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Evangelicals and IsraelThe Story of American Christian Zionism$
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Stephen Spector

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368024.001.0001

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Evangelicals and the Dynamics of George W. Bush’s Middle East Policy

Evangelicals and the Dynamics of George W. Bush’s Middle East Policy

(p.234) 11 Evangelicals and the Dynamics of George W. Bush’s Middle East Policy
Evangelicals and Israel

Stephen Spector (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the claim that evangelical pressure forced Bush to recast his position on Israel’s incursion into the West Bank in the spring of 2002. People who know and admire Bush consider that ludicrous. David Frum says that Bush initially left Israel to the State Department. After 9/11, though, the Middle East was far more urgent to Bush. When he abruptly stopped demanding that Israel withdraw, says Frum, he was breaking away from traditional American policy. By the summer of 2002, Bush had charted an entirely new course. The chapter addresses various theories about why Bush allied with Israel so firmly. Some observers attribute it to his personal relationship with Sharon. Another perspective is that the Bush administration maintained a hands-off policy because of Bill Clinton’s failure to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough. Another issue was a debate in the administration about whether to act first on Iraq. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that Bush’s policy was influenced by a powerful but loosely defined Jewish Lobby. In the summer of 2007, the Bush administration sought to prop up the Fatah-led government in the West Bank and to sponsor Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Christian Zionists denounced the new peace initiative.

Keywords:   Bill Clinton, Fatah, David Frum, hands-off policy, Iraq, Jewish Lobby, John Mearsheimer, 9/11, peace initiative, State Department, Stephen Walt

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