Friday, January 6, 2012

"These and These" on Israel

One of my favorite topics (on this blog, and in life) is ambiguity - the idea that truth is rarely precise or absolute. It lies not so much between the extremes, as it does over the entire spectrum, including the extremes. Everyone is, at least in part, usually right. It's summed up in the famous Talmudic statement that "Elu v'elu devarim elohim chayim -- these and these are the words of the living God."

One of my favorite writers about Israel is Rabbi Daniel Gordis. I think that he's clear, honest, and usually right on the issues.

So, I was particularly happy when Rabbi Gordis wrote an article about the need to acknowledge the validity of all parts of the spectrum, when it comes to Israel:

That’s why some of us who write about Israel take a different approach. We don’t care about being neatly classifiable as “left” or “right”; because to love a country is not that different from loving a person. It means defending but also critiquing. It means loving unconditionally but knowing that love does not mean overlooking serious flaws. To love Israel, I believe, is to know that the Jewish state is not just a flag or an army or some holy place. To love Israel is to love the real Israel, with all its many warts and imperfections. And to love Israel is to know that there is a difference between a wart and a serious disease; when an imperfection is so serious as to threaten the entire enterprise, then the most loyal thing that one can do is to insist that Israel be better.

I am incredibly pro-peace. I believe that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own, and that ongoing occupation (or whatever you want to call it now) serves the interests of no one. 

I am incredibly pro-Israel and pro-security. I think that the Palestinians, not Israel, have overwhelmingly been the obstacle to peace. I think that making peace with a people which is openly and actively dedicated to your destruction is foolhardy, and untenable, if not ridiculous.

Am I a leftist or righty? A hawk or a dove? In the words of Gordis' article, a prophet or a guardian?

I am a Zionist. A lover of Israel, Which makes me all of the above.

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