A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
For all of the difficulties Israelis encounter these days, the greatest sometimes appears to be the implacable nature of this conflict in which they find themselves still embroiled.
Despite the best intentions of a generation of would-be peacemakers and a host of concessions on the part of Israel, Arab opinion seems even more set in its determination to depict Israel as an evil oppressor. Indeed, the long record of Israeli peace offers and concessions since the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993 has, if anything, seemed to encourage the demonization of both the Jews and their state.
The view of this lamentable drift toward further conflict from afar – though it entails less personal sacrifice – is just as dispiriting. For Jews in the Diaspora, even those who care deeply about Israel’s welfare, the process by which nothing seems to deflect the Palestinian Arabs from a course of violence is perplexing and horrifying.
As the virus of anti-Zionism – a belief that is more often than not merely a thinly veiled New Age intellectual version of traditional anti-Semitism – spreads from Europe to America’s college campuses, the question of how to answer the challenge has left many Jews confused. A consistent pattern of Israeli peace offers and concessions answered by Palestinian rejection and terrorism ought to have ended serious discussion about American pressure on the Jewish state.
But it hasn’t. If anything, the more Israel seeks to give in the name of peace, the worse it is treated.
If affirming their continued support for the right of Israel to defend itself against terror makes them stand out, then many simply opt out. The reaction from many Jews who don’t wish to identify with the side that liberal intellectuals often brand these days as the bad guy of the Middle East is to abandon advocacy for Israel, or at least downplay it.
The welcome that pseudo-scholars like Norman Finkelstein – a man who has raised Israel-bashing to an art form – get from academic departments at institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania (as happened last month) is telling. As troubling as such incidents may be in their own right, they also cannot help but discourage many Jews from speaking up for Israel.
Perhaps nowhere in this country is the pressure felt as keenly as on American college campuses, where Middle East studies have long been the preserve of anti-Zionists, and where a left-wing culture of hostility to both Israel and American foreign-policy interests remains deeply entrenched.
Discussing the problem with Jewish students attending a regional pro-Israel conference at Bryn Mawr College (an event sponsored by Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia as an answer to the “Israel Apartheid” week events that have proliferated on the nation’s campuses), I heard about their frustration with a situation in which they felt isolated and embattled.
Though the conference offered the students a lot of valuable knowledge about the situation, as well as tactical advice about advocacy, the answer that made the most sense was one offered by Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Students who felt under siege from a barrage of anti-Israel propaganda – often masquerading in academia as scholarship – must, he said, rely on the fact that “truth is on their side.” Their main resource, he added, must be finding “the courage” to answer falsehoods.
Such courage is not always easy to find. Yet the best explanation for this dilemma lies not in any contemporary polemic, but in the ancient text that Jews around the world will soon read as they gather to celebrate Passover.
The Haggadah speaks of the Divine promise of the redemption of the children of Israel in Egypt by reminding us that “this promise has sustained our fathers and us. For not only one enemy has risen against us, in every generation men rise against us to destroy us.”
The answer to that puzzle – why it is that, in century after century, intolerance for the Jews continues, and why the will to destroy them is so immutable – is one that has challenged religious scholars and philosophers for as long as we’ve been reading that text. But though the explanations put forward are not in short supply, the basic truth of the assertion is not a matter of debate.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Since Torah is the great equalizer, the great reconciler of divergent but valid opinions, this is also the place where common ground is reached.
Some American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by groups waging war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people.
Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.
Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.
At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.
But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.
As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’
If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?
When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.
The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.
The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.
Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.
“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.
We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.
How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?
To admit Israel is a Jewish State would undo Arabs’ claimed victimhood and plans to eliminate Israel.
Friedman has been writing the same column for decades in which he asks Israelis whether they will leave the “West Bank.”
Issuing a statement dredging up Wildstein’s life, Christie’s office raised as many questions as it answered.
No matter how wrong Israel’s leaders may think their American counterparts are, little good comes from public spats.
Lieberman has repeatedly dismissed the Palestinian Authority as not being a peace partner.
This is a political version of replacement theology.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/refocusing-on-the-haggadah-narrative/2007/04/15/
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