The manufactured controversy over White House correspondent Helen Thomas’ comments regarding Israel is somewhat amusing. She’s certainly no stranger to controversy, but it’s very telling that these particular comments led to her “immediate retirement.” To offend the Israeli elite in America is to commit an unforgivable sin. This goes without saying. The press corps can’t afford to tolerate someone like Thomas.
While I believe it’s impossible to uproot Israel and reverse what happened in 1948, it is indeed refreshing to hear such a challenge to the Zionist orthodoxy in Washington. To even question history like this is to invite great wrath as we have seen with those who sympathize with the “Lost Cause” or the non-interventionist movements of both World Wars. Even contemporary observations of Israeli culture are off-limits.
Culturally speaking, the vast majority of Jews in Israel are essentially European. It’s not hard to imagine why their neighbors hate them when you consider that Israel is nothing more than a throwback to European colonialism. You will not find another nation in the Middle East where secular humanism is so embedded. All of this would likely surprise most Americans if they actually bothered to educate themselves.
Equally sad is how American Evangelicals have allowed themselves to be exploited by bad theology (i.e., dispensationalism) where they provide unwavering, knee-jerk support for the Israeli state. Having spent much of my youth in dispensationalist circles, these folks really believe that the Israelis are building the Kingdom of God on earth. I would say they are exploited in the same way that blacks are exploited by the Democratic Party.