Pat Robertson Should Stop Talking and Just Listen to Israelis

Pat Robertson is at it again. This time, he’s telling John Kerry that pursuing peace strategies in the Middle East is “asking for the wrath of Almighty God to fall on this nation” because “any deal that includes territorial concessions to the Palestinians, including Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, will lead to divine retribution and 'catastrophic' consequences." Will I also reap the fury of the Almighty if I call bull on that? 

This — as you might know — is the same man who said Haiti’s earthquake happened because the Haitian people “swore a pact to the devil” and recently encouraged a man to become Muslim so he could beat his wife. So, while I take issue with his views in general, I especially take issue with the idea that we will reap some sort of damnation from God if we help a war-torn area achieve peace.   

But here’s the funny part: Jewish Americans don’t care about Israel as a foreign policy problem much at all, and most Israeli Jews actually want a two-state solution. It’s the evangelical Christians like Robertson leading the charge against it. 

According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 4%of Jewish voters ranked Israel as their top priority for the 2012 election. F-O-U-R. When asked which qualities are most important to their Jewish identity, nearly half (46%) of American Jews cite a commitment to social equality, twice as many as cite support for Israel (20%).

What’s more, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, a slim majority (53%) of American Jews say that, generally speaking, they would support the establishment of a Palestinian state, beating out the 42% who say they would be opposed.

Additionally, a poll by the U.S. State Department indicates that 74% of Israelis believe a peace agreement that leads to both states “living side by side as good neighbors” to be “essential or desirable.” So, maybe God isn't all that jazzed about Palestinians calling Jeruselum part theirs, but Israelis seem to think that it's pretty necessary. 

So really, this commitment to Israel that Roberts and other Christian Evangelicals profess is just to adhere to their reading of the Bible, and not actually about the well being of the people living there or who have a vested interested in its future. The United States has been attempting to solve this very complicated problem for years, and so far no balls of fire have burst out of the sky — though Obama did get reelected and hurricanes do happen, both of which a few Evangelicals say is evidence that god is angry with America because of Israel. So, what do I know?

So, I get that Robertson is Biblically against this, or whatever. But shouldn’t he leave a prospect of a two state solution up to the people who have been fighting for hundreds of years and are ready for it to end?

A two-state solution would save thousands of lives and bring peace to an area wrought with suffering — it’s not time to waive the Bible around, it’s time to save lives.

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Jessica Huseman

Jessica wrote for Mic.com until Feb. 2014. Now she's an investigative reporter at The Teacher Project, writing articles on K12 education for Slate.com. Her work has appeared in ProPublica, The Atlantic, Slate, The Dallas Morning News and Chalkbeat and more. Find her contact info and her recent work at www.jessicalhuseman.com.

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