Historically Speaking

I have to give mad props to KFarbs for saying something about how Israel hasn’t had a chance to sort out its internal shenanigans because it’s been so outward-focused. Initially my reaction was that we cannot keep focusing on the future. But you know moms, always SO insightful.

We all know how we got here. It’s unsurprising. Of course the internal issues in the Jewish side of Israeli politics haven’t had the opportunity to sort themselves out because Israel HAS been at war for so much of its existence. That’s not the issue. We can talk about what has happened and how and why and when for ever and ever and ever. But it will never change anything. Stop reiterating the same old stories. The question is, where do we go from here? How can we fix what is so obviously broken?

(Here is where I play the one-state optimist.) Israel desperately needs a time of peace to work out how to function according to its own ideals: democracy, ostensibly, and how to integrate a huge non-Jewish population into a Jewish state. It can be done – but with difficulty. It will require time, it will require much suffering, much internal strife, maybe even civil war.

But while Israel remains in a constant state of war, and while its enemies incessantly threaten it (whether perceived or not, it actually doesn’t matter – even if perceived, the effect is the same), it cannot become what it should be. It will not become a democracy. It will not become a state that respects human rights. It will not become a Jewish state – not in the sense of observance but in the sense of abiding by the peace and tolerance thatmost of us find in Judaism.

Israel needs to accept that it is imperative that they integrate two populations with complete and unadulterated equal rights. Israel’s enemies, whoever they may be, need to stop threatening this state. Israel also needs to stop deciding it is being threatened. I don’t care if Tehran has nuclear power. If you don’t hurt them, they probably won’t hurt you. And here’s the magic of this whole thing. If Israel faces up to its wrongs and tries to make amends and tries to actually become a stable and just and equal democracy, even if Tehran (or any other flavor of the week) attacks Israel, Israel will unquestionably have the support of its populations and its allies that it will so desperately need. If it would only make the effort.

Ahh, pipe dreams.

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