The AP reports that Rick Perry’s speech this morning in New York will accuse the Obama administration of “appeasement” over its Middle East policy. Perry will oppose Palestinian leaders’ efforts to seek U.N. recognition, and will criticize the Obama administration even though it, like Perry, is against the U.N. bid.
The appeasement accusation is straight out of the “pro-Israel” playbook, and in particular, that of Perry’s fellow Texan and Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee. At Perry’s prayer rally, The Response, in Houston last month, Hagee spoke and brought a sizable contingent of congregants from his San Antonio church. Perry has prayed at Hagee’s church, and agreed with him that non-Christians are doomed to hell.
The appeasement accusation is as old as Neville Chamberlain, and deployed with frequency by Christian Zionists to argue that Israel faces a threat as dire as Nazism. Perry wouldn’t be the first Republican to accuse Obama of appeasement; George W. Bush did it in 2008 in a speech in the Knesset. John McCain had already rejected Hagee’s endorsement at that point, but the televangelist’s fingerprints remained in the campaign against Obama the appeaser.
At the 2007 AIPAC conference, Hagee’s speech, warmly embraced by the audience, included this gem:
I am concerned that in the coming months yet another attempt will be made to parcel out parts of Israel in a futile effort to appease Israel’s enemies in the Middle East. I believe that misguided souls in Europe, I believe that the misguided souls in the political brothel that is now the United Nations, and, sadly, that even our own State Department will try once again to turn Israel into crocodile food.
Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile in the futile hope that it will eat him last.” In 1938, Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland was turned into crocodile food for Nazi Germany. The Nazi beast smelled the weakness in the appeasers, ate the food and marched and devoured most of Europe and systematically slaughtered 6,000,000 Jewish people.
Hagee used essentially the same rhetoric in a speech at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend last year.
Because Perry is speaking in New York, and with Jewish leaders, the assumption is he’s angling for the Jewish vote. But the Christian Zionist vote is critical in far more places than the Republican Jewish vote. Just six weeks ago, Perry hosted an event intended to convert attendees to Christianity. That slice of the electorate is far more important to his presidential bid.