I’m not in the habit of quoting anything by Arnaud de Borchgrave, one of the earliest neocon journalists going back as far as the Reagan Administration. But I have to give the guy credit. He wrote a very passable analysis of the Iraq Study Group and how its work might impact U.S. policy toward Israel. He believes that, contrary to current Bush policy, which postulates that the road to peace in Jerusalem goes through Baghdad; the Study Group will suggest that the road to peace in Bagdhad goes through Jerusalem. In other words, if you solve Iraq you don’t necessarily solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. But if you solve the latter then it will be a helluva lot easier to solve the former. It’s an interesting observation and I hope his take on what the Study Group will prescribe is correct.
But the real reason I wrote this post was a de Borchgrave’s reference to two U.S. polls on Christian attitudes toward Israel. He writes about the stifling effect of evangelical pro-Zionist support on finding a solution to the conflict:
The prospect of a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future looked even dimmer with the creation of a newly-formed Evangelical Christian organization in the United States which aims to include all pro-Israel Christians, and, according to its founder, will soon make it the single most powerful Christian organization in America. “We are a one-issue organization
— and the issue is Israel, Israel and then Israel,” Pastor John Hagee told the Jerusalem Post from his headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee, 66, is president and CEO of Global Evangelical Television, which is broadcast to over 90 million homes in the United States.
The group’s main focus, according to Ha’aretz, is to lobby the U.S.
government on Israel-related issues. Its leaders are planning a weekly tele-conference among senior church leaders about Israel-related events happening in Washington, as well as an annual summer meeting of thousands of Christian leaders in Washington with U.S. legislators.
Dubbed the “Christian AIPAC,” after the powerful American Jewish lobby for Israel, the newly-created Evangelical Christian group interfaces with the Knesset’s “Christian Allies Caucus,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Oh God, just what the world needs. Another Aipac!! One isn’t enough?!
And here are those shocking poll results:
A Pew Foundation poll shows 53 percent of Americans believe God gave Israel to the Jews. Fifty-nine percent, according to a CNN/TIME survey, agree paradise for Christians can only be achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land (which includes Palestine).
With friends like this…Of course, the unwritten corollary of these beliefs is that Paradise cannot happen until those Jews who “control the Holy Land” convert to the Lord’s faith. But what if they don’t? There will be Hell to pay–literally and figuratively.
Dan Sniderman says
Okay, let me see – Jews have to control all of Israel, including Palestine, then the big war between good and evil, then all the Jews either convert – or die (except for 144,000) – (I think I left a few steps out – red cows or some such…)
Considering there are 6.5 million Jews in the world – I don’t think we should put much stock in people who are praying for 97.8 percent of us to die – regardless of what happens between Point “A” and Point “C”
And if you want to argue the conversion thing, I wouldn’t put much stock in it. I mean, look at their track record with it the past, hmm 2000 years or so…
John Yorke says
Maybe God did give Israel-Palestine to the Jews. Equally of course, He could have intended the place to go to the Palestinians. I guess it all depends on which side of the fence you happen to find yourself. What a pity there was no official deed of tenure to accompany this divine largesse. Now that really would have gone quite some way towards resolving certain major issues. As it is, rights of occupancy to this small scrap of Earth seem destined to be contested for a long while yet.
A deliberate omission on Gods part perhaps? Or has He left it up to us to rectify this, His one apparent oversight in these matters?
If so, how might that work?
Can it really be beyond the compass of the human mind to at least regulate this constant cycle of carnage in the Middle East? Maybe it is – but here’s a suggestion for closure where the expenditure involved would seem to comprise mainly that of a few brain cells, a commodity we all have in plentiful supply.
This is a dry, almost antiseptic solution, perhaps a bit ‘clinical’ in its approach to the conflict. It’s a formula-driven method which, somewhat perversely, derives an unexpected synergy from the very problem it seeks to address. Worked out by a German I met many years ago in Nurnburg. Very Germanic therefore, very direct – and, in its own fashion, arguably much more effective than many peace proposals floated in the past – and which have now long since sunk without trace.
Monitor events in the region, sample and evaluate any incidents involving violence and/or intolerance, even the quite minor ones. Place on record that which occurs and make a determination/estimation as to whether this side or that is deemed responsible. For instance, something happens; it was violent; it seemed deliberate; people were hurt; property was damaged – so on and so forth. This was judged at the time to be Israeli in origin – or it was Palestinian inspired. Can include a default option too – ‘perpetrated by person or persons unknown’ – if circumstances so dictate. Collate all this information and await the next sequence of bombs, bullets, whatever, that happens along. Do likewise with these and continue monitoring.
At some stage – a time limit, a points cut-off – the sampling process terminates and one of the entries thus catalogued is then randomly selected. Penalise the offending party here by conferring full ownership and title of some nominal area of land on its opposite number. One square kilometre should more than suffice, the transfer of which is formally recognised by the rest of the world – also acting as guarantor – even if only in the moral and legal sense. One of the much maligned UN resolutions perhaps?
The sampling process then re-engages and, assuming the violence continues unabated, a further parcel of land is thereby delineated and assigned to whoever. The area this covers would then be some 2 sq. km. Subsequent infractions might trigger another penalty; 4 sq. km. After that, it’s 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 sq. km. …….XXXX sq. km. A natural progression; soon ramps up to some very serious real estate indeed.
The dynamic of the whole situation now changes markedly. Israelis, through violence and the like, would be seen to be promoting, even ratifying, the Palestinian cause while, similarly, Palestinians might well be perceived as carrying forward and cementing the dream of a permanent Jewish homeland. Prospects guaranteed to give even the most militant in either camp considerable pause for thought. ‘He brought home the other sides’ bacon for them’ – quite possibly the least coveted obituary of ‘martyr’, soldier and politician alike. Very salutary, though, if a permanent end to these hostilities is ever going to emerge from the present fog of contention.
Now, back there in Nurnburg, I felt that, as a theory, the concept had some small merit but little practical value. And I said as much to my German companion, detailing what I felt to be major obstacles in its path.
1. Too biased. The Israelis might go for it – the novelty alone makes it an idea worth exploring. Not so the Palestinians – and with some justification. Yes, this might lock down the violence – and appreciably so – but to what end? To preserve the status quo? To stifle any movement towards change or progress? Not entirely a welcome outcome where Palestinian interests are concerned.
The answer, apparently, is to acknowledge the objection and offer to take the system ‘off-line’ for one or two months. In that time slot, the whole question might readily be referred back to the field of battle – if calmer counsels have not prevailed in the interval.
2. Too easily sabotaged. Disaffected elements in both groups could easily overload the process, manufacturing spurious claims and stage-managing acts of violence. A futile endeavour therefore and not worth the effort.
Any halfway decent sampling technique should be more than adequate to discourage such activities. Those seeking to choreograph events could find their efforts ineffective, or worse still, counterproductive.
3. Wouldn’t it be imperative to obtain at least tacit approval from both principals in this matter? Given the long-standing enmity between them, acceptance of so radical a departure from familiar norms and customs of warfare seems doubtful in the extreme.
Curiously enough, agreement on the issue need not be a mandatory requirement here. In fact both parties could initially ignore the whole procedure and continue on much as before. However, there comes a time when the areas of land so designated must reach something of a critical mass. At such a point, one side or the other might very well decide to go with what’s on offer. Holding such clear and universal title to any major tract of this much disputed territory might prove progressively more and more difficult to resist. Thereafter, further violence becomes increasingly untenable. Fighting against a conventional enemy is all very well – but when that enemy is also a mathematical construct, the numbers themselves soon begin to outweigh all other considerations.
4. But who could – or should – debate, decide, pronounce on changes of such magnitude? Who would accept the awesome responsibility entailed in decisions of this significance?
We are all, it seems, as ever, still our brother’s keeper. It must fall to us, the world community – or representatives thereof – to perform the deed. And, with such godlike powers theirs to command, the expectation is that there would be no great shortage of volunteers.
Now whether all this has any relevance as to our view of the Middle East today is, of course, debatable. But it would be well to note that, in our various dealings with the Angel of Death, any increase in our choices here must certainly be welcome. A template capable of ending once and for all, not just this business, but also others of an equally intractable nature, would go a long way towards making some sense out of all that’s happened – even if only as an intellectual exercise.
And if, for some reason, it didn’t work out, some unforeseen flaw in the design perhaps, well then, we could at least comfort ourselves with the knowledge that, in the final analysis, – we can always blame the Germans!
Wow, there are some really indepth comments to this post and I cannot possibly follow them up.
I can say, however, that evangelical Christians supporting Israel for their own gain really creeps me out. I don’t know why. I mean, they are trying to help us in the short run and themselves in the long run, which a true win-win situation. But it still makes me feel all icky inside.
I have to agree with the previous comment: it creeps me out that messianic evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends. The last thing we need is to further feed messianic visions of some final battle between ‘good and evil.’