26 July 2009

Netanyahu seeking Christian Zionist support

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is once again courting the Christian Zionists, that is, Evangelicals who believe that Israeli control over all of Biblical Palestine is necessary for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) to occur.

As M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum notes, Barack Obama is far more popular among Jewish Americans than Bibi Netanyahu is. Most American Jews are liberals who support the Democratic Party; Bibi is much more at ease with the Republicans, many of whom share his disdain for the two-state solution. Hence his appearance at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference, recently held in Washington.

The conference was organised by Netanyahu's friend of convenience Pastor John Hagee, who had infamously declared that God had sent the Holocaust to force the Jews to emigrate to Palestine.

As an aside, the official CUFI website, as seen today, states that "There is a new Hitler in the Middle East--President Ahmadinejad of Iran". This, of course, nicely matches Bibi's own stance on Ahmadinejad. The CUFI seems unashamed to say this, despite the obvious and sickening monstrosity of such a statement, given that the lives of Iranian Jews are in no danger, and that Iran, despite the faults of its government, bears no similarity to Nazi Germany.

In a fine example of his usual truthiness, Netanyahu said, addressing the CUFI, that "millions of Christians stand for Israel because they want to see genuine peace in the Holy Land." See, that may be true for some Christians, but Bibi knows better than anyone that the particular Christians he was addressing support Israel for one main reason: they want to hasten the End Days. Besides, by "genuine peace", Bibi obviously understands something akin to the Pirate Code: "Take everything. Give nothing back."

In any case, according to Rosenberg, all this posturing by Netanyahu will amount to nothing, since the Christian Zionists he is aligning himself with are already committed Republicans; they are likely to oppose Obama no matter what he does. Rosenberg believes that, to make a difference in US public opinion towards Obama's policy on Israel and Palestine, Bibi needs to win over Jewish Americans. And that just isn't likely to happen.

Meanwhile, ignoring this sideshow, Obama is in pursuit of some real Middle Eastern diplomacy. You go, Barack.

[This post was written in Istanbul.]


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