A Kind of Community — Jews, Arabs, Palestine, Israel

kumbaya

Community is a group with people you despise, defined by a common center of concern and care. Between the leftwing Israel-always-wrong crowd to the genocide wing of the Jewish right, the beautiful souls and the ugly Jews. But no matter where we are on the map, all of us are in this together, those of us who are obsessed about Israel and Palestine. Historically, politically, and morally, I do not see any way to separate contemporary Jewishness from Israel. But here’s the rub. There’s no way either to separate or modern Israel from Palestine and the modern Middle East. There are too many competing investments in that place, which operates as a moral and affective center of collective consciousness. Also obsessed about Gaza and Israel, many Arabs and Muslims, from the political moderates to the #HitlerWasRight crowd, share the same center of gravity. Like it or not, “we are very much together and in community with “them,” and “they” with “us.” I understand that for some academic critics of Israel words like “civility” and “dialogue” and even “conflict” are off the table. Maybe the rest of us together should just as well make the most of it in order to make “things” work, on the basis of human and political recognition.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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