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Jewish Journal

How do American Jews love Israel?

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 8, 2008 | 10:03 pm

My boss, Rob Eshman, contributed a commentary to KPCC yesterday on Israel’s 60th anniversary. His argument was that most American Jews love Israel like little girls love Hannah Montana:

But the problem with crushes is that the instant our crush disappoints us, we become disillusioned. The problem with crushes is we overlook faults until they turn dangerous and tragic.

Israel at 60 is a wonderful achievement. But it also faces monumental problems that cannot be overlooked: it desperately needs to improve the quality of its democracy. It needs to narrow the gaps between rich and poor, between secular and religious, between Arab and Jewish Israelis. It needs to pursue agreements with its enemies. It needs to reject the ideologies that have mired it in the folly of settlements for the past 40 years.

And we who love Israel have to learn to scold it, to correct it, to not stay away out of disillusionment or keep quiet out of deference. The father of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, once said, “Nothing happens as one hopes, nor as one fears.” A real state in the real world doesn’t demand reverence, it demands we raise our voices and get involved.

Crushes are fine when we’re young. But Israel is turning 60; it’s time we grew up too.

Also on this topic, Shmuel Rosner wrote a piece Wednesday for Slate.com that recommends dropping the phrase “pro-Israel” because it is so widely used, it’s lost any meaning.

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