TPM Reader JZ adds more on evangelicals and Israel …
A couple of things about this — one on language, one on substance.
First, I think it is quite wrong to say that Evangelical “support” for Israel has any real meaning within the normal definition of the word “support.” The evangelical/Likud position will actually hasten Israel’s destruction because of demographics. As a Zionist, I reject the notion that it is in any way good for Israel to become either 1) an Arab state because a majority of its residents will be Arabs; or 2) an apartheid state in which a majority (or large minority) cannot vote based on ethnic identity. On the latter point, as an American I fail to see how “supporting” a country means making it undemocratic. Evangelicals are NOT pro-Israel: they are anti-Israel. They do not “support” Israel: they hasten its destruction. And we should not be afraid to say so.
Second, not all Evangelicals take the position that they do on Israel because of “dispensationalist,” i.e. end-times theology. Take a look at the Christians United for Israel website: many (including the infamous and grotesque John Hagee) do, but many take the position that they do out of a genuine feeling of remorse over anti-Semitic persecution. Others take the position that the creation of Israel demands a change in their theology: previously, their position had been that Jewish exile was a response to Jewish sin. But the creation of Israel forced them to reconsider that, and now they believe that they must do something that they consider to be “supporting” Israel because the existence of it means that the Jewish people have been restored to God’s favor. Unlike the dispensationalists, this significant group of Evangelicals does not see Israel as their great Jesus launching pad, but rather as something that they “support” because God does. Which is why it is so nauseating that they have been duped.
I must say that on the issue of “support” JZ’s views are pretty much my own, which I’ve discussed here at some length. Holding the West Bank requires one of two outcomes — Israel becomes a bi-national or Arab majority state or it becomes some version of an apartheid state. And all moral arguments aside, the latter is simply not sustainable in the 21st century. Israel would eventually face, even from the US, unstoppable pressure which would convert it into a binational and/or Arab majority state or simply force it to leave the the post-1967 territories. Perhaps we’ll have a second partition of Palestine in 2048. Who knows. But if you support Israel as a Jewish state, in whatever sense you mean ‘Jewish’, and there are many senses, you really have little choice but to advocate abandoning the post-1967 territories.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.