Sunday, January 22, 2006
Is DovBear Right?
I, on the other hand, dispute this. I think that their support is driven mostly out of a love for the country (and not the state) and, to quote Dennis Prager "they believe the Bible when it says, in Genesis, that God will bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse the Jews." And even if they wish to see the Rapture come, I don't particularly care, as it's something I don't believe in.
But what does this have to do with Jews? DovBear can't stand Jews who work Christians, he calls them Uncle Jakes and such. I find that slur horribly offensive.
But then what is the proper term for someone like Mendel Zilberberg? He thinks that Israel over reacted to Pat Robertson's idiotic comment about Sharon's stroke being divine justice. He believes Robertson was wrong for saying it, but then basically absolves him of any wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, there was something over the top about the official Israeli response to Robertson. From the heated responses one would never have guessed that Robertson is one of the most influential defenders of Israel in the United States. His 700 Club broadcast reaches millions of viewers daily, and he has been consistently defending Israel against attacks for 20 years.
THE 70 million US Evangelical Christians are Israel's largest, most vocal base of support. Every poll shows that Israel's security is a critical factor in determining how they vote.
The same cannot be said for American Jews. Israel ranks further down the list of issues of major concern to them - somewhere after "women's reproductive rights."
Insensitive as Robertson's statement might have been - he has since sent Omri Sharon a written apology - it was that of a friend, who sees in disengagement a real threat to Israel's security. Israelis may disagree with the theological principles underlying Robertson's fears (so would leading Torah scholars), but that should not prevent us from recognizing his concerns as the product of his empathy for Israel and the Jewish people.
That's what makes the official response to Robertson's comment altogether too fast and too furious. Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson immediately declared Robertson persona non grata and excluded him from participation in a $50-million Christian tourist park in Galilee. That exclusion is now being reconsidered. Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Ayalon, termed Robertson's remarks "outrageous."
That is not the way Israel should talk to a friend, especially given our short supply of such friends in the world.
Sorry, but with friends like that...
Zilberberg doesn't believe his own argument. If Roberstson is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, if we must "recognize[e] his concerns as the product of his empathy for Israel and the Jewish people" isn't every Jew entitled to the same courtesy. Those of us who argue for disengagement and support the two state solution are also speaking from our empathy "for Israel and the Jewish people", yet we get no love from the likes of Zilberberg.