Magazine article Tikkun

The Duty of American Jews

Magazine article Tikkun

The Duty of American Jews

Article excerpt

After many years of conceptual stagnation, the Likud Party finally woke up. In the end of 2003 Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made some interesting statements about Palestinian statehood and unilateral withdrawal, albeit vague and reserved. Had Sharon and Olmert supported Rabin ten years ago, we probably would have peace by now. However, though Likud has awakened, the American Jewish community is still in a daydream, fantasizing about Greater Israel. Likud has realized that this path cannot be pursued, but U.S. Jewry has not.

It is now clear that Sharon and Olmert and many other Likud leaders have been wrong and have misled others for decades. Not only were they mistaken themselves, but they also incited against people who disagreed with their policies. We all remember the demonstrations in which we were called traitors for saying things that Sharon and Olmert now support. But they were gravely mistaken, and their mistakes caused the deaths of thousands of people on both sides, including my son, Arik, who was a victim of Olmert and Sharon's pipe dreams. And now they are on the verge of making another momentous mistake. They are calling for unilateral moves and resurrecting the walls of the Jewish ghetto.

We must not support unilateral moves. Sharon does not know how to read the map of the Middle East; he knows how to use force, he understands the strategy of devastation and destruction-but he does not talk the language of constructiveness and vision. We still have an opportunity to reach genuine reconciliation and make peace. We must realize that Arafat is the Palestinian leader; we must sit down with him and reach a peace agreement based on President Clinton's parameters. Any other path would mean thousands more deaths.

The American Jewish community must intervene in the Middle East and try to change things. Do you have the right to intervene? Is it fair even though you live in America? The answer to that is an unequivocal "yes." And there are six good reasons why.

1. Israel is the Jewish homeland-it is not just the homeland of Israelis. In its declaration of independence, Israel has declared its responsibility for all Jews around the world. Since it is a national homeland for us all, you, who live abroad, are therefore responsible toward the State of Israel.

2. Responsibility is always based on judgment; if in your judgment Israel's cabinet is misguided, it is your duty to criticize it without fear. …

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