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May 25, 2010

Beinart: ‘Love Israel? Criticize It’

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/beinart_love_israel_criticize_it_20100525/

Peter Beinart, the senior political writer for The Daily Beast and an Orthodox Jew, had an interesting commentary last week, titled, “Love Israel? Criticize it”:

The prime minister of Israel has repeatedly compared the establishment of a Palestinian state to the Holocaust. His foreign minister, and protégé, has flirted with advocating the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs. The spiritual leader of his government’s fourth-largest party has called for politicians who advocate ceding territory to the Palestinians to be struck dead. West Bank settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population, and according to a recent Tel Aviv University poll, 80 percent of religious Jewish Israeli high schoolers would refuse orders to dismantle them. One-third of Jewish Israelis favor pardoning Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Yitzhak Rabin.

I hate writing these words. I was raised to love Israel, and I will teach my children to love it. But we don’t get to choose what is true. And if you love Israel not only because it is a Jewish state but also because it is a liberal democratic Jewish state, a state that strives to embody the best in the Jewish ethical tradition, there is only one decent response to these truths: fury. If you’re not angry, you’re either not paying attention or you don’t care.

That’s the problem with organizations like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Morally, they have neutered themselves.

Read the rest, and Beinart’s critical essay for The New York Review of Books about “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” here.

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