Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Friends like him?

Ok, as threatened and promised I am going to say a few words about James Inhofe now. Widely believed to be the dumbest man in the senate (I didn't make that up, it's in TNR) Inhofe, in 2002, preached a sermon on the floor of the Senate, claiming to reveal 7 reasons "why the land belongs to Israel." Needless to say his arguments were vapid and silly. I might agree that the land belongs to Israel, but foolish arguments from grandstanding senators aren't helpful.

But that isn't what this is about.

Inohofe is a Christian. Not a sedate, mainline Protestant like the older George Bush, and not a shrugging, indifferent Christian like the type we, for the most part, have here in New York. Oh no. Inohofe is a bible-thumper. The sort of man who has helped to make Gospel music so popular (I'd name a singer, but, by the grace of god, I live in NY) or who reads those Left Behind books.

This is a problem, because the Jewish people don't need friends like him. We don't need friends who see us, primarily, as actors in their eschatological fantasies. Inhofe doesn't want the Jewish people to hold on to the land because he loves us, or because he wants us to be safe. He wants us to hold on to the land, because his preacher told him that having the Jews in Israel is a pre-requisite for Jesus to return.

Well, what will happen when Jesus doesn't return? Or worse, what will happen after Sharon completes the final round of withdraws and givebacks? How will Inhofe and his fellow believers regard us? Will they conclude, that we, as a people, have conspired to keep Jesus from returning? It wouldn't be the first time we've been blamed for interfering in their religion.

Ultimately, if you don't love Israel for what it is, you can't be trusted to love it at all.