Friday, July 31, 2009

Breaking Israel's spell

The British Jewish community must move beyond the idea that being 'loyal' means placing Israeli policy is beyond criticism

Seth Freedman, Friday 31 July 2009

"........People who apply logic, reason, and above all compassion in every facet of their daily lives suspend their principles when it comes to Israel, preferring to don a mantle of defiance and defensiveness when dealing with one of the most thorny issues to face Judaism in modern times.

I've just spent a month in the heart of the north-west London bubble, running the gauntlet of pro-Israel zealotry almost every time the Israel/Palestine issue reared its head. Accusing dissenters of being self-haters, traitors and of washing Israel's dirty linen in public is the bread and butter of the diehard Zionist brigade – and that's just to those Jews daring to speak out against Israeli policies and crimes.......

Jewish schools offer classes in "Israel advocacy" to their students, as though it were the most natural thing in the world for British Jewish pupils to be armed with facts and figures to defend the reputation of a state hundreds of miles away and with a vastly different constitution and a set of policies to the country in which they were born, raised and now live. That the Israeli government intends to pay young Israelis to become internet hasbara warriors is bad enough, but for impressionable British teens to be roped into the cause without any recourse to alternative political thinking in the classroom is beyond the pale – and demonstrates the smothering attitude of educators when it comes to dealing honestly with Israeli affairs........"

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