I am often accused of "doom and gloom" pessimism. "Why don't you write anything nice about Israel?" I am asked. "Why are you so down about the future?"
I am not pessimistic -- in the long run.
With respect to the survival of my people, the Jewish people, I cannot be pessimistic. We have survived much worse than our current travails (due to the dark cloud of ethnic chauvinism that hangs over many Jews.) And as a traditional Jew, I believe that God's promise of indestructibility to the Jewish people, born out by history, remains eternal. And as for that other promise of the Land of Israel – that, too, remains eternal. But for the Jews to be truly at home here today and tomorrow, they cannot be usurpers or conquerors. Political Zionism turned them into those. That stage will pass and a new political regime will appear. Israel, I pray, will become a liberal democracy and cease being an ethnocracy, membership of which is guaranteed through religious conversion. And that new regime will preserve, I believe, all that is good about Israel and Israelis – and that is an enormous amount.
With respect to the survival of the conquered and dispossessed, the Palestinian people, I cannot be pessimistic. For sixty plus years Israeli Jews have written them off. "They will be absorbed by their brother Arabs"; "They are fellahin without national consciousness"; "Jordan is Palestine". Yet they are still here in Palestine, and in their diaspora, and they continue to grow in numbers and in political strength. Their cause is being championed by more and more people of good will, including, I am proud to say, Jews.
In the short term, the inhuman occupation will continue, and, tragically for them and for us, the Palestinians will continue to suffer. But there is a light at the end of their tunnel. And ours.
In the meantime, I will do what I always do, kvetch, and enjoy the company of kvetchers, praise the activists who fight for justice, castigate the excessive tribalists (especially the ones with brains who should know better), and respectfully disagree with those who respectfully disagree with me, of whatever political stripe.
For the sin of snarkiness and impatience (especially in the comments section), I am truly sorry.
Shanah Tovah – Have a good year!