October 14, 2010

Blaming generic Christianity for the Holocaust began with such Christian theologians as Paul van Buren, Franklin Littell, and Hans Küng well before Jewish writers got into the act. It was not Daniel Goldhagen or Elie Wiesel who first issued such blanket condemnations. Prominent Christian intellectuals have been insisting since the 1960s that their religion is inherently and virulently anti-Semitic.

At the onetime Anabaptist college where I work, the faculty”€”especially members of the local “€œpeace church”€”€”seem to be mostly on the same page with Salon’s editors. These insulated Protestants have only limited contact with leftist or other kinds of Jews, but they express the same views, except on the Middle East.

This exception is understandable. The Palestinians, who are depicted as anti-colonial rebels, have more appeal for my liberal Protestant colleagues than Christianity’s designated Jewish victims. But let’s not understate either victim card’s value, especially since Jews are more conspicuous than Muslims in pushing their victim claims in the US.

Monumental change within Christian culture also explains why Christian Zionists are attracted to neoconservatives. Evangelical-community obsessions such as guilt over racism and anti-Semitism, combined with a peculiar eschatological vision, account for this group’s politics as much as any specifically Jewish influence. In the case of their Christian allies, the neoconservatives are preaching to the already converted.

Finally, I would point to the saving remnant of Jews in the media who are on the right but who have not played ball with the Jewish neoconservative elite. I”€™ve been running into these people for thirty years, and I can testify to the fact they exist. As one of their shrinking number, I”€™ve noticed something else that’s hard not to see: Non-Jews in the conservative movement treat us with open contempt. The more they shun or ridicule us, the more favors they can receive, or so they believe, from those who control their careers.

In sum, Mr. Sanchez was correct in his imprudent statements about who controls what. Too bad he is now unemployed after having noticed what only those who are intimidated or bribed would fail to observe.


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