America's illusion of global cultural conquest experiences a shudder when one of our inconsequential or distant satellites — Canada, Britain or Israel, say — steps up and walks away. Canada stepped away after the Canadian women took the gold in Olympic hockey in the 2002 Winter Olympics. It has never been the same since. The old-form archetypal Canadian submissive poet Robertson Davies has been replaced since by the brash and blustering billionaire investor Kevin O'Leary of the popular TV shows "Dragon's Den" and "Shark Tank" ("Business is war. I go out there, I want to kill the competitors.") I live in the north country of New Hampshire and my evening news is CBC out of Montreal. We'll never get them back.
But what is sending up a shutter now is that Israel is leaving us as well.
And I would make a suggestion. Today, Israel's classes, masses, students and political parties — the hipsters in Tel Aviv and the rabbis in Jerusalem — are beginning to formulate internally around the icon at the center of Israel's end and beginning: Temple Mount, the temple of Solomon in the very heart of Jerusalem.
When they do so, they will turn away from America. And when they do, it will shake the world.
It will be a revolutionary action perhaps more important than the American Revolution, the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution, because in the end, the Russians became Russians again, the French French and the Americans British (Harry Potter, "Game of Thrones," "Downton Abbey," Chef Gordon Ramsay). Israel will conceivably bring a revolution in moral and holistic culture and freedom to the world. But on the surface, Israel, like Canada and Britain, is today seceding from global America.
This explains the "how dare you" tone of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman last month, appointed to speak to us about Israel.
"We're not dealing anymore with your grandfather's Israel, and they're not dealing anymore with your grandmother's America either," he writes. "Time matters, and the near half-century since the 1967 war has changed both of us in ways neither wants to acknowledge."
"Israel, from its side, has become a more religious society," he says. "On Friday nights in Jerusalem now you barely see a car moving on the streets in Jewish neighborhoods, which only used to be the case on Yom Kippur — and the settlers are clearly more brazen."
And with stunning patronization: "You did not go to summer camp with these Jews. You did not meet them at your local Reform synagogue. This is a hard core."
In two centuries of revolution and unprecedented global slaughter, we have experienced Russia's nihilistic Decemberists, Emma Goldman's anarchists, Marx, Stalin, Lenin, drug guru Timothy Leary and sexual dissident Jean Genet. But possibly for the first time in recent world history, political activists been called "hard core" for keeping the Sabbath and for desiring to pray at Temple Mount.
What could possibly be more dangerous to America's world vision? Imagine what would happen in the next 200 years if this kind of thing catches on.
Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.