If you spend a decent amount of time on social media and news websites, you’ll no doubt hear and read a steady stream of tone-deaf statements from politicians, celebrities, and other public figures who are incapable of imagining what life is like for other people. But every once in good long while, you come across a statement so ignorant that you have to stand in awe of its mere existence.
Such was the case on Monday when Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, told an audience at an evangelical pro-Israel summit in Washington, D.C. (more on that in a moment) that the Israel Defense Forces should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for their actions during its latest siege of Gaza:
“Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
Full speech here.
There’s really no rebuttal to be presented here because the statement — taken in the obvious context of the situation — is a rebuttal of itself. As of July 22, nearly 600 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 149 children. Even if Dermer truly believes what he’s saying, (and there’s no reason to doubt that he does) you really have to wonder how a professional diplomat could allow himself to come off as such a callously indifferent jackass.
Which brings us to the venue at which Dermer was speaking.
It may very well be that Dermer was emboldened by his host, Christians United For Israel, or CUFI, which is the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S. Its support of Israel ranges from advocacy on college campuses to this very annual summit at which not only did Dermer speak, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well (via satellite), in addition to the usual American neocon suspects.
CUFI was founded by pastor and infamous End Times-welcomer, John Hagee, who like many evangelicals always supports Israel because he wants to see it destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon, at which point Jesus will return.
Ergo, Hagee is a dangerous extremist who cares about Israel only insofar as it’s a means to a religious end, one in which Jews (who reject Jesus as the messiah) are cast headlong into the flaming pits of hell. Hagee may love Israel, but clearly he has some problems with actual Jewish people. As he wrote in his book, Jerusalem Countdown,
“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.”
Translation: Jews have brought their sufferings on themselves by rejecting god, who apparently is so petty that he would punish multiple generations of them for the alleged sins of their ancestors.
Yet, it’s this man’s summit that the Israeli government sees fit to send its leaders. And while there is no doubt in my mind that the Israelis secretly view Hagee and his ilk as the total lunatics that they are, the pastor is nonetheless a useful idiot who provides a great deal of political support and cover to Israeli’s actions in the Middle East.