15 December 2005
Orthodox scholar and anthropologist Levi Sokolic delivers a diatribe against liberal Jews and the secular left — whom he calls the “real anti-Semites” of our time — in The Jewish Press, no doubt in response to the recent public statements of liberal Jews like Abraham Foxman of the ADL and Rabbi Eric Yoffe of the Union for Reform Judaism, who criticized the religious rights’ entanglement of church and state as a threat to American Jews. Sokolic, conversely, has no such qualms about Israel’s and conservative Jews’ alliance with evangelicals, likening the situation to the famous quip of Lord Palmerston, who said that England had neither permanent friends nor enemies, but only permanent interests. Likewise, writes Sokolic, the desire of evangelicals to convert Jews — a premise he accepts without argument — is “politically irrelevent” beside the fact that evangelicals are the Jews’ only steadfast allies in the fight against hostile neighbors in the Middle East, as well as the nefarious schemes of “leftists and liberals…who threaten the existence of Jews as a people,” by, apparently, not being supportive enough of Jewish schools, and seeing Torah-Judaism as “the root of all evil.” The interest of the Jewish people, he argued, shouldn’t be leftist causes long associated with the culture, but solely the survival of the state of Israel. That this is its own brand of political religion, Sokolic doesn’t acknowledge, though he does betray himself, and his affectation of political dispassion, in one lapse of sentimentality, naming America as the one country for whom the protection of Israel is more than politically expedient, but an actual moral imperative. By Sokolic’s own reasoning, a compliment like that is certainly in keeping with permanent interests.