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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a Judaic critique of Israel « Previous | |Next »
August 4, 2006

Andrew Benjamin's op. ed on Israel in the Sydney Morning Hearld shows some courage. Writing as a Jew, as a synagogue memberI and one whose academic work continues to move through questions of Jewish identity and the legacy of the Holocaust he rejects Israel speaking in his name. He says:

The Jewish community in Sydney and elsewhere insists on identifying themselves with Israeli actions. These acts are part of a tradition in which the state of Israel has set the measure for being Jewish.

This is done by those who have linked and continue to link being a Jew to Israel and thus to those who conflate Judaism and Zionism. He adds:
The consequence of this is that a critique of Zionism or a disagreement over the policies of Israel are taken at best as a criticism of Jews and, at worst, as anti-Semitic. The evidence is clear. Attacks on synagogues in Seattle and Parramatta underscore the results of this. These attacks are the result of the politics of a nation state.

Rightly said. Is there a Judaic critique of the actions of the Israeli nation state?

Benjamin says that it would be one that one that would allow some Jews to undo the project that continues to identify the policies of a state with both a culture and a religion:

...what endures for many as an outrage is Israel hijacking the Holocaust for its political ends: the Holocaust is used to sustain a specific geo-political situation.The other night in Sydney at the Great Synagogue a speaker defended the incursion into Lebanon on the grounds that it would prevent a further Holocaust.Understanding the Holocaust, tracing its impact upon how we think today, is a project that endures. Moreover, it is a project that resists easy summation. The idea that it can figure as an element of state policy is both an intellectual and ethical scandal. This needs to be said.
Well said.


| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:08 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)
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» Jewish diaspora from Public Opinion
Norman Birnbaum's op. ed. in The Age raises some good questions about the Jewish diaspora's relationship to the policies of the Israeli government in the context of the Israeli lobby. His op.ed. can be seen as part of the miniscule oppositional voice t... [Read More]

 
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