What passes for punditry these days says that Sarah Palin must be taken seriously, not just as a potential talk-show host but a potential presidential candidate. We’re trying. So rather than dismiss her mystifying views on the expansion of Jewish settlements, we sought to understand them.
“I disagree with the Obama administration on that,” she told Barbara Walters recently. Okay. Reasonable people can disagree on whether President Obama has been too forceful (or not forceful enough) in persuading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to live up to Israel’s agreement to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank.
But when Palin said that settlements should be “expanded upon” because “that population of Israel is, is going to grow,” we looked up. And when she cited, as fact, something that only those who promote aliyah could hope for — “More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead” — we were left scratching our heads.
Until we came upon Jeffrey Goldberg’s fascinating blog post in which he argues that Palin’s logic conforms to the belief that Jews will flock to Israel to establish the conditions for what some Christians predict will herald the Second Coming. First, will be the ingathering of Jews. Next, Satan will attempt to stop their conversion. Then, Jesus will rescue the Jews and a new world will be born.
We see. And now we are left to wonder how Netanyahu’s announcement of a 10-month settlement freeze fits into the dangerous worldview of someone who employs a radical reading of Scripture to formulate foreign policy.