Thursday, June 03, 2004

Israel: Sympathy or statecraft?

Chris Jones comments on Doesn't sound like apocalypticism to me:
I am a supporter and admirer of President Bush, but I think his remarks, as quoted, must be regarded as politically necessary rhetoric, not to be taken seriously as the truth.

Serious reflection on the meanings of the terms friend, ally, and democracy does not suggest that they apply particularly well to the State of Israel and her relationship to the United States. Sympathy, more than sober statecraft, has always driven our policy concerning Israel.

My response went over 1,000 characters, and my comments wouldn't hold it, but since I'm queen of this blog, I can post it right out here with as many characters as I want:

My distinction was between those who say that the only reason to support Israel must be the (to my mind) flawed correspondence between the biblical "Israel" and the modern state. There are other reasons, whether of statecraft or sympathy; neither is fundamentalist theology.

However, and again for all its faults, Israel holds up quite well in comparison to other allies (notice the lack of squirm quotes) such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and France. And it's alone and under seige. There are more non-Jewish Arabs elected to national political office in Israel than in any other country in the Middle East. May Iraq soon pass them in that distinction.

If the death-worshipers stopped killing Israeli kids and little old ladies, as well as Arabs, I would get back to criticizing Israeli policies again.

As for Bush, those who think he's stupid (not pointing at Chris) misunderestimate his strategery. We won't know to what extent for another 50 years or more, when the information is released and when we get past the passions of our times. I probably won't be here to see the definitive 20/20-hindsight biography, and I regret that.

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