Every now and again, the absurd that is familiar can become fresh again. What’s absurd is the lockstep support for anything Israel might do in the United States. It’s the only country which, in a conflict with a US administration, will have Congressional Republicans and Democrats backing a foreign government over their own – and being rewarded for it in terms of money and votes. It’s the only country in which a foreign leader can address the US Congress as a rebuke to the US president – and get a standing ovation. It’s the only foreign country that receives $3 billion in aid and still gets to dress down the US president in the White House itself.
And the most important reason why is Christianism. The commitment of America’s evangelicals to the maximalist claims of Greater Israel has only intensified over the last couple of decades. The leader of this movement is a crackpot – a man who believes that the end-times are imminent, that the anti-Christ will be the head of the EU, and that Russia will invade Israel as a harbinger of the Apocalypse. He was once famous for intensely anti-Catholic bigotry, arguing that “a Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years produced a harvest of hate.” He’s bonkers, but he’s fanatically pro-Israel, which is why his annual conference of Christians United For Israel attracts the likes of Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, along with Butters.
Dave Weigel – peace be upon him – attended this year’s conference so you didn’t have to. And, of course, defending the Gaza war was at the top of the agenda this year. Now remember that this is called Christians United For Israel. And the message is clear:
American evangelicals needed to imagine themselves as Israelis, praise the “miracle” of the Iron Dome missile defense system, and understand that the Jews had a biblical mandate to the entire Holy Land. “I’ll bless those that bless you and I’ll curse those that curse you,” said Hagee, quoting from the book of Genesis. “That’s God’s foreign policy statement, and it has not changed.” …
Speaker after speaker gave the evangelicals ammunition for the next time someone criticized the Gaza operation, or shamed Israel over the body count. “Here’s a message for America: Don’t ever turn your back on Israel, because God will turn his back on us,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “More Germans died in World War II than American soldiers. That didn’t make the Germans right.
My favorite moment from Dave’s account – the testimony of one IDF Sgt Benjamin Anthony. He said what even Butters might blush at saying: