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Jewish Journal

Who’ll support Israel?

by Dennis Prager

April 24, 2013 | 11:09 am

Western wall in Jerusalem. Photo by Wayne McLean

Western wall in Jerusalem. Photo by Wayne McLean

“Israel’s great challenge: gun-hating, gay-backing, grass-smoking young Americans.” 

That was the title of an article published on April 5 in Haaretz, Israel’s most prestigious newspaper, and — this is relevant here — the most left-wing of Israel’s prominent papers. The author is Chemi Shalev, U.S. correspondent for Haaretz from 2007 until 2011.

Because of the article’s significance, here are extended excerpts:

“Support for Israel is lowest among the very same demographic groups that are increasingly winning American hearts and minds on domestic and social issues.”

“A Pew Research poll released this week found that for the first time, a majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, by a 52 percent-45 percent margin. Support is lowest among older, conservative Republicans and highest among younger, liberal Democrats.

“The same trend holds true, in varying degrees, in all the recent polling on the issues that top the current American domestic agenda, such as gun control, gay marriage and immigration reform. The younger and more liberal you are, the more you are likely to support such measures; the older and more conservative you are, the more you are likely to oppose them.

“Support for Israel, on the other hand, runs in the opposite direction: older, conservative and Republican Americans tend to prefer Israel over the Palestinians by overwhelming numbers, while younger, liberal and Democratic Americans are more ambivalent. In a January Pew poll, the gap between “conservative Republicans” and “liberal Democrats” on this matter [Israel] was no less than a staggering 75 percent-33 percent. …

“As the National Journal wrote this week: ‘The culture wars now favor the Democrats. The wind is in their backs.’ The question, therefore, is whether this wind might not eventually erode traditional support for Israel? …  A paper published earlier this year by Israel’s Institute of National Strategic Studies (INSS) ... dissect[s] the correlation between religiosity and support for Israel. ... The most supportive are the most religious, both Christian and Jewish, and the coolest toward Israel are those who cite ‘none’ as their main religion. …

“One cannot ignore the general global trend of liberal-leftist criticism of Israel — which, at its extreme, translates into a negation of its very right to exist.”

Shalev’s conclusion:

“Ultimately, it may lead to a realignment of American attitudes toward Israel as well. … No one should be under any illusion that the distance between Israel and the increasingly gay-backing, gun-hating, grass-smoking American population is anything less than a dangerous threat to its No. 1 strategic asset, relations with the U.S. Given the speed in which American attitudes are changing on other issues, this danger may be lurking just around the corner.”

So, then, according to the Haaretz writer — and there is no rational basis on which to disagree with him — the more Americans who embrace same-sex marriage, the legalization of pot, more gun control, and abandon Judaism and Christianity, the less support there will be for Israel.

The question is: Why would that be? 

Every Jew concerned with Israel’s security needs to answer this question.

Here are my explanations. 

One is the left-wing brainwash that permeates nearly all educational institutions, from elementary through graduate school. With few exceptions, American (and European) students are provided with only one way to view the world: secular and progressive. For more than a half century, and for the first time in American history, students have received a godless and Bible-less education. They leave school thinking ill of America and its founders (racist, sexist white men) and fearing secondhand smoke and carbon emissions far more than the evil of our day, Islamism. 

A second reason is the substitution of feelings for standards. One decides what is right by consulting one’s heart. People’s hearts, including mine, break for the children murdered in Connecticut, and that leads many to attribute those murders to insufficient gun control. People’s hearts, including mine, break for gay men and women who cannot marry the person they love, and that leads many to support the abandonment of the man-woman definition of marriage. People’s hearts break for the Palestinians, including mine in more than a few instances, and therefore many regard them as the “underdogs” in the Middle East, suffering under the yoke of Israeli “occupation.” 

A third reason is narcissism. A generation of Americans has been raised with self-esteem, not self-control. Therefore the thought of depriving oneself of any joy, including, of course, pot, is unthinkable.

Fourth, and finally, radical departures from the values of the past mean nothing to most Americans who went through the progressive brainwash described above. 

Previous generations thought Israel was important? So what?

Previous generations opposed pot. So what?

Previous generations thought that God, going to church or synagogue, studying the Bible, and leading a religious life were important? So what?

Previous generations — indeed every generation in every civilization in history — defined marriage as between men and women? So what?

This generation was raised to believe that their positions on virtually all social issues should be determined by their feelings, rather than by standards that transcend feelings. After all, they have the high self-esteem needed to dismiss prior standards. And they have one moral yardstick — equality. Consequently, what the past valued is simply irrelevant. They know that they know better than previous generations — about legalizing pot, about blaming criminal violence on too few gun laws (rather than too few fathers), about the definition of marriage, and, yes, about Israel.

There are fine arguments on behalf of legalizing marijuana, same-sex marriage, more gun control laws and a secular life. But the rejection of so many fundamental values of countless previous generations comes at a price. And the Jewish state may very well pay it. 

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