Why don’t Jews like the Christians who like them? Renowned political scientist James Q. Wilson explores this question in a 2008 article for City Journal. He describes evangelical support for Zionism and the Jewish people, Jewish distrust of evangelical supporters, and even the Jewish penchant to ally with hostile groups. The explanation lies, Wilson suspects, in a combination of Jews’ historical attachment to liberal politics and their mistaken belief that conservative Christians seek to impose their understanding of God’s will on the country and “crush the rights of minorities.”
Wilson cautions that the failure to recognize true friends may cost the Jewish people dearly.
Whatever the reason for Jewish distrust of evangelicals, it may be a high price to pay when Israel’s future, its very existence, is in question. Half of all Protestants in the country describe themselves as evangelical, or born-again, Christians, making up about one-quarter of all Americans (though they constitute only 16 percent of white Christian voters in the Northeast). Jews, by contrast, make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, and that percentage will shrink: as many as half of all Jews marry non-Jews. When it comes to helping secure Israel’s survival, the tiny Jewish minority in America should not reject the help offered by a group that is ten times larger and whose views on the central propositions of a democratic society are much like everybody else’s. No good can come from repeating the 1926 assertion of H. L. Mencken that fundamentalist Christians are “yokels” and “morons.”
More about: • America, Israel, and the Middle East • Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism • Jewish Political Thought • The American Jewish Experience • Zionism
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