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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘identity’

With a Pocketful of Democracy

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The age of the encyclopedia salesman and the vacuum cleaner salesman peddling heavy bundles of books and snakelike cables door to door is done. But the age of the democracy salesman has taken its place.

No longer do bright young lads tote along everything there is to know about the letter E in one omnibus volume or demonstrate how the latest Suck-O-Zoom can get stains out of any carpet as an introduction to the wonders of free enterprise. Instead, if they haven’t been sidetracked by the siren lure of the dot com or the minimum wage job, they, like the late Christopher Stevens, jet off to foreign climes with FDR’s Four Freedoms under one arm and a local dictionary under the other to convince the natives that their lives will be freer, brighter and shinier with the Demo-O-Vote as the arbiter of their holy wars.

Like a lot of salesmen, the democracy salesman has never really stopped to wonder why any of his prospective customers should want to buy democracy for only twelve easy payments of bloody civil war? Born in a society where democracy has been idolized for the last century, where cleanliness and godliness may have gone by the wayside, but democracy is still one of those faded old virtues that the arbiters of the Living Constitution haven’t taken out back and put a bullet in its head in between elections and commercial breaks, they have never thought to consider that anyone might not want their democracy.

In an amoral society, democracy is one of the few things left to us by dead white men that is held to be a virtue, rather than a vice. It goes unquestioned because to most people it represents the power of the common man over his rulers, even if the common man no more rules his rulers than he did some two-hundred years ago. But democracy for the grandfathers of the salesmen goes deeper than fact. It represents a classless society where one man is as good as another and there are no lords or kings.

This however is not the effect of American democracy, it is rather the cause of American democracy, particularly in its Jacksonian flavor. And that old Scots-Irish flavor can be served locally, but it can’t be exported. The ballot box is not a society of rugged individualists, it is not a classless society where no one bends a knee before lords or the ascension of the common man. Those are features you can see in the showroom, but they don’t come with the device.

In our democracy salesmanship we never really troubled to ask ourselves why the Muslim world would want democracy and what it would do with it. Saddam Hussein bought 4000 Playstation game consoles, not because he was trying to train suicide bombers on copies of Sonic the Hedgehog, but because some of its components could be used in weapons. Those Muslim groups most interested in democracy were looking to weaponize it as well.

To the Muslim world, democracy did not mean individualism, it meant majority rule. Our democracy salesmen conceived of the Muslim world divided between the rule of its dictators and the will of its people.

The innate assumption in that use of “the people” as applied to people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds is very American. When used by the left, “the People” carries it with the ominous resonance of a collectivization that transcends all individual attributes. But when used by that old fashioned creature, the pre-post-America ‘American’  it throbs with the assumption that the people of a free society will unite around their freedoms, rather than around their identities. That assumption may be outdated, but it is still what we expected Iraqis and Egyptians to do. And our salesmen never really got around to asking what being a people meant to Iraqis and Egyptians, rather than Americans.

The Muslim world is not divided between the dictators and, that construct, the people. It is divided between the possible dictators that different groups within it champion.

There is no conflict between Assad and the Syrian People, because there is no Syrian people. There are Neo-Shiite Alawites and Sunni Salafists battling it out in the ruins of major cities, over the bodies of Christians, to decide who will rule Syria. The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood might win an election, but that election would not elevate it as the choice of the people, but as the choice of a sectarian coalition whose religious affiliates happen to be in the majority. Peoplehood is an illusion in places where there are too many peoples, too many guns and the government is the way that one group forces its will on another.

Democracy, under such circumstances, is a way for the majority to assert its identity as the defining national identity. And once that’s done, future elections become optional. Egypt’s election was no more about the ascension of the common man or individual freedom than Saddam Hussein was busy playing with his Playstation in the hole while waiting for the Americans to come and get him. Like the American elections of 2012, it was about entitled groups elevating a totemic figure on a pole that represented their identity. And when group identity is asserted as national identity, then elections come down to demographic contests where group power, not ideas or policies, is the true prize.

Group votes don’t lead to human rights, they lead to group privileges. They lead to rights for some and no rights for others. They lead to a group state where group membership is citizenship and lack of group membership is treason. And that is exactly what the Arab Spring has given us;an Egypt where religion defines citizenship and a Syria where religion determines who you’ll be shooting at. This is Muslim democracy and it’s a foolproof recipe for civil war and tyranny, in any order.

Dictatorship is democracy and democracy is dictatorship. Elections don’t lead to a marketplace of ideas and smooth transitions, but to populist power grabs that eventually end in new revolutions. When no one group emerges as the winner, then there is a transitional period of chaos that some mistakenly assume are the birth pangs of democracy, but actually act as the prelude to the rise of a new tyranny. Where the population is do divided and the military is so inept that no such tyranny is possible; you end up with Lebanon. Perpetual civil war.

There might be a way out of this conundrum, but parachuting elections into the region is not the answer. Nor is getting rid of the dictators only to replace them with new dictators. And really why should we expect Egyptians or Iraqis to be able to do what millions of our own citizens cannot? When our country is ruled by a man who commands demographic bloc votes, then who are we to tell Egyptian Muslims not to act like them?

And that raises the final question. Who are we really selling democracy to and why? The Arab Spring stampeded otherwise sensible people into believing that they had to buy into an inevitable trend or be left behind. But there was no inevitable trend. Not even Islamism is truly inevitable. The inevitable progress of history is a progressive myth. History is not the inevitable outcome of a philosophy, but the accumulated interpretations of past events.

History did not arrive in the Arab Spring, it was manufactured, shipped and uncrated in Tahrir Square by legions of hardworking activists and reporters. And the history isn’t going where they expected it to. And it won’t even go where the Islamists expect it to. Because there are two kinds of democracy. One is the tame democracy of the ballot box where people vote in a fixed pattern. And then there is the wild democracy of crowds, of the chaotic interactions between popular needs and patterns of power. The overgrown territories of that wild democracy is where inevitable history goes off to die.

We were told that the end of the era of dictators had arrived. And here is Morsi squatting on a brand new throne while the mobs cry for his head in Tahrir Square. The inevitable history has become caught in its own circularity in a region where events have a way of repeating themselves, even more so than they do on the outside. The era of dictators has neither begun nor ended. It merely goes on existing for as long as people go on crying for freedom when they really mean power.

The United States sought to end the cycle of violence by replacing dictators with elections, but it was a doomed course of action considering how close the United States has been drifting to electing dictators. American politics has had its ups and downs, but it has been relentlessly polarized for the last twenty years with no end in sight.

All the efforts invested into promoting democracy abroad might have been better employed by working safeguard the character of a nation that is capable of choosing its representatives through elections, rather than using those same elections to ratify its tyrants. Egypt will be Egypt and Iraq will be Iraq. It is up to their people to find a way out of their cycle of violence and tyranny. Our task is to make certain that America remains America and that we do not find ourselves in the same cycle as the protesters challenging tyranny in Tahrir Square.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Daniel Greenfield

Arab Men Under 40 Barred from the Temple Mount Tomorrow

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Tomorrow, Friday, Jerusalem police plans to limit entrance of Muslim worshipers to the Temple Mount to men ages 40 and older, carrying blue identity cards only (Israeli citizens). Women of any age will be permitted to enter.

Police will increase the forces staged around the Temple Mount and the Old City by several thousand policemen, to prevent attempts to disturb the peace in response to the “pillar of defense” operation in the Gaza Strip.

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Jewish and Post-Jewish Vote

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Last Shabbat I sat at a table in my local synagogue while a group of men argued over the election. They weren’t arguing over who they should vote for, they were arguing over just how bad Obama was, their voices rising and falling as they named one detail after another. They weren’t necessarily Republicans, but they were politically conservative, as my community and as almost all of the traditional Jewish communities in America are.

This is how I grew up, and while for many, the Liberal Jew in the norm, for me he remains a strange creature, a shipwrecked sailor marooned on a liberal desert island for a century who no longer knows who he is anymore.

There is a great deal of talk about the Jewish vote in this and every election. Probably more talk than it merits. But let us clarify what we are talking about when we talk about the Jewish vote. As with the Catholic vote and the vote of every religious group, there are the votes of those who believe in the religion and the votes of those who do not. With the Jews, who are not only a religion, but a race and an ethnicity, there is the Jewish vote and the post-Jewish vote.

Or to put it another way; there are Jews and there are shipwrecked Jews.

American Jews can be broken down roughly into the products of three periods of immigration. The first began with Columbus’ Jewish crew members and continued down to the mid 19th Century bringing primarily Spanish Jews and then German Jews to the American Colonies and later the United States.

This is the immigration that produced famous American Jews like Asser Levy, the first Jew to win the right to bear arms in defense of the place that would later become New York, Uriah P. Levy, a Navy Commodore who helped preserve Monticello,Judah P. Benjamin, the Secretary of State for the Confederacy and Emma Lazarus, whose famous poem has become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty.

This group was roughly split between Republicans and Democrats; though at the time those party identifiers didn’t have the same conservative and liberal signifiers that they do today.

The next wave of immigration was primarily made up of Jewish refugees from Russia and Eastern Europe escaping the meltdown of Czarism. They arrived mostly after the Civil War, in time for the Unionist experiment that created centralized educational systems and the “melting pot” that was meant to efficiently transform the United States of America into a modern republic.

This second wave turned rigidly Democratic under the rough tutelage of the urban political machine and the gentler tutelage of an educational system meant to turn Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants into proper Americans– and to the people running the melting pot machine, Americanism meant Liberalism. They didn’t always succeed, but they succeeded well enough to build an immigrant electorate for the Democratic Party.

The Liberal Jew was a product of that melting pot which stripped him of his cultural identity and his religion, leaving behind a hole that he filled with the messianism of liberal politics. The graduates of the melting pot were economically successful and well educated, but they had lost their sense of self. Looking for that sense of self, they became devout attendees of progressive politics, filling the hole with bitter greenie humor that poked fun at everything, especially themselves.

American Jewish identity became liberal identity, and the massive cultural hole was filled with humor which has found its natural end in the degraded vaudeville of Woody Allen and Larry David or the bitter frustrations of a Philip Roth. The trinity of FDR, JFK and Obama became their faith and their identity became a series of in-jokes about eating Chinese food on Christmas. Like the Spanish Jewish Conversos, they had a secret identity but they no longer knew what the secret was.

This second wave of immigration would define American Jewish identity. It is the invariable focus of American Jewish literature and the PBS specials on the American Jewish journey that run before major Jewish holidays. It is also on the way out for the simple reason that such an identity is in no shape to be passed on to the next generation. The copying errors of cultural DNA in such bad shape mean that each generation ends up knowing less about who it is than the last one. And that means each generation is also less likely to be Jewish and more likely to be liberal.

The second wave’s DNA copying errors has produced a lot of abortion and gay rights activists, it hasn’t produced a lot of children. Like all cultural mistakes, Liberal Judaism is wiping itself out. It leaves behind a lot of jokes, some inventive pop products that defined 20th Century Americana and some Unitarians with Jewish roots who fast for Gaza and denounce Israel.

Second wave liberal Jews had become Post-Jews within a Post-American ideology. And though they still identify as Jewish, what they mostly are is an echo, a faint snatch of song now rendered illegible, a lost people slipping away into the shadows.

The third wave of Jewish immigration began shortly before World War II and continues into the present day. It consists of the Jewish communities of Europe who fled Nazi persecution, Russian Jews who fled Communist persecution and Jews from the Middle East who fled Muslim persecution.

This third wave is largely conservative, and while the same could have been said of the second wave  arriving in 1882 or 1914, the third wave came as communities, and have largely been able to transplant their culture and religion to the United States.

In 1892, Jews came to the United States as cheap labor. In 1946 they came with the remnants of communities that they were determined to rebuild. While the second wave fled to the suburbs, they stuck it out in the cities building up integrated communities that remained true to their culture and their religion. These communities were primarily concerned with the education of their children.

This is not true of the entire third wave, just as not everything that I have said is true of the entire second wave. But largely the second wave operated on a progressive impulse, while the third wave operated on a traditionalist impulse. The second wave was concerned with leaving behind the old ways, while the third wave tried to preserve them, reconstructing the ashes of the thriving Jewish communities of Russia, Poland, Syria, Egypt and Iran in the United States.

The second wave adapted, and lost their identity. The third wave adapted and kept their identity. The second wave had few children and even fewer Jewish children. The third wave had a great many children and viewed having children as a cultural and religious duty. And through the force of simple demographics, theirs is the future. 74 percent of Jewish children in New York are Orthodox. Ten years from now, the New York Jewish vote will be as reliably Republican as it was once Democrat.

The third wave is innately conservative. Orthodox Jews from Eastern Europe and Syria are as reliably conservative, as second wave Jewish college educated suburbanites were liberal, and Russian refugees from Communism are as conservative as Cubans refugees from Communism. All three groups have an instinctive distaste and distrust for the rhetoric of progressivism. They have lost too much not to be traditionalists. Their identity is all that they have.

Second wave liberal Jews is what most people think of when they think of American Jews, but the relevance and demographic sway of that group is dimming. The new American Jew can be found in the working class sections of New York and he is an Orthodox small businessman poring over boxes of t-shirts or toasters in a hole in the wall in Brooklyn, he is a Syrian Jew clearing land on a new lot and an Israeli getting another moving company off the ground and a Russian immigrant driving a cab.

This is the new face of the American Jew and it will be the definitive one for some time to come. The Post-Jewish vote of the Liberal Post-American Post-Jew is on the way out and the Jewish vote is already coming into play in Brooklyn where Republicans are beginning to win Jewish districts.

The new American Jew is not overly committed to political parties, but to values. He believes that small business should be able to operate without government interference, he believes that families raise children, not governments, and he distrusts government in general. The messianic impulse of progressivism holds little appeal for him. He does not feel guilt over race relations and is not moved by appeals to abortion. He has no use for gay marriage and while, like a lot of working class people, he feels some sympathy for unions, he does not like public sector unions who seem to have it made.

Unlike his liberal second wave predecessors, he believes in G-d, not as some abstract inspiration, but as an actual reality. Values to him are objective, right and wrong is black and white, and family is all that matters. Government to him exists to crack down on criminals and on foreign invaders, he does believe that the country can kill its way to a solution and dismisses politicians who think it can’t.

He is a man or woman of common sense and what his common sense tells him is to distrust glibness and to trust results. He doesn’t want to lower the oceans or worship at the feet of a political messiah. He isn’t looking for a religion to replace his religion, he doesn’t want a savior, he wants a future for his family. He is the new American Jew and his vote, the vote of the third wave is the vote of the Jewish future.

Daniel Greenfield

Rosenblatt v. Silverman: A Culture War

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The numerous comments we’ve received on Rabbi Rosenblatt’s Open Letter to Sarah Silverman are fascinating. Once you get past the expletives, you can learn a lot about the culture that produced them. The statements and the tone of the comments demonstrate the differences, even the massive gap between Jewish culture and Jewish-American culture.

Rosenblatt addressed a public figure who has no problems exposing her inner self and saying whatever is on her mind on any subject, no matter how offensive or inappropriate it might be to anyone. Rosenblatt questioned what her underlying motives might be and offered what he believes is the answer. He couched his message, as Silverman sometimes does hers, using his notion of Judaic values and cultural identity.

And that’s when it hit the fan.

Certainly it’s permissible, possible, even easy to disagree with Rosenblatt’s explanation and worldview. I certainly expected to see some intelligent conversations developing around the article. But why all the openly hostile obscenity?

Silverman’s father’s foul mouthed reaction was the first indication that Rosenblatt had inadvertently hit a very raw nerve.

By and large, the commenters were using an obvious double standard. They claimed the Rabbi crossed the line. The Rabbi was offensive. The Rabbi was [fill in the obscene word], and followed it up with their thoughts on Judaism (in some cases displaying ignorance and hatred).

Yet, Silverman, who prides herself on her “potty mouth” and crossing the verbal line on many social mores is untouchable and can do no wrong.

When Sarah Silverman, on video, propositions Sheldon Adelson, using her doggie in mock soft-porn as substitute for the elderly billionaire — that’s humor and acceptable.

When Rabbi Rosenblatt tells Sarah Silverman to get married and have children — that’s an expression of hatred and intolerance.

The question is, why?

I propose that many of the Jewish-American commenters got so upset because the Rabbi crossed a line. But the line he crossed was not about his views on motherhood, but rather his views on the role of the Rabbi and of Judaism.

Judaism, to some of those commenters, belongs locked in a box in a synagogue, and should never be allowed out to offer any moral observations, opinions or guidelines that disagree with the most permissive of Western cultural values.

As expressed by some of these commenters, Silverman actually represents “Judaism” to them.

Some of them might have a list of humanitarian/liberal values and call them Jewish values, while taking traditional Jewish values like Shabbat and Kashrut (as well as Judaism’s own social values), and relegating them to archaic, comical, even dark places in the culture.

For them, Judaism is Liberalism. A definition and identity where anything is permitted, alongside a strong pride in their cultural/ethnic identity as Jews, regardless of whether that identity actually represent a Jewish value system, or an accident of birth.

The question is certainly open as to whether the Rabbi was right or wrong in his analysis of Silverman, but one thing is clear, Rosenblatt rattled something deep and painful in the psyches of those who define themselves as cultural/ethnic Jews, without any actual Judaism to go with it.

Finally, we don’t moderate comments on our website, because we believe in the free exchange of ideas. But as our guests, we request that you refrain from obscenities and Antisemitism in your remarks.

Stephen Leavitt

BBC Airing Two Shows on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

“Sixty years ago, around one million Jews lived in Arab societies, but today only a few thousand remain – mainly in Morocco and Tunisia. The plight of Palestinian refugees is well known, but the Jews who were uprooted and forced to flee their Arab homes are largely forgotten.”

So begins the promo for a two-episode program produced by the BBC, titled “Arab Jews: A Forgotten Exodus.”

This two-part series tells the story of Jewish exodus – a story of dispossession and torn identities in one of the most hotly-debated chapters of history in the Middle East – and how the remaining diasporas are surviving in hostile Arab countries.

Based in Israel, part one examines what happened to the 850,000 Jews that have lived in Arab countries since Biblical times. Magdi Abdelhadi meets Jews from Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and discovers what life used to be like for them, how they got on with their Muslim neighbors and what prompted the disappearance of their ancient communities.

He hears their individual accounts of loss, anger and injustice and finds out how much of their old culture and identity they took with them to their new home countries.

First episode broadcast time:

Sun 14 Oct 2012 12:32

Sun 14 Oct 2012 20:32

Mon 15 Oct 2012 03:32

Download sound file from archive after the air date.

Jewish Press Staff

Wake up Jews!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

No doubt, it’s hard for people to give up their lifelong attachments and identity.  But there are moments in history when a turning point arrives, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear recognize it.  Many Jews have made political liberalism their religion and personal identity and the Democrat Party their unexamined home and comfort zone.  But everything changed early September.

Rarely do modern-day political conventions startle.  The Democratic National Convention, however, was earthshaking and a warning to Jews to wake up.  Democrat delegates decided to stick it to Israel.  We no longer care, they roared, if Israel remains a Jewish state; flood her heartland with millions of so-called Palestinians whose goal is to make the state Islamic.  We will not condemn Hamas for targeting Jewish population centers with rockets.  Jerusalem is not Israel’s indivisible capital but should be divided, like Berlin was.  Such was the undeniable sentiment of the delegates at the Convention.

After objections from outside the Convention, the chairman reinstated support for Jerusalem.  But he was resoundingly booed.  The world saw how those boos far outweighed the yeas.  My fellow Jews, the boos were for you; those boos were for Israel, a successful Israel that sticks in the craw of a leftist, socialist mindset that sees Israel not as the beacon of freedom and accomplishment she is, but as something outside the leftist ideological orbit.  Sure, they will take your contributions and your votes, but they don’t want your Israel, and they expect you to forgo distinctly Jewish needs on the altar of leftism.  We saw not liberalism, but hardcore leftism, and we saw a home where the welcome mat is quite conditional and worn out.

The prophet Daniel saw the writing on the wall.  All too often throughout our history, we Jews, and especially heads of major Jewish organizations, have failed to see the writing on the wall.  We are afraid to see that which is a game-changer, and so we deny events we wish were not happening.  After all, who wants to change the comfort zone?

It was a convention, like the last four years of the Obama administration, reveling in class warfare.  Class warfare, like Occupy Wall Street and other scapegoating calls, has never been good for the Jews.  We are often the scapegoat of those envious.  Knowing this, Ahmadinejad scheduled a meeting with Occupy, a movement endorsed last year by many bigwigs in the Democratic Party and even President Obama himself.  Jihadists and much of Islam want to delegitimize the concept of a Jewish state by tarnishing Jews as “those rich capitalists” unworthy of a state among the community of nations.

Too often, we Jews have been beguiled into believing that Jews in positions of power have our interests at heart.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz is but the latest who would have us think she is “doing what is good for the Jews” when, in fact, she is doing and will continue to do what is good for Debbie and her power base.  Similarly, the heads of the major Jewish organizations have been conspicuously silent — a silence that would not prevail if a Republican were doing the things to Israel Obama is doing.

Job openings are way down; 50% of college graduates, our children, can’t find jobs; and Mr. Obama will continue to weaken national security and thus the safety of our families…and continue to make it more difficult for Israel to survive.  For many, all this is secondary and expendable for their more important agenda of abortion on demand and gay marriage.  How frivolous; how irresponsible!

We can determine what truly is important to a person when he is forced to choose between two values.  Since when is it a Jewish value to condemn Israel to misery just so one can be assured of abortion at any time, under any circumstance?  Most of your grandparents would have chosen Israel over abortion and gay marriage.  As our sages tell us: “The wages of immorality are further immorality.”

President Obama has time to meet with Muslim Brotherhood Morsi of Egypt, who has declared his intention to get rid Israel, but Mr. Obama has no time to meet with Israel’s Netanyahu, whose country is under imminent nuclear threat from Iran.  Israel’s concern about a possible nuclear Holocaust is, for Mr. Obama, dismissed as mere noise, while his delegates at the U.N. on Sept. 24 are ordered to sit and listen to the vile noise of the Holocaust-denier and Iranian Jew-hater-in-chief.  It is clear that Mr. Obama’s underlying sympathy is with the Muslim Brotherhood and its spread and influence around the world.  He is coaxing us to accept Islamic attitudes and norms.  This speaks volumes — to those willing to see the facts as they truly are.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Identity, Meaning And Liberty

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

If it wants to survive and thrive, Israel must base itself upon three key concepts: identity, meaning, and liberty.

Identity: This means asking ourselves who we are. Jews? Israelis? Just partners in a large insurance firm called the State of Israel? What is our shared narrative? Do we have a shared founding ethos? What is the significance of the fact that we are a Jewish state? Do we even have a common identity? Is it right to search for it and to attempt to shape it?

For some, it is enough that we all speak Hebrew. For others, that is not even the beginning of a common identity. To me, there is no such thing as a Jewish state without a clear and solid Jewish identity – not a religious identity, but a cultural identity.

I oppose religious legislation, instead preferring to allow our Jewish cultural common denominator to develop freely. While there is no Israeli law that requires new parents to circumcise their child according to Jewish law, the vast majority of Israelis still do so. It follows that we do not also need other religious legislation. Ultimately it is the community – not the state – that must decide on its religious character.

If the community chooses, it will have privately-owned public transportation within its parameters on Shabbat. If it chooses otherwise, the buses will not run. If the community chooses to open businesses on Shabbat, they will open. If not, they will remain closed. I trust the Jews, over 80 percent of who are deeply connected and committed to their Jewish identity. I also know that coercion will boomerang.

In short, I wish to emphasize and empower our Jewish identity by removing the fear and coercion, allowing the public’s true will to emerge as the guiding force behind our Jewish national identity.

Meaning: Does Israel have a goal? Or is it solely interested in ensuring that there will not be another Holocaust? Do we have a Holy Temple somewhere out there on the horizon? Or is our Holy Temple the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial? And if we understand that we need a positive destiny and that the world is already tired of our self-pity, then what is our real purpose here? What gives us the right to live in Sheikh Munis (Ramat Aviv in northern Tel Aviv), Haifa, Acre, Yafo and Tiberias – on the lands of expelled Arabs?

A Jewish state cannot exist without establishing a clear purpose for the younger generation, as it is only from our positive destiny that we draw our right to exist as a nation. In my view, the destiny of a Jewish state can be none other than our historical Jewish destiny.

“We gave you a country because we thought that when the people of the prophets return to its land, a new bible or a new ethical code will be written in the land of Israel for the world as a whole. We had expectations – and look what you have done.” This is how a group of British intellectuals described their disappointment with Israel and the reason that they no longer see Israel as legitimate.

I can buy into the definition of the British intellectuals. In our sources we call it “perfecting the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty.”

Liberty: Liberty means fighting against coercion of all kinds: religious, anti-religious, economic, cultural, educational, and more. Liberty means allocating state land to the citizen. It means privatization of government firms to the public and not to core shareholders.

Liberty means liberalized communication – broadcast license, not broadcast franchise. If you wish to start a television or radio station, buy a wavelength and broadcast as you please within the framework of the law. Liberty means restoring the responsibility for education to parents, using the education coupon method.

Liberty means a gradual transfer to a professional volunteer army. It means prohibiting biometric databases or any other type of human designation. There is no difference in principle between sophisticated biological marking and tattooing an ID number; both turn our identities into the property of a third party. In both scenarios, we lose our freedom.

Simply put: We have one God above us and we should not be enslaved to another person or mechanism. The state is ours and under no circumstance is the opposite true.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/identity-meaning-and-liberty/2012/09/05/

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