Unconditional Love for Israel
What is it about Evangelical Christians and their support for Israel that makes some Jews at times uneasy? I can even understand what makes Jews - especially liberal Jews - nervous about this huge group of Israel lovers: their conservative values, an uncompromising stance on the Middle East peace process and support for Israel; the theological slant of their support for Israel.
They the Evangelical Christians love to love Israel unconditionally, and express love for Jews unconditionally. There is something almost non-Jewish about it. Jews usually do not talk about love. It's not something that usually turns us on. We are more into debate, questioning, challenging and rattling the cage. Christians love to love. Jews love to kvetch.
Why do we find so little expression of unconditional love among Jews? Is it because we Jews confuse love with supporting official policy? That is, if we disagree with Israel's policies, do we find it difficult - even impossible - to express unconditional love for Israel? Moreover, how many Israel supporters who disagree with Israel's policies can honestly say that their love for Israel is, in fact, unconditional?
When one considers the worldwide movement in recent years to de-legitimize the State of Israel, that is the enemies of Israel are not looking for a debate. Their aim is not to engage or interact but to undermine. Their opposition is not open to reason or good will. In short, their hatred is unconditional, that is unconditional hatred. This being the current geo-strategic reality challenging Israel, than why should some Jews be uneasy by the Evangelicals' unconditional love toward Israel?
How better to fight unconditional hatred than with unconditional love? What better weapon against the forces working to delegitimize Israel than a force that unequivocally loves Israel? Of course, we should never stop doing what we do best: argue, debate, challenge and unconditionally “kvetch”.
But we can't love the process more than we love Israel itself. For Israel supporters, unconditional love is the emotion that ought to trump all others; the emotion that fuels and gives meaning to our actions. I can challenge my child and rebuke him, but I can never forget to show him unconditional love.
Many of our debates over Israel have become coarse and divisive. One reason is that in our zeal to express tough, critical love, we have forgotten about pure love, unconditional love so common among our Evangelical supporters throughout the United States.
We don't have to agree with the theology or politics of Evangelicalists, but we can learn from them about expressing their unconditional love for Israel. At the end of the day, they the Evangelical Christians give us Jews an important lesson on how to show unconditionally support for Israel as the homeland of the Jewish Nation.
The Lincoln Memorial, Restoring Honor, and the American Creed
On August 28, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck confounded his colleagues in the media when he brought hundreds of thousands of Americans to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a rally he called "Restoring Honor."
While former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker, the rally was decidedly apolitical. The speakers said nothing controversial. The crowd was enthusiastic but not rowdy. US President Barack Hussein Obama was never even mentioned by name. In the event, the massive crowd gathered, prayed, celebrated American military heroes listened to patriotic speeches and songs. Then the participants picked up their garbage and went home.
So what was it all about? Why do many people see it as a watershed event?
Although Beck called the rally "Restoring Honor," it was not really much more than restoring honor. It was about restoring something even more important. It was about restoring the American creed.
That creed is so ingrained that it has served as the subtext of every major political and civic speech by every American political and civic leader since the eighteenth century.
The American creed has two main components. First, its core belief is that America is an exceptional country and that the American people are an exceptional nation. Second, it asserts that as Abraham Lincoln first said outright, America is the last, best hope for mankind.
The denial of this basic historical truth was first brought to the public's attention during Obama's visit to Turkey last year. A reporter there asked him, "[Do] you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of 'American exceptionalism' that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy?"
Obama replied, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." That is, the US President said, no, he does not believe in American exceptionalism. He rejects the American creed.
This rejection by President Barack Hussein Obama is really, what is behind the pervasive need of hundreds of thousands of Americans if not millions to stand up and demand of their President to maintain his allegiance to American leadership of the world and to American exceptionalism.
So basically, the reason Beck's rally was a watershed event, is that in the Age of Obama, Americans feel the pervasive need to reclaim what they believe is their birthright as Americans. What distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he is the first American President who clearly rejects the American creed.