Friday, December 06, 2002

Why Not Support Israel?-Nice piece over at He Lives on Israel and evangelicals; Mr. Heddle asks for a bit of analysis here
First of all, the data show that about 2/3 of evangelical Christians say their sympathies, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, lie with Israel. (What is the other 1/3 thinking? I’ll leave that to the uber-pundits like Fuhrmann and Claybourn and Byron).
Four areas come to mind where an evangelical would either side with the Palestinians or against Israel. (1) Pacifist tendencies. There is a small but not-trivial anti-war wing within the evangelical camp. Quakers and Mennonites lean anti-war and there are the Tony Campolo/Ron Sider style Democratic Evangelicals who can be counted on to oppose most military action. (2) Israel as a bully. You have the gruff, un-touchy-feely Sharon sending his airships to bomb refugee camps, killing innocents while they take out autoboomer colleges. If the news plays up the loss of Palestinian innocents (they know how to throw a funeral for the cameras), compassion would tend to give the Palestinians a break, even if the autoboomers kill more innocent Israelis that the Israelis kill innocent Palestinians. (3) Palestinians as the oppressed underdog. This, coupled with #2 above, could help explain the gender gap. If 62% of evangelicals and 77% of evangelical males support Israel, that would indicate that only 47% of evangelical females did. Women in general have a lower tolerance for bullies and greater compassion for the underdog. I'd also expect black evangelicals to lean in this direction as well. (4) Good-ol' fashion anti-Semitism. Deep seated biases and myths about the Jews owning everything and running everything still percolate in the evangelical culture. I'd say its about equal parts of all four of those reasons, although many people would relate to more than one of the reasons.

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