By the way, Jonah, I didn't see your post when I made my post--I wasn't responding to it, but I agree with BW, it's nice to hear your voice here a bit more... :)
Certainly the Writings do not imply that any country is above reproach...e.g.,:
Unlike the nations and peoples of the earth, be they of the East or of the West, democratic or authoritarian, communist or capitalist, whether belonging to the Old World or the New, who either ignore, trample upon, or extirpate, the racial, religious, or political minorities within the sphere of their jurisdiction, every organized community enlisted under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh should feel it to be its first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class, or nation within it.
(Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 35)
and there is also a reference which I remember reading recently (and thinking I should have noted the reference down!) to the at-least-sometime hostility accompanying Zionism (at the time of his writing)), but for the life of me, I cannot seem to find it now...
Nevertheless, as far as America being one of the worst--this is in connection with its poor morality/materialism as well as its partisanship and such corrupt practices. Statements about both its general form of government (despite its lack of a symbolic monarch--which the Writings do praise) as well as its government's generally positive destiny in bringing about the oneness of humanity are also repeatedly reaffirmed by 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. Also, its qualities of "high intelligence, of youthfulness, of unbounded initiative, and enterprise", referred to in the Advent of Divine Justice, are praised--note that this praise was for the country as a whole, with his subsequent indication that Baha'is will need to embrace these values themselves.
But more to the point, there is such praise as this (by 'Abdu'l-Baha):
Praise be to God! I find these two great American nations highly capable and advanced in all that appertains to progress and civilization. These governments are fair and equitable. The motives and purposes of these people are lofty and inspiring.
(Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 318)
Of course 'Abdu'l-Baha has a sin-covering eye, and is focusing on the positive, but He was not so extreme in this so as to make statements which were wholly contrary to an overall generalization He wished to make...
As far as the chosen people, that is true on both counts that elitism coming from whatever direction is misplaced, however, there is a basis of truth of Jews having been (and even to some degree being) the chosen people. The Bible speaks of this, but the interpretation can to a large degree be that the Jews are blessed for having so many Prophets appear in their land. However, there is a special blessing foretold in the Bible (Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) for the "remnant"--those Jews who were faithful to accepting Christ (as well as those who earlier accepted Muhammad). As an aside, there is this quotation from God Passes By:
The conclusion of this terrible conflict, the first stage in a titanic convulsion long predicted by Bahá'u'lláh ... produced those revolutionary changes which, on the one hand, fulfilled the ominous predictions made by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and enabled, according to Scriptural prophecy, so large an element of the "outcasts of Israel," the "remnant" of the "flock," to "assemble" in the Holy Land, and to be brought back to "their folds" and "their own border," beneath the shadow of the "Incomparable Branch," referred to by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His "Some Answered Questions," and which, on the other hand, gave birth to the institution of the League of Nations, the precursor of that World Tribunal which, as prophesied by that same "Incomparable Branch," the peoples and nations of the earth must needs unitedly establish.
Now, in the Baha'i age, it is promised that their future will also be glorious:
"You have asked Me a question with regard to the gathering of the children of Israel in Jerusalem in accordance with the prophecy.
"Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies, is a revered Temple, a sublime name, for it is the City of God... The gathering of Israel at Jerusalem means, therefore, and prophesies, that Israel as a whole is gathering beneath the banner of God and will enter the Kingdom of the Ancient of Days. For the celestial Jerusalem, which has as its center the Holy of Holies, is a City of the Kingdom, a Divine City. The East and West are but a small corner of that City.
"Moreover, materially as well (as spiritually), the Israelites will gather in the Holy Land. This is irrefutable prophecy, for the ignominy which Israel has suffered for well-nigh twenty-five hundred years will now be changed into eternal glory, and in the eyes of all, the Jewish people will become glorified to such an extent as to draw the jealousy of its enemies and the envy of its friends."
(According to information received by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States several years ago this Tablet was revealed by the Master in the year 1897 to a Jewish Community in the Orient: Baha'i News, No. 250, December 1951, p. 5, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1677)
"Regarding your question concerning the future of the Jews: They certainly have, as explicitly stated by the Master, a great spiritual destiny, and will gradually enter the Faith in large groups."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, November 13, 1937, Lights of Guidance, no. 1681)
There are pilgrim's notes of Shoghi Effendi attributing him to the effect (as I recall from the notes as published here at BLO) to have said that the Jews will eventually become defenders of the Faith (in Israel) and bring administrative excellence. Another pilgrim's note (I know, just a pilgrim's note) stated that the enemies of Israel don't want peace (obviously, if true, this would have been a generalization, and again, Israelis are not wholly exonerated from the capacity for injustice).
Also from the Baha'i World Centre (of course this is not a racial or government statement):
"Historically the Holy Land has exercised an influence in human affairs beyond all proportion to its size and will continue to do so in the future..."
(Haifa, August 1968, in Baha'i Holy Places from the World Centre)
In contrast, I believe I have heard that Baha'u'llah is to have written that the yoke that was put on the Jew has now been lifted and put on the Muslim. Although I can't confirm this, the following is in fact from authentic text...Shoghi Effendi said in this remarkably and tragically prophetic quotation:
Islám, at once the progenitor and persecutor of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, is, if we read aright the signs of the times, only beginning to sustain the impact of this invincible and triumphant Faith. We need only recall the nineteen hundred years of abject misery and dispersion which they, who only for the short space of three years persecuted the Son of God, have had to endure, and are still enduring. We may well ask ourselves, with mingled feelings of dread and awe, how severe must be the tribulations of those who, during no less than fifty years, have, "at every moment tormented with a fresh torment" Him Who is the Father, and who have, in addition, made His Herald--Himself a Manifestation of God--to quaff, in such tragic circumstances, the cup of martyrdom.
(Promised Day is Come, March 28, 1941, par. 249
Mind you that, as I have also supplied quotations for in another thread, the Jews are also admonished that their own sufferings will, however, continue until such time as they acknowledge Jesus and Muhammad, and again, that this doesn't mean that any government's actions are always ethical.
The degradation is not merely in the afflictions and conflicts--it is also in the growing moral degradation....Look at this Holocaust cartoon outrage... One newspaper publishes offensive cartoons, so an entire government then retaliates by seeking to deny a beyond-words-awful travesty of recent history? Is there any comparison in justice between the official handling (not the individual actions, but the official handling) of these soldiers accused of killing an Iraqi for whom the death penalty has now been recommended and for the deliberate and systematic plan (exposed by the U.N. mind you) to eliminate the cultural roots of the whole Baha'i community--including abroad, systematically denying them pensions, university education and the like (while Western (including Israeli) governments continue to offer all of these to its Muslim citizens)?!? Or for a war that deliberately sought to avoid the killing of civilians (for whatever cynical motive you want to give to it) and subterfuge and incitement to civil strife? Not only 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice, but also the Transcendent Personages, Baha'u'llah and the Bab Themselves) have spoken of the distinctive (albeit relative) openness both to the Faith and general progress of the West versus Islam. Even those parochial Christian clergy--while they vainly (and counterintuitively) have opposed the U.N., despite their understanding of its association with events preceding the Return of Christ, are not so inane as to actually promote immorality, despite it, as with the Islamic prophecies, being one of the signs of the Return. There is a world of difference here, even while it must be acknowledged that all sides should be taking themselves more to task (not simply materially, but also, as should be obvious, spiritually).
On what I hope is a more temperate, not to mention definitive note, as far as the ultimate Baha'i position on the issue (my comments above are intended to bring what I hope would be a greater balance and perspective--not to encourage people to be drawn into taking sides--we could also focus on the retributions spoken of in the Writings of materialism and secularism affecting the West and undermining its sacerdotal institutions' influence, for example) Shoghi Effendi stated when this specific question was posed to him by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine:
"The Bahá'í Faith is entirely nonpolitical and we neither take sides in the present tragic dispute going on over the future of the Holy Land and its people nor have we any statement to make or advice to give as to what the nature of the political future of this country should be. Our aim is the establishment of universal peace in this world and our desire to see justice prevail in every domain of human society, including the domain of politics. As many of the adherents of our Faith are of both Jewish and Moslem extraction, we have no prejudice towards either of these groups and are most anxious to reconcile them for their mutual good and for the good of the country."
"What does concern us, however, in any decisions made affecting the future of Palestine, is that the fact be recognized by whoever exercises sovereignty over Haifa and Acre, that within this area exits the spiritual and administrative world center of a world Faith, and that the independence of that Faith, its right to manage its affairs from this source, the right of Bahá'ís from any and every country of the globe to visit it as pilgrims (enjoying the same privilege in this respect as Jews, Moslems and Christians do in regard to visiting Jerusalem), be acknowledged and permanently safeguarded."
The above was also apparently mentioned in Citadel of Faith by Shoghi Effendi in these terms: "the submission to the General Assembly of the United Nations of the thorny and challenging problem of the Holy Land," (p. 33)