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August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
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For Israel, Better the ‘Blessing’ than the ‘Curse’

Israel must continue to base its policies toward both Iran and 'Palestine' upon an utterly candid and unvarnished awareness of threats to Jewish life.

Louis Rene Beres

Louis Rene Beres

Martin Buber identified the essence of every individual human life as a “meeting.” True community, said Buber, is an authentic “binding,” not merely a “bundling together.” In any true community, each one must commit his whole being in “God’s dialogue with the world.” Here, as blessing, each one must stands firm and resolute throughout this dialogue.

But how should dialogue be sustained with others who would refuse to “bind” in the absence of committing murder? How can there ever be any viable solution to the persistently genocidal enmity of Iran and “Palestine”? After all, this enmity is thought to be indispensable to their own very special meanings of blessing in the world.

For Iran, and for an emergent “Palestine,” annihilated Jews, individually or collectively, are not so much a means to blessing, as a blessing in themselves. In this upside-down world, even while so much of the region is now seemingly struggling for “democracy,” a sacrificial killing of Jews by war and terror is still widely regarded to be a religious mandate. As a critical corollary, such killing also represents a distinctly coveted path to personal immortality. For the prospective killers, bringing death to others is the optimal way of warding off one’s own death.

In the best of all possible worlds, Buber’s “binding” would supplant all “bundling.” But we don’t yet live in the best of all possible worlds, and there is absolutely nothing in the “New Middle East” to suggest any real opportunities for meaningful neighborly improvement. It follows that Israel must continue to base its policies toward both Iran and “Palestine” upon an utterly candid and unvarnished awareness of threats to Jewish life.

Life is always better than death.

Better the blessing than the curse.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


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