Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving a relationship to Israel away from "us"/"them" language

Today I stumbled on a blog post by Noam Planko's on Israel Diaspora relations that I found thought provoking.   Naom calls for a more sophisticated approach to American Jews relationship to Israel, one that is embedded in developing a broader connection between local and rich Jewish community life in the United States and the global Jewish community.

Read Naom PIanko's blog post

The only point that I’m not entirely comfortable with is his tendency to speak of “The State of Israel”.   If the goal is to get rid of the binary language of "American Jews" and "Israel" and develop a more nuanced relationship in which individuals grapple with their relationship to Israel, then one need not to speak of "The State of Israel."  Rather, there is a need to emphasize the multi-faceted nature of Israeli life and to encourage American Jews to pick their partners and develop a stake and opinion about where they stand.

As Planko points out, it is disastrous to demand that all American Jews "support Israel" without enabling each to  to think through what and they support and oppose.  "Israel" is not a homogeneous entity, but a vibrant civil society.  Every Jew can find within Israeli society a wealth of resources and inspiration by which to develop their Jewish life and a vision of Israel to which they can commit (and reject).  Jewish Peoplehood and Israel education are two parts of a greater whole; which, serve a common purpose of developing commitment to be a part of the global Jewish People.  "Israel" is a major strand in the weave that connects Jews to one another as a "global People," thus it is impossible to speak of one without the other.  


Noam Pianko said...
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Noam Pianko said...

Just wanted to update the correct URL link to this article. You can now find it at (along with other writings on peoplehood!) Thanks. Noam