War and Religion — Don’t tell me ‘the Bible made me do...

War and Religion — Don’t tell me ‘the Bible made me do it’

The issue of a large portion of the electorate and a majority of the Republican Party regarding Israel as an untouchable in Washington’s fractious politics should be troubling to any American who considers himself to be even vaguely patriotic.

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Former representative Michelle Bachmann,

by Philip Giraldi

The UNZ Review

Traditional conservative friends of mine now rarely refer to Republicans without using the preceding descriptor “batshit ignorant.” They are onto something.

Former representative Michelle Bachmann, who was quite recently a viable GOP candidate for President of the United States, appeared on radio last week to discuss President Barack Obama’s policies. She said that his nuclear deal with Iran and his “declaring war” on Israel would bring about Armageddon and the so-called “End Time.” Bachmann, who claims to be something of an Islamic scholar, observed that the “Koran and Hadith…the works of Islamic jurisprudence, they say one complete consistent truth and that’s that they want to have a nuclear weapon.”

Bachmann’s discovery that Iran’s nuclear weapons program actually began in the seventh century will surprise many but it is reassuring to also learn from her that “The world is embracing degeneracy [and]…we have very little time…left before the second return of Christ. That’s good news!”

Fortunately for Bachmann someone is actually doing something about it. Daniel Larison makes a compelling case that Republicans in Congress and possibly also in control of the White House after 2016 will actually do what they are threatening to do, which is reject any agreement made by the Obama White House so they can increase pressure on Iran. That would constitute a war policy. Such a war would by both definition and geography be Armageddon, which means it might be coming a whole lot sooner than most people think, suggesting that Bachmann might just be right. Larison argues that hostility to Iran is so widespread in the Republican Party at all levels that it has become dogma, a pledge that any GOP candidate, if elected, would actually be compelled to keep if only to maintain control of his own party relating to the issue.

It is being argued in other circles, including among Iranian leaders, that it really doesn’t matter what Congress and a new president do because the P5+1 agreement with Tehran will be made, if final negotiations are successful, with multiple parties who can make irrelevant the possible continuation of sanctions by Washington. U.S. Sanctions and other punitive action would presumably be sidestepped by the international community, just as Russia has already agreed to sell a defensive missile system to Tehran and Turkey is already working out arrangements to buy oil and gas.

But that thinking ignores two things. First, Washington has enormous leverage over what other banks, particularly central banks, do if it chooses to punish them, so it might very well be able to sustain considerable pressure on Iran in financial markets. And second, unrelenting hostility towards Iran is a slippery slope that could lead to much worse if there is an incident either by accident or design that invites a military response. Even if most Republicans in Congress do not actually want war with Iran they might just wind up getting it by miscalculation or as the result of an Israeli covert action.

Neoconed

And unfortunately for the rest of us it is not just Congress and the gaggle of hawkish candidates who are “batshit.” Among Republican rank and file there are a lot of Michelle Bachmanns running around. There has been some serious chatter in the alternative media (inevitably) about a recent Bloomberg opinion poll that includes questions about American attitudes towards Israel. Glenn Greenwaldheadlines the article on the subject “Religious fanaticism is a huge factor in Americans’ support for Israel.”

In overview, the poll suggests that two out of three Republicans are willing to support Israel “even if its interests diverge” from those of the United States. For the Democrats it is a flip, with two-thirds saying “no.” Combining the two results, however, reveals that only 47% of Americans believe that U.S. interests trump those of Israel.

Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer, journalist and author.
Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer, journalist and author.

Greenwald sees the astonishing level of support for Israel as related to religion, and more particularly to the views of the 37% of Christians who regard themselves as born again or evangelical. The more fundamentalist one is the stronger is the connection. He notes how the inclination to blindly support Israel is often linked directly to the Bible. Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel put it this way, “We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God.”

It’s tough to argue with that one. And the same formulation also holds for American Jews. Greenwald notes that the support for Israel among American Jews, normally liberal and Democratic, is similarly along fundamentalist lines. Four out of ten Jews believe that Israel was given to them by God, but among the Orthodox the percentage who believe that to be true doubles.

The Bloomberg poll includes some ratings of leading politicians and breaks down the data by voter preferences. Interestingly, the only declared presidential candidate whose “very favorable” and “mostly favorable” ratings exceed those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Hillary Clinton. Sixty-seven per cent of Republicans find Netanyahu “sympathetic” versus only 16% who would say the same about President Barack Obama. So perhaps those jokes about the GOP disbanding and declaring Netanyahu as their leader are not so funny after all. It also makes one wonder about the extent to which the American public actually followed Bibi’s antics back in March. For what it’s worth, Bill Clinton topped the poll of political figures in terms of his favorability.

Admittedly, much of the response reflects the questions themselves and how they were phrased. Regarding Israel they were, “Israel is an important ally, the only democracy in the region, and we should support it even if our interests diverge” versus “Israel is an ally but we should pursue America’s interests when we disagree with them.” The question, is of course, both loaded and flawed in that Israel is not now and has never been an ally of the United States and many would question that it is even a democracy if one considers the second class treatment of its own Arab citizens and its military occupation of East Jerusalem and much of the West Bank.

If the question were “Would you support Israel even if it means going to war with Iran?” the response might have been somewhat different. Or “Israel and the United States have different national interests. Whose interests should be more important for American politicians and policymakers?”

Nevertheless the issue of a large portion of the electorate and a majority of the Republican Party regarding Israel as an untouchable in Washington’s fractious politics should be troubling to any American who considers himself to be even vaguely patriotic. Ironically, the evangelicals who bleed for Israel also back the war against terror and the use of torture by a two to one margin, suggesting that it ain’t the New Testament that they have been reading. In my opinion, Bachmann and her millions of clones let their Bibles do their thinking for them, which is perfectly fine as long as they do not demand that a-historical Biblical allegories become the basis for defining United States Foreign Policy. And it might be observed that she and her associates represent a real danger for all the rest of us as the issue of Israel and Iran could easily come down to real American blood and real American deaths if it goes the wrong way.


Also see:

A Shifting Narrative on Iran

Time to Wake up to some Realities on the Iran Deal

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Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former DIA and CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992 designated as the Agency’s senior officer for Olympic Games support. Since 1992 he consulted for a number of Fortune 500 corporate clients. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish.

5 COMMENTS

    • Unbelievable video. One of the best books I have read is, The Authoritarians, by Bob Altimeter. He is a professor of psychology and he has studied authoritarian type people all hid professional life. Despite this, he never seemed to ever get to like them much. He considers himself a moderate, not a liberal. He says his wife and her friends are liberals and they will vouch that he is definitely not one of them. But when I read his book I his views and mine were exactly the same, except on the Afghan war, but he has probably changed his mind now.

      Authoritarian people always blindly follow the predominant establishment, so in the west they will be conservatives, and in communist countries they will be communists, or in theocracies they will be fundamentalists. They tend to be born in families that are very paternal, where the father is the stern head of the family. Bob Altimeter calls them right wing authoritarians because these are the ones we normally meet.

      Authoritarians like authority and believe everyone else should do as they’re told. Authoritarians have high moral values and see the world in black and white, good and evil. But they are not very reflective and never question the values they hold, or the ones that have been installed in them. For this reason they can be complete Hippocrates and hold conflicting views, and they are like a filing cabinet which can have all sorts of conflicting files in it and never lose a moments sleep at night.

      Authoritarians like to have strong leaders and a group of people known as social dominants will often take advantage of this. Social dominant have no true morality and are only in it for what they can get. They will score high on psychopathic traits. They will lie and cheat and do anything to get money and power. Many of them are multimillionaires who run evangelical Christian churches.

      Then there a much rarer group of people known as mixed social dominant’s. They score fairly high on authoritarian morality tests but act like social dominant’s. And like those filing cabinets like can have conflicting views without losing a nights sleep over it. These people are the most dangerous of all, says, Bob Altimeter. They tend to climb high in politics or corporations and can cause the rest of us a lot of trouble and pain.They can lead millions of authoritarian people into war after war after war. These people are capable of anything. We know who they are, all the war mongering leaders that have ever existed throughout time. Which is most leaders.

      The Authoritarians PDF. I have checked the link it is okay.

      http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAAahUKEwjT8cmAsorGAhVDQBQKHT2WAF8&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmembers.shaw.ca%2Fjeanaltemeyer%2Fdrbob%2FTheAuthoritarians.pdf&ei=9u96VdOePMOAUb2sgvgF&usg=AFQjCNGPlW7P9Jpb8-0IcVjmre_9hoE0Cw&sig2=7HzY0fhBzYe_0X1S7iWcGQ

  1. I was surprised to learn, and many other people might be too, that ultra-orthodox Jews are fiercely anti Zionist. They say that nowhere in the Bible does it say that men can give the Israelis Palestine. Only God can give them a home. The ultraorthodox Jews are the fastest growing population on Israel, and ruling elitist Jews are worried about it.

    Below is an interesting ultraorthodox Jewish site.

    Anti-Zionist Rabbis Call Israeli Ceremony at Auschwitz an Affront to the Memory of the Victims

    January 28, 2014 – Berlin

    Orthodox Rabbis, holocaust survivors and descendents of survivors, held a press conference in Berlin yesterday in response to a memorial ceremony, held at Auschwitz by 69 Israeli politicians, who warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

    The Rabbis found it repugnant that the State of Israel, whose founders refused to rescue Jews while the Holocaust was happening, should be commemorating the Holocaust.

    “We survived by hiding in a bunker in Budapest during the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck, 79. “It is well known that the Zionist policy during the Holocaust was that only Jewish bloodshed on a massive scale could help them achieve their state after the war, as a gift from the guilt ridden and sympathetic victors. They provoked anti-Semitism and sabotaged rescue efforts, all for their political goal.”

    “As for today’s anti-Semitism, the Israelis complaining is duplicitous, because the existence of the Israeli State and it’s atrocities is largely the cause. And of course it is obvious, that they reap the benefits – more world anti-Semitism, more Jews immigrate to their state”, said Rabbi Dovid Feldman.

    “The Zionists want the world to believe that they represent world Jewry and Judaism, that is false,” said Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. “They accuse everyone who criticizes their vile actions of anti-Semitism, that is also a lie. Unfortunately there are those who hate all Jews because they consider Judaism and Zionism one and the same. Thus Zionists bring danger upon Jews and then they present themselves as the saviors of the Jewish people.”

    Extract:

    Anti-Zionist Rabbis Call Israeli Ceremony at Auschwitz an Affront to the Memory of the Victims

    January 28, 2014 – Berlin

    Orthodox Rabbis, holocaust survivors and descendents of survivors, held a press conference in Berlin yesterday in response to a memorial ceremony, held at Auschwitz by 69 Israeli politicians, who warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

    The Rabbis found it repugnant that the State of Israel, whose founders refused to rescue Jews while the Holocaust was happening, should be commemorating the Holocaust.

    “We survived by hiding in a bunker in Budapest during the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck, 79. “It is well known that the Zionist policy during the Holocaust was that only Jewish bloodshed on a massive scale could help them achieve their state after the war, as a gift from the guilt ridden and sympathetic victors. They provoked anti-Semitism and sabotaged rescue efforts, all for their political goal.”

    “As for today’s anti-Semitism, the Israelis complaining is duplicitous, because the existence of the Israeli State and it’s atrocities is largely the cause. And of course it is obvious, that they reap the benefits – more world anti-Semitism, more Jews immigrate to their state”, said Rabbi Dovid Feldman.

    “The Zionists want the world to believe that they represent world Jewry and Judaism, that is false,” said Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. “They accuse everyone who criticizes their vile actions of anti-Semitism, that is also a lie. Unfortunately there are those who hate all Jews because they consider Judaism and Zionism one and the same. Thus Zionists bring danger upon Jews and then they present themselves as the saviors of the Jewish people.”

  2. Well, I don’t know where the link went for the ultraorthodox Jewish site, and somehow I ended up posting those extracts twice. I think the link I copied didn’t work and it just reprinted the extract. Anyway here’s the link.
    http://www.nkusa.org/

  3. Well, in those extracts, I almost re-printed the while article, so here’s the last part.
    “The Torah teaches that Jews are in exile by a Devine decree. Jews are required to respect the nations amongst whom they live. The Torah forbids Jews to have their own state. Jews accept the Almighty’s decree and wait patiently for His redemption, without any human intervention. It goes without saying that Jews are forbidden to steal land, kill or expel anyone. Precisely because we experienced the Holocaust, we must learn tolerance and respect for others – not use our suffering as an excuse to oppress others.”

    “Subsequently, this Zionist ceremony is nothing less than a brutal affront to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.”

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