In a past Foreign Affairs article, Walter Russell Mead spells out the foundation of support for Israel.
What I find troubling is supporting any state that largely favors a specific religion, especially since our U.S. Constitution advocates freedom of religion that may also be freedom from religion. Americans don’t like Islamic theocracies, for instance. We enjoy the idea that democratic republics and their governments adopt the value of ensuring equality among all people without discrimination against race or creed, gender or any other characteristic of that nature.
So, how is it that we justify our government getting along with Arab sheiks and “kingdoms” and a Jewish state and not an Arab Palestinian state?
From our war experience and nation-building in the Middle East, we seem to be maturing somewhat and learning to accommodate diversity and ideas that are radically variant from ours. We really have no choice.
The choices and decisions that our political leaders must make have to do with weighing the balance of consequences and return on costs. For a government that is facing high debt and deficit, our amount of discretion is thin. Our capacity to address a broad plethora of troubles in the world is limited.
We chose to make Israel a friend after WWII because Americans empathized with the horror inflicted on the Jewish people. While many Americans are Christians they also have affinity with their Old Testament families.
Religion itself is probably a passing phase in the maturity of humankind. It is a coping behavior for which many people have substituted government for religion. Yet, as many have commingled government and religion into theocracy.
Israel is located strategically close to precious oil. Yet, as America finally takes renewable energy seriously, the nation will be less dependent on the Middle East and therefore less interested in what is happening there. The exception will be Israel, our friend with which we have strong affinity.
“The New Israel and the Old
Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State
By Walter Russell Mead
On May 12, 1948, Clark Clifford, the White House chief counsel, presented the case for U.S. recognition of the state of Israel to the divided cabinet of President Harry Truman. While a glowering George Marshall, the secretary of state, and a skeptical Robert Lovett, Marshall’s undersecretary, looked on, Clifford argued that recognizing the Jewish state would be an act of humanity that comported with traditional American values. To substantiate the Jewish territorial claim, Clifford quoted the Book of Deuteronomy: “Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
Many observers, both foreign and domestic, attributed Truman’s decision to the power of the Jewish community in the United States. They saw Jewish votes, media influence, and campaign contributions as crucial in the tight 1948 presidential contest.
Since then, this pattern has often been repeated. Respected U.S. foreign policy experts call for Washington to be cautious in the Middle East and warn presidents that too much support for Israel will carry serious international costs. When presidents overrule their expert advisers and take a pro-Israel position, observers attribute the move to the “Israel lobby” and credit (or blame) it for swaying the chief executive. But there is another factor to consider. As the Truman biographer David McCullough has written, Truman’s support for the Jewish state was “wildly popular” throughout the United States.””
Mitt Romney is planning a visit to Israel and will get a warm welcome. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama a number of times and sometimes the visits were testy.
“Israel re-enters focus ahead of Romney trip
Posted by CNN’s Kevin Liptak
(CNN) – America’s relationship with Israel, always reliable for campaign rhetoric, will come under renewed examination this week when presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney heads to the country as part of his foreign swing.
The visit to Israel will present an opportunity and a challenge for Romney, who has consistently expressed support for the country but has not yet outlined specific plans for key issues in the region, including negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians and dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
Advisers to the candidate said last week the trip would not be used to advance any new proclamations of policy or criticize President Barack Obama for his dealings with Israel, but rather to showcase a “locking of arms” with Israeli leaders.
Romney’s campaign hopes that show of support will play well among Jewish voters in the United States, as well as pro-Israel evangelicals who Romney struggled to court during the GOP primaries. And while Romney’s campaign said the candidate will not draw explicit contrasts between his positions and Obama’s while abroad, his presence in Israel will draw attention to Obama’s sometimes-shaky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Romney will meet.
“Our relationship with Israel is too important for Gov. Romney to play politics with it,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt wrote.