On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) pledged his ardent support for Israel in a speech to Jewish leaders in New York. That's business as usual for a presidential candidate, says William Saletan in Slate, but Perry made a "stupid and dangerous" blunder when he added: "I also, as a Christian, have a clear directive to support Israel." That's new, and it's a "gift to Islamic extremists," Saletan argues. "By framing U.S. foreign policy in terms of a religious alliance between Christians and Jews, Perry is validating the propaganda of Islamic extremists. He's jeopardizing peace, Israel, and the United States." Is Saletan right?
People are making too much of the remark: "I wouldn’t put too much stock" in Perry's "as a Christian" remark, says Marc Tracy in Tablet. He was responding to a leading question from an audience member, and, while he clearly believes that his faith directs him to support Israel, the broader thrust of his comments was a relatively uncontroversial reiteration of the broader moral and strategic reasons the U.S. considers Israel an important friend.
"The company Rick Perry keeps"
Perry's comment is "odd and alarming": "Saletan's alarm may be just a bit over-stated," says Doug Mataconis in Outside the Beltway. After all, Perry isn't president yet, and if he is elected, he'll be surrounded by a host of advisers warning him how "insane" it is to turn "American policy in the most volatile part of the world into some kind of religious crusade." Let's hope Perry is just making "a fairly naked play for Jewish support."
"Rick Perry's odd and alarming critique of U.S. Mideast policy"
Perry wasn't courting Jewish voters: Actually, Perry's "explicit religious appeal is the sort of comment that could displease Jewish voters," says Rachel Weiner in The Washington Post. But you don't win the GOP nomination with Jewish votes — you win with evangelical Christians, "many of whom support Zionism for their own religious reasons" that Jewish backers of Israel probably wouldn't appreciate. Perry's "outspoken defense of Israel will only endear him more to those voters."
"Rick Perry's Israel appeal"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why everyone got upset about Marriott's plan to increase housekeepers' pay
Subscribe to the Week