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January 09, 2004 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-09

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:

Dry Bones

One State, No Way


ne of the most stupid suggestions in
recent memory is making the rounds of
the chattering classes, talking heads and
would-be experts who fill up a lot of our
time with buckets of pretentious blather.
The idea, in case it slipped by you when you
were attending to serious matters, is that the
world might be better off with a single
Palestinian-Israeli state that incorporated all of the
pre-Green Line territorial mandate that the British
were so eager to dump on anybody else after
World War II. The concept has been put forward
in some of the otherwise mostly sensible and
respectable journals as a way out of the current
dilemma of what to do about those poor,
dear, freedom-loving Palestinians who are
being so infamously tortured by Israel's
heavy-handed occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza.
The notion is actually an old one, something
that has been tossed around even before the
world's formal recognition of Israel in 1948.
While Theodor Herzl was all for Jewish sovereign-
ty, many of his contemporaries were envisioning a
harmonious Arab-Jewish bi-national arrangement
and worried that the Zionist ideal would call
unfavorable attention to Jewish power. The
Holocaust put an end to that argument, of course.
But after the last three years of Palestinian-led
violence and with no end to it apparently in sight,
some substantial Jewish figures have decided that
the best course would be for us to again blame
Avraham Burg, who was speaker of the Knesset
when the Labor Party had power, recently pro-
claimed in a widely reprinted op-ed for the Israeli
newspaper Yediot Aharonot that "The Zionist revo-


lution is dead" and that Israel
should be scrapped because it is
built on foundations of corrup-
tion, injustice and oppression. On
this side of the Atlantic, Tony
Judt, a well-regarded historian,
told readers of the New York
Review of Books that "there is no
place in the world today for a
`Jewish state.'"
Others then hastened to pro-
mote this notion that Israel could
solve the problems of the Arab
world by disemboweling itself.
Whether that would be
an effective act, much
less a means to sustain-
ing a Jewish majority
seems not to be the issue. Do we
detect just the faintest whiff of
anti-Semitism here?
Probably not. After all, similar
thinkers likely believe that
Yugoslavia's problems could be
resolved if Bosnia and Kosovo
would reattach themselves to
Serbia and Montenegro. That
South Korea should allow itself to
be ruled by the "Dear Leader" of
North Korea. If only Taiwan
would submit to the mainland,
they must be thinking. Or that
India and Pakistan could go back
to what they were under the Raj.
It is heady stuff, this ability to deal with the
intractable by a single slice through the Gordian
knot of reality.
So here's our resolution for 2004. When people



at cocktail parties ask us if we don't agree that the
time has come for a single state of Israelis and
Palestinians alike, we resolve to just walk quietly
away. ❑

Preventing Intermarriage


his started out as a refutation of your editorial
"Confronting Intermarriage" (Dec. 5, page
43), which more aptly should have been titled
"Acquiescing to Intermarriage."
But, then there appeared several more articles on
the subject: a piece about interfaith families in Ann
Arbor ("People To People," Dec. 19, page 57); one
about some in the Conservative movement who wish
to explore ways to make intermarrieds a more integral
part of shul life ("Integrating Intermarrieds," Dec. 19,
page 60); and another about a phenomenon called
"Jewbilation," an unaffiliated fellowship primarily for
interfaith families who want some (presumably not
too much) connection to Judaism ("New Pathway,"

Robert P. Roth is a founding president of the Jewish
Academy of Metropolitan Detroit and a past president
of Congregation ffnai Moshe, both in West
Bloomfield. He a longtime cabinet member of the
Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.

Dec. 19, page 60).
The very premise of defining the solution
Could it be that the Jewish News has some
to intermarriage by welcoming its conse-
agenda or has it simply caught that most con-
quences institutionally into our synagogue
tagious "inclusivitis" Christmas/Chanukah
life necessarily removes any effective basis
holiday spirit so prevalent this time of year?
from which to combat it.
The problem has been clear since the 1990
I challenge any proponent of this form of
National Jewish Population Survey: About half
keruv (outreach) to posit one scenario of
of Jews marrying are doing so with non-Jews.
making the non-Jew an integral, connected
We are committing demographic suicide.
and welcome part of the synagogue, which
The purported solution of the JN ("The
does not simultaneously result in the implicit,
Conservative movement must connect to
if not explicit, imprimatur of approval. How
Comm unity
intermarried couples" because "intermarriage
you combat something you accommo-
Perspe ctive
can no longer be ignored in our inclusive open
date? It cannot be done. What form of
society") and some in the movement (Rabbi
acceptance is contemplated?
Joseph Krakoff suggests "making intermarried house-
Surely one cannot be an integral part of a
holds a more integral part of synagogue life") is to
Conservative shul without committee involvement.
institutionally accommodate this self-destructive
Are non Jews to be excluded from committee life (the
choice. This approach is not only inherently contra-
prospect makes one think seriously about converting
dictory, but has already been proven to be ineffective,
the other way)? Certainly such tolerant proponents
not to mention sacrilegious.
ROTH on page 26


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