As Kate noted here the other day, Ma’an reported that two Republican congressmen toured the Temple Mount in February along with rightwing Israel Jews who covet the site.
Two members of the US Congress joined right-wing Jews who toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound escorted by Israeli police officers in February, a Jerusalem-based Fatah official said.
Dimitri Daliani told Ma’an on Thursday that Republicans Bill Johnson of Ohio and David McKinley of Virginia entered the compound with the “extremist” Chaim Richman, director of the rightist Temple Institute.
Daliani said the “congressmen’s participation in such criminal incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque without being questioned by their own government indicates collusion with settler gangs whose aim is to hurt the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The Temple Institute promotes Jewish prophecies of “the reestablishment of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.”
Johnson later commented in the Jewish Tribune, on “how little real religious freedom and liberty the people of Israel have over the very land that they are supposed to be the owners of.”
“The Jewish people own the property, but they don’t control the property.”…
“I personally think they’ve given up enough,” he said. “They’ve been squeezed out of their land; the holy sites are being controlled by outsiders.
Both men are from business backgrounds and swing districts. Johnson, a Protestant and former computer scientist, captured his Ohio district from a Democrat in 2010 and beat him again in 2012– 53-47 percent. McKinley, a former engineer and an Episcopalian once divorced, also won his seat in 2010, after Democrats held it for 40 years. He won re-election handily in 2012.
Colin Wright, a former commenter on this site, saw the story and adds:
Two Congressmen recently went the extra mile and joined an Israeli walkabout on the Temple Mount.
Their vital statistics are suggestive. Both are Republicans, both are from districts that would appear to be stuffed with evangelicals, and both recently beat out Democratic incumbents. They are vulnerable to being unseated. Bill Johnson, in particular, barely held onto his seat against a challenge from the apparently discontented former
These are exactly the types that need to prove they love Israel the bestest — and they are both from districts with evangelicals.
I mention this, because during my tenure at Mondoweiss, when I tried to point out just how important the evangelical demographic is, some element of the counterargument seemed to contain a weird element of Jewish egotism. Jews had to be the pivotal element.
Well, I don’t think they are. I think the backbone of support for Israel in this country is evangelical. Worse, while many or even most Jews support Israel, what they broadly seem to want is a ‘nice’ Israel — one that is democratic, doesn’t shoot children, etc.
The evangelicals are different. For a variety of reasons, the worse Israel behaves, the better it is fulfilling their needs. So if Jews are the original reason we have an Israel, one of the reasons it can be an Israel that behaves so badly are evangelicals. I think that if American support for Israel hinged solely on Jews, it might well still be there — but it would find itself forced to be a much better-behaved Israel.