You can thank the Religious Right for the promotion of the idea that Jews born in Brooklyn are entitled to a state in Palestine, but Palestinians born in Jerusalem are not entitled to a state in Palestine. There is nothing in all this that is particularly advantageous to the Religious Right – apart from their eschatological agenda. The Judgment, the End of Times, the Rapture, call it what you will, it’s that wonderful moment in history every fundamentalist looks forward to with such emphatic joy: the blowing up of the entire world.
As for the rest of us and the plans we may have with our puny lives, well, we can figuratively – and literally – go to hell, insofar as they are concerned. But understanding this above all else about the mindset of the Religious Right will give you insight into much of their unconcern about climate change and other pesky, mundane stuff, and even a kind of sideways glance into the whys and wherefores of their promotion of Donald Trump to messiah. (And here I cannot resist quoting “Life of Brian,” the 1979 Monty Python film: “He is not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”) Ergo, according to the fundamentalist Religious Right, one does not rearrange the deck chairs on their own personal Titanic, particularly if you’re among that set of passengers who look forward, with glassy-eyed zeal and a fanatical fervour, to Titanic’s sinking, and seeing her to the bottom of the Atlantic.
It’s characteristic of the evil genius of the Religious Right that even advocating the stabilization of the Middle East with an Israeli and Palestinian two-state solution is considered dangerously close to anti-semitism, and a characteristic that a “stable genius” like Donald Trump is fully prepared to exploit. Which is exactly what he did when speaking on Saturday to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas.
It was there that Donald Trump accused the Democrats of “abandoning” Israel, for, in effect, failing to be signatories to measures that exacerbate tensions between Palestinians and Israelis that will lead to the Battle of Armageddon, i.e., the end of the world. Along the way he compared South and Central American asylum seekers to UCF fighters with tattoos on their faces, because there’s nothing quite like painting an entire people as monsters in order to simplify the task of making cruelty toward them more socially palatable. Shame on any historically self-conscious Jews who don’t know about that tactic and where it may yet lead again. Trump never tires of reminding us that, however much in Trumpland anti-semitism may need to be manufactured from counterfeit materials and whole cloth, generic hatred toward asylum seekers still grows on trees.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.