DIVIDING ISRAEL

A reader writes:

To quote David Barry, I swear, I am not making this up.

A few years ago, I was sitting in the galley of the Naval Training Center in Illinois. There was a television playing CNN headline news. The program gave the results of a poll about Americans’ views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. I forget the exact numbers as to which side people supported, but what struck me was a second poll – if you support Israel, why? As I recall, the plurality said they supported Israel because of terrorism, but a pretty substantial majority said they supported Israel because of its “biblical claim to the land”. Perhaps inadvertently, I scoffed slightly. Another sailor asked me what I was thinking, and when I told him, he said something to the effect of, “What’s wrong with that? Unless you don’t believe in the Bible …”

Mr. Sullivan, I had a fairly decent Christian education. So I retorted something like, “Why do they have a claim? Because God promised the land to Abraham? Well, Abraham had 8 sons. Why are you going with the second son? Okay, fine, let’s take Isaac. He had two sons – why do you give the whole land to the second son? Well, fine, let’s take Jacob. There were 13 tribes of Israel (everyone forgets Levi) – why are you only counting Judah for the whole land? Surely Tel Aviv wasn’t part of the original tribe of Judah. But, okay, let’s take Judah. Well, didn’t the Babylonian captivity pretty much end the Jewish claim to the land? Didn’t Jesus say that he could raise children of Abraham from the stones, that being a child of Abraham didn’t count for much?” The guy I was talking to paused for a second, then said, “Wow. You’re gay, aren’t you?”

Yes, I probably was playing a bit fast and loose with those biblical references. It was 5:30 am – what do you want from me?

I wonder if there is a poll out there explaining American attitudes toward Israel along these lines. Let me know.

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