Despite many differences of opinion about the means, I think the one thing upon which reasonable Jews the world over can agree is that there needs to be peace between Israel and its neighbors, particularly the Palestinians. This is necessary for the survival of Israel and for the peace and security of the world.
Therefore, I must disagree with Lewis Bass’ letter in the June 3 issue of Community. To suggest that Israel should keep the lands it acquired and occupies since the 1967 war flies in the face of the solution to this conflict supported by the majority of Jews in Israel and the US – a two-state solution, where mutual security, respective sovereignty, and reasonable territorial disposition provides a fair and equitable way for both peoples to exist, side-by-side.
There are, of course, alternatives to the two-state solution, but these are fraught with difficulties, both pragmatic and moral.
The first alternative is a one-state solution, where a democratic Israel would exist in all the land currently known as Israel and the Occupied Territories. However, such a democratic state, where all residents, Jews, Arab Israelis, and Palestinians were given equal rights as citizens, would lose its uniquely Jewish character.
A second alternative, but one which the world and most Jews would find repulsive, is a one-state Israel, in the same extensive territory, but where only Jews/”true Israelis” would have full rights of citizenship – in essence an undemocratic or two-tier society.
I think most Jews find the latter two options unacceptable. Therefore, if the two-state solution is the means to a just and lasting peace, there needs to be an equitable way to divide the territory such that Israel and the new Palestinian state can exist to accommodate the needs to their respective citizens.
In a related matter, I would like to add my voice to that of Barbara Myerson Katz, who opposes the collusion of Jews with the groups like Christians United for Israel and like-minded Evangelical/apocalyptic Christians.
Accepting their extensive monetary and political support does not make sense, since they envision a “Greater Israel” where the Apocalypse can be ushered in via unending and escalating conflict between Israel and its neighbors.
Such “love” of the Jewish people seems rather disingenuous, at best, since the perceived goal is either conversion of the Jews prior to their rapture along with “true” Christian believers, or our end in the maelstrom left behind.
If we are to cynically or otherwise accept such “support”, what is next? Would we, for example, accept the monetary and political support of White Supremacists, who see Israel as the place to send all the Jews (whether or not that’s where we all want to live)? I think not.
Remember these words form the Tanach: “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:14)
And, “It was not by their sword that they won their land” (Psalms 44:3)