Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

Supporting Israel on Secular Grounds?

Philo-Semitic Christians often cite God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 12:13 — “I will bless those who bless you” — as a big part of the reason for their passionate defense and activism on behalf of the state of Israel. Religiously committed Jews support Israel for reasons that don’t require much explication.

But what if you’re a Christian or Jew who wants to explain to someone unmoved by either faith why defending Israel should matter to Americans on purely secular grounds? Are you forced to rely on trite, unconvincing rationales about how Israel is the bulwark of democracy in the Middle East and so on? As capitalism and technology guru George Gilder remarks in his forthcoming book The Israel Test, Well, “Whoop-de-doo!”
Gilder’s book is a great read and ferociously philo-Semitic. It’s also brilliant. I have a piece in today’s Jerusalem Post explaining his important argument. Please take a look. Excerpt after the jump.


As Gilder puts it, “The [Israel] test can be summarized by a few questions: What is your attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other accomplishments? Do you aspire to their excellence or do you seethe at it? Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement or do you impugn it and seek to tear it down?”

Some people see wealth-creation as a zero-sum game, where your enriching yourself means that you are taking something away from me. Others see wealth as almost miraculous. Material value is created from nothing – ex nihilo. That is, from nothing material – but from an idea, from creativity, from genius. In this view, your enrichment takes nothing from me. In fact, it creates opportunities for your neighbors to enrich themselves by doing business with you. Israel’s Palestinian neighbors, with their pitiful economy, have failed spectacularly to perceive this.


Elementally, there are two different personality types here. Where you come down reveals a lot not just about your politics – though political views flow from it – but about the orientation of your soul.


Read the whole piece in the Jerusalem Post here.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 11:06 am

I am Agnostic, some would say Athiest, and I support Israel. This is obviously not because I think that Jews have some sort of “right” to own that chunk of territory, it’s simply because Israel serves as a nice counter-weight to some of the extremist Islamic countries in the region like Syria and Iran. In the same way, I support Saudi Arabia.
That being said, I think Israel is clumsy in its handling of foreign policy and anti-terrorism policies. Both Hizbollah and Hamas have been around since the 80’s, and rather than defeating these organizations by demolishing their public support and getting the people involved in their destruction, they have bolstered their support by using heavy handed tactics. In 2006, they dropped cluster bombs in Lebenon. Why? Cluster bombs are very effective weapons, but they were designed to take on massed military formations, not light, relatively badly-trained infantry in an urban setting.
The U.S. went into Iraq and for the beginning of the insurgency there, used similar tactics, but after 6 years of conflict, we’ve learned that it doesn’t work and have gone to more effective strategies. I’m not sure why Israel hasn’t found something better after 20+ years of dealing with these guys.

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