Sobrans -- The Real News of the Month

Israel’s Idiots

April 23, 2002

According to President Bush, Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is “a man of peace.” By now we are used to Orwellian statements from our politicians, but this one was especially audacious. Yet it displayed a remarkable timidity, the kind of fear that used to cause Stalin’s groveling flunkies to pay absurd tributes to their boss. Bush is clearly afraid of Sharon and can’t stand up to him. Eyeball to eyeball with his “ally,” Bush blinked, ignominiously.

Even Israel’s most Stakhanovite American apologists would never make such a claim for Sharon. They will defend his most brutal measures, but they aren’t stupid enough to pretend that the Butcher of Beirut has a streak of Gandhi in him. They insult our intelligence with more subtlety and plausibility.

But just as the old Soviet Union had its “useful idiots” in the West, so does Israel. There is this difference: the pro-Soviet idiots were liberals. Israel’s idiots are mostly conservatives. The New York Times reports that the conservative movement is rallying behind Sharon and criticizing Bush for giving him insufficient backing.

No wonder I was never quite comfortable in the conservative movement. I was emotionally pro-Israel from the 1967 Six-Day War until Sharon’s murderous assault on Lebanon in 1982. But just as I was bailing out, other conservatives were climbing aboard.

Did I miss something? Was there a great convention of leading conservative thinkers at which it was decided that American support for Israel was compatible with conservative principles? I thought we were against foreign aid and in favor of putting American interests first. I was under the impression that Americans shouldn’t be taxed to subsidize socialist countries abroad. I could have sworn we were supposed to be living under the U.S. Constitution.

[Breaker quote: A 
theological foreign policy]I guess I was wrong. It seems that most conservative support for Israel has nothing to do with the Constitution or any sort of conservative philosophy; it’s based on a peculiar reading of the Bible, especially popular among fundamentalist Protestants, according to which the Holy Land, from the Nile to the Euphrates, belongs to the Jews eternally. And this naive theology — which Bush seems to share — is supposed to govern American foreign policy, no matter what the cost to American interests and principles.

For such conservatives we are not just fighting a “war on terrorism”; we are quite literally fighting a holy war, in which one side is altogether righteous and godly, while the other is evil and satanic. In such a war the enemy has no rights.

It follows that just as the ancient Israelites slew their enemies down to the last infant and domestic animal, today’s Israelis may slaughter Palestinians without restraint. These pro-Israel Christians — who don’t care whether Israel despises their faith or oppresses their fellow Christians (a subject they carefully avoid mentioning) — are more fanatical than most Jewish supporters of Israel. By their gruesome standards, Sharon may indeed pass for a man of peace.

And what does America gain by pouring billions of dollars into Israel, making bitter enemies, and appalling its traditional allies? Nothing. That’s the interesting part. Nobody believes that the alliance with Israel, which helped provoke the 9/11 attacks, has profited us in any way. What Israel’s Christian useful idiots do believe is that backing Israel’s most extreme claims is America’s duty to God, no matter what the price in human blood — including American blood. It seems odd that such people should wave the American flag. It seems even odder that they should claim the Cross.

Of course there are other Christians, the Pope among them, who doubt that Ariel Sharon would enjoy the hearty endorsement of Jesus Christ. These Christians would prefer a peaceful settlement that respected the rights of both the Jews and the Palestinians. So would many Jews; but the voices of such pacific Christians and Jews are being drowned out.

Bush’s support for Sharon, polarizing the Western and Muslim worlds, must be highly gratifying to the forgotten man: Osama bin Laden. A holy war is just what he has long had in mind.

A world in which people make peaceful adjustments and accommodations to each other — in other words, a truly conservative world — is not what bin Laden dreams of. In Sharon he has the kind of Jew he wants. In America he is now getting the kind of Christians he wants.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2002 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate

small Griffin logo
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer
Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRANS home page.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive | Back Issues of SOBRANS 
 WebLinks | Scheduled Appearances | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas | Notes from the Webmaster
  Contact Us | Back to the home page 


SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Copyright © 2002 by The Vere Company