Friday, July 18, 2008

Can One Be a Liberal Zionist?

I found the following article from Dissent Magazine fascinating. I am Jewish (though not particularly religious), politically liberal, and consider myself to be a strong supporter of Israel. Often times, these things conflict. I find myself opting out of debates on Israel because I don't really agree with the extremes on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and that's all one really hears these days (especially in the US).

Is it possible to be a "liberal Zionist"? Can one really be a supporter of Israel while being critical of many of the Israeli government's policies? If the tone of international, left-wing criticism of Israel makes you angry, can you really be considered a liberal? Would you want to be? What if you support the idea of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, but have serious reservations about trusting the Palestinian leadership and their motivations? Does defending the cause of people who willingly elected a terrorist organization (Hamas) to be their government give you "the willies"? If you wonder about these same things, then read this article. Here is a small excerpt:
And what is the secret we hardly acknowledge? We are all for a two-state solution, we are eager to call a halt to Israel’s expansion, to put an end to the settlement movement, to restore Israel’s good name, to make almost any compromise consistent with the preservation of Israel’s character as a Jewish state and its commitment to democracy. We are, in a word, “doves.” But we don’t trust the Palestinians; we worry about Iran; we haven’t a clue about how you get from here to peace; we don’t take America’s support for granted; and even if we did, we are not exactly proud to have to depend on that support. We worry that Israel has taken multiple wrong turns, not only on the big question, its peace policy, but on a range of domestic issues as well—most notably, its increasingly inegalitarian economy (where it now ranks with the United States on disparities in income distribution); its corrupting entanglement of religion and state; the decline in the quality of its educational system; its manner of dealing with the 20 percent of its citizens who are Palestinian. We are dismayed by the extent of public corruption. In short, we fear that Israel is at risk both domestically and internationally.
I will be cross-posting this on my political blog as well. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

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