“Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers,” said Palin. “And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.” – Sarah Palin
It seems a site created by Binyamin Korn for “Jewish independents” is out to help Sarah Palin, via TPM, or at the very least publicize her views on Israel. No doubt because of the drumbeat from the right that Pres. Obama is too hard on our good friends, something that is utterly without merit.
The usual suspects will likely jump on a report from Danger Room that captures an interesting exchange with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen:
In a town hall on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a young airman asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen to respond to a “rumor.” If Israel decided to attack Iran, the speculation went, those jet would need to fly through Iraqi airspace to reach their targets. That airspace is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. So might U.S. troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airmen asked the chairman, if they breached that airspace?
Mullen tried to sidestep the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel. I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,” he said. “I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.”
The airmen followed-up: “Would an airmen like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli — aircraft or personnel?”
Mullen’s second answer was much the same as his first. “Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here. They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future,” the admiral said.
I’m find myself in total agreement with Noah Shachtman’s final paragraph.
Interestingly, the techies at “Jews for Sarah” haven’t figured out how to link to other sites yet, while offering nods to an LA Times op-ed that shrieks “Obama is denying Israel the right to self-defense when it is not his, or America’s, life that is on the line.” Sarah Palin getting new prowess on foreign policy because of her stance on Israel, if only in “spirit.”
But it was her recent comments on the judicial decision that the “national day of prayer” was unconstitutional that caused such a ruckus. Palin saying, “I think we’ll be challenging that one.”
Conservative contortions to make our founding fathers Christians is a continual cant from the right. This time it’s Sarah Palin, which surprises no one, though she demurs to “believers.” It continues the misinformation campaign Republicans enjoy when trying to prove America was founded as a Christian nation, which is simply false.
To be fair, Democrats never take this on either for fear of being on the wrong end of the wrath of the faithful, of which I am one.
Palin citing George Washington, however, is particularly odd. Mr. Washington rarely attended church, which has been documented, though Martha did, even enjoying communion. At the end of Washington’s life there were no words intoning Jesus Christ or any Christian writing, with whatever his faith being actually unknown. That doesn’t mean Washington didn’t believe in a force beyond man. However, there is absolutely no evidence in history that he was a Christian, especially as it is meant today.
The thought that the founders would have come to Israel’s aid as modern American leaders have, which began under Pres. Harry Truman who rightly sanctioned an Israeli state, but has been pushed to a political breaking point of harming Israel through the actions of religious fundamentalists in this country, is simply unthinkable.
I could go on and on about Thomas Jefferson on this matter. A believer in God, he was someone who savored the words of Jesus Christ, but didn’t think much of religious institutions, and like Washington, didn’t feel the need to divide the nation on declaration of one faith. Jefferson was more interested in, as Washington put it to Rhode Island Jews: “May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”
Thomas Jefferson famously said:
We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. […] They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. Let us too give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws. […] A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. … .. – Notes on the State of Virginia (pgs. 285, 287)
As a GOTV ploy, playing the faith card has worked for the right before, so Sarah’s in good Republican company, especially as she stokes the 21st century cultural war, drawing from 20th century dogma.
The interesting new element being churned up now by the right, however, is meant to separate Jewish voters from Pres. Obama in anticipation for 2012. The Republicans sense an opening. However, so do Israeli hawks on the left; who hope they can move Obama’s Middle East policy, especially on settlements, because of it.