web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

In Defending Jewish Identity, Sharansky Falls Short


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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In Defending Jewish Identity, Sharansky Falls Short”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jon Karl of ABC asks White House Press Secretary, "Yemen is a model of US strategy?"
White House Insists Chaotic Yemen a ‘Model’ for Obama’s War on Terror
Latest Indepth Stories
Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Bibi0303.jpg

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

InsideIL targets MBA students at 12 of America’s top programs for its paid Israel summer internship

More Articles from Daniel Tauber
JStreet crowd

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.

drunk UN

A US diplomat proposed that UN negotiating rooms be ‘inebriation-free zones.’

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.

East Jerusalem has become code for: where Jews shouldn’t be.

Israeli willingness to do whatever it takes to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands may be the only thing preventing civil wars or heated rhetoric from becoming mass atrocities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defending-jewish-identity-sharansky-falls-short/2008/12/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: