Last week, Sarah Palin made a strange comment defending Israeli settlement construction by warning that “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.” Since worldwide Jewry is unaware of such an imminent threat that would prompt mass immigration to Israel — and certainly not immigration specific to the *West Bank *– that sounded like some kind of dogwhistle to Christian Zionists, a cohort that promotes unconditional American support to Israel in order to bring about the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ to earth. Not, in other words, something particularly high on the Jewish or Israeli agendas, but Christian Zionists represent a pretty sizable bloc within the Republican coalition and could, say, help someone win a presidential nomination were someone so inclined.
Palin’s apparently eschatological comment doesn’t appear to be an accident. The Charlotte Observer reports that she’s taking dinnertime advice on Israel from the Graham family:
The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate told Billy Graham about how she came to faith in God as a girl in Bible camp.
She quizzed him on the presidents he’s known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq, Franklin Graham reported.
The Rev. Billy Graham is a credit to this country, and has for all of his life eloquently melded evangelical Christianity with a civic-mindedness and a broadmindness that have appealed to people of all faiths and no faith. (He apologized for an unfortunately antisemitic comment with President Nixon that was caught on tape and recently released.) Franklin Graham is a much different story. A Christian Zionist leader, Franklin has described Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion” and suggested erroneously that the Christian God and the Muslim God are two different deities. He even asked President Obama on the campaign trail if he was a Muslim. And unfortunately, Billy Graham is not long for this world, so if Palin is trying to yoke herself to the Grahams, then she’ll be palling around with Franklin more and more.
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