Kingdom of Priests

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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