Right-Wing Cranks and Israel

I think Josh Marshall is to some extent overthinking his analysis of Mike Huckabee’s claim that “generally Evangelicals are so much more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community.” Everything he writes about Christian Zionist eschatology, the apocalypse, and Revisionist Zionism is true. But the larger truth is just that Evangelicals, on average, despite the fact that an intuitive reading of the Gospels points in a different direction, are just generally inclined toward an affection for violence, brutality, and authoritarianism.

If you look at support for executing felons or support for torturing terrorism suspects or support for launching aggressive wars, time and again you’ll see that white Evangelical Protestants are the leading proponents of violence as a solution to policy problems.

So if you totally ignore Israel, and just look at the “America debate” inside the United States you find that Evangelicals are much more inclined than Jews to believe that using the military to kill foreigners is a wise and moral approach to security issues. That’s not because Evangelicals are more “supportive of America” than Jews are, it’s because they’re more supportive of violence. Jews and Evangelicals, meanwhile, are both favorably disposed toward Israel. But “support for Israel” in the context of American political debates, is often glossed as meaning something like “proclivity to believe that killing Arabs is a wise and moral approach to security issues.” So it’s not really surprising that Evangelicals, who like violence, are more “supportive” than Jews who tend to be more skeptical of force.

[Obviously, this is all generalization; I know some Evangelical Christians who are pacifists, which is about what you would think a Christian would be if you read the Bible. But by-and-large the Evangelical self-identity correlates with hawkish opinions in the United States.]