Huckabee Said WHAT About Jews?

Mike Huckabee plays the axe at Thomas Road Baptist Church, the Rev. Jerry Falwell's old pulpit. Wikimedia Commons/<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Huckabee.JPG">EOverbey</a>


When The New Yorker writer Ariel Levy profiled Mike Huckabee for the magazine this week, Israel and Judaism came up. A lot. Huckabee, the ex-Arkansas governor, current Fox TV showman, and rumored 2012 presidential hopeful, had just made his 14th trip to the Holy Land. He spoke to Levy at length about his philosemitism—in fact, the profile starts with Huck and buddy Pat Boone (yes, that Pat Boone) um, praising the Hebrews, sorta:

Both men were wearing yarmulkes. “I think what I should do is convert,” Huckabee said, squinting in the sunshine. “This covers my bald spot completely.”

Huckabee was a Baptist minister before he went into politics, but, like Boone and most of the other people in their group, he is crazy about Israel and extremely enthusiastic about Jews. “I worship a Jew!” Huckabee said. “I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they’re kind of, like, ‘You evangelicals love Israel more than we do.’ I’m, like, ‘Do you not get it? If there weren’t a Jewish faith, there wouldn’t be a Christian faith!'”

Huckabee has a reputation as a good-natured jokester, but he turned deadly serious when discussing non-Jews in the Israeli vicinity, too:

“I have to be careful saying this, because people get really upset—there’s really no such thing as a Palestinian,” Huckabee told a rabbi in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at a kosher breakfast on the campaign trail in 2008. “That’s been a political tool to try to force land away from Israel.”

MoJo has a rich history documenting the rise of the so-called Christian Zionist movement, of evangelical Protestant conservatives courting Jews on the basis of a common fondness for the promised land. (We wrote here in 2004 how 7 in 10 white evangelicals believed Israel was “given to the Jews by God.”) But, as Huckabee’s yarmulke yukking (and the testimony of Texas firebrand pastor John Hagee) has shown, there’s something tenuous and possibly patronizing about the Judaica fetish exhibited by evangelical Christians—who, after all, believe that when the Lord comes, he may be coming to Israel, but he won’t be coming for its Jewish citizens.

So how about it, readers? Is Huckabee’s fondness for Judaism sincere and enduring, or is it a patronizing fetish?

(H/t Wonkette)

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.