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Evangelicals and Jews

11:07 AM, May 1, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Michael Medved, writing in the May issue of Commentary

"Many Jewish voters this November will find themselves at a crossroads: Will they accept their deep disappointment with Barack Obama and vote for his reelection, or will they overcome their own discomfort with Christian evangelicals and vote for the Republican candidate? The irrepressible argument about the appropriate relationship between the Jewish community and Christian conservatives has returned with a vengeance, forcing a fresh response to a fundamental question: Should Jews view our born-again fellow citizens as natural allies or inevitable adversaries?

"Unfortunately, the familiar grounds of this debate rely for the most part on inaccurate assumptions and proceed inexorably to illogical conclusions.

"Advocates of cooperation and coalition-building—call them Collaborationists—cite Christian evangelicals as an indispensable source of support for Israel, without whom U.S. policy in the Middle East could easily tilt toward the Palestinians and Arab nations more generally. According to the Collaborationist argument, Jews and evangelicals should ignore profound differences in their core values and put aside sharp disagreements on American domestic issues in order to make common cause against the existential threat of Islamofascism.

"Meanwhile, skeptics who seek to maintain the traditional Jewish wariness toward fervent Christian believers—let’s designate them Rejectionists—insist that the ardent evangelical embrace of the Zionist project only encourages the most intransigent and fanatical elements in Israel, thereby undermining chances for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. The doubters, moreover, question the theological sources of Christian Zionism, insisting that sunny proclamations of brotherhood actually mask dark intentions of mass conversion, married to apocalyptic visions that inevitably include the unappetizing prospect of large nuclear explosions in the vicinity of Jerusalem. As if that weren’t enough, Christian conservatives (or, in the preferred locution of their leftist critics, 'the American Taliban') stand accused by the Rejectionists of seeking to impose the sort of ruthless theocratic rule that would make life intolerable for all religious minorities.

"The clashing narratives of both friends and foes of the tentative Jewish-evangelical alliance require considerable correction, or at least corrective context."

Whole thing here.

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