Monday, October 27, 2008

Compassionate Zionism

By the Grace of God, I have long preached political moderation. In my last post I reiterated my opposition to Kahanism as a practical guide to solving the conflict in the Middle East, yet validating the anger of pro-Kahane-ists as non-racist in genre. Still, one may wonder in the context of this discussion why and how I can support the Rabbi Elon Israeli Initiative Peace Plan which is based on what I have professed to believe to be a bed of an erroneous core of Kahanism.

I wish to clarify, as previously stated, that if Rabbi Elon’s plan is successful, I would support it to protect human life that much sooner. In recent times, every year, many people have lost their lives to the current conflict. The moment it truly ends, support for all other peace plans that could keep people second guessing a peace plan should be abandoned. Once there is true peace we must embrace it, and not look to further any individual or individual group’s agenda and or prestige. We must keep in mind that the stoking of coals too quickly after they die may only serve to reignite them.

Implicitly, I intended to say the following, and I will now state it explicitly: If Rabbi Elon’s plan succeeds in its current unedited state, then I am open to allow for the possibility that I am wrong, and would be willing to declare my peace plan suggestions as a mere theoretical discussion that no one should attempt to later try to replace Rabbi Elon’s plan with. But to my limited understanding, it seems to me that it would take a miracle or a catastrophic war to allow a reasonable likelihood of success for the Israeli Initiative in its current form, and in Judaism, depending on miracles is unwise and waiting for a war is detested.

If only one aspect of my Everyone Wins Peace Plan finds its way into an edited version of the Israeli Initiative, I suggest it would be that it should be made clear to the world that the State of Israel has compassion for its refugees, be they Israeli citizens, future Israeli citizens, or rejected applicants who are never to become naturalized citizens.

God’s Honor is the soul that I have attempted to imbue into the Everyone Wins Peace Plan, while at its heart is the dignity of those that He has created. To coin a phrase to describe the heart and soul of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan: Compassionate Zionism.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Difference Between Racists and the Enraged

There are those who would wrongly brand anything remotely related to Kahane-ism as Jewish racism. Previously I wrote about my rejection of pure Kahanism as an option in the creation of a peace policy. Yet there exists a need to allow people the right to be wrong, and then discern between problem racists and sad situations. Those who go to extremes against people who are not truly extreme but only extremely angry, are themselves guilty of intolerance. Such is the opposite of the kind of consensus building needed during peace policy configuration.

Someone who survived the Holocaust can be excused if they have a grudge against Germans, even though that is not a policy for the rest of us to share. Someone who lost a relative to a terrorist bomb can be excused if they have a grudge against Arabs, though that is not the policy for Israel as a nation to pursue. Such racism is not based on arrogance, which could have no end, but trauma based misdirected anger, which could heal and be overcome in time.

Did you doubt that I would have the same standard toward Jews as I do towards Palestinians? To show those on the wrong path patience, despite their flaws, and give them a chance at redemption even in the face of a mistaken direction that they freely chose?

I believe terrorists are the scum of the Earth. Their breeding pool is from true racists and anti-Semites. But enraged people do not automatically become racists and then terrorists.

For those who have been wronged by groups of a given nation, a compartmental view is called for. I believe you must divide terrorists from normative Arabic society in your mind and Nazis from normative Germanic society as well. Whereas others viewing such traumatized people should not be so quick to accuse them for this hatred. Just as it is difficult for anyone to think straight when they are angry, imagine how hard it is to think straight if you were ALWAYS angry. Imagine if such a person perceived that their own government contributed towards the continued enemy reign of terror? Does that make someone a racist?

Anger is only right against real racists, not the sadly mistaken. They need pity, understanding, patience and advice from people who are less overcome by anger as to the correct path that they should take. It also would not hurt this healing process if their government would take their cries of anguish seriously rather than treat their concerns as fringe wrath and incitement.

Yet those who try to blame any pro-Kahane-ist without taking to heart their needs and concerns with at least an equal amount of respect as they would have for Palestinian “moderates” who reject passive resistance and call for violent intifada, such people, whether leftist or not, are extremists themselves, for they desire free speech only for those who fit within their own philosophic range of thought. They call for justice, only if it benefits those they have selected as normative, rather than using objective truth as their guide. Further, they thereby lose the wisdom that could have been gained by listening to right wingers. As the Talmud says, “Who is wise: whoever learns from anyone” (Avos 4.1)

Such belief by anti Kahane-ists is inherently illogical in its basis, and therefore their hatred of Kahane supporters is as wrong as Kahane-ism is itself. They are not evil incarnate, just as Kahane supporters are not. But they are likewise wrong, only from the other side of the equation. Both sides need to stop the blame game and end their intolerant anger because only by ENDing ANGER can one get rid of that which ENDANGERs the State; internal strife that interferes with peacemaking. As King David said, “Remove yourself from anger and abandon rage, do not strive only for your detriment.” (Psalms 37.8)

The difference between what is suitable for public policy and what represents itself as an individual's opinion is that in public policy we generally must seek a centrist answer with no extreme rhetoric to the right or left, in order to induce a deep-rooted procedure of toleration pursuant to evenhanded and upright diplomatic processes. That is the test that one must meet before attempting to address such broad political issues such as when starting a movement or in the creation of a peace process.

If I am right, do not credit me on this observation but God’s Holy Torah, as all this is implicit in the language of the Talmud. We find that Maimonides (in Deios) said of centrism, “The straight path is the middle road.”