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Originally published at Tikkun Daily.

Israel is mine. I own it – or rather, I hold an ownership stake in it.

No, I am not a citizen of the country – I’m an American Jew, born upon Georgia’s red clay, now living amidst lush, Pennsylvanian foothills. And no, I am not obligated to send my children to the IDF, nor do I pay taxes or vote in the country’s elections. I did not pitch my tent this past summer along Rothschild Boulevard, nor have I physically stood with Palestinian and Israeli protesters in Nabi Saleh on a Friday afternoon, inhaling tear gas and fleeing from cannon-propelled skunk water.

True, I lived in Israel for many years, though such prior residence has nothing to do with my ownership status. And true, I descended into the visceral depths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when my wife was bombed at Hebrew University in 2002, though such suffering – and our State-supported care – doesn’t grant me any greater stake in the country or right to possess it.

I own Israel because the country insists upon such an arrangement, flailing as it struggles to be both Jewish and democratic. I’m a stakeholder because, as a legally-recognized member of the people of Israel (having in the past proven to the State that I have a Jewish mother and father), I’m granted the unequivocal right to return to my country at a moment’s notice. I am encouraged, even solicited, to return to my country at a moment’s notice.

This ownership stake I hold in Israel is less a possession than it is a responsibility – a responsibility I accept willingly and with a seriousness of purpose. I don’t own an apartment in Jerusalem or an Israeli passport, but I do own the shared responsibility of ensuring that Israel, as the national outgrowth of my people, creates a just society. It is a responsibility that has its origins in tradition, in the Talmudic precept that all those within “Israel” are responsible for one another (כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה).

However, in political terms, it’s a responsibility that comes directly from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, a declaration which established the country as one “based on freedom, justice and peace” for all its inhabitants. It’s a declaration that appeals to me directly, in the diaspora, to help Israel realize this reality:

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.
The redemption of Israel. This is why I often sharply critique Israel’s hawkish political elite, its settlement enterprise, its brutal suppression of the Palestinian people. It is why, when Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf recently wrote in his review of Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism that “the occupation is the greatest moral challenge of my generation,” I nodded in agreement. I nodded instinctively to the words my generation. For his generation is mine. As Jews, we are responsible for this. I am responsible for this – responsible for realizing the Israel envisioned upon its founding, an Israel created to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants.”

Now, my claim upon Israel is different than that of a citizen, and I wouldn’t pretend otherwise. I am not impacted, in my daily life, by the decisions of the body politic in Israel, and my civic responsibilities within the country are almost non-existent.

Which is why, perhaps, when I stated recently that “the occupation is the greatest moral challenge of my generation,” personal objections from fellow Jews, both American and Israeli, littered my inbox, voices I didn’t know chanting a singular theme: You don’t have a claim, you don’t have the right to make such a claim.

But they are wrong.

The reality is this: most who chant that I have no claim do so for political reasons, do so because of my willingness to critique the country as a “leftist,” not because they truly believe that diaspora Jews have no legitimate stake in Israel. For those same people who attack my critiques place upon me the responsibility to support and defend Israel at untold costs. Why? Because it is my responsibility, as a Jew – they say – to defend it.

To do otherwise is to be branded as self-hating, as anti-Semitic, as a capo (as Jon Stewart knows all too well).

But my defense of the Israel envisioned at its founding manifests itself, at times, in the form of critiquing the way in which Zionism manifests itself today, a Zionism that allows for an Israel which unspeakably suppresses the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people living under its thumb in the Occupied Territories. An Israel which regularly suppresses nonviolent Palestinian protest marches, full of families and children, with military force. An Israel which, through its repressive system of military justice in the Occupied Territories, often indefinitely detains Palestinians without charge or evidence for months and, sometimes, years. An Israel which, between 2005 and 2010, convicted 99.8 percent of 853 Palestinian minors charged with rock throwing, 15 percent of whom (contrary to Israeli law) served sentences of over six months in adult prisons.

Joseph Dana recently argued in his own review of Beinart’s book that such critiques are an essential entry point for saving Israel from itself:

Rigorous critique of Zionism, not Israeli settlements, is the first step towards safeguarding Israel as a haven for Jews while preventing the country from sliding deeper into moral bankruptcy.
I would argue that it is not just my right as a diaspora Jew, but my responsibility to engage in such rigorous critiques. Not to destroy Israel, but to protect it. To safeguard the country which long ago granted me an ownership stake, and which, at its founding, appealed to me for assistance in realizing the country’s redemption – a moral redemption that is increasingly becoming endangered.

A redemption increasingly standing on the precipice.

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Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG
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Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Would Like To Disagree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, luckylizard, victoria2dc

    but I'd sound like a dick. I don't like to come off as a "dick."

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:23:14 PM PDT

  •  This is pretty much how I feel also, with this (14+ / 0-)

    addition: having been born the same year as Israel's independence, and being brought up to love and care about Israel, the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people feels like a bitter betrayal to me. I know that there are probably 100s of trees in Israel that were planted in my family's name (we spent a dollar to plant a tree on every possible occasion throughout my siblings' and my childhood). I know my parents sent donations and voted in politicians who supported Israel. And until about 10 or so years ago, my husband and I contributed to Jewish organizations that supported Israel.
    Israel was presented to us as a shared creation -- created by the hard work and sacrifice of Jews in Israel, and by the donations and support of Jews in the diaspora, particularly Jews in America. A shared creation that championed social justice.
    As I learned more and more about the occupation, as I became aware of the ugly influence of the religious extremists in Israel, as I heard details of the discrimination against Israeli Arabs (citizens, but not with all the rights of citizens), my support and enthusiasm for Israel waned. Over a year ago, we left our temple of 25 years because they would not respond to our requests to have an open discussion of these issues, even though we stated that both sides should be represented. (Ironically, we sent a letter explaining why we were leaving which reverberated among the rabbis, Board of Directors and others in leadership positions, and they are having a big event with Peter Beinart as one of the speakers on Friday evening -- at the biannual Shabbiton named for my husband's family).
    My husband's at a J Street meeting tonight. Friday we go to our former Temple to hear Beinart and the head of Hillel debate the issues. We contribute to Americans for Peace Now and to J Street, but not to any organization that sends money to Israel in a generic fashion. I try to avoid buying Israeli products (pretty impossible at Passover) unless I know they have no connection to the settlements or the right wing in Israel. And my older daughter has been tear-gassed in the West Bank, written blogs about the treatment of the Palestinians, attended rallies here in Washington, D.C. in support of Palestinian statehood, and will have a chapter in a book about young Jews and their feelings about Israel (a book published by a Jewish organization). So our connection to Israel is now expressed in our opposition to the occupation and the settlements and our support for a fairly negotiated 2-state solution that will allow for a viable Palestinian state.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:02:22 PM PDT

    •  I looked at your first paragraph (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar, poco

      and felt as if I had written it.  I was also born in the same year as Israel, and also feel that the Palestinian situation is a personal betrayal - a betrayal of what Israel is supposed to be.

      Say hi to Jozi.  Will you be in Providence?

      Old people are like old houses - lots of character, but the plumbing leaks.

      by ramara on Mon May 07, 2012 at 02:10:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, we're not planning on going. We would have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco

        gone if your panel had been accepted (it made it pretty far into the process so you should feel good about that), but I'm not a convention kind of person and my husband's not a Kossack. So without the inspiration of your panel (which we think is of tremendous importance) and seeing our daughter on the panel, we're not that motivated to go.
        I do feel bad that i don't get to meet all the wonderful people I communicate with here on Daily Kos. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet you!
        Maybe next year....

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Mon May 07, 2012 at 03:26:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  p.s., when the book comes out with our (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco

        daughter's chapter in it, I'll let you know. I know nothing of the details (title, or publishing date or anything) but it's the organization Avodah that's doing it, I believe.

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Mon May 07, 2012 at 03:27:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The horns of a dilemma.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socalmonk, yaque, isabelle hayes

    I can't imagine how difficult it must for you.  I have similiar feelings about the "right" of Israel to exist vs. its often heavy-handed approach to Palestinians.  I'm not even Jewish and it bothers me.  

    I have no doubt about the state of Israel.  People need a homeland.  Reconciling the needs of one people with those of another, especially when there is such incredible animosity, seems like an impossible dream, yet there are those who have worked diligently to make it happen.  Why others think it's a zero-sum game is a mystery to me.  There are hard heads and hard feelings on both sides and that makes any kind of reconciliation nearly out of reach.  Toss in all kinds of geopolitical shenanigans and the whole thing seems destined to go on forever.  Sigh...

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:08:25 PM PDT

  •  No... You don't "own" Israel (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, Nospinicus, Kane in CA, JNEREBEL

    Do you, as a Jew, have a stake in Israel? Absolutely. Do you have every right make the comments that you make? Certainly. Do you have a responsibility to point out the shortcomings of Israel? In my opinion, not in the manner that you do. I believe your criticsm lacks clear context or even understanding.

    Does that mean I support the Occupation as it is progressing? Not at all. I think it is a great danger to Jewish Democracy and to Israel's longevity. That said, there is a context to it as well and I will not simply suggest that the Israelis pull back to the 1967 borders given the threats they face and the actions and rhetoric of the other side. I am not a believer in Israeli national suicide.

    More than that... it is not up to you what happens for all of the reasons you state. You don't live there (yes I know you did and so did I for a brief time), and as such you simply don't get to claim "responsibility" or "ownership" (in the context you mean).

    Oh and while I know people that do not respect your P.O.V., I don't know any people except for some very deranged, drooling rightists who think you are anti-Semitic (But they think I am a "Nazi" and "Jihadist supporter" as well... so who cares what they think.)

    •  Well. volley, in addition to the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      volleyboy1, JNEREBEL

      problematic use of the word "ownership," the diarist's statement that

      as a diaspora Jew, [it is my] my responsibility to engage in such rigorous critiques
      strikes me as a real slap at, and an intolerant attitude toward, other diaspora Jews. In other words, the diarist uses a very broad brush to implicitly condemn as irresponsible those Jews who do not engage in "critiques" of Israel similar to those he engages in.

      How is that different than what Dershowitz and his intolerant AIPAC buddies say about Jews who support J Street?   Both are using a broad brush to condemn Jews for their positions (or lack thereof) toward Israel.

      Kol Hakavod to those Jews who passionately critique Israeli policy -- indeed, there is much to criticize. But suggesting that those who -- for any number of reasons -- choose not to engage in similar critiques (and in a similar manner) are irresponsible Jews? Um . . . no. That's a bad message to send. Really bad.

    •  Hi volley (0+ / 0-)

      Israel is committing suicide.  Every time they build more housing units on the WB, every time settlements uproot Palestinian orchards to build more, every time the separation wall inches further onto Palestinian land - Israel is making it less possible to continue as both Jewish and democratic.  As it is, settlers have full rights of Israeli citizenship while their Palestinian neighbors are under military rule.  That already unmakes democratic institutions.

      But it is nice to see you again.

      Old people are like old houses - lots of character, but the plumbing leaks.

      by ramara on Mon May 07, 2012 at 02:18:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey ramara (0+ / 0-)

        Nice to see you as well...

        I agree that the Occupation and the course to a One State Solution is national suicide - at least for the nature of Israel as a Western, Jewish Democracy.

        I think though, that you, and I have very different ideas of how to solve this problem. AND really, it doesn't matter what our ideas are because we are not Israeli. They are the ones who have to figure it out. We can offer our ideas and we can debate those ideas but in the end it is the Israelis who have to decide.

        What we have is control over (or at least what we can influence) how our government reacts to Israeli moves and what level of support we choose to give to Israel. That in the end is the challenge the diaspora faces.  

        •  My fear for Israel (0+ / 0-)

          is that the Israelis are already choosing and will end up with one state whether they intend it or not.  

          But you are right - we are only onlookers.

          Old people are like old houses - lots of character, but the plumbing leaks.

          by ramara on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:55:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  When the American right demanded of my (4+ / 0-)

    generation, "Love it or leave it," we responded with, "Change it or lose it." We are now witnessing the loss of America, and the possibility that our opportunity for redemption has already come and gone. I hope your Israel fares better.

    I thought I heard a boy cry, "Wolf!"

    by socalmonk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:24:01 PM PDT

  •  Really? "The Greatest Moral Challenge ... (5+ / 0-)

    of Your Generation?"

    Child brides sold into marital servitude in Afghanistan.

    Wholesale genocide in Rwanda.

    Homosexuals living in fear of their lives around the world.

    Girls sold into sexual slavery in Vietnam.

    Whole villages slaughtered in Syria.

    Boys forced into war in sub-Saharan Africa.

    People in Haiti so poor they literally eat dirt to feel something in their bellies.

    Pedophiles abusing children as "sexual tourists" in Costa Rica.

    Women in Saudi Arabia with far fewer rights than any women in the Occupied Territories.

    Homosexuals in every country surrounding Israel with fewer rights than they have in Israel or the Occupied Territories.

    Can we all hope that there will come a time when peace is possible? Yes. Is it "The Greatest Moral Challenge of Our Generation"? No. Not really. In fact, not even close.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled hyperbole.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:29:46 PM PDT

    •  NOT too mention the fight here at home (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JNEREBEL

      you know, the U.S., against the racism, sexism, and the enviroment killing Republican Party. I would think that a political battle here, in a country that controls a disproportionate amount of the worlds resources and military power MIGHT be a tad bit more of a challenge.

      Of course, let's not forget the moral challenge of all of protecting our environment because without that... Occupation or no Occupation it's kind of hard to live if one can't breathe or get food and water.

      Silly stuff like that.

    •  I think, after following the link and reading the (5+ / 0-)

      article cited, That those words, "“the occupation is the greatest moral challenge of my generation,” are the words of Israeli journalist Noam Sheizat, in a review of Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism. Mr. Sheizat may feel that is the greatest moral challenge of his generation of Israelis, who live daily with the occupation and its effects. It is not unreasonable for the diarist, a Jew who lived for many years in Israel, to feel and voice empathy for those words, even though he no longer resides in Israel.

      I thought I heard a boy cry, "Wolf!"

      by socalmonk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:40:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry but... those are not just the words of Norm (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dhonig, Kane in CA, JNEREBEL

        Sheizef...

        In two place t.t. takes credit for them.

        Here:

        It is why, when Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf recently wrote in his review of Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism that “the occupation is the greatest moral challenge of my generation,” I nodded in agreement (vb1 emphasis).
        and here:
        Which is why, perhaps, when I stated recently (vb1 emphasis) that “the occupation is the greatest moral challenge of my generation,”
        ....as to why people object to those words. It is not just that his criticisms that lack understanding or context of the situation all the while providing no solutions, BUT, it is also the fact that the Occupation is simply NOT the greatest moral challenge of this or any other current generation.

        dhonig named others that are far more severe and I can think of a hundred other situations that are far worse.

        That is not to say that the Occupation is NOT a problem. It very much is. But to call it the "greatest moral dilemma" of a generation. Really????

        •  Those words were originally written by an Israeli (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque, Diane Gee, The Troubadour, poco

          journalist in an Israeli publication. Given that context, he may well have meant the greatest moral challenge for Israelis of his generation. His audience was clearly Israeli, as he states that the book was written by an American for Americans. Having experienced life in Israel with the occupation for many years, the diarist certainly has the right to agree with such a statement. He does not ask that anybody else agree with it, he only says he does and states why. The occupation may not be the greatest moral challenge of my generation, or more precisely my generation of Americans, or even non-Jewish Americans, but I, and we generally, as Americans, have not and do not live daily under the shadow of the occupation and its accompanying problems. I also am not a Jew, and so am even farther removed from the context and experience of the occupation. When the diarist speaks of his feelings, I have no reason to doubt that he feels as he says, just as I have no reason to doubt that you feel as you say you feel, nor do I doubt the legitimacy of either of your feelings. They're yours.

          I thought I heard a boy cry, "Wolf!"

          by socalmonk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:33:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again... I have to disagree. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JNEREBEL

            Yes the words were spoken by Norm Sheizef - an Israeli activist. BUT, t.T. clearly says that he agrees with them as well as he said it himself. I just showed that above.

            I disagree with you here when you say:

            He does not ask that anybody else agree with it,....
            He does exactly that. HE does not qualify his comment, with any phrase like "In my opinion...." or "I feel..." no he just says it. But that is irrelevant. Given the actual genocides, starvation, active wars, can one say that the Occupation is really the "GREATEST moral dilemma" of a generation????

            BTW, no one says that he doesn't have a right to say it or feel it. If he feels that way; dynamite. BUT, I and others also have a right to challenge him on that.

            monk.... I think we are arguing about two different things.

            •  I think he is speaking in the context of Israel's (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              yaque

              survival as a democratic state and a Jewish homeland.

              I thought I heard a boy cry, "Wolf!"

              by socalmonk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:45:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I understand that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JNEREBEL

                I know why he is saying it, and what he is saying, however, to call the Occupation the "greatest moral dilemma of a generation" is hyperbole in my opinion.

                If he calls it a the greatest moral dilemma that Israel faces in his generation... Maybe. If he calls it a dilemma wrt Israel's survival as a nation.... Ok, I can see that.

                But to call it the "greatest moral dilemma" of his generation is to way overstate the issue particularly given the state of the world today.  

                •  I took the statement to be in the context of, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  yaque, whizdom

                  "that Israel faces in his generation." I took the original statement, by Sheizaf, to be just that, written for an Israeli audience, not an American or international audience. I also think TT read and understood it in that context. And, btw, although it may not be the greatest moral challenge of my generation, I hope it is seen as that by someone in a position to bring it to resolution.

                  I thought I heard a boy cry, "Wolf!"

                  by socalmonk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:56:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •   I own Israel too. All American taxpayers do. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diane Gee, eleaba, poco

    We deserve a say in what happens to our investment.
    I love Israelis. I love Jews. I also love Palestinians.
    I don't have any positive emotions for the current leadership of the government of Israel. I also don't like Netanyahu as a person. Which isn't the central point.
    I"m ready for peace in the Middle East. I've lost patience with the current government of Israel. All the other issues are irrelevant.

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:02:13 PM PDT

    •  bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yaque

      You no more own Israel than you own any other country. Do you think you own Haiti? Seriously, what a profoundly stupid thing to say.

      Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

      by dhonig on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:11:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm referring to the amount of money we spend (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anorish, eleaba

        propping the state of Israel up when the right wing elements in the country do nothing to secure lasting peace and in fact try to effect our sovereign electoral process.
        In the context of the diary it makes perfect sense. People are claiming to own Israel based on their Jewishness, and there are counter-claims.
        My point is that the American taxpayer is being neglected in this diary.
        Why are you insulting me?

        I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

        by David54 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:10:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because the claim you own Israel (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          volleyboy1, yaque

          as a taxpayer is insulting and remarkably stupid. The American taxpayer doesn't own Israel. Or Jordan. Or England. Or France, Or Germany. Or Haiti. Or anywhere else.

          Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

          by dhonig on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:16:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What is the title of the diary? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm supportive of the basic objectives of the diarist.
            However, I think it's a conceit, a selfishness, to say that one "owns" a part of Israel because one is a Jew, when the fact is that it is the American taxpayer that is propping up the regime in Israel, which is acting against our interests.
            Any state that we're propping up should be considerate of that fact.

            I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

            by David54 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:24:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  propping up? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              volleyboy1, yaque

              ridiculous. Sorry, but the only money we send to Israel is for military purchases from American military industrial manufacturers. No other money goes to Israel. It's really just a deal by which Congress sends US money to Boeing through Tel Aviv.

              Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

              by dhonig on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:33:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I own Israel... but I'd love to return it. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David54, Anorish, poco

              I am an American who lived in Occupied Bethlehem. I will be living here for a year. I have already been here for some time, and four previous times before this trip.

              I own the Israeli state, and its occupation and brutal subjugation of the Palestinians. No, I do not hold citizenship, even though the BS 'right of return' WOULD APPLY to me- a white, non-Jewish American- because I have a single Jewish grandparent. Never mind that my family has no association or attachment whatsoever to Israel, that we did not flee out of fear from our village in 1948 as bombs rained down from WWII surplus planes. This false offer of 'citizenship' is one I would never take, as to do so would be to spit in the eye of the Palestinian refugees who hold LEGITIMATE demands for repatration.

              The US, and in many cases the US ALONE, props up a messianic and dangerous Israeli body politic which could never exist as it does without endless military and economic aid offered around every turn without question. The Israelis dash every condition placed on them by the International Community, legitimate demands such as the cessation of settlement activity and complicance under an ARRAY of int'l laws, because they know the American dollars they DO see will outweigh any potential loss from other partners abroad. WE OWN ISRAEL. We do not so throroughly underwrite the war drums of any other state as we do with this one, who is return fosters only iever-increasing hate for itself in its region, and sullies the opinion of the United States abroad.

  •  troubador, you're just another "stubborn" jew (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diane Gee, socalmonk, charliehall2

    amazing how your inspirational diary could inspire such flak in the comments

    our stubborn insistence on equity for all, and rejection of the prejudice of those who consider themselves "chosen", is what makes me most proud

  •  The dilemma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco

    challenging his generation is referring specifically to Jews, and others, who have both ties of affinity, affection, heritage to the State and people of Israel and intellectual ties to the principles of human rights, individual freedoms and democratic (if not "progressive" whatever that is).

    The dilemma is how or if to respond to conditions within Israel that are in conflict with personal and cultural values?

    There isn't much of a dilemma about Darfur, or the problem of Child soldiers, they moral position is fairly clear for the progressive.

    But for a young American Jew  it may present more of struggle.

    “It is not enough to care about Haiti and Darfur and New Orleans. Acting ethically in an age of Jewish power means confronting not only the suffering that gentiles endure but the suffering that Jews cause. For Jews who espouse liberal principles, indifference to whether the Jewish state remains a democracy constitutes as deep a betrayal of the bonds of peoplehood as indifference to whether there remains a Jewish state at all. Israel cannot be tucked away in the attic, left to degrade, while progressive, committed Jews live their religious and ethical ideals in the United States. A disfigured Jewish state will haunt not only American Zionism but American Judaism. And the American Jews who try to avert their eyes will be judged harshly by history, no matter how laudable their soup kitchens and no matter how spirited their prayer.”

    Elsewhere, Beinart deals with those Jews who find it impossible to think — or to acknowledge — that there is “suffering that Jews cause.”

    Read more: http://www.forward.com/...
  •  This is beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socalmonk, whizdom

    Its amazing that I hear so many claim this moral ownership in the name of "security" and supporting the right-wing government no matter what atrocity is happening; and they are the same ones denying the Left-wingers of this same moral ownership and obligation.

    Inspiring essay, gave me goosebumps and made me feel true hope.

  •  There is another problem (0+ / 0-)

    and that is that Israelis of all stripes -- Left and Right -- seem completely uninterested if not hostile to what advice American Jews have to give. I can show example after example. If we make aliyah and start complaining we are told we are just showing American values, not Jewish values, and if we stay here, we are not considered few Jews.

    Not all Israelis are like this, of course, but that seems to be the rule in government, religion, academia....

  •  I'm hoping that the new government (0+ / 0-)

    will pursue more moderate policies in most areas, since it is no longer beholden to small narrowly based parties. This is a coalition that could have happened three years ago but Tzipi Livni's ego got in the way.

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