Going Rogue on the West Bank

going rogue

Here’s an excerpt from Michael Felsen’s article for the Jerusalem Post:

One of the stops on her Going Rogue book promotional tour last week was ABC’s Good Morning America. Noting that the Obama administration doesn’t want Israel to build any more settlements on what it considers Palestinian territory, interviewer Barbara Walters asked the former Alaska governor/vice presidential candidate for her view.

Palin’s response: “I disagree with the Obama administration on that. I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon because the population of Israel is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don’t think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.”

More and more Jewish people flocking to Israel? What’s Palin’s source of information? Since 2002 – the year in which the major wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union came to an end – there has been a consistent downward trend in immigration to Israel. By 2006, immigration was down to 1980s levels, during which time 9,000 to 24,000 people immigrated annually. And in 2008, the number was 13,681, representing the lowest ratio of immigrants to veteran Israelis since the establishment of the state – 1.9 immigrants per 1,000 residents.

I think it is pretty obvious that what Palin is referring to is  her fundamentalist belief that the second coming is going to happen any time now, and then the wars and the rapture, and so forth. But she is referring to it obliquely. If this is where the Republican Party is going with its foreign policy, ie facilitating the Rapture, then the rest of us deserve an explicit notification of that. It is amazing what a coalescence is happening among militants in the three Abrahamic communities over the importance of apocalypse. If it becomes foreign policy then we are all in for an interesting ride.

Once again, I hold intellectuals, liberals and progressives for focusing more on their own children than on public education and the public sphere in general. We cannot afford public’s that are more extreme than when America was founded. This a prescription for precipitous decline and self-destruction. The alternative, a serious engagement of liberal America with conservative but sane America on common commitments, common educational priorities. We have avoided this for too long.

© Marc Gopin