Embedded in Peter Bart's Variety column are these paragraphs about Hollywood politics as they intersect with the defense of Israel. There are several things to notice here: Bart's garbled understanding of biblical eschatology; the increasingly anti-Israel stance of Western Jews; and the remarkable dementia of John Edwards who believes Israel is a greater threat to world peace than Iran, North Korea, and other terrorists.
...The aggressively photogenic John Edwards was cruising along, detailing his litany of liberal causes last week until, during question time, he invoked the "I" word -- Israel. Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace, Edwards remarked, was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. As a chill descended on the gathering, the Edwards event was brought to a polite close.
Support for Israel in the U.S. has lately become bafflingly multi-cultural, representing an alliance between diaspora Jews, traditional Zionists and evangelicals. Support from Christian zealots, who now represent about one third of Israel's tourist business, is welcomed even though, according to evangelical doctrine, Judgment Day will bring the ultimate destruction of Israel and death to most of its residents.
The Economist observed this week that "knee jerk defensiveness" of Israel ultimately will erode support for that country around the world, even among Jews. Only 17% of American Jews today regard themselves as "pro-Zionist," the magazine points out, and only 57% say that "caring about Israel is a very important part of being Jewish." And Jimmy Carter only exacerbates these mixed signals with his recent perorations that Israel must "give back" territories to the Palestinians.
Given that the Christian Right and neo-conservatives in this country seem more obsessed with Israel than the Jewish community, the "I" word is becoming a potentially lethal component of today's political dialogue...