Magazine article Tikkun

Israel's 50th Anniversary: How It Is Being Abused

Magazine article Tikkun

Israel's 50th Anniversary: How It Is Being Abused

Article excerpt

Eighty U.S. Senators recently signed a letter to President Clinton asking him to not to put forward an explicit plan for moving the peace process forward. The letter was pushed by AIPAC (American-Israel Political Action Committee) and supported by many other establishment Jewish organizations. Congressional support for this letter was based in part on the perception that American Jews remain a powerful political force, and that the best way to appeal to them is to support the Israeli government no matter what Israel is doing. That perception is being strengthened as American Jews join in an uncritical celebration of Israel at Fifty.

We rejoice in Israel and believe its existence to be a modern-day miracle. We are proud of its many accomplishments in providing a refuge for Jews, and we believe in its future potential as a creative center for moral and spiritual wisdom.

Yet we are also saddened by Israel's continued denial of rights to its own Arab citizens, by the growing income gap between its older Ashkenazi citizens and its Sephardi and newer Russian citizens, by its denial of equal religious rights to non-Orthodox strands of Judaism, and by its immoral and self-destructive occupation of the West Bank. We are critical of Arafat's regime as well-see the article by Bassem Eid in this issue of TIKKUN-and we are outraged at Palestinian terrorism, but we believe that none of this violence will ever cease until the Palestinian people are granted a state of their own.

Unfortunately, the celebration of Israel at Fifty has become a weapon in the hands of those supporting the Occupation and the perpetuation of the status quo. Not taking a stand of unequivocal support for the peace process and in opposition to the Occupation becomes a stand-in support of the Netanyahu government. Some people will say, "Isn't it unnecessary to 'politicize' these events? …

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