...in a world where the long-term existence of the Jewish state is far from certain, the imperative to exist inevitably gives rise to difficult questions, foremost among them this: When the survival of the Jewish people conflicts with the morals of the Jewish people, is existence worthwhile, or even possible?
Physical existence, I would argue, must come first. No matter how moral a society aspires to be, physical existence must take precedent.
Clear external and internal dangers threaten the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It is very likely that the collapse of Israel or the loss of its Jewish nature would undermine the existence of the Jewish people as a whole. And even given the existence of a Jewish state, less clear but no less fateful dangers threaten the long-term sustainable existence of the Diaspora.
...the Jewish people ought not be captivated by political correctness and other thinking-repressing fashions. When it comes to China, for example, efforts to strengthen the rising superpower’s ties to the Jewish people should trump moral-minded campaigns to alter Beijing’s domestic policies and handling of Tibet. The same goes for Turkey: Given its crucial peacemaking role in the Middle East, discussion of whether the Ottomans committed genocide against the Armenians ought to be left to historians, preferably non-Jewish ones.
That is not necessarily to condone China’s policies, or to deny Armenian history. Rather, it is to recognize that however just such moral stances may or may not be, the Jewish people must give primacy to existence.
...In short, the imperatives of existence should be given priority over other concerns — however important they may be — including liberal and humanitarian values, support for human rights and democratization.
This tragic but compelling conclusion is not easy to swallow, but it is essential for the future of the Jewish people. Once our existence is assured, including basic security for Israel, much can and should be sacrificed for tikkun olam. But given present and foreseeable realities, assuring existence must come first.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
We Want More of Dror
Of Yehezkel Dror, the founding president of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, is a professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a recipient of the Israel Prize who also served as a member of the Winograd commission of inquiry into Israel’s war with Hezbollah in 2006, who wrote this:-