Religious Americans more likely to support Israel — with growing exceptions

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    What do you Israel-haters think would happen if Israel really were what you say it is? What if Israel really did stoop to the jihadists' level, and intentionally try to kill as many of the other side's people -- military or civilian, there's no difference in the Jew-hating Hamas mindset -- as possible?

    Israel has a squadron of F-16s based at Beersheba, about two minutes' flight time from Gaza. Again, let's pretend for a minute that you're not lying to yourselves and the rest of us, and Israel really is morally no different from Hamas.

    A single sortie, with a nice mix of high explosive, cluster bombs, and napalm, in densely-populated Gaza, ought to get the death toll into the five figures, don't you think? That is to say -- up at the level at which Russians and Arab dictators kill civilians, without any of you saying boo.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    "For the quickest summary of the story, just look at the number of casualties during this latest war:
    1800+ Palestinians killed vs. 66 Israelis."

    For the quickest summary of World War II, just look at the number of civilian casualties between Japan and the U.S.:

    500,000 Japanese civilians killed vs. 6 Americans.

    (Or 74, if you count the 68 Pearl Harbor civilian casualties, except most or all of those who most likely killed by errant American antiaircraft shells.)

    Maybe a less simplistic calculus is in order?

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    Karen R: The idea that American evangelicals support Israel in order to "bring about prophecies" is a myth. Virtually all evangelicals believe that it's not up to human beings to decide when Christ comes. They can't influence that schedule. To the extent the Bible comes into it, it's related to the passages about God blessing those who bless Israel and cursing those who oppose it.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    It's no surprise that Mormons and Jews in particular would support Israel. Both cultures have suffered violent persecuation, and Jews in particular, well, are Jews. Israel. You know.

    For religious people in general, what may further cement this is a matter of politics; more religious people are conservative than liberal, and liberal outlets tend to criticize or demean Israel for firing back against a belligerant foe that uses its own people as political shields and has broken every truce and ceasefire it's ever been engaged with against Israel.

    Many of these same sources also white-wash the mistakes of Democrat politicians, blame Republican ones for not agreeing with them, and talk about conservative people as "racists", "backwards", "homophobic", "bigoted" or whatever other names they like to throw out, just to name a few. So when they talk about the conflict between Israel and Palestine as though Israel are the black hats, well...

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    What the article headline meant to say was that religious non-muslims tend to support Israel. This is because most religious people in that category respect life, civil rights and liberties including religious liberties which Israel also respects. We have things in common. Where Israel and most religious people in that category draw the line is situations where one religion violently and in the name of that faith attacks other people, seeks to exterminate other faiths, denies freedoms including of conscience and of religion. So yeah opposing Islamists is in everyone's interest not just Israel's.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    In an interview with the Atlantic published on Sunday. Commenting on another Middle East conflict — the war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel. Hillary Clinton strongly defended Israel. ,“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” Clinton said. “Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult.” She called the deaths of civilians, including Palestinian children, "dreadful," but said, "Ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas."

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 11, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    @donn (aka sharrona) – “Why Christians should support Israel:”

    You have reiterated precisely the point I was making (although I’m sure that was not your intent).

    The point (again) is that your support has everything to do with your own beliefs, salvation, and desire to follow the commands of your deity – it is nothing to do with Israel per se or the compassion or sense of right & wrong in your own heart/mind.

  • cfe Springville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:20 p.m.

    The trouble with this poll is that it makes people take a side. Mormon Church President Howard W. Hunter referred to both of these people as "children of promise" and stressed that "as a church we do not take sides" (All Are Alike Unto God, BYU devotional 1979). As a Mormon I support both peoples in their desires for freedom and justice and to live peacefully together (two-state or one-state)in a land they both have valid claims to.

  • Allisdair Thornbury, Vic
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:31 p.m.

    I am old enough to have heard first hand reports from Jews who had their families killed by Nazi's. I had a teacher who was part of the liberation force who arrived at a concentration camp full of dead and dying. I have been to the Dachau concentration camp so I fully accept what Hitler did to the Jews, the Romany and homosexuals.

    I also understand what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto and how desperate the Jews were that lived under siege for several years before being killed.

    So I wonder how the Israeli’s expect Palestinians to live under siege for 8years and not fight back. Back anybody into a hopeless corner and see what happens particularly if you destroy their children’s future.

    Somewhere over the last 10 years I have moved from a supporter of Israel to a supporter of freedom for all in the middle east. Freedom does not come from America giving Billions of dollars in weapons.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    RE: Tyler D, Most of the support for Israel among the religious in this country has nothing to do with Israelis?

    Why Christians should support Israel:

    Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed." Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People.

    God Himself also sternly warns the nations about their attitude towards his people, Israel:‘…For whoever touches you (Israel) touches the apple of his eye’(Zechariah 2:8)

    Romans 15:27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

    "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee." (Psalm 122:6) the scriptural principle of prosperity is tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

    Salvation is of the Jews!" (St. John 4:22) consider what the Jewish people have given to Christianity:
    a) The Sacred Scripture b) The Prophets c) The Patriarchs d) Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth e) The Twelve Disciples f) The Apostles

  • TC321 Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    "I suspect that if Israel were lobbing in rockets to Gaza or the West Bank trying to kill Palistinians, and digging tunnels, kidnapping people, ect."

    This is a classic example of someone who does not pay any attention to the news. Israel has no need to "lob in rockets" because they drop missiles from planes. They have no need to dig tunnels, because they have access to basic services, and can have supplies delivered to their neighborhoods, and can move about as they please. As for the kidnapping people - check the news on that, too, and you will see that Israel has kidnapped arrested, and tortured Palestinians. You don't have to be "against" Israel in general to recognize that they have done many terrible, terrible things.

    For the quickest summary of the story, just look at the number of casualties during this latest war:
    1800+ Palestinians killed vs. 66 Israelis.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    As such, and maybe that's just because that's my frame of view, I'm surprised there isn't more who say "sympathetic to both".

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    "Hopefully it just comes from ignorance of the issue "

    Ignorance of the issue would be believing that the Palestinians just want to wipe Israel out. Most Palestinians and Israelis just want peace and to be able to do their own thing. The leaders of both however refuse to recognize the other as a sovereign nation. Hamas is certainly harmful to the peace process but even if they were gone there still wouldn't be a solution between the Abbas gov't and Israel (just less violence). The situation in Gaza is dire, in good days they're living in abject poverty with electricity maybe half the day. They're rather desperate so they've turned to a misguided group of people. Being sympathetic to their plight doesn't mean believing Israel should be wiped off the map.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Most of the support for Israel among the religious in this country has nothing to do with Israelis per se, or any fair-minded assessment of who has the moral high ground. It is all about a means (the apocalypse) to an end (the return of Christ) and is every bit as cynical as any mass death creating ideology we saw in the 20th century.

    And this support is based on a massive misunderstanding of the Bible. The Book of Revelation had nothing to do with current day events – it was about Rome and personal religious experience (i.e., rapture is a mystical experience not a physical reality).

    As troublesome as the establishment of their nation-state was, and as morally disturbing as some of their actions since then have been (which is not the case in this current crisis – Hamas is 100% to blame), I support Israel, not blindly or without criticism, but because they are on the right side in what is increasingly becoming a battle of civilizations – one modern based on freedom, science, democracy and rationality; and the other based on superstition, domination, and theocratic rule.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    The results of this poll or not surprising. IMVHO it just another example of the so called 'religious" in America being so very wrong on a topic. It makes no sense how one can identify as religious yet support an illegitimate, occupying and oppressive state that commits so many human rights violations as Israel does.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    I was raised in a home where my parent strongly supported Israel. In my early 20's I read the Old Testament and that changed my views. It said over and over, "Be kind to strangers" or "Do justice to the stranger" for "you were strangers in the land of Egypt". I could see how Israel was not doing that.

    The inhabitants of the state of Israel are from the tribe of Judah. They don't own the name "Israel". Their ancestors were in the kingdom of Judah, not the kingdom of Israel. The ones who own the name "Israel" were scattered and the Old Testament says they will return. Today's 'Israelis' say that they are permanently lost and they've lost their identity so they get everything in terms of Judah's and Israel's share. This contradicts the OT.

    Many of the Palestinians are descended from 1st century Christians who converted to Islam in the 700's. There are also many Christian Palestinians.

    Evangelicals pray that Jews will accept Christ. They did. Many of them are in the West Bank and we know them as Christian Palestinians.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:50 a.m.

    "Brog asserted, 'the real danger is that they will teach their fellow evangelicals a moral relativism that will neutralize them.'"

    Isn't the primary reason for Christian support of Israel tied to their Biblical prophecies? In other words, Christians need the Israelis to prevail in order for certain events to come about? Does it matter how this gets accomplished? If it doesn't, isn't this the definition of moral relativism?

    Isn't it morally relativistic to support someone only because you need them for your own purposes - purposes that, if achieved, will reject and exclude them in the end?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:45 a.m.

    Moral relativism:

    Israel can kill all the Palestinians they want and nothing happens. We give them another dozen fighter jets and a few tanks.

    Palestinians kill any Israelies and we demand their heads on a pole.

    That is moral relativism.

    Thou shalt not kill (murder) applies to Israel every bit as much as to the Palestinians. After all, it was THEIR god who gave the commandment to not kill to THEM.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:17 a.m.

    I suspect that if Israel were lobbing in rockets to Gaza or the West Bank trying to kill Palistinians, and digging tunnels, kidnapping people, ect. then it would be the Palistianians who would get the most support. Religious or not, it is not hard to see who has been the troublemaker all these years. As for Mormons, and their support of Israel. I'm frankly bothered that there are some 20% who can't or won't see and accept the truth about Israel. To think I might be sitting next to a fellow member who actually thinks the Jews should be wiped out, which is the ultimate goal of the Palistinians, who elected Hamas to be their leaders, is very troubling. Hopefully it just comes from ignorance of the issue and is not an "informed" opinion.