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January 23, 2004 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-23

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"Judaism — the club" has morphed
into an unrecognizable taffy of tasteless
self-expression. It doesn't sound like a
good investment for a "Fund for Our
Jewish Future." I fear that cash as a fire-
break against assimilation will just go up
in smoke.
I would like to suggest to Mr.
Steinhardt that we owe it to ourselves,
and we certainly owe it to our children
and our grandchildren, to tell them
about a second Judaism, "Judaism, the
religion." It relates our beautiful her-
itage, which tells us simply and clearly
who we are and what we are, what our
purpose is in life and how to accomplish

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it. It is the solid foundation upon which
we Jews build our lives.
Describe the attractive observant fam-
ilies in our communities who tithe their
money and their time to countless chari-
ty organizations. The schools where chil-
dren learn absolute values. The grandeur
of Rosh Hashanah and the purity of
Yom Kippur and the beauty of Shabbos.
Teach them that they can become all
that they were created to be and they
won't need a club. They will have dis-
covered themselves and will be forever
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more trenchant criticism of Israeli
policy, including its treatment of the
Palestinians as well as its own Arab
citizens, than some of the outra-
geous attacks and tactics that too
often characterize your end of the
shouting match between us.
The real problems in Israel may
well be even more serious than you
imagine and we all need to discuss
them, though the Israelis seem to be
doing a better job of that right now
than anything you — or we — are
doing here. There are reasons why
we hear so little criticism of the
Palestinian leadership from the
Palestinian people, but there is noth-
ing stopping us on campus from set-
ting a better example.

5. Recognize that Palestine needs
Israel. If you are serious about hav-
ing an independent Palestinian state,
you will have to make a critical deci-
sion and a public commitment,
namely to acknowledge, as we do,
that just as it will be next to impos-
sible for there to be a safe and secure
State of Israel without a safe and
secure state of Palestine, there will
never be a safe and secure state of
Palestine without a safe and secure
State of Israel.
Israel is not planning to disappear
and no nation would — or should
— acquiesce to the creation of
another state on its border bent on
its destruction or that cannot or will
not prevent its own citizens from
attacking that nation. Israel, then,
will defend itself militarily, and the
results of a response to an existential
threat would be devastating for all in

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the region.

Dual Security

All of us who support a safe and
secure Israel and the creation of a
safe and secure Palestine must sup-
port the security of both if we are
serious about the.security of either.
Most of us are prepared to advocate
for an independent state of Palestine
in order to end the suffering and
trauma of Israelis — Jewish and
Arab — and to end the suffering
and trauma, as well as to restore the
political dignity, at long last, of the
Palestinian people.
Those of you who, like us, sup-
port the establishment of an inde-
pendent state of Palestine have to
declare, do you want Palestine, or do
you want blood and vengeance and
no Jewish State of Israel? If the lat-
ter, you have lost any moral claim
for your cause and there is really
nothing more for us to discuss. If
the former, you will have a powerful
claim to our support.
Only if we proudly and forthright-
ly represent ourselves, as we should,
as a community that will — out of
both our own vital self-interest and
our Jewish moral imperative — help
to build support for a Palestinian
state that is seriously prepared to
live in peace with Israel and thereby
help to end the suffering of the
Palestinian people, will we win over
this generation of young Jews, not
to mention the political leadership
of America that is also coming of
age on college campuses. In the end,
the moral high ground is the only
secure ground on which to stand. ❑

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