Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

George Gilder’s Israel Test

Can the case be made in purely secular terms that Israel’s continuing existence should urgently matter to the United States? Because if not, Israel is in serious trouble. The Jewish state can’t rely exclusively on Evangelical Christians and, secondarily, Jews to ensure America’s continuing friendship. 

George Gilder’s fantastic book, The Israel Test, is out today and it makes that case. An excerpt from my Jerusalem Post review is here:

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.

Zero-sum personalities often resent the rich and the gifted and may succumb to a temptation to punish them. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments are a frequent consequence. Ex-nihilo personalities have no reason to resent Jews or Israel.

A nation populated by ex-nihilo types would see Israel as the embodiment of virtues its own citizens deem crucial to their happiness and prosperity. For America, abandoning Israel would mean rejecting values that have been key to our identity as a powerhouse of creative and commercial leadership. In simple terms, it’s bad for business.


That is the Israel test, in which Americans have a greater stake in choosing rightly than we do in any calculus based on the questionable premise that the United States must have a democratic ally precisely in the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Read the rest at the JPost.
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posted July 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I support the existence of the state of Israel, but if it didn’t exist, that would make no strategic difference to the US. The fact that Israel is a democracy makes no difference to US survival. There are plenty of democracies that the US hasn’t done much to support. In fact, Israel is a rather troublesome client state that makes US foreign policy in the Middle East more difficult, not less.

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posted July 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Oy! Great article, btw, I really enjoyed it, and it led me to blog about it as well. Here is a quick thought though…
John C. Maxwell speaks of this as well, when identifying the difference between positive and negative people with his “pie” analogy. Paraphrasing Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” states the following:
>>In a nutshell, people with a scarcity mind-set believe that in life, there’s only a limited supply of anything to go around, whether it’s money, resources, opportunity, and so forth. They see the world as a pie with a limited number of slices. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. As a result, they fight to get their piece—and once they have it, they protect it.
People possessing an abundance mind-set believe that there is plenty of everything to go around. If life is a pie, and others are helping themselves to pieces, the solution of the person with the abundance mind-set is to bake another pie. There is always more money to be made, more (or different) resources to be discovered, additional opportunites to be pursued. An old solution isn’t working anymore? Don’t worry: someone will find a new one. The inventors, entrepreneurs, and explorers of the world are continually creating new “pies” so that everyone can get a slice.
…Someone once asked me why he should adopt an abundance mentality, and he was surprised by my answer. I told him that if you believe in abundance, that’s what life gives you. If you believe in scarcity, then that’s what you get. I don’t know why that is, but after fifty years of paying attention to people’s attitudes and watching how life unfolded for them, I know it to be true. (25 Ways to Win With People, John C. Maxwell, pp 141-143)

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posted July 25, 2009 at 4:45 am

Rather simplistic.
Land *is* a zero-sum commodity.
If you do not agree, then Israel should surrender all contested settlements. After all, for ex-nilihilo people then that will create wealth for Palestinians which will be for the good of all. No?
Indeed, surrender enough land to create a Palestinian state would create even more wealth and be eveb more mutually beneficial.
Part of the reason for pitiful econonomy is an economic embargo so savage the Palestinian population is on border of starvation: hardly evidence of a win:win wealth creating mindset.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 10:05 am

Peace is ultimately the only zero-sum game. Those who reject peace welcome turmoil and chaos. Most of the 22 Arab states and 100 million Arab neighbors surrounding Israel have rejected peace with the Israel 61 years. Palestinians who remain in the area (many have fled for a brighter future) are the victims of their brothers and sisters multiple rejections of peace with their cousins.

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