Romney's Visit And Reflection On American-Israeli Relationship
With discussion of Romney's trip to and speech in Israel, I had to comment on the US-Israel relationship. I am an evangelical Christian, but I don’t think Israel is infallible. They got out-of-hand in the past and suffered for it. They still can, and we should expect high standards of them. HOWEVER, I don’t think the commonality between Israel’s values and traditional American ones are incidental. Just as the clarity of those principles has paled in America, much of Israel is not devout about traditional Judaism. However in both cases, the human values that grew from those traditions have to a great extent persisted though devotional confessions may have faded.Nebulous though our values have become, and not incidentally precarious our fiscal stewardship and economic standing, the US is still the place that is appealed to and most quickly and generously responds when there is great human tragedy around the world.
Israel is similar. Listen to Lebanese Brigitte Gabriel. Here is a briefer version of some of her experience of the Israeli Ambulance Driver. In another presentation before a Jewish audience and in other fuller discussions, she expands the discussion to the treatment at the hospital where the ambulance delivered her mother and her. Brigitte Gabriel supports Israel as the vanguard against Islamism. And besides, I believe due not to their genetic superiority but a relentless high cultural standard, Israelis have performed astoundingly in the fields of science, technology, literature, finance, and economics, relative to its tiny size.
Pardon me if it grates on anyone, but I must consider historical theology. While many are very amenable to affirming Christians, even theologically practicing Jews find the notion of Jesus as both God and man an outright inconsistency with historical Judaism, which sees God as so far apart from and above man. The Lord God is One. Jewish documentation declines even to express God in mere human words. Of course to a Christian that is the point of the exceptionality of Jesus. God and human flesh are not necessarily incompatible, but only factually until Jesus, just as Mt. Everest was never scaled until Sir Edmund Hillary. However, all of God’s qualities can’t be confined to human flesh. So rather than God’s incarnation being an attainment,
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 Instead he gave up everything[a]
and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
So to us, Jesus is not a denial of but the completion of Judaism. Jesus completes the themes of the entirety of Judaism. The one of gracious treatment of outsiders, as in the ancient instructions of how to treat the alien. The one of sacrificial redemption. And the one of liberation from bondage. Judaism and Christianity are genetically the same. Judaism is the root and trunk of Christianity, both of them sharing the branches of human behavior and ideals. And Jesus is the flower of Judaism.
So, I’ve said that I don’t defend Israel as an entity or name, but defend its ideals and values, just as I don’t defend America for its boundaries or specific government or people. I defend the American ideal. And it’s that ideal, not a geography or ethnicity that must live on. And while it shares our ideals of liberty and justice, we should defend Israel as the unique vessel of those values in that part of the world.