My friend Seth Lipsky didn't much like my criticism of Sarah Palin for predicting that in the "days and weeks and months" ahead, large numbers of Jews will be moving to Israel. She made this prediction by way of endorsing the expansion of Israel's settlements. Lipsky:
In the two generations in which I've been covering the Middle East debate, it was one of the few times a public figure gave in response to a question about the settlements an answer that I would call ideal. It seemed to me courageous, in that Palin was going against not only the administration but many in her own party and the gods of political correctness. There was no shilly-shallying about the Oslo process and the Quartet and the United Nations. Palin didn't seem particularly worried one way or another about how she might be perceived. She is just on Israel's side.
1. The settlements, in particular the far-flung settlements of northern Samaria, are the vanguard of bi-nationalism, not of Zionism. The creation of a viable Palestinian state is the best guarantor that Israel will remain a Jewish state. So I don't see how untrammeled settlement, which will, among other things, make Israel a pariah state, is in Israel's best interests;
2. Just because someone likes us doesn't mean we have to like them back. This isn't Pinsk; we've left the ghetto; and,
3. Rapture-enraptured evangelicals support Israel for theological reasons. In pre-millenial eschatology, the Jews must fulfill their role in God's plan and re-gather in the Land of Israel in order to bring about the Second Coming. Before Jesus reappears, however, the Jews must also convert, and then die. I don't know if Sarah Palin buys the whole megilla, but I know she has belonged to churches that espouse this doctrine, and I also know that her belief that in the days and weeks ahead those Jews who remain outside Israel will pick themselves up and move there suggests a familiarity with this system of thought.
So here's the thing: I don't want to be friends with someone who hopes that I will convert to Christianity and then die. These hopes don't conform to my understanding of what makes a reasonable and healthy friendship.
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