Counting on the end times
by David Atkins
Tom Friedman is actually coherent today for a change, and makes a good point:
I’ll make this quick. I have one question and one observation about Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. The question is this: Since the whole trip was not about learning anything but about how to satisfy the political whims of the right-wing, super pro-Bibi Netanyahu, American Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, why didn’t they just do the whole thing in Las Vegas? I mean, it was all about money anyway — how much Romney would abase himself by saying whatever the Israeli right wanted to hear and how big a jackpot of donations Adelson would shower on the Romney campaign in return. Really, Vegas would have been so much more appropriate than Jerusalem. They could have constructed a plastic Wailing Wall and saved so much on gas.What Friedman only alludes to at a glance is the fact that while this pandering is partly to win over Jewish votes, it's primarily designed to appeal to evangelicals who desperately want a one-state "solution" wherein the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem so that the final prophecies of the Book of Revelation can be fulfilled. These are the same people--and there are many of them in the United States--who don't care a whit about climate change not because they believe it's a hoax or isn't man-made, but simply believe that the end of the world will come before it begins to matter.
The observation is this: Much of what is wrong with the U.S.-Israel relationship today can be found in that Romney trip. In recent years, the Republican Party has decided to make Israel a wedge issue. In order to garner more Jewish (and evangelical) votes and money, the G.O.P. decided to “out-pro-Israel” the Democrats by being even more unquestioning of Israel. This arms race has pulled the Democratic Party to the right on the Middle East and has basically forced the Obama team to shut down the peace process and drop any demands that Israel freeze settlements. This, in turn, has created a culture in Washington where State Department officials, not to mention politicians, are reluctant to even state publicly what is U.S. policy — that settlements are “an obstacle to peace” — for fear of being denounced as anti-Israel.
These are the dangerous lunatics to which the Republican Party is pandering. People whose political philosophy is expressly designed to aid and abet their doomsday cult.
And yet rational people are supposed to come to some sort of centrist "compromise" with them.