Omid Memarian

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Religion and Politics: Super Christean White House's Christmas Card?

There are many people in the World who have no idea how the United States is a religious country. It's not like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bahrain and Iran, but extensively is mixed with religion in different levels. The recent remarks by Romney or Huckabee, the two 2008 republican presidential candidates, about their faith shows the trend...

Below you see this year's Chrismas cards which have been sent by White House to many people:

"The super-Christian card features a verse from Nehemiah (Old Testament, it should be noted):

You alone are the LORD.
You made the heavens, even the highest heavens,
and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them.
You give life to everything,
and the multitudes of heaven worship you.


At 8:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Omid:

I think is would be more accurate to describe the White House Christmas card as super Religious. As you note, the quote is from the Old Testament, written before the time of Christ.

Politically, I think the choice of Nehemiah is to get more favor with the many neo-cons who are Jewish. (Note that these radical supporters of Likud and the West Bank settlers only represent a small minority of Jews in America. The majority would like to get firm borders to more greatly assure security. see the article reproduced below.)

Most American Jews resoundingly reject the Middle East militarism and GOP foreign policy championed by right-wing Jewish factions.
Glenn Greenwald

Dec. 12, 2007 | A new survey of American Jewish opinion, released by the American Jewish Committee, demonstrates several important propositions: (1) right-wing neocons (the Bill Kristol/Commentary/ AIPAC/Marty Peretz faction) who relentlessly claim to speak for Israel and for Jews generally hold views that are shared only by a small minority of American Jews; (2) viewpoints that are routinely demonized as reflective of animus towards Israel or even anti-Semitism are ones that are held by large majorities of American Jews; and (3) most American Jews oppose U.S. military action in the Middle East -- including both in Iraq and against Iran.

It is beyond dispute that American Jews overwhelmingly oppose core neoconservative foreign policy principles. Hence, in large numbers, they disapprove of the way the U.S. is handling its "campaign against terrorism" (59-31); overwhelmingly believe the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq (67-27); believe that things are going "somewhat badly" or "very badly" in Iraq (76-23); and believe that the "surge" has either made things worse or has had no impact (68-30).

When asked whether they would support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran, a large majority -- 57-35% -- say they would oppose such action, even if it were being undertaken "to prevent [Iran] from developing nuclear weapons." While Jews hold views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which are quite pessimistic about the prospects for Israel's ability to achieve a lasting peace with its "Arab neighbors," even there, a plurality (46-43) supports the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In the realm of U.S. domestic politics, it is even clearer that right-wing neoconservatives are a fringe segment of American Jewish public opinion. By a large margin, American Jews identify as some shade of liberal rather than conservative (43-25), and overwhelmingly identify themselves as Democrats rather than Republicans (58-15). And, most strikingly, by a 3-1 margin (61-21), they believe that Democrats, rather than Republicans, are "more likely to make the right decision about the war in Iraq," and by a similarly lopsided margin (53-30), believe that Democrats are "more likely to make the right decision when it comes to dealing with terrorism." They have overwhelmingly favorable views of the top 3 Democratic presidential candidates, and overwhelmingly negative views of 3 out of the top 4 GOP candidates (Giuliani being the sole exception, where opinion is split).

Contrary to the bottomless obssession which most neocon pundits and office-holders have with All Matters Israel, the principal political concerns of most American Jews have nothing to do with the Middle East. Thus, they identify "economy/jobs" (22) and "health care" (19) -- not Terrorism -- as "the most important problem facing the U.S. today." Still, most American Jews agree that "[c]aring about Israel is a very important part of [their] being a Jew" -- a common, innocuous and indisputable attribute that typically triggers noxious charges of anti-Semitism if pointed out by those who oppose the neoconservative agenda.

One of the defining traits of war-loving neoconservatives is that their unrelenting and exclusive fixation on the Middle East places them loudly at the center of any foreign policy debates. That tenacity -- combined with their reckless exploitation of "anti-Israel" and anti-Semitism accusations as instruments in their political rhetoric and their corresponding, deceitful equation of their own views with being "pro-Israel" -- often casts the appearance that they are some sort of spokespeople for the "pro-Israel" agenda or the Jewish viewpoint.

Manifestly, they are nothing of the sort. Even among American Jews, they comprise only a small minority, and their generally discredited militarism is widely rejected by most Jews as well. It is always worth underscoring these points, which are so frequently (and deliberately) obscured, and this comprehensive poll provides potent -- actually quite conclusive -- evidence for doing so.

-- Glenn Greenwald

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Charlie from Vermont

At 2:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very interesting....Americans also have no idea what the hell is doing this administration as well...


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