Sunday, October 17, 2004

(Of a sort).

So I have been hearing a lot recently about "evil" neoconservatives (a group of which I am apparently a member) and their support for Israel. Most of this comes from those whose perspective on the Middle East tends to sympathize with the Palestinians, and while that's a viewpoint that I can understand, I don't hold it myself. What puzzles me is the extent to which these Arafat-advocates are willing to stretch to find an explanation for their opponent's position. Take, for example, this selection from Gwynne Dyer's latest column (not yet available online), titled "Israel Wags The Dog Again" and run in Saturday's Hamilton Spectator. It really took me by surprise. Being a newly-outed "neo"con and an Evangelical Christian all rolled into one, it seems that I am the embodiment of evil in the world. Whoda thunk?

Bush apparently [supported Sharon's plan] in order to retain the votes of the extreme evangelical Protestants, who believe that God's plan requires the expansion of Israel and a great war in the Middle East.
Now - and I don't mean to interject rationality into any of this - if the reason I and the vast majority of Evangelical Christian/NeoCons are supporting Israel's right to existence is because we think that it will bring about the end of the world more quickly, then it's certainly news to me. Heck, Gwynne, other than a few Canadians with whom I've spoken, you are the first person to bring this "fact" to my attention. And here I thought I (and Bush, and a lot of Americans) was supporting Israel because they are a Western Democracy with liberal values in a land surrounded by corrupt authoritarian regimes. Imagine my surprise to discover that the role Israel was playing in the Middle East was not that of a foothold for freedom, but a foothold for eventual world-wide destruction. Huh! Well, I'm glad we cleared that up. I wouldn't want to support Israel for the wrong reasons, now would I? Bring on Armageddon!

I honestly don't know whence this fantastic idea comes. Either Dyer (and a number of his Canadian readers) have completely misunderstood the Evangelical Christian movement (not to mention greatly overestimated their influence), or they have gone off the deep end. Let's see if I can be clear: I know of no person - not a single one - who supports the nation of Israel because it is supposed to be the site of Armageddon, which can (apparently) only occur if certain events take place in a specific order. Not even the people who read the Left Behind Series. Not even the people who WRITE the Left Behind Series.

I have never heard this argument forwarded outside of my Canadian experience. I have never held this position myself, and I never will. My reasons for supporting Israel are completely secular (unless you count my feelings on morality and justice as spiritual), and - here's the kicker - so are those of every American-Evangelical-Christian-NeoCon Israel-booster I have ever met. Believe me, having grown up in the Heart of Texas™, I know a lot of 'em.
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A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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