Gordis then takes a large step forward which all Israel’s governments have avoided for 45 years and more and asserts that now it will lose its ability to maintain a status quo which serves its policies best of all:
Observers everywhere would read the adoption of the Levy report as tantamount to annexing the West Bank.
I hope. But I don’t think so. And I am pretty sure Gordis knows that Netanyahu will not do that either. Not because he doesn’t want it but that in everything else he has done in his second term as Prime Minister has been to cover Israel with the US for the Iranian threat. Gordis knows that that is what Bibi has been doing and so there was no need for him to publicly shame him and Israel in such a manner.
Moreover, he thinks profound damage will be caused:
It would be read as putting the Palestinians on notice that Israel plans never to evacuate any settlements, and that hopes for a Palestinian state are dead.
Wait. With peace, and coexistence, being the goal to be achieved with the Arabs resident in the areas of the former Mandate that was established to “reconstitute” the Jewish National Home not under Israel’s sovereignty, why should Jews remove themselves from where they live?
Will Arabs be removed from Nazereth, Rahat, Um El-Fahm? Are Jews to be treated to a very different – and discriminatory and even immoral – reality?
He is also concerned:
…Israelis [will think] their political leadership believes that the status quo is actually the ideal and that young people should give up even dreaming that the conflict might, one day, be behind us. Can we imagine ourselves in an interminable conflict without numbing our moral sensibilities?
Well, better a status quo that provides security rather than a jump off the cliff is what most Israelis prefer.
He then waxes emotional:
Zionism at its best is aspirational..Zionism struggles to survive…It hopes for a richer and more sophisticated conversation about how a state can be Jewish. It should aspire to greater social equality. And it should yearn for a day when its sons and daughters will not have to go to war…
Zionism also strives for the time when Jews in the Diaspora, more properly, the Galut/Exile, will stop seeing themselves as equal to the Jewish community in Israel. Yes, we are partners, yes we share the same visionary aspirations, the same wish for a thriving Jewish culture. But Jews abroad need know that there is a line that doesn’t always have to be crossed. To be Jewish, nowadays, seems, especially in the camp Gordis chose to be aligned with, is to show just how much you can criticize Israel.
“I criticize Israel, thereby I am” is the now catchword, and so Gordis posits that
To state publicly now that what we have in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation might be a legally justifiable claim. But it would also signal that it is time to give up even thinking about how a different reality in the Middle East might be achieved. That, we must not do.
Rabbi Dr. Gordis, Daniel, you erred in your own aspirational exuberance. You erred in the ‘friends’ you chose.
As you wrote: “Not for naught is Israel’s anthem called “The Hope”, and yes, so we, too, have hope – for you.
As it is written in Psalms, in order to achieve peace, one must first distance oneself from evil. One must stop speaking guile and do good.
July 13, 2012
Prime Minister of the State of Israel
We are confident that with your deep understanding of the gravity of this situation, and your unprecedented political strength, you will ensure that adoption of this report does not take place.
Karen R. Adler
Jack C. Bendheim
Howard M. Bernstein
Charles R. Bronfman
Steven M. Cohen
Rabbi Marion Lev Cohen
Thomas A. Dine
Rabbi David Ellenson
E. Robert Goodkind
Stanley P. Gold
Rabbi Daniel Gordis
David A. Halperin
Harold R. Handler
Alan S. Jaffe
Peter A. Joseph
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Peter S. Kolevzon
Steven C. Koppel
Geoffrey H. Lewis
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn
Rabbi David Saperstein
Jeffrey R. Solomon
Joel D. Tauber
Melvyn I. Weiss
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Michael D. Young