Some fresh perspectives on the state of Israel
I found Anthony Julius's article (Don't panic, G2, February 1) well argued, reasonable and helpful in clarifying my perspective. I am not anti-semitic or, in principle, anti-Zionist. My issues are with the modern-day state of Israel in 2002.
In my view a modern state should be judged by: how it treats and involves all its own citizens and residents; whether or not it deals with its neighbours in a way which respects differences while accepting the need for peaceful co-existence; and whether it understands its responsibilities to the inter-connected global network of nations.
On all these fronts the attitude and actions of the present Israeli state leave a lot to be
desired. From that perspective I will offer criticism - as I would to any country which fails to meet these
criteria, including the two of which I am a citizen, the UK and Australia.
As a Jew and former Israeli citizen, I am delighted to have confirmation that, as I had thought all along, I need not worry. However, I dispute some of Anthony Julius's assertions.
Jews in Islamic countries prior to Zionism faced the same restrictions as members of other faiths (Christians, Bahais and others), there was no anti-semitism in this; neither did Jews in any of these countries suffer persecutions comparable in any way to those inflicted on European Jewry.
The dismantling of the Israeli state, which I support, does not mean expelling any Israelis; rather, it means the creation of a secular democratic state for all who wish to live in it.
Jews are not strictly comparable to other minority groups seeking self determination: I cannot think of
other such groups seeking self determination in countries which they have not inhabited for long periods of time.
Very few UK critics of Israeli policies against the Palestinians wish
to dismantle the state of Israel. What these critics, many of them Jewish, want, is a viable state of Palestine
alongside Israel. Those wishing to dismantle Israel are bound to be disappointed as Israel is very strong and is
not under serious military threat. It would stand even stronger if it offered Palestinians a genuine peace deal.
We in the Jewish Socialist Group have been campaigning for justice and for reconciliation with Palestinians for
over 20 years. We have also opposed the real anti-semitism of fascists, while the Jewish authorities often minimise
the damage they do.
I take Anthony Julius's point about blood libel. But
how are we to describe the TV coverage of Jews systematically murdering Palestinian children just because they are
there? The BBC Six O'Clock News libel?
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