You Play the Hand You Hold

Sharing Options

If you have any opinion at all about the Israeli/Palestinian situation in the Middle East, then your opinion, if implemented, could result in three possible outcomes. It could make things better, it could make things worse, or it could keep things pretty much as they are currently. Given the knife edge that everybody in that part of the world is walking along, the last option seems unlikely in the extreme. So let’s go with better or worse.

This means we should be more than a little thoughtful before giving our input. We shouldn’t join the nearest mob simply because we like the way they do their fist pumps. If, in the grip of an idea, we apply pressure to make sure something “happens,” when it happens, we may find out that all we did was adroitly flip the fat into the fire.

Another thing. Given the way the world is governed, and given how media stampedes and the great Asian land migrations of general consensus usually contribute to making things worse, we should strive to at least understand a contrarian analysis. I say this because Ambrose Bierce’s definition of idiot comes to mind — “A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.”

Given the hand we currently have to play, given the way things are right now, I would argue that the only way to make things better is to offer full-throated and unabashed support to the state of Israel. And by this, I do not just mean the low bar of “their right to exist.” I mean, jeepers, what should it tell you when the first hurdle to get over in negotiations is for one side to foreswear their goal pushing the Zionist pigs into the sea? And when you have trouble even getting to that point?

Far beyond this minimal starting point, I mean that we should support Israel, support Jerusalem as the undivided capital, support her current borders, and support the building of new and bigger settlements.

Having said so much, I will make the usual disclaimers. I believe the Zionist impulse that created the state of Israel there, of all places, was a blue ribbon bad idea.  Further, I believe that the deep support that Israel gets from evangelicals is based on an eschatology that has achieved the nearly impossible — that of making the numinous and staggering visions of Revelation risible.

So Zionism was a bad idea, but it was bad idea that was implemented in the middle of the last century, and the poker hand we held at the start of the game is not the hand we are holding now. You need to play the hand you have, not the one you used to have. And okay, fine, dispensationalism supports Israel for screwy reasons, but it does not follow from this that there is no sound reason.

Here is that sound reason. Support for Israel is essential to keep that end of the Mediterranean from turning into a humanitarian disaster for everybody there. On the flip side of that same reason, the continued existence of Israel is the only possible ticket out of poverty for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Now I grant that the soundness of this reason is one that is obscured by economic envy, which is, admittedly, a pretty thick veil. But I wanted to make the point anyway, just for the record. In this, I am following the crucial work of George Gilder on the economic miracle of Israel. You would think that people who lived among rocks, goats, and scrub brush would want to know how some other people turned their scrub land into a garden, but thus far that is not how it has gone.  

But if things go the other way, and Israel is pushed into the sea, and the humanitarian disaster I am speaking of comes to pass, there is one bright spot for the do-gooders of the West. It will be the kind of humanitarian disaster that will be assiduously ignored, and will get virtually no coverage at all. And that means that they will be able to go to their graves without rethinking any aspect of their economic illiteracy, which is a pleasant way to go, I suppose.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments