As an evangelical Christian, Cal Thomas – author, syndicated columnist, television talking head – brings to his work a deep religious commitment combined with a sophisticated media sensibility. His worldview is governed by biblical absolutes, among them the unshakable conviction that the Jews have a divine right to the Land of Israel.
(That last point alone is enough to distinguish him from most Jewish pundits and, for that matter, most American Jews, whose unease with any public acknowledgment of God or religion can border on the pathological.)
Thomas, who started out as a copyboy for NBC News and years later served as a high-level spokesman for Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, began writing his column in 1984 for the Los Angeles Times syndicate. The column, carried today by Media Tribune Services, now appears in more than 540 newspapers, making Thomas the nation’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist.
He is blissfully unburdened by the need to appear even-handed or non-judgmental. On the Middle East that translates not only into an unbending support for Israel, but a healthy distrust of Israel’s enemies as well.
Concerning Israel’s serial concessions to its enemies, Thomas has written, “It is particularly unpleasant when Jews are co-conspirators in their own destruction.”
His skepticism about the good intentions of Arab leaders makes for a glaring contrast with the cheap sentimentality so much in vogue among Jews in Israel and the U.S.
Indeed, Thomas has little patience with the Pollyannas who tremble with delight each time a Palestinian spokesman puts on his best diplomatic airs for gullible Western reporters and statesmen. To Thomas, such perorations amount to nothing but “a piece of theater designed to mask the true intention of Israel’s enemies: complete domination of all the land they continue to regard as Palestine. Such an objective remains in their language, in the sermons of their clergy, in their television news, in classroom instruction aimed at creating a new generation of Jew haters, and in their hearts”
Nor does he harbor illusions about the defeatist mindset afflicting a significant number of Israelis. In a column some years ago, he described a conversation he had with an Israeli woman who expressed to him her “longing for peace.”
She went on to explain that she already had one son in the army and another one going soon, and she didn’t care whether Israel had to give up land in order to get peace.
“We are so tired of war,” she declared.
Thomas asked her how much land she thought Israel would have to relinquish for peace – “Would the 1948 borders suffice?”
When she emphatically stated that a move back to 1948 lines would be too much, Thomas asked her just how much land would be enough. She admitted she wasn’t sure.
“Don’t you believe what your enemies say in their press and in their mosques and to their own people about wanting all the land and being satisfied with nothing less?” he asked.
“Oh, I don’t believe any of that,” she replied.
That Israeli, wrote Thomas, “is the type of person the State Department Arabists and Israel’s other enemies are counting on to seal any ‘peace deal.’ What it will seal, of course, is Israel’s fate.”
Israel, he has written, is automatically guaranteed the short end of the stick in any peace talks, which he likens to a cycle forever repeating itself:
(1) The Arabs make great peace overtures to get Israel and the West excited; (2) Israel and the Arabs negotiate an accord that promises certain concessions from the Arabs in exchange for land given to them by Israel; (3) Israel gives them land, but the Arabs do not reciprocate; (4) the peace process stalls; (5) Israel is blamed; (6) the West pressures Israel to get on with the process; (7) efforts to “jump start” the process are made by Israel with input from the West; (8) nothing happens, the Israeli leader is ousted in elections and his successor promises to do better; (9) go back to (1) and begin again…
In a prescient column he wrote several years before the abandonment of Gaza and the onslaught of the Kassams, Thomas posed the rhetorical question of how Israeli leftists would respond when Israel inevitably came under attacks launched from territories relinquished to its adversaries. Easy, he said: “Their line will be that Israel didn’t compromise fast enough and so made her enemies angry.”