I don't post often about Israel, for a variety of reasons. One of these days I'll write something about why that's been my unofficial modus operandi for the last four years. But for now, I wanted to amplify something I just read -- notes from Mobius' remarks at the conference hosted by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace.) He writes:
Rather than focusing on the conflict as a Palestinian rights or even human rights issue, when speaking with other Jews, we should focus on the occupation as a Jewish issue. How is the occupation bad for the Jews? How is it bad for Israel? What are the sacrifices we’re making, in terms of lives and resources, in order to hold onto the Territories?
But more importantly: What is it that we’re fighting to preserve by having a Jewish state? What is it that we stand for as a people? And what is the value of having a state if, in the process of establishing and defending it, we sacrifice that which we represent in the world (or otherwise alter that representation to be something no longer consistent with our tradition)?
I went on to say that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is for the Jewish people to do teshuvah: To turn back to G-d and embrace the Torah. Then I explained what that means — what teshuvah looks like, and started breaking down the klalim gedolim — "the big everythings" in Judaism: We’re all the children of Adam. Love your brother as yourself. We’re all created in the image of G-d. These are the values we stand for: The unity of being. The oneness of G-d. The fellowship of humanity.
And then I started getting more specific: What does the messianic ideal look like? That we should be free to live in the land of Israel without anyone to oppress or disturb us. That non-Jews will look to us an exemplar of righteous conduct in the world. That they will cling to us for guidance out of the love of their own hearts. I then said that we need to ask ourselves how we can conduct ourselves in a way that endears the nations, rather than one that brings them to revile us.
Furthermore, I noted that the land of Israel is the altar of the world, and examined what that means, in terms of entering the land with a purified consciousness and a sacred vision. Are we conducting ourselves in the land in such a way that it sanctifies the altar or desecrates it?
There's more, of course. The whole post is here, and is well worth reading if this is a subject that matters to you. And while I'm at it, hey, yom huledet sameach, Daniel -- thanks for celebrating your birthday by giving over this Torah.