Carol Platt Liebau: A Recipe for Irrelevance

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Recipe for Irrelevance

So Abe Foxman of the Anti Defamation League has decided that it's time to take on evangelicals, rather than working with them.

How silly. As some "experts" in the linked story point out, Jewish people have little to fear from the "conservative Christian" agenda. In fact, if any truth has increasingly emerged over time, it's that people of faith (any faith) in this country have more in common with each other, whatever their denomination, than with the less religious/secular elements of their own religions.

Moreover, the qualities that Christians stress -- tolerance, respect for others, respect for religious faith of many kinds -- are precisely those that protect religious minorities, like Jews. One will recall that many of the places where Jews have suffered the worst oppression and victimization, including Hitler's Germany and Communist Russia, weren't exactly hotbeds of religious faiths. In fact, they were hostile to religion.

Foxman's turning on the Christian right seems to me to indicate that he's more about politics than religion (and, as RZafft notes below, it certainly reflects a fear that President Bush's outreach could erode the Democrats' near monopoly of the Jewish vote). It's hard not to wonder how at home Foxman (and other Jews, for that matter) feel with a Democratic party whose last president, Bill Clinton, counted Yasser Arafat as his most frequent White House guest.

In any case, by turning against those who are his natural allies on a host of issues (including Israel's security), Foxman loses the chance to actually influence the policies to which he objects, and becomes just one more liberal group decrying the existence of the religious right.

4 Comments:

Blogger wile e coyote said...

It looks to me as if the liberal Jewish "establishment" is afraid that Bush's outreach to religious/social conservatives will crack the Democrats' near monopoly on the Jewish vote (and fundraising).

I would be curious if anyone has a sense of what a 20% erosion to the Jewish Democratic base would do to Democratic hopes of carrying New York or California in a Presidential contest.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Rewriting history again...

Moreover, the qualities that Christians stress -- tolerance, respect for others, respect for religious faith of many kinds -- are precisely those that protect religious minorities, like Jews.

Carol, while this sounds good in theory, the fact is that anti-Semitism was nurtured for centuries by the Christian church.

It is also untrue to claim that Christianity endorses "respect for religious faith of many kinds." Christianity teaches that Christ is the sole means of salvation, and, as such, Christianity is the sole true religion.

One will recall that many of the places where Jews have suffered the worst oppression and victimization, including Hitler's Germany and Communist Russia, weren't exactly hotbeds of religious faiths. In fact, they were hostile to religion.

Russian persecution of the Jews started in the time of the Tsars and the Russian Orthodox hegemony. Pogroms were actively supported by the church in Russia.

As far as Nazi Germany goes, this claim is also bunkum. Although evangelicals romanticize Niemoller, Bonhoeffer, and the Confessing Church, the fact is that the majority of Christian churches in Germany backed Hitler. They supported him because he brought back family values--outlawing homosexuality, severely punishing abortions, and attacking the theory of evolution amongst others. Hitler's social agenda tied in nicely with what the mainstream churches already taught. It also bears a striking resemblance to what the politicized evangelicals are pushing for today.

8:52 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Why attack someone who might attempt to kill him when he can attack a group that he knows won't do anything to him.

He'll pick up a few bucks from Hollywood libs and then he'll pretend it never happened.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foxman can be a windbag, but his concerns are very legitimate. As Mr. Twister points out, Carol is simply wrong. And anyone with any basic knowledge of the history of anti-semitism recognizes how militant Christianity has been one of its most driving forces.

A lot of people thought that Foxman and the ADL would sell out on the church-state issue because evangelicals have recently stepped up to the plate on Israel. Whatever other misgivings I have about Foxman, I am glad that that is not the case.

12:42 PM  

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