TheÂ super-smart James Q. Wilson struggles for an answer in City Journal.
Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesnâ€™t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews donâ€™t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fractionâ€”about 16 percentâ€”of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.
Wilson is clearly writing for a secular audience that needs some orientation on who evangelicals are and what they believe. But it’s refreshing to hear a non-evangelical make the case he does.
He closes with a word of advice to Jewish AmericansÂ who value the continued existence of Israel:
Whatever the reason for Jewish distrust of evangelicals, it may be a high price to pay when Israelâ€™s future, its very existence, is in question. . . .When it comes to helping secure Israelâ€™s survival, the tiny Jewish minority in America should not reject the help offered by a group that is ten times larger and whose views on the central propositions of a democratic society are much like everybody elseâ€™s.
I’m not hopeful that many are going to heed that counsel.