Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Don't Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?

I may have some quibbles with the author's thesis, but he correctly attributes Christian support of the Jewish people to their theology. Specifically dispensationalism. That would be my quibble. I'm not a dispensationalist, but my love of Jewish people is rooted in my theology.
Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn’t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don’t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction—about 16 percent—of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.

The reason that conservative Christians—opposed to abortion and gay marriage and critical of political liberalism—can feel kindly toward Jewish liberals and support Israel so fervently is rooted in theology. One finds among fundamentalist Protestants a doctrine called dispensationalism.

The author goes on about the other side of the coin:
Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn’t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don’t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction—about 16 percent—of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.

The reason that conservative Christians—opposed to abortion and gay marriage and critical of political liberalism—can feel kindly toward Jewish liberals and support Israel so fervently is rooted in theology. One finds among fundamentalist Protestants a doctrine called dispensationalism.
...
That liberal politics trumps other considerations—including worries about anti-Semitism—for many American Jews becomes clearer in light of other data. The most anti-Semitic group in America is African-Americans.
...
Yet African-American voters are liberals, and so often get a pass from their Jewish allies. To Jews, blacks are friends and evangelicals enemies, whatever their respective dispositions toward Jews and Israel.

Are these feeling rooted in politics? Not sure. I would suspect that is partly a cause, since evangelicals tack to the right politically. I would suspect that historical suspicions of Christians may come into play as well.

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