Jeffrey Goldberg is a superior reporter and Middle East analyst, who writes for Bloomberg. He provides an intelligent and refreshingly balanced perspective on Middle-Eastern politics, especially with regard to Israel/Palestine—which means that he gets hate mail from both sides.
He riles American left-liberals with his insistence that Hamas’ mission statement calling for Israel’s extinction not be glossed over—and that Israel, surrounded by many hostile regimes, has legitimate concerns regarding security.
He riles Israeli ultra-nationalists with his insistence that Israel is making a serious strategic mistake, and losing much-needed support in the international community, by continuing its policy of building settlements on land that will need to become part of Palestine when (if) a two-state solution is accomplished.
In a recent piece, Goldberg referred to elements of the current Israeli ruling coalition as “idol worshippers, and their idol is land.” Zionism, Goldberg explains, once viewed the Biblical lands as the means to achieve the more important goal of a Jewish homeland. Possessing all of the land was not necessary: it was necessary only to have enough land for a Jewish state.
Now, however, an increasingly powerful segment of Jewish (and we might as well add, Christian) fundamentalists sees possession of the whole of the ancient Davidic Kingdom, from sea (Mediterranean) to river (Jordan), as essential. It is this uncompromising essentialism that leads Goldberg to use the “i” word: idolatry.
Idol-worship is something we do. It’s the human tendency to mistake an image of God for the Real Thing; or to elevate something of lesser and relative power, to the status of absolute. The world is full of idols, and they always lead us away from the Kingdom that Isaiah imagined: the Kingdom where swords are turned to plowshares, and where the lion lies down with the lamb.