Who’s the Better Friend of Israel?

By: Jeff Spector
September 23, 2011

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the topic of Israel was being discussed.  President Obama made a speech the other day to the United Nations defending Israel and warning against the official recognition of a Palestinian State prior to the negotiation of a real peace between the two peoples.

President Obama eloquently stated that the Jews were subject to persecution and violence by its neighbors for many years and was entitled to defend itself. Particularly pointed was this:

“Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them.” (National Journal)

Obama has supported the creation of a Palestinian State. He stated that he wanted Israel to go back to the 1967 borders.  But, he has always maintained that Israel must be fully recognized, and fully safe from the war, the terror and the hatred that has come its way for more than 60 years.

But, Republicans have been nothing but hyper critical of the President. They say, As Mitt Romney put it, the President threw Israel under the bus.”  (CBS News)  They have done this because the President has suggested, as all prior Presidents have as well, that Israel must come to the table prepared to give to get. The constant building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank area is antagonistic to the peace process, which I agree.  As I observed last year on my trip to Israel, it was very strange to see high walls and barbed wire among a people who suffered so much during WWII at the hands of the Nazis. I understand why they do it, but still, it seems ironic to me to see that.  I do not understand the building on the West Bank either, except that Israel has 8 million people crowded into a very small area.

This leads me to Rick Perry. He was in New York at the same time as Obama, meeting, coincidently, with Jewish leaders. As the foreign policy expert that he is, Perry stated, “that Obama’s Middle East policy was “naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous.” (Reuters)  but what is more interesting is that Perry also stated, “”As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel,”

I found this to be a very interesting statement and part of the gist of the radio show I heard.  The Christian host was making the same argument while the Jewish host was questioning why Christians are compelled to support Israel.  And while we know that the majority of the Arab world dislike or even hate Jews and Israel, we must also remember that the Christian world does not have a much better track record on the Jews.

In fact, one can make the case, that more Jews have been killed or displaced by Christians and Christian dogma than by all the Arab-Jewish conflicts over many years.  Many Christian organizations turned a blind eye, including the Catholic Church, to the slaughter of Jews during WWII.

And I can personally attest to being called a “dirty Jew” as a kid by other children, who clearly learned that at home.

So it may seem a bit disingenuous for an Evangelical Christian, like Rick Perry to say he is pro-Israel as a Christian.  Especially, because, as many Christians believe, the State of Israel’s creation is part of the end times chronology prior to the Second Coming.

Mormons also believe in the “Literal Gathering of Israel: prior to the Second Coming as well, but have a slightly better track record related to the Jews. Granted the Church is quite young historically compared to the rest of the Christian world, but Joseph Smith looked upon Jews as brothers and sisters and the restoration as the beginning of the gathering of the House of Israel, Judah and Joseph. There was never any suggestion that the Jews were “Christ Killers” or the Church possessed the same negative feeling toward Jews that Christians adopted.  Also, the Church does not teach that the creation of the State of Israel is a direct fulfillment of Prophesy regarding the gathering of Israel. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism)  While recognizing the importance of the creation of the State of Israel, the gathering of a few million Jews to Israel barely begins to address the  spiritual and literal gathering of the House of Israel in its fullest sense.

So, are the Republicans right to criticize the president so strongly for his position on Israel? Is President Obama not a stanch ally of the Israel in spite of some of his own criticism of Israel’s leaders?  Does being a Christian make you supporter of Israel for the right reasons?  Can there ever be peace in the Middle East?

What do you think?

60 Responses to Who’s the Better Friend of Israel?

  1. Geoff - A on September 23, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    I believe there will not be peace in the middle east, until there is a Palistinian homeland/state. I believe the fact that Palistinians have been refugees for over 60 years, and Isreal avoids negotiating in good faith, contributed to 9/11. See the interview with Bin Ladin published by a UK paper.
    I believe the US could put pressure on Isreal, by threatening to reduce aid, to achieve this end.
    It appears that whatever Obama does the conservatives will claim it will result in the sky falling in.
    I believe Mormons should be encouraging a two state solution, and encouraging the US Government to cut aid if it is not achieved within 12 months. Do we believe in peace? Would it be good the have 9/11 serve some purpose?

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  2. GBSmith on September 23, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    I think Republicans see Obama as vulnerable on Israel so are ramping up the rhetoric in order to garner a bigger percentage of the Jewish vote. It’s just politics, right or wrong have nothing to do with it. If his stand was what they espouse now, they’d find a reason to hammer him on it. They’re not anything more than amoral about it.

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  3. Last Lemming on September 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    One mustn’t confuse the existing state of Israel (and especially the current Israeli government) with the Israel of the scriptures. D&C 63 gives clear guidance on how to obtain land to establish Zion. The actions of the Israeli government and the reactions of the Palestinians are well described therein:

    29 Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

    30 And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

    31 And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.

    And how is it that Rick Perry and his ilk are willing to defend anything done by the Israeli government, no matter how outrageous, while throwing charges of treason at his own government?

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  4. Martin on September 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    I absolutely reject the idea that good Christians are called to defend Israel any more than any other group. Near as I can tell, if the Israelis had any intention of moving toward peace, they had some good opportunities during the Fatah/Hamas split. Israel needs to be held accountable for its actions just as much as the Palestinians need to be held accountable for theirs. Giving Israel a pass out of Christian duty is absurd.

    I think Obama is a friend of Israel — he’s just not an effective leader, or he would have beaten them into a more conciliatory approach earlier. Israel says the only language Arabs understand is the language of strength. I’d say that applies to Israel as well.

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  5. Will on September 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    First off, the gathering of Israel is the gathering of the 12 tribes of Israel (technically it is 13 tribes, 14 if you consider the fact Manasseh was divided into two tribes). This chiefly includes the sons of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) gathering the sons of Joseph. Although the other tribes are scattered throughout the world, most of the gathering is in the America’s.

    As for the state of Israel, they are our best friend by far in that region of the world. With the effectiveness of the IDF, they really don’t need our protection. They do need our technology, which is still the envy of the world.

    As far as the Palestinian state, the US needs to veto any vote by the UN. We have permanent, unequivocal veto power and need to use it. It will be a true test of Obama as 130 nations support a Palestinian State, which I think includes all of the other nations with Veto power, except Great Britain. We need to stop this in its tracks before it gets any traction. We need to kill the thought of a Palestinian state.

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  6. jmb275 on September 23, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I don’t understand why our relationship with Israel is even on the radar for our political rhetoric. I mean I understand it historically, it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    As for Perry and Obama, I agree with Martin that it’s just politics. Perry’s insane, and I’m scared to death of him occupying the White House. The whole entire Christian evangelical right wing has simply got to shift. They’re so out of touch with reality I just shake my head. But there seems to be a large fraction of the population who supports the nonsense. Better to be right than to compromise to get anything done. Didn’t Jesus teach that or something?

    Israel has been guilty of some pretty awful stuff too, but we continue to give them a free pass for their tribulations in the past. At what point does the victim outlive his victimhood? Israel has not come to the table willing to give, and Obama has appropriately called them out on that. I only wish we were even more forceful in trying to more equitably align ourselves between the two rather than shoring up with Israel despite their aggressions.

    I like Obama. I don’t always agree with him, but he is a reasonable man that seeks to accomplish what is best for most people. I respect that a lot more than the current swarm of GOP candidates.

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  7. jmb275 on September 23, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Re Will

    We need to kill the thought of a Palestinian state.

    Why do you think this? I honestly do not understand. How does your wish move toward any resolution?

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  8. Jeff Spector on September 23, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I agree that Israel must be help accountable for its provocative behaviors. I’ve said I understand it to some degree, but it has been unhelpful. But here in the US, other than the brief moments of 9/11 and some threats in WWII, we have no idea what is like to be under a constant fear of attack. We don’t know what that’s like. Other than some of the concocted threats we’ve been warned about, and some that were stopped, we live in a vacuum.

    So it is easy to be critical. But it is clear, that exchanging land for peace is one of the criteria. But the US must be as sharply critical of the Palestinian leadership and the other Arab nations as it ever would be of Israel. The Palestinians are pawns in the whole Middle East Chess game. They have been for years, even prior to the creation of Israel.

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  9. Martin on September 23, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    “We need to kill the thought of a Palestinian state.”

    Boy do I ever disagree with this. I think giving Palestinians their own state would be good for both sides. I agree with Obama that it needs to be a negotiated solution, but I sure don’t blame the Palestinians for using the Arab Spring to push Israel at the negotiating table.

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  10. Jeff Spector on September 23, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    “We need to kill the thought of a Palestinian state.”

    Wrong-heaed thinking. Many of those people were born there and their families lived on the same land occuiped by Israel for thousands of years. They are entitled to their own homeland as well.

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  11. Paul on September 23, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    #1 Geoff A: “I believe Mormons should be encouraging a two state solution, and encouraging the US Government to cut aid if it is not achieved within 12 months. Do we believe in peace?”

    A two-state solution is not a guarantee of peace. There is no guarantee that even with a Palestinian state that Israel will not be the object of threats.

    That said, I do support a Palestinian state, but under the terms Jeff attributed to Obama in his OP — a negotiated agreement with Isreal.

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  12. jmb275 on September 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Re Jeff

    So it is easy to be critical. But it is clear, that exchanging land for peace is one of the criteria. But the US must be as sharply critical of the Palestinian leadership and the other Arab nations as it ever would be of Israel.

    Indeed, I absolutely agree. I would advocate a completely neutral position (but I tend to lean isolationist in any case).

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  13. Nate on September 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I agree with the author that the Christian position on supporting Israel might sometimes be disingenuous.

    It’s the thrill of supporting a cause that feels “last days,” wanting to be one of the “good guys” in the coming Armageddon, which they all suppose will be a showdown between Muslims and Jews. It’s about hating the Muslims, who are so easy to hate because they blow innocent people up, and live in perceived wretchedness and fanaticism, and about loving the Jews, who are so easy to love, because they are smart and successful.

    You can feel generous and forgiving because you don’t condemn them for killing Christ. You can feel “biblically” aware, because you understand that Jews will be saved by Christ during the last days, and feel satisfied for being one with Christ in this important mission.

    You can feel righteous for not being anti-Semitic, and indulge in righteous indignation at all those countries around the world that support Palestinian Statehood.

    You can feel happy that, just like in WWII times, you would have been one of those who hid the Jews while everyone was against them. You can be friends with the “cool” kids, because today, Jews are “cool.” They are smarter and more successful than other cultures. True, they haven’t accepted Jesus, but the Bible gives them a special pass on that, till the 2nd Coming. So you can indulgently wait for them to accept Jesus, instead of condemning them for unbelief, and it feels good to be indulgent and friendly.

    It’s a no-brainer. No courage involved in supporting Israel. A very self-congratulatory position.

    But supporting the Palestinians? That takes greater courage, especially if you are an Evangelical Christian.

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  14. Will on September 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Jeff, JMB, etc…

    My issue with the Palestinian State is that it shouldn’t be decided by the UN. They just create more problems than they solve. Case and point: India. They had the exact same issue, the Muslims picking a fight with another religion until they got their own state. The same arguments were used, with the key argument being if the Muslims have their own state it will result in peace.

    The UN conceded and carved Pakistan out of India. It didn’t work and they are still at each other’s throats. What’s worse, you have a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons. When this country is taken over by radical Muslims we will have a terrorist state with nukes. That is when the real problems begin. If the entire region would have stayed in the hands of India, they could have contained the control of the weapons of mass destruction to the sane portion of the country as there are far more Hindi people in that region.

    So, for the same reason we should have never created Pakistan out of India, we shouldn’t create another Muslim nation. It won’t result in peace and it will be yet another state with the potential to be overrun by terrorists. With Israel controlling that region, we are assured weapons of mass destruction won’t get in the hands of terrorists.

    Here is what the US needs to do to solve the problem. We need to cut off all financial aid to the Palestinians and continue to provide Israel with all of our best military technology. They will use them responsibly and will use them to keep the peace.

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  15. Jeff Spector on September 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Will,

    “My issue with the Palestinian State is that it shouldn’t be decided by the UN.”

    I agree with this. I don’t have a problem with Muslims per se. I have a problem with violent people, be they Jew, Christian, Muslim or nothing at all.

    The entire Middle East and near-Asia was all partitioned, and split up between the various factions. One cold claim a mistake was made with every single one. But that is the past. We must deal in the present.

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  16. Jeff Spector on September 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    “…about loving the Jews, who are so easy to love, because they are smart and successful.’

    not sure about that one. We don’t necessarily feel the love….

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  17. jmb275 on September 23, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    They will use them responsibly and will use them to keep the peace.

    But they haven’t, and so far it hasn’t kept any peace. Unless you believe cutting off all financial aid to the Palestinians will somehow help keep the peace. Keeping people hostage is hardly a peaceful solution.

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  18. Will on September 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    jmb275,

    Who is keeping who hostage? Who is really causing the trouble? By their fruits shall ye know them! Israel has taken a desolate place and created a thriving economic and military power. They rest of the ‘nations’ we have given aid to in that region have generally squandered it – they have nothing to show for it. The best thing to do is just not get involved and the problem will solve itself overtime as the stronger, more capable nation with thrive and the weak nation (or group) will wither away. It is tantamount to enabling the drug user by giving them money. We need to stop the aid. Without the aid, they will eventually just give up and assimilate themselves among the Jews or wander to another region. In either case, you have peace.

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  19. Stephen M (Ethesis) on September 23, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    The New York Elections are so important to the entire issue … consider what happened to the “safe” district in New York and the special election that the Democrats lost.

    It is hard to have any discussion about Israel without the donor and voting issues beign considered.

    I do think that Jeff has done an excellent job of putting this topic front and center at a critical time when people should be thinking about it, and thinking in an appropriate context.

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  20. Ray on September 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Excellent post, Jeff – and I think Pres. Obama simply has no choice but to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state until there is a negotiated peace treaty. It would be political suicide in the presidential election to do otherwise – and I think he really believes in it, as well.

    Perry is a complete nut job who has no clue about foreign policy issues. He scares me even more than Palin did – and that’s saying a lot. I also think by the time this is over, he might be the best thing to happen to Romney. (not my first choice, but . . .) If there’s anyone who can make a Mormon look sane to the general electorate, and especially the moderate Republicans and Independents, it’s Perry.

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  21. Stephen Marsh on September 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    We need to stop the aid

    Err, stop the aid to Israel or stop other entities from giving aid to Palestine or what?

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  22. el oso on September 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Would trading away land really bring peace to Israel? I think that land for peace is more likely to be Israel taking more land and getting a more easily defensible border. Then they will be more able to keep the peace. Of course, if a strong Palestinian leadership who can stop the crazies negotiates in good faith, then make a deal for peace.

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  23. Will on September 23, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Stephen,

    We are 15 Trillion dollars in debt; I would quit borrowing money from one country (China, for example) and give it to another country or wanna be country such as Palestine. That is plain stupid. For that matter, I would stop all hand outs until we can cleanse the inner vessel. The sole exception would be an investment with a higher return on the investment than the debt service. Israel is that investment. It cost us way less to secure the Middle East via Israel than it would to send troops to the area and secure it ourselves. Look how much Afghanistan and Iraq have cost us.

    Giving money to the Palestinians is like giving money to Solyndra. It is trying to force something that is not ready to survive on its own; it will cost a lot of money and it will end in Failure. I am watching Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview with Greta Van Susteren as we speak. By the way, that guy is the most qualified leader in the world – if only he were a US Citizen and he could be our President. As he indicated, creating a Palestinian State won’t solve the underlying issues it will only make them worse.

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  24. Jeff Spector on September 24, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Will,

    “For that matter, I would stop all hand outs until we can cleanse the inner vessel.”
    Not wanting to turn this too political, the amount of money we give to other nations is small compared to Corporate welfare which has done literally nothing to create jobs.

    OTOH, money rules the roost and whoever gives money to other countries has some influence. Give nothing, we would have nothing to say.

    It’s reality

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  25. Douglas on September 24, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Regardless of WHOM (outside Israel itself) is their best friend, all I know is that we didn’t have any enemies in the Middle East until we got involved…or they got us involved:

    http://mediamonitors.net/khodr49.html

    Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying “don’t worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America.”

    And an observation from the esteemed Senator Fulbright:

    “I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy [in the Middle East] not approved by the Jews….. terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen …. I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get congress to do anything they don’t approve of. The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the congress through influential Jewish people in the country”

    I’ll vote for the guy (or gal) that gets us the hell out of the Middle East, and leaves Arab (all flavors) and Israelis to settle their affairs amongst themselves. And then turns attention to bringing ALL the troops home. When will we get out of Iraq or Afghanistan? Hell, it’s been 66 years and we’re still in Germany and Japan! 58 years and still in South Korea! We ought to thank the Vietnamese for running us the hell out of Vietnam (the last had to “get to da choppa”!!), it’s been 36 years of relative quiet!

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  26. FireTag on September 24, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    We can safely assume Obama will be the very best friend of Israel he can possibly be — at least until after the election. NY-6 was, at the least, a death-bed conversion. It wasn’t evangelical Christians that turned that special election, but the loss of support among the Jewish community there and outright opposition to policy toward Israel from Jewish Democrats such as former Mayor Ed Koch.

    I was listening to a poll report (sorry, but I didn’t catch the attribution) this week that indicated Americans are still more likely to blame the Palestinians than Israelis for the continuation of the conflict by a 4:1 margin. It was 2:1 among Dems, and 15:1 among Repubs. If that’s even remotely correct, that simply isn’t just the view of Evangelical Christians who make up only about 1/4 of the population.

    And, unfortunately, we are never going to be able to get out of the Middle East until we develop fossil fuels for the planet including Asia) sufficient to do without Middle East sources.

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  27. Jeff Spector on September 24, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    “terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen …”

    Really, Douglas, you really accept these old anti-semitic stereotypes?

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  28. Will on September 24, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    “OTOH, money rules the roost and whoever gives money to other countries has some influence. Give nothing, we would have nothing to say.”

    Which is exactly why we need to quit borrowing from others countries, especially those that hate us. We are selling our freedom and they will be our master.

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  29. Jeff Spector on September 24, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Will,

    “Which is exactly why we need to quit borrowing from others countries, especially those that hate us. We are selling our freedom and they will be our master.”

    I do agree with this.

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  30. Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    #27 – Jeff, it is NOT “anti-Semitic” to recognise the undue influence that the Pro-Israel exerts upon our Congress. The late WJ Fulbright was wise and courageous to observe this and point it out. Sorry that the truth hurts. The Pro-Israel lobby interests, IMO, are at odds with American interests, including American Jews that outnumber Israeli Jews by at least 3 to 1! When even Sharon boasts of the stranglehold that Israel holds on American politics, we Americans are dammed fools to not notice and not take action! That’s a strong reason to vote for Mr. Paul…and also why, frankly, I fear for his safety should his candidate gain serious momentum. Just imagine WHOSE ox(en) get gored if RP is sworn in on 21 Jan 2013…they won’t allow it w/o a fight!
    Of course, the BEST friend of “Israel” is already the friend of the true Israel, not the pathetic political whore that is the child of Lord Balfour…that is, the master himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, even the one that was crucified by the Jews supposed ancestors of 1,978 years ago (though 80% of present-day Jewry is, in fact, descended from Turkic tribes called Khazars that roamed the Russian steppes). Just as HE is the “best friend” of the LDS, so he is, or certainly wants to be, the “best friend” of Israel (not that anyone else is left out, of course!)…see Matt 23:37. Any thoughts as to how to bring HIS gospel to the four millions Jews in Israel that deserve it? It seems fanciful, but I can think of no better means to ensure the survival of the nation of Israel than to allow the Lord to fight their battles. Might work for the USA too…

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  31. FireTag on September 25, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Douglas:

    “That’s a strong reason to vote for Mr. Paul…and also why, frankly, I fear for his safety should his candidate gain serious momentum.”

    Don’t worry, with talk of Jewish assassins by his supporters, there isn’t any chance of Paul gaining serious traction among Republicans.

    Oh, and you ARE making anti-Semitic statements. Jewish Americans have exactly the influence of any other group of citizens: that influence guaranteed by the freedom of the political process. They vote on the opposite side than I do on most issues, and contribute to candidates I most often oppose. So what?

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  32. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Israeli Jews are stupid to think American right wing Christians give a damn about their faith. They’re only supporting Israel because of the Rapture Doctrine. Once the Rapture comes, lots of Jews are gonna die so that right-wing Christians can rise up to meet their Master in the sky.

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  33. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Will,

    Which is exactly why we need to quit borrowing from others countries, especially those that hate us. We are selling our freedom and they will be our master.

    I’m guessing you’re fine with either 1. ending our current unfunded wars or 2. raising your taxes in order to pay for our current unfunded wars. After all, we need to quit borrowing from other countries, especially those that hate us. We are selling our freedom and they will be our master.

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  34. Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    #32 and #33 – I keep looking for those Four Horsemen…Dan and I are on the same page, fairly much.
    I’ve never heard any RP supporters claim that there are “Jewish” assassins gunning for him. More pathetic hyperbole on the part of the Republican Establishment that fears genuine change. Methinks RP has enough “Gentile” enemies to deal with even if no Jew has any hard feelings. Frankly, I don’t see him making it either as the Republican nominee or with an independent candidacy. Americans don’t seem to have the guts…
    When we’re dead broke as we are, we don’t need to fund Israel’s defence budget (to the tune of five billions plus), nor likewise prop up the Egyptian military and/or Saudi Arabia. You see with the so-called “Arab Spring” just how GRATEFUL the Egyptian populace is for our erstwhile support of Mr Mubarak. We need to look out more for the interests of the some ten million AMERICAN Jews (along with the 300 million “Gentile” Americans, though UT has its own rules as to who is “Gentile”, LOL) and pull the plug on Israel…let them deal with the problems they’ve helped create. Ya know, with the many American dollars pulled out, perhaps the Arabs and Jews will have to find a way to get along! If not, let them annihilate each other, and we can send in the Marines afterwards to paint the lines…
    Of course, I wholeheartedly support the right of American Jews, “Born-Again” Christians that have bought into Zionist rhetoric, and the like-minded to use their own money to fund Israel. That’s what the 1st Amendment is about. Likewise, I want the American Government to mind its own beeswax and get the hell out of other peoples troubles. Else, say next time there’s trouble in the Detroit ghetto, let’s heartily welcome a Russian motor-rifle brigade to keep the peace. What’s sauce for the goose…

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  35. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Jeff,

    Really, Douglas, you really accept these old anti-semitic stereotypes?

    Those aren’t “old anti-semitic stereotypes.” AIPAC has complete control over Congress and a strong grip on American media. To say so is not anti-semitic. I’ll tell you what IS anti-semitic. Anything said against Arabic or Muslim people, as they are of the tribe of Shem. Shem is where the “semitic” comes from. Anyone who is of the tribe of Shem, if you say something bad against them, is anti-semitic. :)

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  36. Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    #35 – He shoots, he scores! AGREED!
    So, we could say the present Arab-Israeli conflict is to a degree an intrafamily squabble? Most Law Enforcement personnel stay the heck out of domestic disputes when possible!
    The idea is NOT, however, condemnation of Jews, Arabs, taking sides…the idea is to live IAW the sayings of Washington and Jefferson about avoiding “entangling alliances”

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  37. Jeff Spector on September 25, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    DAn,

    “AIPAC has complete control over Congress and a strong grip on American media. ”

    Really, wow, I did not know that. There are plenty of Liberal American Jews that are as sympathetic toward the Palestinians as Jews that support Israel.

    The whole Jews are in control of the media and the money is just hogwash (pardon the Traife expression).

    The US is looking out for its own interests just as much as Israel’s by giving them so much money to defend themselves. It’s at least as self-serving as the Rapture-bound Christian’s interest in Israel.

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  38. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Jeff,

    Really, wow, I did not know that. There are plenty of Liberal American Jews that are as sympathetic toward the Palestinians as Jews that support Israel.

    Saying AIPAC has complete control over Congress is not an implication that there are not plenty of liberal American Jews that are sympathetic toward the Palestinians. J Street is nowhere near the same as AIPAC. And AIPAC uses its powers and influence to discredit J Street in the eyes of American Jews and Israeli Jews. It’s a long fight, but at the moment, AIPAC has full and complete control over Congress. Of that I am quite certain.

    The US is looking out for its own interests just as much as Israel’s by giving them so much money to defend themselves.

    No, Jeff, the United States is NOT looking out for its own interests with regards to Israel. Anytime Israel kills a Palestinian, Iraqis get pissed and take it out on American soldiers stationed there. The occupation of Palestine has been constantly used as the excuse of anyone attacking America, thus America’s backing of Israel’s occupation of Palestine is self-defeating. Our soldiers die in order for Israel to take more land from the Palestinians. That’s NOT looking out for our own interests. It’s looking out for Israel’s. There’s really very little that Israel provides America that comes anywhere close to worth the price America pays for its relationship with Israel. Don’t fool yourself, Jeff. We’re on the losing end of that relationship.

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  39. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Dan,

    Raising taxes won’t scratch the surface of our debt problem. We need to make dramatic, across the board cuts. We need to cut spending in every department and every program. This means getting out of the wars we are in involved with. We have serious financial problems that increasing taxes will not solve. We have a spending problem and we need to overcome it before it overcomes us.

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  40. jmb275 on September 25, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Holy Crap! Dan’s disagreeing with Dan! It’s like an alternate universe Dan has come to this universe to bless us with the exact opposite of everything the real Dan believes!

    Quantum Physics FTW!!

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  41. Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    #39 – Different Dan? ???? In any event, agreed. There MUST be significant Federal spending cuts IF an overall Federal default (some say it’s already happened) is to be avoided. I wonder if between the President, Congress, and the Federal Reserve that ANYONE either takes the situation seriously or has any courage to take the political risks necessary to avoid the financial train wreck this country seems to be determined to head for with breakneck speed.
    This is WHY we need to end all foreign aid (inc. Israel), and pull ALL our military out of foreign countries and just go home. We managed to do it to a great extent after the Great War (of course, the Cubans, Haitians, Mexicans, and Nicaraguans might have something to say about our behavior in between World Wars!). I equate our situation not unlike the Roman Empire in the late 4th century, which had a vast military all over the place. Meanwhile, the economics of the Empire were failing and no one had the will to make changes…once Emperor Theodosius I (so-called “The Great”, but I fail to see what was “great” about him) passed on, his sons divided the Empire between them. The older, smarter one (Arcadius), took the stronger East, while Honorius (who didn’t prove to be so honorable) took the West, and fairly much was a dillentante while Gaul, then Spain, then part of North Africa fell to the barbarians, and even the once great “Eternal City” was sacked by Alaric for the first time in almost 800 years.
    IS IT OUR TURN? IS THE CURRENT FACTION IN CHARGE OVERSEEING THE END OF THE USA? Me hopes to forestall it.

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  42. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    That’s a different Dan. I always link to my blog.

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  43. Dan on September 25, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    and of course I disagree with the other Dan. Austerity faileth every time to spur the economy to growth. The worst possible thing for an economic system to do during a downturn is to lower spending. How exactly do you spur demand with lower spending?

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  44. Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    #43 – Answer: the best analogy is you’re less likely to play craps if the stickman is grabbing the lion’s share of the bets for the house! “Growing” the economy (this IS an imperfect analogy, I don’t want to promote gambling) is to get more players with their dough at the table! If the players “crap out” and start leaving the table, you have to make it more attractive for other players to pony up! Government NEVER produces anything (save misery), it merely consumes…that’s why the Keynesian approach to economics ALWAYS fails in the long run. “Spending”, whether by the Government with taxed, borrowed, or merely printed funds, or by private citizens for things they need and/or want, is NOT necessarily the “cure”. FREEDOM, people deciding what’s best for themselves do with their money and efforts, ultimately results in greater prosperity for all, since what works is pursued and what doesn’t is discarded. Methinks that too many in this country fear freedom because they fear loss of what they THINK is security. Never mind that a Government that can give your anything only gets it to you by taking it from someone else by force. Sooner or later, you will be the one that gets “taken”, and it may be for much more than you ever got! (Hence Perry’s harping about Social Security being a “Ponzi” scheme). The gaming of the American body politic has been to become the taker and not the giver, and both parties play it well!
    Again, the start is to get out of every other’s countries’ business and mind our own…and judging by the utter mess and disunity, this is a country that desperately needs to get its own house in order. With that in mind, where do we Americans get off telling other peoples how to govern themselves? (e.g., “nation building”??)

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  45. Will on September 26, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Sorry, I put Dan in the name section while leaving a comment. I can’t see the comment numbers with my phone, but it is the comment on cutting spending.

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  46. Dan on September 26, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    Douglas,

    Government NEVER produces anything (save misery)

    Of course it does. It produces roads. It produces sewage control. It produces criminal protection. It produces education. Saying something like this makes you look utterly silly, Douglas. Don’t say it. It is dumb.

    FREEDOM, people deciding what’s best for themselves do with their money and efforts, ultimately results in greater prosperity for all, since what works is pursued and what doesn’t is discarded. Methinks that too many in this country fear freedom because they fear loss of what they THINK is security.

    This…is mumbo jumbo bullcrap.

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  47. Dan on September 26, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    so Will, I’m glad you realize we need to get out of those wars…I wonder where this sudden desire for fiscal responsibility comes from…where was it, pray tell, when Bush and the Republicans spent it on unfunded wars in 2002-2003, and the unfunded Medicare Part D in December 2003? Why did you guys on the right vote for him again in 2004 if you were so damned concerned about overspending?

    Methinks in the end, you guys on the right don’t actually give a damn about overspending. Just that Democrats aren’t the ones to do it.

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  48. Will on September 26, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Dan,

    I have always opposed overspending regardless of who does it

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  49. Dan on September 26, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    So you opposed the War in Iraq?

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  50. Jeff Spector on September 26, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    TANGENT ALERT! the topic is Israel

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  51. Dan on September 26, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    the war in Iraq is DIRECTLY RELATED to Israel. Always was, always will be.

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  52. Jeff Spector on September 26, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I suppose everything is tied into everything at some point, but that’s not the point here.

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  53. Dan on September 26, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    hehe. True enough. In the end, I don’t know who can be a good friend to Israel. At this point, Israel abuses its relationships with its friends. They use the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to damp down any criticism of their policies (i.e. if you’re against Israel attacking Gazans, you must be an anti-semitist). They get their allies to war for them. “The Road to Jerusalem Runs Through Baghdad.” Who do you think is pushing for America to war with Iran? Israel and her AIPAC allies in Congress, even though a war with Iran would be highly against our best interests. It serves us nothing but war and devastation. We won’t even get to keep their oil. BP wants that (BP used to own that oil before a democratically elected Iranian president nationalized oil production in Iran…an act that led to the British asking the Americans to take down the democratically elected Iranian president and reinstall the British-friendly king…an act that led to the Iranian revolution, and voila, you’ve got your eternal conflict).

    Tell me, Jeff, what does the State of Israel give the United States in return for the billions upon billions in aid we give them, for the billions upon billions of military equipment we give them? What guarantee for the safety of our soldiers in the Middle East can Israel give us in return for what we give them? Who is the sucker in this relationship, Jeff? It’s certainly not Israel.

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  54. Douglas on September 27, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    [Of course it does. It produces roads. It produces sewage control. It produces criminal protection. It produces education. Saying something like this makes you look utterly silly, Douglas. Don’t say it. It is dumb.] Silly? You haven’t named one “service”, that, when privatized, was not provided either cheaper or better by the Private sector! Do your homework, Dan! Sure, Government can “provide” anything it wants to MONOPOLIZE…ever heard of COMMUNISM? Again, you ENTIRELY missed the point. Goods and Services, when freely chosen in a market economy, seek their natural pricing and availability level. If you want an example in the past fifty or so years why not to rely on the “Gubmint”, witness Red China’s “Great Leap Forward”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward

    A tragedy of far larger human misery and death than the so-called “Holocaust”, and, unfortunately, not even twenty years extant.

    Still want to trust the Government for your needs? Me, I’ll trust my own, my family, and our ability to negotiate freely in the open market, thank you.

    #57 (back to the original topic)…a muted amen. I don’t know that Israel “uses” the so-called “Holocaust” to cajole Americans to do their bidding, at least not stridently. I haven’t heard the mantra about the Israeli Jews in danger of being run into the sea for a long time.
    What I hear a lot of, and profoundly disagree with, is the notion that Israel is our “only friend”. Give Jimmy Carter, malaise and all, credit for getting Begin and Sadat together (though most of the prep work was done by Kissinger during the Nixon and Ford Admins) and getting the Camp David Accords signed. So the USA has friends in the Arab world as well. The trouble is, like the Styx tune “Too Much Time on my Hands”, we’ve “dozen of friends and the fun never ends, as long as I’m buyin…” the cost of buying friendship in the Middle East has been staggering, and Dan is right, WHAT have we Americans gotten from it?
    I would pose the hypothetical question…if indeed Israel were somehow overrun and destroyed, how would it impact the national security interests of the USA? I say, not a whit. No more than if Guyana were conquered by Brazil. Of course, I say the same thing about Kuwait, or Jordan…So, WHY, pray tell, do we have ANY involvement there, with ANYONE, other than free trade?

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  55. Dan on September 27, 2011 at 6:13 AM

    Douglas

    Silly? You haven’t named one “service”, that, when privatized, was not provided either cheaper or better by the Private sector!

    Ah, moving the goalposts. You’ve moved from “government never produces anything” to “government doesn’t produce anything the private sector can’t do cheaper, or better. Silly boy. I won’t continue on this tangent here anymore. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

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  56. Jeff Spector on September 27, 2011 at 7:59 AM

    It serves the US interests to support Israel, pure and simple. That is why we do it. No number of Jews, however influential, would not change it, if it were not the case. In the final analysis, many Christians are still suspicious, jealous, envious and, in some cases, hateful of Jews. So, they are predisposed against Israel on that basis alone.

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  57. Douglas on September 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Re: Dan – I’m ethically bound to refrain from a battle of wits with an opponent that is clearly unarmed but is deluded into thinking himself fit for combat.

    Jeff – if aiding Israel is so obviously serving American interests, can you give the ’100 words or less version’ ? If lucid and well-reasoned, it’d be the first. Your move, Chief…

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  58. Jeff Spector on September 27, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Douglas,

    And with that group of personal insults, you are done.

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  59. Douglas on September 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Apologies, Jeff, for failing to give you credit for pointing out the LDS position on the Gathering of Israel. That’s precisely WHY I feel that any efforts sustaining Lord Balfour’s political bastard child are misguided and work against not only American interests but also prove harmful to the spiritual needs of the Israelis themselves. Ask yourself if the current climate in Israel is conducive to promulgating the Gospel of the One that their spiritual forefathers murdered. To be fair, it’s no better in the lands controlled by their Semitic cousins. What’s needed is the climate that best promotes freedom, and, sad to say, we Americans, ideals notwithstanding, have royally sucked at it.

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  60. Dan on September 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Jeff,

    It serves the US interests to support Israel, pure and simple.

    What are those “interests?” Such a vague word. Name specific interests, please. Something that is worth the cost.

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