Israel, Abortion and the Christian Right

Israel recently adopted a new policy that provides free abortions to all women up to the age of 33 and after the age of 40, which puts the Christian right in a serious bind. Liberty Counsel, at least, seems not the least bit bothered by this and went ahead and honored Israel anyway:

Just two days after Israel’s cabinet approved a new policy extending government abortion subsidies to all women ages 20-33, the staunchly anti-choice Liberty Counsel released an alert entitled, “Stand With Israel Now,” complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

“There has never been a more critical time for you to show your support to Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu! Become a Liberty Ambassador to Israel and have your faith strengthened and your resolve fortified to stand for Israel,” the group writes. “In light of the failed foreign policies of our current American administration, it has never been a more important time to express our unwavering resolve to stand united with Israel.”

Now remember that these are the same people who are constantly telling us that God is going to punish America, or already is punishing America, for allowing abortion and for not being sufficiently pro-Israel. But now Israel is not just allowing abortions, they’re using tax dollars to pay for them. So now God is going to punish Israel, presumably. So doesn’t that mean that God will start punishing us if we do support Israel? Oh, I doubt it. None of these claims are to be taken as anything more than demagoguery.

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  • peterh

    I’ll wager becoming a “Liberty Ambassador” will potentially strengthen one’s faith and immediately strengthen the Liberty Council’s coffers.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    Now remember that these are the same people who are constantly telling us that God is going to punish America, or already is punishing America, for allowing abortion and for not being sufficiently pro-Israel. But now Israel is not just allowing abortions, they’re using tax dollars to pay for them. So now God is going to punish Israel, presumably. So doesn’t that mean that God will start punishing us if we do support Israel? Oh, I doubt it. None of these claims are to be taken as anything more than demagoguery.

    I think this is illustrative on how the GOP is changing how it maintains the loyalty of conservative Christians. In the early-1960s it began with the GOP pandering to the inherent racism of southern white conservative Christians [1]. In the mid- to late-1970s they were able to secure knee-jerk vote of conservative Christians across the country by developing party loyalty via anti-abortion rights advocacy tied to a movement to promote Christianism at the local level, particularly within local school boards.

    The GOP’s weakness in relying on racism, anti-abortion-rights, and Christianism is not fielding competent credible candidates, incompetency that sometimes can’t be denied, and even these loyal voters prioritizing other issues over race and abortion that could cause them to vote for non-Republican candidates. Competing priorities threatened their base when it came to global warming in the late-1990s/early-2000s until a successful movement led to conservative Christians largely denying that global warming either exists or poses a threat.

    Now we see the GOP maintaining loyalty from its conservative Christian base by its success creating a tribal brand. Maintaining the loyalty of conservative voters by their simply identifying with the tribe allows the party all kinds of inconsistency without risking losing its base. It will allow them to go squishy on some matters to attract non-conservative Christian voters as long as the base perceives the party’s social dominators are one of them. That’s what we observe here.

    1] Ian Haney López’s Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class falsifies the assertion that the GOP gained traction with Nixon’s southern strategy in 1968. Polling from the late-1950s to early-1960s finds neither party was defined by its policies on race, at least at a national level. But within a few short years in the early-1960s that changed dramatically where the public largely concluded the GOP was the party for racists (though the migration out of the Democratic party took time in the South). There are some excerpts published that provide free and googable access to the findings Mr. López reports in this book as well as the mechanics of this transformation. George Wallace and Barry Goldwater both played seminal roles years prior to Richard Nixon being influenced by both of their tactics.

  • Larry

    Amazing how staunchly held beliefs of talibangicals fall by the wayside whenever there is money to be made fleecing the flock.

  • cptdoom

    Now remember that these are the same people who are constantly telling us that God is going to punish America, or already is punishing America, for allowing abortion and for not being sufficiently pro-Israel.

    They’re also the same people who describe abortion in the black community as, alternatively, a holocaust or genocide, driven by evil liberals who are the real racists of course. Disregarding the offensive comparison, exactly how could they describe abortion in Israel?

    I wonder, though, does Israel also offer good access to birth control, thereby reducing their abortion rate? That would also tick off the right if they weren’t so busy patting each other on the back for being Israel’s best friend.

  • doublereed

    So apparently it used to be under 20 & over 40. Now it’s under 33 & over 40. So like it’s free unless you’re 34-39? How bizarre and unnecessarily complicated…

  • dingojack

    “… complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.”

    Is there a collective noun for groups of congenital liars?

    cptdoom – I’d guess they’d steer clear of describing it as a holocaust (not that they would allow any kind of criticism of god’s first ‘chosen land’).

    Dingo

  • busterggi

    Gosh all hemlock, abortion for Jews is oaky-doaky with the Christian right because they only care about abortions for human beings, Christianity has a long history of explaining that Jews aren’t really human.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    …provides free abortions to all women up to the age of 33 and after the age of 40,

    That’s excellent, and well done Israel, but why the arbitrary 7 year gap in the middle?

  • jnorris

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. I think I have this figured out:

    First, Israel’s venerated Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri prophecied that the Messiah (who will be named Jesus, BTW) will appear sometime after Ariel Sharon died. As reported by the WND:

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/prophetic-twist-to-sharons-imminent-death/

    Ariel Sharon is now dead, after 5 years in a coma. This has to be a blessing to his family.

    Now, because Israel is expanding its free abortion policy, God will not protect Israel. Disregard that God was protecting Israel under the old policy that still allowed free abortions.

    So, Jesus appears on Temple Mount and Israel is destroyed and its Armageddon!

  • jnorris

    Spelling error in above: prophesied

  • liz321

    It’s more complicated than that in evangelical/fundamentalist minds. They don’t support Israel because they actually believe in the moral reasoning of Israel, or because they believe Israel and its population are “good”. They support Israel simply out of obligation. They believe that Israel is still God’s chosen people even though they refuse to accept Jesus as God’s son. Because parts of the Bible proclaim that God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants is eternal and irrevocable, they fear upsetting God by not supporting Israel, even if they think that Israel’s population is lost and headed for hell.

    In their minds they must still fulfill the obligation to “bless” Israel because God said so. People who think that way can’t express frustration about Israel’s moral state because they see it as out of their hands. Israel could start decapitating 5 year olds and putting their heads on display and these people would still feel obligated to “support Israel” because “God’s word” tells them to.

    This idea shows up often in the New Testament writings. The conflict that came about as a result of some Jews splitting and beginning Christianity and many Jews rejecting that was handled by Paul assuring everyone that in the end God would work it all out.

  • Nepenthe

    @doublereed

    Presumably this is to strongly encourage women between 34 and 39 to reproduce. When your entire culture/religion is based on matrilineal descent, one must take steps to ensure that the womenfolk breed at some point.

  • magistramarla

    Nepenthe,

    I was thinking the same thing. It does sort of make sense.

    The under 33 crowd is more likely to be in school or the military, and the thinking probably is that those young women’s skills and talents are needed by the state at that time.

    It makes sense to the state to encourage women in their thirties to settle down and have a family. Also, at that age, since most are probably expected to be married, the cost of an abortion coming out of their own pocket wouldn’t be difficult.

    I would think that after 40, medical complications requiring an abortion might be more common, so it makes sense for the state to subsidize those abortions.

    It’s not a perfect system, but it sure beats what we’re seeing in the US.

  • blf

    Anyonw know what is happening w.r.t. the following, Forced contraception of Jewish Ethopian women…, published almost exactly one year ago (30-Jan-2013) ?:

    A report claims Israel pressured women to reduce its poor black population. …

    Should gynaecologists need to be told not to give women contraceptive injections without establishing fully informed consent? Of course not. But that is what has happened in Israel after it was revealed in a report by a women’s rights organisation that Ethiopian women have been given injections of Depo-Provera without sufficient understanding of the purpose or side effects of the drug. Some Ethiopian women in transit camps were refused entry to the country if they refused the injection, and others wrongly believed they were being inoculated against disease. …

    …[T]he conclusions of the report, written by Hedva Eyal, are that the injections given to Ethiopian women are “a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor”.

    The piece is mostly about similar-ish issues worldwide, but here I am specifically focusing on the Israeli angle since this thread is about abortion and Israel.

  • doublereed

    Presumably this is to strongly encourage women between 34 and 39 to reproduce. When your entire culture/religion is based on matrilineal descent, one must take steps to ensure that the womenfolk breed at some point.

    Y’know, I really have no idea why you had to throw anti-Jewish stuff in there. You’re just being a dick. Especially considering that Israel has had more progress than the Christians in America, I really don’t think such libel makes any goddamn sense. But who cares, you felt like making a stupid jab at Jews?

    Legally, you’re considered Jewish if a grandparent is, because that’s how the Nazis did it and the Israeli law was designed for victims of the Holocaust.

  • Nepenthe

    More progress in terms of what exactly?

    I’ve never understood why Jewish people get a pass on racism and misogyny. Much like I never understood why my Jewish then-boyfriend told me, and I quote, that I wasn’t “fit to bear his children” because I’m not of the correct ethnic background and thus only good for fucking, and then called me a racist when I got upset. Nothing of this sort ever happens in the real world though, certainly not more than once to the same person; it’s just dickish libel from shiksa racists.