From the onset of Obama’s Presidency, Israel became publicly condemned by its most valuable ally for the first time in history. At the same time, the American people rose up against the liberal policies of the Obama administration not out of partisan vitriol, but as a matter of common sense, reasoning, and an understanding of peaceful public dissent. It was in this truly American revolution that the intellectual Tea Party movement was born, aware not only of this administration’s attack on the founding principles, safety, and prosperity of America, but also its attack on the one ally that exemplifies our country of liberty—the Western-style democracy of Israel.
Nevertheless, the Left continues to propagandize Tea Partiers as antisemitic. As a recent example, consider the “Right-Wing Radicalism” Conference that was held at Brandeis University in Spring 2010, whose advertisements featured swastikas within a “no-smoking” symbol (the swastika stirred controversy and was shortly removed, but the conference still proceeded). As I sat in the audience, the Conference outright accused white conservatives of being specifically antisemitic due to the Nazis’ focus on the perfection of race. Rather than mention real and violent antisemitic groups such as the Black Panthers, the various speakers individually painted white Tea Partiers, and American conservatives in general, as modern Nazis and gun-toting militias, using little but the assumption of collective white racism as a tentative connection to the leftist Nazi ideology. The final speaker, Chip Berlet, passed out a chart titled, “Right-Wing Populism in the United States”, a design that he allegedly produced from attending Tea Party rallies, showing what he considered evidence of objective reporting. The chart outright claimed that the majority of Tea Partiers believed Jews to fall under the category of “Elite parasites” and that Tea Partiers, termed collectively as “Dissident Right Populism”, were themselves “White Nationalists and Xenophobes”, “Antisemitic conspiracy theorists”, and proponents of “Christian Nationalism and Dominionism” among many other biased and obviously slanted terms.
Despite such unreasonable and logically unsound accusations to the contrary, the Tea Party has frequently indicated that it runs counter to principles, not individuals. The vast majority of Tea Party signs and protests are focused on specific issues of debt, healthcare, accountability, economics, national security, and other legitimate public concerns. This is in sharp contrast to the baseless and personal attacks on former President George W. Bush, who was frequently called a Nazi by Democrats like Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), reporters such as CNN’s Susan Roegen, who found signs of Bush as Hitler amusing, and thousands of overt leftist anti-Bush protestors. Although the vast majority of leftists resorted to personal attacks and distortion rather than civil reasoning, they were not accused of any wrongdoing. When the vast majority of right-wingers hold to civil reasoning, however, all of a sudden the overall image of the Movement is defined by the few individuals who resort to the same slandering as anti-Bush liberals.
Contrary to Berlet’s charges of “antisemitism”, the Tea Party ideologically defends the Jewish State of Israel under the same parameters of reasoning and common sense that resulted in the inception of its Movement.
A 2011 Rasmussen poll indicates that 61% of Republicans support continued aid to Israel, despite the statements of libertarian Ron Paul (R-TX), “Godfather of the Tea Party”, who has been especially vocal on cutting Israel’s foreign aid. When it’s considered that, according to a spring 2010 Gallup poll, 62% of Tea Party supporters/Tea Partiers are conservative Republicans, the connection between liberty-loving conservatives and pro-Israel supporters is fairly clear. Despite the views and statements of the alleged representatives of the Tea Party Movement, the majority of Tea Partiers have individual reasons based on conservative values of morality, religious belief, and liberty, to support Israel.
The 2011 AIPAC/Tea Party event featuring Tea Party representative Dick Armey (R-TX) was especially informative on the Tea Party-Israel relationship. Among Armey’s points, he stated that (1) Tea Partiers tend to support Israel because of the liberty and justice common to the Western-style democracy of Israel and the constitutional republic of America, (2) both America and Israel are fighting against the common threat of radical Islamic law and terrorism, and (3) Christians, who compose many of the social conservatives in the Tea Party movement, feel a religious obligation to defend Israel and its people.
Tea Party representatives like Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Dan Webster (R-FL) have stated that a Christian defense of Israel is mandated by God, and at a 2011 AIPAC/Tea Party conference, Dick Armey had similar sentiments about Israel and the religious duty of Christians. Specifically, Armey stated, “God gave this land [of Israel] to Abraham and the Jews”, implying that opposing the right of Israel to its God-given land is immoral, and that because of God’s mandate it is both a religious and moral prerogative for Christians to defend the State of Israel. Indeed, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), an organization that has grown to be the largest pro-Israel body in the country, was founded in February 2006 to unite churches across the country in a common defense of Israel.
Of course, support for Israel primarily comes from an underlying respect for Western-style governance and liberty, and the common sense to stand up for this virtue in the face of anti-Israel media—a task that has been voraciouly executed by the man involved with the origin and development of the “Tea Party” Movement: Glenn Beck. Indeed, Beck was not only one of the first media pundits to very openly support and explain the Tea Party Movement, but also an active reporter on the history and conflict in Israel and the Middle East. In addition to the time he invested in explaining the subject on his former FOX show, Glenn continues to inform the West with his website, “The Blaze”, which highlights the happenings in Israel, threats to its security, and vital information that is not accessible from the mainstream media. Glenn recently spoke at Israel’s Knesset on July 10th, where he was called “a friend of the State of Israel” and “instrumental in supporting Israel” by Danny Danon of the Likud Party. With Glenn’s publicity and high popularity amongst Tea Partiers, it’s safe to say that his frequent reporting on Israel has played a significant role in the development of a pro-Israel Tea Party Movement.
Even without influence from Tea Party leaders like Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann, Tea Partiers, who deeply understand the value of American liberty, are predisposed to support Israel. It is no exaggeration that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where laws are not oppressive to women or religious minorities, homosexuals are free, the freedom of the press and speech is not undermined, and there are no gruesome public punishments like stoning and hanging. Any person who knows of the atrocities in the Middle East and the incredible freedom of Israel cannot ignore Israel’s importance, especially when it is surrounded and constantly threatened by dictators.
Despite propaganda accusing the Tea Party as antisemitic, there is an undeniable alliance between Tea Party conservatives and the State of Israel. As a matter of morality, common sense, and a love for the spirit of freedom, Tea Partiers have a natural place in the defense of Israel, just as they philosophically understand the spirit of America.