Conservative Christians are the most openly disparaged group in America, because they are feared by so many liberals. Sadly, many Jews have this attitude.
Norman Podhoretz's new book "Why Jews are Liberals" touches upon one rationale: qualms about the so-called Christian right threat, a reaction to the history of religiously inspired anti-Semitism that is one facet of the history of Christianity. Podhoretz took pains to describe this undue Christian influence in the exercise of government power as an aspect of European, not American history.
Michael Medved believes that this perception, really a misperception, is a predominant reason Jews are liberal, for they associate the Christian right with the GOP. Ilya Somin concurs and buttresses his views by noting that Jews who live in other nations -- where organized Christianity has far less of an impact in governmental policies -- often align with the right or the center right. This anxiety of American Jews is misplaced and wrong. In fact, from our founding onwards, there has been a strong undercurrent of philo-Semitism within American Christianity. I explored the basis of this feeling of kinship and moral obligation to support the Jewish people (not just in Israel, but all over the world) in a question and answer column I wrote for the American Thinker over three years ago . My Q and A was with David Brog -a leader of the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) -- who, being Jewish, was prompted to write his book so he could better understand the sources of this support. His book "Standing with Israel: Why Christians support the Jewish State" is a concise and well-written analysis that delves into this little appreciated aspect of American history. By the way, there have been efforts to split the Evangelicals from Israel, an effort involving Jimmy Carter, but these for the most part have been unsuccessful. Christian Zionists are far smarter than their enemies understand. Today, Brog pens a follow up in Foreign Policy magazine to convey the Truth about Christian Zionists and why they support Netanyahu, push for sanctions on Iran, and want the United States to lay off Jerusalem.
He bemoans the mischaracterization -- if not outright caricatures -- that are often promoted by the left regarding Christian Zionists. He pivots off a column by M.J. Rosenberg that promotes falsehoods regarding Christian Zionists.
Rosenberg repeats three stereotypes about Christian Zionists that stand in stark contrast to the facts. First, he mischaracterizes the beliefs of Christian Zionists, claiming that they are "fundamentalist Christians whose theology dictates unwavering support for Israel." Next, he confuses the politics of Christian Zionists when he imagines that they all "are hard-core Republicans." Finally, he mistakes the policy of Christian Zionists when he asserts that they "emphatically support Israeli settlements and oppose the two-state solution."
Like all other stereotypes, these three fall apart upon deeper scrutiny. In the first case, not all "Christian Zionists" are "fundamentalists." The membership of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) -- the largest Christian pro-Israel organization in United States, of which I am executive director -- demonstrates this fact. While a majority of our members may well be evangelical (a term that is hardly synonymous with "fundamentalist"), other streams of Christianity are well represented in our ranks. Our members include evangelicals and Episcopalians, Pentecostals and Presbyterians, Charismatics and Catholics.
Even if one accepts the phony assertion that Christian supporters of Israel are exclusively evangelical, the claim that these evangelicals are exclusively Republican is demonstrably false. In 1992, Bill Clinton received a full one-third of the evangelical vote. In 2004, John Kerry received one-fourth of the evangelical vote. And in 2008, Barack Obama, too, received one in four of these votes. I am sure that CUFI's many Democratic members would be amused by Rosenberg's insistence that they do not exist.
Brog outlines CUFI's views:
Christians United for Israel, for instance, has never taken a position against a two-state solution or in favor of settlements. Instead, much like the leading Jewish pro-Israel organizations, CUFI supports the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel.
For example, like all Israelis, we are worried about the danger of a nuclear Iran. So from its inception, CUFI has focused on building support for economic sanctions that would pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. Consistent with our position that Israelis must decide their own fate, we have asked the U.S. government not to pressure Israel into taking risks that Israeli citizens themselves do not wish to take.
CUFI's support of Israel's government reflects our deep respect for Israel's democracy. The members of CUFI do not see Israel as some wayward banana republic that must be restrained or prodded by a wiser United States.
Meanwhile, the critics of Christian Zionism, such as Rosenberg and the organization J Street, take a very different position toward Israel's democracy: They disdain it. The will of the Israelis who fight the wars and suffer the terrorist attacks is of little consequence to them. These critics believe that they know better, and they are determined to overrule -- through American fiat -- what the Israelis have decided at the ballot box. This is, of course, their right. But as these critics elevate their rigid ideologies above the will of Israel's electorate, they should know better than to label "extremist" those of us who defer to the Israelis. Even Christian Zionists know what "chutzpah" means.
Read the whole column. Brog is among the brightest and the best when it comes to explaining why Christians support Israel.