Mar. 6, 2019
- Certain of our recently elected congressional representatives view U.S. support for Israel as inexplicable. They are dismissive of explanations of shared values or strategic importance. They ask what reason other than a malignant influence could possibly explain why the U.S. has supported Israel and Zionism.
- They fail to appreciate the extent to which the restoration of the Jewish people to sovereignty in their ancient homeland has been deeply ingrained in the religious, political and social fabric of America.
- Even before there was a U.S., our Founding Fathers and even their forefathers longed to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland. The Puritans saw themselves as a “New Israel.” Increase Mather, the Puritan leader, taught his followers that one day the “Jews would return to their homeland and establish the most glorious nation in the world.” The Yale University coat of arms is adorned with the Hebrew words meaning “light and perfection.”
- Benjamin Franklin recommended that the Great Seal of the United States be an illustration of the Hebrews fleeing Egypt for their homeland. John Adams wrote in 1819: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.” This all occurred when the Jews in America numbered only in the thousands.
- Abraham Lincoln wrote of “restoring the [Jews] to their national home in Palestine” and that relieving their oppression was “a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.” This support was echoed by Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.
- While recent congressional critics of America’s support of Israel might dismiss this history, they cannot escape it.