Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Jewish New Year Message of Hope and Change

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!

7 comments:

David said...

I love reading your posts. You don't have to say everything or always have the last word, but most of your essays are thoughtful and display a lower snark factor than you think. Shanah Tovah!

bacci40 said...

the yamim naraim is a time for self reflection and teshuva you have chosen instead to again speak lashon hora about the entire jewish people

good job

Richard Witty said...

A week or so ago I received an e-mail from a facebook friend stated that the beginning of the peace talks of an indefatigable urge for peace.

My worry at your and others kvetching, is of exageration of sentiments leading to harms.

There isn't a common agreement, "we're just talking" in many parts of the world.

Eric said...

"For the sin of snarkiness and impatience (especially in the comments section), I am truly sorry."
Perverting the yetzer hara to do good is the essence of conquering it- that is exactly what you do with your "snarkiness and impatience "
Gamar (Khatimah) Tov(a)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your posts. Is there somewhere where u expanded on your personal philosophy- the interrelationship between your religious outlook and political views?

David L. said...

Thank you Rav Jerry-My sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

"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.

correct even in their diaspora across the arab world for 60 years they have been denied citizenship denied access to education and professions a situation not found inside of the green line in israel. Unlike inside the green line you couldnt even call them second class citizens since they are denied citizenship