The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Sharansky criticizes the current Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, for his generous offer to Arafat in 2000, as well as former prime minister Ariel Sharon for his Gaza Disengagement. Sharansky relates how Sharon and Barak tried to convince him to support their initiatives. Both argued that if the Arabs reacted negatively to their gestures, the world would support Israel. Both arguments proved disastrously wrong.
Defending Identity is an easy to read introduction to a hawkish Middle Eastern foreign policy. But Sharansky’s views suffer from some of the very faults for which he criticizes his opponents.
Sharanky’s first fault is his endorsement of a Palestinian state. Though he always includes the caveat that a Palestinian state must be democratic, this is just as naïve as the Gaza Disengagement and the Oslo process he criticizes.
Sharansky refuses to recognize that a democratic Palestinian state may simply not be possible or compatible with Israel’s survival. Palestinians have abused every democratic right they have been granted, using free speech to incite Jew-hatred and murder.
A Palestinian state would also discount Jewish identity and rights by barring Jews from portions of the Land of Israel. Sharansky opposes the expulsion of Jewish settlers to make way for a Palestinian state. But all proponents of a Palestinian state advocate such an expulsion. Given this consensus, how exactly does Sharansky think a Palestinian state is to be built, if not on the ruins of Jewish communities?
While Sharansky would probably admit that there are identities that cannot be allowed to thrive, like Nazism or Islamic extremism, he cannot bring himself to admit that Palestinian national identity threatens Israel’s survival. The core of Palestinian nationalism and its only unique characteristic is its extreme hatred for Jews and a desire to destroy Israel; the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded before Israel captured the disputed territories in 1967, and anti-Jewish pogroms began before the state was even established.
Even if Israel could mold Palestinian society and identity to its liking and Palestinians accepted Israel’s existence, there is no guarantee this would last forever or even for a short time. It would be impossible for Israel to implement a permanent “iron wall” against anti-Jewish elements in Palestinian society.
Even the civilized and cultured Weimar Republic, surrounded by other Western democracies, voted itself and its democratic ideals out of existence. All signs point to even a purportedly democratic Palestinian state doing the same.
Aside from the direct danger posed by a Palestinian state, it would also likely be another terrorist satellite or launching pad for Israel’s enemies in future wars.
A Palestinian state would only provide a mechanism, even if democratic, for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel. Despite his various caveats on what it should look like, in endorsing a Palestinian state Sharansky only legitimizes the very leftist agenda he protests.
Sharanky’s second fault is his failure to discuss what role Jewish identity – i.e., Judaism – should play in Israeli society.
He praises the role of identity in American society, but America’s diverse ethnicities are not interested in destroying each other, while Israel’s primary minority group seeks to eradicate the Jewish presence. While an American founding ideal is to create an inclusive immigrant society, Israel’s is to be a refuge for one specific people, whose identity has been endangered by 2,000 years of persecution and assimilation.
If Israel adopted the Jeffersonian wall of separation between church and state, as many Israeli secularists advocate, it would be impossible for Israel to remain a Jewish state. There would be no barrier to non-Jews becoming citizens and eventually overrunning the state. There would also no longer be any basis for its purported mission to serve as a haven for Jews.
Sharansky positively cites Theodore Herzl’s Altneuland, which described a Jewish state where people speak German and celebrate European culture. But this society was stingingly and rightly criticized as not being Jewish enough.
Moreover, as Yoram Hazony explains in The Jewish State: the Struggle for Israel’s Soul, Altneuland was a utopian novel composed for propagandistic purposes and not intended to serve as a model for Zionist policy or the Jewish State. As Hazony demonstrates, all of Herzl’s other writings and actions emphasize his belief that Judaism was to play a strong role in the new Jewish state.
About the Author: Daniel Tauber is a frequent contributor to various prominent publications, including the Jewish Press, Arutz Sheva, Americanthinker.com, the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
Congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros’ and god knows who else’s money and go home.
In the version of events provided by Argo, it wasn’t radical Islamists who stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, but the Iranian people as a whole.
Not exactly what Jewish Home voters thought they would get on election day.
The institution of party primaries in Israel needs to be expanded not shrunk, so that the government will be under the supervision of the people from which it derives power and the moral authority to govern.
Ayalon’s new position on the Palestinian statehood doesn’t quite match his prior criticism of the Palestinian’s bid for statehood at the UN.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defending-jewish-identity-sharansky-falls-short/2008/12/10/
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