Recently I had a scuffle on facebook with a conservative and it got me thinking again about something that I wanted to write about last year. Why do Christians and conservatives in particular support Israel? I want to explore a few avenues in this post.
The first avenue I want to explore is skepticism. In my recent debacle, the conservative in question said something along the lines of “Why would you possibly think that Israel is not a legitimate state?” when I had expressed such an opinion. He seemed totally unaware of the dialogue in this subject, and cited the fact that Israel is a member of the UN and nearly every country in the world recognises them as legitimate as his reasons for supporting Israel. That blew my mind. He’s an intelligent person too, but apparently practices no skepticism on popularly held views that he also holds. Is this view typical of conservatives? Are they completely unaware that there is serious debate over this issue and unwilling to question the status quo?
Related to the previous, conservatives tend to laud Israel for being the only truly democratic state in the region, as if that automatically deems them worthy of support. They fail to realise that many of the corrupt and fascist states in the area have been propped up and supported financially and militarily by the United States. It’s difficult to have a stable democratic government when foreign superpowers are actively destroying all hope of liberty. Furthermore, Israel only acts with liberty and democratically within its own borders. Their actions toward other countries are anything but. The constant oppression of the Palestinian people, along with massive human rights violation shows that Israel is not just as bad as some of the worst dictators in the region, but is possibly worse, as they get away with it.
Finally (I had to get to it eventually), the religious reasons. These puzzle me the most, as Christians throughout history have been some of the most zealous anti-Semites around. Yet for some reason, in the last 70 years that has all changed. These reasons range from the insane apocalyptic end-of-days beliefs to simple tacit support for their god’s “chosen people”. Perhaps I’m missing an important piece of the puzzle here, but this seems to me like a good example of religious beliefs trampling common decency and human rights underfoot. Palestine was stolen from its inhabitants and given away on what appear to me to be religious-based grounds. The Jewish people had not ruled that area in any meaningful sense for over two millennia, so what right did the imperial west have to take that land off the people living there? None whatsoever.