A nation that lives apart

November 24, 2016 23:02

Donniel Hartman makes a good point here

Israel can be a vehicle for Jewish isolation, the sole haven for Jews who are perceived to be by definition at risk in the world. It can, however, be a bridge to the world, its creation the decision of the Jewish people to be a part of the world, to engage it and to be engaged by it. While public relations are critical, there is no substitute for good policies. When Israel stands for its legitimate rights to be free and secure, and at the same time ensure that we fulfill the values of our tradition and the moral laws of the international community, we encounter a world eager to engage us. When we lead with ideas instead of merely responding with force, and when we base our policies on values instead of self-righteousness, we are a country with which others are willing to align.

Israel is a real country, and our decision to ensure its security requires a commitment to reality and a willingness also to function within the realm of realpolitik. We need to begin to realize however that we can also shape this realm. One of the lessons of Jewish survival over the centuries against all odds, is that power is not the sole determinant of realpolitik, but values and ideas as well. One of the lessons of being alone over the centuries has been to commit ourselves to a politics of innovation, morality, and respect for others. One of the gifts of the latter part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st is that such a politics can undermine our aloneness and create true foundations for friendship with others.

Let us look at these recent events not as aberrations or the result of clever diplomatic maneuvers but rather as a model for what might be. An Israel which innovates diminishes its alienation and enhances its security. An Israel which leads will find many who want to accompany it. We need not always be a nation that lives apart. It’s time for us to begin to believe it and enable that belief to become the guide for our policies and a new self-fulfilling prophecy of our relationship with ourselves, our neighbors, and the world.

November 24, 2016 23:02

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