George W. Bush has been lauded as the President who has been the staunchest supporter of Israel. This subject contains labyrinthine paths that must be explored before one can arrive at the ultimate destination of truth. In the interest of time and space, we will focus on two questions: 1. Why did Bush feel the way he did about Israel? 2. What did Bush do as a matter of policy with regard to Israel?
Bush is known to be an Evangelical Christian. This is a very little understood and very powerful segment of the American population. In relation to Israel, the Evangelicals have a very clear-cut position. After centuries of harassment, persecution, and murder of Jews, this particular brand of Christianity has decided to break from tradition and cast their lot in favor of protecting Jews and the State of Israel.
Why? Evangelicals believe that we are living in the age of the Great Parenthesis. As opposed to the time-honored Christian viewpoint that Jews have lost their status as God's Chosen People due to their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, the Evangelicals still steadfastly believe in the literal word of the Bible. This means that the Jews will enjoy a glorious return to Israel after centuries of exile, which occurred from A.D 70 until A.D. 1948 when the Jewish State of Israel was born. Unfortunately, Israel is not a very stable state, and on a daily basis faces the threat of destruction from all sides, aided only by the financial and military support of the United States.
What ultimately matters to the Evangelical Christians is Biblical Prophecy. This requires the continued existence of Israel as a pre-condition to the Second Coming of Christ. According to the Evangelicals, when the Jews did not embrace Jesus as their Savior, they were cast into exile until God decides to hit the re-set button and Christ returns. This is the glorious Rapture, when most people on Earth will die, and those who accept Jesus will be airlifted to the Moon. It is very magnanimous of this brand of Righteous Christians to allow the Jews a do-over after so many long and horrible years.
Whether Bush is himself a deeply religious Evangelical Christian, or whether he played this aspect of his faith up to gain favor with monied and politically connected interests to compensate for his own lack of vision, the result is the same. The United States, rightly, continued to support Israel in its troubles against the terrorist organizations of Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, etc., etc.
To most Jews in Israel, and conservative Jews in the United States, this was the strongest aspect of the Presidency of George W. Bush. Finally, the person with the world's largest bully pulpit was willing to completely and unabashedly throw his support toward the ever-beleaguered State of Israel. Sadly, the state of affairs in Israel is as rotten, if not more so, than when Bush took office. Now, we have a Members-Only jacket wearing nerd in Iran ordering the building of a nuclear weapon with the express intention of destroying Jews. Also, Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, due to international pressure and the inherent difficulty in managing the area. The result has been the planning and launching of attacks at Israel from its own backyard. Then there is the UN, an organization that is a palpable sign of the World Government of the Anti-Christ (according to Evangelicals) except that the Anti-Christ is supposed to be a Jew, and please do not hold your breath for a Jew to head the UN. So, instead, the United Nations has summoned its collective weight to sit on Israel while at the same time perpetuating the plight of generations of Palestinian refugees.
Luckily, there was no declaration of the Return of Christ on Bush's watch. Once again, we would have seen a Christian attempt to cleanse themselves with the blood of the Jews. When the era of the Great Parenthesis does end, everyone either dies or becomes Christian. It is absolutely amazing that the people who espouse this philosophy wag their fingers so sharply at those who desire an Islamic Caliphate. All in all, it does not matter what any non-believers think. All of these Crusaders best keep ignoring China.
Once again, the reality on the ground after the Presidency of George W. Bush is that the State of Israel is in a position more precarious than ever before. At the beginning of his first term, as was the case with many matters of importance, Bush did not have a clear stance on the issue of war and peace in the Middle East. Colin Powell, with the help of Tony Blair and the UN, was successful in reviving the issue of Palestinian statehood, after Arafat's inexplicable rejection of the fire-sale offered by the Clinton Administration.
Bush finally, and rightly, rejected any kind of dealings with Yassir Arafat, an unrepentant, double-dealing terrorist. For a while, that was that. The United States would have nothing to do with the PLO, the so-called Palestinian Authority, or any other figurehead representing the unabashed interest in the destruction of Israel.
Eventually, like most recent Presidents in search of a legacy, if not a monument in Washington, Bush embarked on constructing a "roadmap" for peace in the Middle East. The first, non-negotiable, unalterable condition on the roadmap was the Palestinian renunciation of terrorism and its stated aim to destroy Israel. After witnessing the recalcitrance of extremists on both sides of the issue, Bush and Condoleezza Rice decided it would be okay to skip to step three on the roadmap, which was the laying out of terms for a Palestinian state. Every time the violence of terrorist actions against Israel succeeded, the Bush administration moved closer to planning for an independent state of terrorists. What Powell, Blair, and all of those who hector for continued negotiations never acknowledged or understood was that the Palestinian leadership had no interest in establishing an independent state if it did not coincide with the disappearance of the Jewish State of Israel.
Bush gave free reign to Israel, except for rare moments when his advisers decided that a half-hearted warning would boost dismal poll numbers. In that time, Israel essentially lost two wars (Lebanon and Gaza) and are scrambling for a way to simply ensure survival, a perilous time.
The so-called Evangelical Christian embrace of Israel has only brought the Jewish State closer to extinction. This is a cynical game. Congress and the Executive Branch do not dare publicly act in a way that is detrimental to the interests of Israel, no matter what their personal feelings are (see Truman, Nixon, Carter, Bush I) because there are a lot of dollars at stake in ensuring cushy jobs. When a staunch supporter of Israel like George W. Bush is in office, religion is an added dimension. The majority of liberal Jews in the U.S. Would never support Bush, so he turned to his own (kind of) spiritual brethren. Like most people, politicians as a rule have no interest other than protection of Self. The difference is that politicians declare to the public that they care about you and your problems. It almost makes one have an extremely uncomfortable respect for rank evil, as there is no ambiguity in message or action.
Bush embraced Israel with the "An Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend" philosophy. Israel has been left sighing, "With friends like these..."