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Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

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I’ve never been a fan of Fidel Castro, but I can’t help feeling a certain tribal glow of appreciation for his warm remarks to the Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg about the Jews and their state. Goldberg reported them first a couple of weeks ago, and mused on how at odds they are with current global leftism a couple of days ago.

Part of the explanation for the old Communist’s philo-Semitism may be a bit of personal identity politics: He seems to think he has Jewish antecedents, and that may even be true. But equally, Castro’s ideology harks back to the days when the left–including the Zionist left–was hostile to religion. Israel in its early days was a pretty socialist state, and was embraced by the Socialist International as such (don’t tell the Tea Party).

We’ve come a long way from then to a time when a Castro wannabe like Hugo Chavez plays religious footsie with Venezuelan evangelicals and steps out with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The fact that the latter was the intended recipient of Castro’s words is more than a little interesting. Not that I expect it, but it would nice if the Fidel’s contemporary acolytes were led to ponder what they are doing in bed with some of the world’s leading theocrats. 

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