Will Growing Alliance With Christian Zionists Split the American Jewish Establishment?

Peter Beinart, writing about Sheldon Adelson’s remarks at the inaugural conference of the Israeli American Council (which I wrote about here), argues that Adelson’s comment “I don’t think the Bible says anything about democracy” “lobbed a grenade at the American Jewish establishment.” In other words, at the heart of the American Jewish establishment’s pro-Israel cause is a claim to support democratic values in the Jewish state. “By claiming democracy doesn’t matter, Adelson was sabotaging the case for Israel that the American Jewish establishment has been making for decades,” Beinart writes.

This is evidence, Beinart argues, of new pressure on the American Jewish establishment—not, Beinart maintains, just from J Street on its left, but from its right, for example, from the Adelson-financed Zionist Organization of America. These changing dynamics are the product of demographic changes: the children of establishment but largely secular American Jews, Beinart says, are less likely to be strident or even care that much about Israel, whereas Orthodox Jews are generally more conservative, Republican, and ardently opposed to the two-state solution. “All of which,” Beinart concludes, “makes them more willing to embrace the right-wing Christian evangelicals who more secular American Jews fear. In recent years, for instance, the Adelson-backed ZOA has given awards to Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann.”

This year, according to ZOA’s announcement, it will be honoring Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee with the “prestigious” Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson award on November 23. (Ted Cruz will be honored, too.)

But the alliance with Christian Zionists is not limited to the ZOA or like-minded, right-wing organizations. The public dissent over a Jewish embrace of Hagee reached its apex around 2008 or so, when John McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement of his presidential run, and has since largely faded away. Christian Zionist support for Israel is still largely accepted, or at least not openly criticized by the establishment. If that’s changing, I haven’t yet seen much evidence of it.

4 Comments

  • jmmartin@grandecom.net' JamesMMartin says:

    American Jews, including Zionist Jews, should run from Adelson and his ilk as fast as they can. John Hagee, typical of the evangelical Zionists, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He doesn’t want Israel to succeed as an independent state in the Levant; he wants Dominion and the Rapture, when Jews, he believes, will be consigned to Hell unless they convert to Christianity before the end. Hagee (and Adelson, one supposes) monetarily support the most conservative elements of Israeli society, including the building of new settlements in Palestinian lands. This is counter-productive and in major part explains the Obama administration’s ambivalence where Israel is concerned. As long as Israel continues on the settlement path, a peace talk non-starter just as much or more than Hamas, there will be no end to the conflict in that part of the world. As for Adelson, he is simply obscene, a cosmetically perpetuated zombie with red-dyed hair and propensity for funneling some of his billions made off the sorrows of “degenerate gamblers”) into the political process, supporting this candidate or that; in effect, buying them. That is a perversion of the political process, and until we have publicly funded national elections, this sort of situation will only grow worse.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    American Jews, including Zionist Jews, should run from Adelson and his ilk as fast as they can

    Those addicted to gambling should probably run too.

  • jmmartin@grandecom.net' JamesMMartin says:

    Adelson is a real sicko. And sickos with lots of spare cash are a real threat to Democracy. First, he funds anti-union activities in Nevada, then he lures not only gambling addicts but the gullible poor, who sometimes remind one of a definition of insanity, placing bets *habitually* when the money they are splurging is milk for a child, a heating repair in the house, a new set of tires for the 83 Chevy. Adelson’s money was ill-got, and if you look at the clowns he has supported for national office — I mean, Newt Gingrich?! Give me a break! For Adelson, I can only say, “May you turn into a blintz and be snatched by a cat.”

  • whistling.girl2910@gmail.com' pennyroyal says:

    why aren’t there documentaries on Adelson’s nefariousness. Just his support of every more right wing presidential candidates makes him dangerous to US democracy. And that’s the things we know about….

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