Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Religious, not political"

Andrew laments Israel's decline:
Fundamentalism is inhaling the fumes of collapsed traditional faiths that have yet to find the intellectual and spiritual courage to recover themselves. That's why, in my view, the deepest struggle of our time is religious, not political. No one is immune - and if Western democracies like Israel or the US think they are, their complacency is their biggest vulnerability.

I agree. Whenever we hear about the great political struggles of our time in America, it's always couched in the rhetoric of "preserving American values," which is code for religious (read, Christian) fundamentalism. In Israel, the Orthodox likely trumpet the same line, which would be odd since their values come straight out of the shtetls of eastern Europe. Israeli secularism (based in the early communal ideas from the late 1940s and 1950s) was the norm. It was only when thousands of Hasids emigrated from New York and elsewhere and brought hard-core hatred of Arabs with them. It reminds me of the hatred and fear of blacks (schwartzes) that I used to hear in my grandparents' neighborhood in Brooklyn.

It's still going to get worse, I'm afraid, until the U.S. stands up to Bibi, Lieberman, and the whole Likudnik movement and puts some teeth in their attempt to halt additional settlement construction. Without pressure put on Israel, their future as an apartheid state is nearly assured.

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