The Plank

Eric Cantor's Blood-and-soil Foreign Policy

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Eric Cantor appears before a Christian Zionist group and lays out his thinking, such as it is, on the Middle East:

"Reaching out to the Muslim world may help in creating an environment
for peace in the Middle East, but we must insist as Americans that our
policies be firmly grounded in the beliefs of the Judeo-Christian
tradition upon which this country was founded."

Steve Benen asks, "if [Cantor] could explain what a "Judeo-Christian" foreign policy would look like, I'd sure appreciate it." Sure, I'll explain it. Cantor is saying that the basis for America's policy in the Middle East should be the common religious heritage of Christians and Jews. Essentially, he wants the United States to treat Israel the way Russia treats Serbia -- an ally based on common cultural heritage. It's perfectly explicable.

It's also perfectly nuts. The basis of the U.S.-Israel alliance is, and should continue to be, Israel's democratic character and desire to live in peace, in contrast to the eliminationist intentions of its neighbors. Cantor is saying that Israel deserves America's support merely because of its Jewish quality. So if, say, Israel were to become a fascistic state bent on the destruction of its neighbors*, then the case for the U.S.-Israel alliance would be no less strong, because of a shared religious heritage. It's a rancid, illiberal, primitive way of thinking about foreign policy.

*Yes, left-wingers, I know you think this is already the case. Take your comments to Stephen Walt's blog.

--Jonathan Chait

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