Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thinking critically, but lovingly, about Israel

An Ongoing Conversation » Young American Jews

Leonard Fein runs a thoughtful and courageous blog on matters Jewish and Israeli on the Americans for Peace Now website. I'll be running links to occasional postings there. Here's a recent posting on the challenges of involving the younger generation of American Jews in the highly frought issue of Israel. Fein has stayed true to progressive Jewish values, and seeks to apply them, with understanding and love, to some of the less pleasant realities of Israeli life and statecraft.

We here cannot wave a magic wand over Israel and transform it overnight into a Jewish Denmark. If we care about handing down a tradition of deep concern for Israel’s safety and welfare, it is in a different arena we need to operate. Specifically, we need to build on the important but still relatively modest fora for expression of what I will call here “progressive Zionism.” ...

No, PZ doesn’t answer the underlying question that gnaws at some young people: “Why should I care?” But it does answer the derivative question: “How shall I care about Israel in a way that is compatible with my concern for human rights, with my understanding of what the Jewish tradition teaches, with my abiding distaste for some of Israel’s more voluble American defenders, with my sense of personal integrity?

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