Friday, March 20, 2009

Why I care and defend

The following is a post I made on iKibbitz:

For my first real post on iKibbitz, I’d like to talk about why I sometimes advocate for Israel. I just read MJ Rosenberg’s post called “The Real Israel Is Its Own Saving Grace” in the Israel Policy Forum’s blog. It made me think a lot about my relationship with the state I talk a lot about. I defend and argue about Israel in increasingly uncertain times. This is at a time that I, as a young man, am going through changes of opinion and perception. So this is my attempt to step back and question myself why I do what I do, mainly advocate for Israel.

A simple answer would be because Israel is the state where I was born. But in a few months, the day would come that marks the time which I have lived in the US for over half my life, my country, my home. If, for the purpose of gaining security clearance to get a job in my chosen field of study (engineering), I had to eliminate my Israeli citizenship, I would do it with no reservation. Another simple answer I could give you is that the Land of the Israel rightfully belongs to the Jews and was stolen from them two thousand years ago. But that’s not why I care. That land would always be the Jewish homeland, but if Israeli society moved to the middle of Timbuktu, I wouldn’t have hardly cared about what happened on the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

A superficial answer would be because of Zionism, the need for a state for Jews to be governed by Jews to defend Jews. Not an untrue nor a bad answer for why I defend Israel, but not a very deep one. As I have alluded to before, the one basic principle of Zionism that I would give up is that the state be on the land, to save it from no longer being Jewish and democratic.

The main reason why I defend Israel is because I know it, I enjoyed it, and I know that Israelis can make a country which is a good place to live. I know what Jews are capable of, and as long as the Jews have a state, we can continue this golden age. In my first year (5th grade) in the US, the class that I learned how to read and spell English the most was social studies, not my English or ESOL class. That year I learned about how the American patriots fought for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I didn’t see those principles of America as something new, something that I didn’t hold dear as an Israeli, they were just very well articulated in America’s founding documents. I can make a very lengthy post on why some of America’s founding principles can be partially credited to the Jewish tradition, but I’ll save that for a later day. So basically, I love Israel because I love America. Two countries that stood up to tyranny and organized and fought against it.

When the United States was 61 years old, plenty was wrong and ugly with it, mainly slavery. But because the basic principles were sound, it has a good nation. I believe that Israel’s principles are also sound. The only difference is that Israel isn’t protected by two great oceans and lives in a region of the Old World, where the seemingly New Ideas of liberty and equality haven’t been welcomed with that famous Middle Eastern hospitality. If history is any guide, the fight that Israel is fighting, a fight that even America hasn’t experienced, is the most difficult and thus needs all the help that it can get.

This author is the creator of the Old World New Ideas blog and iKibbitz.

I'll try to make my writings on both sites appear more timely. As soon as I make significant progress on the Wordpress theme I'm making, I'll start to write more often.

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