Much of what is wrong with the U.S.-Israel relationship today can be found in that Romney trip. In recent years, the Republican Party has decided to make Israel a wedge issue. In order to garner more Jewish (and evangelical) votes and money, the G.O.P. decided to “out-pro-Israel” the Democrats by being even more unquestioning of Israel. This arms race has pulled the Democratic Party to the right on the Middle East and has basically forced the Obama team to shut down the peace process and drop any demands that Israel freeze settlements. This, in turn, has created a culture in Washington where State Department officials, not to mention politicians, are reluctant to even state publicly what is U.S. policy — that settlements are “an obstacle to peace” — for fear of being denounced as anti-Israel
What Friedman only alludes to at a glance is the fact that while this pandering is partly to win over Jewish votes, it’s primarily designed to appeal to evangelicals who desperately want a one-state “solution” wherein the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem so that the final prophecies of the Book of Revelation can be fulfilled. These are the same people—and there are many of them in the United States—who don’t care a whit about climate change not because they believe it’s a hoax or isn’t man-made, but simply believe that the end of the world will come before it begins to matter.
These are the dangerous lunatics to which the Republican Party is pandering. People whose political philosophy is expressly designed to aid and abet their doomsday cult.
And yet rational people are supposed to come to some sort of centrist “compromise” with them.