Reform Youth on Israel’s Actions in Lebanon

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4 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    May I point out another problem here? By laying the blame on Israel, they are making it profitable for terrorists to launch from areas populated by civilians, ensuring this pattern continues.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that my post on Eytan Kobre’s related article accurately sums up the current state of RJ-ranging from its leadership to its youth to its failure to gain a spiritual beachhead in Israel other than thru litigation. It is a tragedy that this is the future of RJ’s leadership- a generation that is liberal, PC and out of touch with the situation in Israel.

  3. Ahron says:

    But any clear-thinking person could have deduced…

    Quite true. Any clear thinking person would indeed have deduced that Israel takes excessive caution with the lives of civilians and at the price of excessive recklessness with the lives of its own sons.

    But the “leaders” who wrote this letter are unlikely to be clear thinking. They are more likely to be leftists or simply to subscribe to whatever flavor of politeness is currently approved by the Left. And for the modern Leftist mind there is no more virtuous act than demonstrating rejection of one’s own background, heritage and allegiances, and instead siding with those who by any standard measure would be considered one’s enemies.

    Some origins of this mindset may lie in post-Holocaust education in which the virtues of brave anti-Nazi Germans and Europeans were (rightly) lauded. But the message that emerged from this pedagogy is somewhat more insidious: The path to virtue lies in the rejection of one’s self and interests and with the adoption of the “Other’s” interests.

    The “Other” is in one sense the weak, the helpless, the oppressed etc. And the “Other” is conversely virtuous in proportion to his helplessness. But to the morally anchorless mind the virtuous “Other” is also literally anybody “other” than oneself. And identifying with the virtuous “Other” becomes the singular path to asserting one’s own moral virtue. (For a groundbreaking treatment of this subject see Alain Finkielkraut’s essay in Azure.) This is obviously and powerfully true especially when one has no alternative source of moral/existential self-justification.

    So the Palestinians/Arabs are not simply a society whose virtues and failings can be measured and assayed like any other and they are not simply “others” in the sense of everybody else who is distinct from “us”. The Left (the Jewish Left in particular) presents anti-Jewish Arabs not simply as situational “others” by virtue of ethnicity or politics but rather as existential Others. Virtuous Others whose well-being must be promoted if Jews are to claim any mantle of moral self-justification. At the very least the Jews who promote and protect the virtuous Others will not commit the mortal sin of pursuing one’s own well-being and interests.

    And that is why passionate Leftists do not wish to read “Professors Alan Dershowitz of Harvard, and Gerald Steinberg and Avi Bell of Bar Ilan University – all readily available in English”. The issue is not at all one of insufficient data. The issue is a need to claim moral virtue and the definition of that virtue as committment to an Other. Particularly when the Other is attacking one’s self, one’s friends, and one’s interests–indeed committment to such an Other is even more virtuous. And by that standard the youth of Reform Judaism are indeed exquisitely moral people.

    (My main point: It’s very important to understand the psychology behind letters like this.)

  4. Adam Keller says:

    All this sophistry is trying to hide a very simple thing. These young Jews see whay the state of Israel is doing and are horrified by it. They know that by the prevailing mindset among American Jews they are supposed to give automatic knee-jerk support towhatever the current Government of Israel is doing, but they are not capable of it – and quite a good thing, too. These young people show a very good sense, much more than their elders. For me as an Israeli, it is a reason for hope.

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