Dan Larison has some typically thoughtful criticism of my recent DMN column defending Israel in its fight with Hezbollah. He takes issue with my use of Psalm 83 as a lead-in to my piece (by the way, when I wrote the piece, I was not aware of the update the Irish museum authorities issued correcting the number of the Psalm found in the peat bog; had I been I would not have cited that Psalm). I want to be clear that I was not citing the Psalm to set Israel up as a Davidic monarchy in the present situation, but only to make the general point that the struggle of the nation of Israel with its regional enemies is an ancient one. That is, nothing changes under the sun. I honestly believe that this fight between Israel and Hezbollah is, as Amir Taheri wrote, an existential wars, and that Israel is a proxy for the West against radical Islam. I thought it was pretty clear from my piece that I’m not advocating the extermination of Arab peoples, nor do I think that the West, including Israel (which is culturally of the West), is always and everywhere right. In fact, we are under God’s judgment too. But I do believe that Israel’s fight against the forces of radical Islam is our fight too, and I believe that the Psalmist prayer from ancient times should be ours too. ~Rod Dreher
I appreciate Rod’s response to my original post. I thought it important to point out the rhetorical problems of using Scripture and the potential for falling into the error of oraculum (speaking for the gods) that Bradford repeatedly chastised his conservative contemporaries about. I also wanted to raise a red flag about what I thought might be a dangerous conflation of Biblical and modern Israel, which can, if taken seriously, lead to all sorts of unfortunate violent politico-religious enthusiasms regarding Israel’s appropriate relations with her neighbours. The lead-in could give the reader the impression that the current war in Lebanon is supposed to be a fight against Arabs generally, which undermined Rod’s focus on radical Islam and detracted from his argument. We will still differ on whether or not the current campaign is being conducted in the right way to fight radical Islam in Hizbullah, but that is to be expected.