April 07, 2012

Why does America love Israel?

The entity is technically called "the State of Israel." How can an abstract organizational entity be evil? It could if a person believes in spirits, I guess.

So there are a lot of Jews in the United States who support Israel, sending money there or voting as single-issue voters on whether politicians will support Israel or writing on politics with the interests of Israel being their number one concern. That support is influential even though Jews are about 3% of the population, because they're an educated, affluent group. They mostly arrived later from Europe than other European Americans, more urbanized already, and maintained their multilingualism for religious reasons more than other 19th century immigrant groups. Studying Hebrew or Yiddish written in Hebrew letters seems to have more effect on intellect than studying languages written in the Latin alphabet. I have a feeling about that because I studied Hebrew for a few lessons when I was about 9, though I'm not Jewish. Because Hebrew letters are written right to left and have special marks for vowels added between the consonants, it maybe wakes up some analytical or linguistic talents that people might not otherwise know they could have if they haven't studied it. That's a similar effect to studying music notation, which has been found scientifically to increase intelligence.

So anyway, it's not just Jews in the United States supporting Israel, it's a lot of Christians too. Out of the half of Americans who are churchgoers or strongly Christian, about half of them seem to think that when the Bible says "Israel" in prophecy, it means the State of Israel right now. Christians in the Middle Ages would NOT have thought that if the Jews launched a crusade to take the Holy Land, Christians should support that and God would bless it. In the actual crusades, Christians were trying to take back the Holy Land from Muslims who had recently (as time was measured back then) conquered it, oppressing the local Christians. Christians before the 19th century all believed that Jews were in error, not accepting Christ, and that God's promises went to the descendants of Israel who were Christian. Otherwise they would have converted to Judaism, of course, and some did. How else would there be so many Jews so far north speaking Yiddish, which is a dialect from medieval German? (The idea they were pure Khazars is a suspect mythology just like the idea they were purely from ancient Hebrew tribes.)

Why is there this idea of the Holy Land, and why do I capitalize it? To emphasize that it's being used as a proper noun, to name a ridiculous idea people have, not using words accurately. Europe was ruled from Rome and tied together culturally by Latin and Latin-derived languages and the Roman alphabet. Rome had been overtaken by Christianity since Constantine. So Rome became a cultural sort of capital, and Byzantium in the east, spreading Christianity to the "barbarians" further north. (Though Vikings like the Icelanders had democratic, equal societies before they were Christianized, and everywhere else in the world was barbaric in that sense.) So the class of people who could spend their time reading and teaching and writing history even in the dark ages, collecting taxes, were religious people who had the Bible as their foundational text, collecting taxes as "tithes" and justifying their privilege in that religious scheme. Modern European culture was built on top of that.

In the Renaissance (c. 1300-1500) Western Europeans attempted to recover scholarship in Greek, but they were Christians and often pursuing that for Christian reasons such as reading the Bible in Greek, so they didn't go far enough. Although some Greek texts were reinforced as more foundational for Western European culture, which led to the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment, the idea of the Bible "in the original Greek" was also reinforced. That led to Protestantism, the idea each man has to read and believe it for himself from the text, which worked at cross purposes to the advancement of science and reason.

The United States was founded on Enlightenment ideals, the founding fathers being rationalists, deists, scientific minded, distrusting and warning against literalist Christians. However, America, the country and people that the United States government was imposed on, had a Protestant tendency that spread out on the frontier, with revival movements, and a mythos of furthering Protestantism being the destiny that moving from Europe and populating this land was all about.

That all adds up to America becoming a country that paradoxically considered itself destined, blessed above other countries, and yet not the Holy Land. Zionist editorialists easily shaped public opinion through the 20th century into equating Holy Land with their State of Israel for Jews project. Thus the seeds were sown for the Third World War, intended by each of several sides to disprove the other's religion and pretensions of world domination decisively, by an exchange of nuclear weapons.

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