First, this has been building for a very long time. I remember my first visit to Israel, in 1981; even then older Israeli academics, veterans of an earlier era (literally — many of them had fought in 1967 and 1973), would talk grimly about the Likud government and its harsh policies, saying things like “I feel as if we’re living under a foreign occupation.” And it’s only gotten worse since then.
Second, Beinart doesn’t talk as much as I’d like about how this relates to U.S. politics. As he says, American liberals, while they fiercely support Israel’s right to exist, can’t bring themselves to support the policies of Israel’s current government. So the Israel-is-always-right crowd has gravitated to people who don’t have any problem with the occupation — which means the American hard right, including the Christian right. And they seem oblivious to the fact that they are thus making an alliance of convenience with the enemies of tolerance.
Exactly. Last night on Hardball, I got to watch Mr. Campbell Brown aka well-connected neocon Dan Senor spewing a bunch of weasel-y nonsense on the topic. He’s a lifelong Republican operative who now is a “communications strategist”, and he’s very good at sowing divisive nonsense. You’d think Matthews might mention his current business, but oddly enough, he uses Senor’s former job titles to add gravitas:
Could I just point out that the fact any Muslim country allows a Catholic church to exist is a classic example of religious tolerance? I mean, there was this little movement called the Crusades…