scriptures should inform acts of foreign policy. entertain us.
why they should or why they do? which one was i talking about? hmm.
If you opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, you were anti-American.
If any government around the world fails to follow the foreign and economic policies demanded by the US and its establishmentarian pundits, then it is anti-American.
If some tyrant thug somewhere does what the US foreign policy establishment wants, then he’s pro-American.
It’s not like “pro-Israel” is a singularly useful propaganda term.
Fix’d. Most of the time, when fundies talk about how “the BIble” is inerrant, they’re talking about Scofield’s interpretation/commentary on it, not what’s in the actual book.
Scofield also popularized dispensationalism, which includes the belief that the End Times will come when Israel is restored to its ancient boundaries, an idea that is not actually in the Bible. Thanks a lot, asshole.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
Zactly; me too, my boyfriend. And OMGWTFBBQ, I agree with JSH.
They ARE pro-Israel silly.
They just hate Jews like me and see us as only useful for cannon fodder.
Kind of how they see soldiers, now that I think of it.
Paul in KY
@Barb (formerly Gex): They are not Christians. They are the modern equivilent of the Pharisees.