The book rack, not the gun rack


This terrible  war has brought those of us who love the State of Israel and believe completely in the right of our people to live in our historical homeland face to face with the awful reality of what protecting a nation from harm can mean. Hamas terrorists began this conflict, and Israel must protect herself.   Let’s put aside, for one moment, the incredible mind boggling hypocrisy of the world which ignores the suffering of tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, in Jordan,  because that gruesome suffering does not involve any Jews.  Let’s put aside the hypocrisy of a United Nations which hides rockets for terrorists, returns them to Hamas when “discovered”  and yet condemns Israel for crimes.   Let’s admit that defending the State of Israel requires not only the blood of our people, but the blood of a lot of innocents on the enemy side as well.  That is the price of power.  That is the price that is paid as a result of the Jewish people choosing to re-enter history in the 19th century with the Zionist Movement and her choice to live out the fate of all nations.

There are Jews who are simply uncomfortable with this conflict, creating an alternative fantasy for themselves, preferring to exist in a state of self-righteous vague concern for justice-The “Jewish Voice for Peace” group is one such assortment of Jews who exaggerate the  moral good of  the Palestinians and amplify the cruelty of the Jews. The world they live is not real.   But there are a few, very few, serious Jews who question the entire notion of power as a Jewish concept.  The most prominent is Daniel Boyarin, a New Jersey native who made aliyah and holds dual Israeli-American citizenship.  Boyarin is now a professor of Talmud at UC Berkeley and a brilliant scholar.  Essentially, his view is that as Judaism developed, it rejected the ancient Roman idea of “manliness” and embraced the ideal of the passive scholar as the “ideal man”.   The book rack over the gun rack, so to speak.  For Boyarin, Zionism is incompatible with authentic Judaism (he considers himself an Orthodox Jew) and therefore he has been an implacable critic of Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians.  For Boyarin, Jews were meant to be passive participants in history, and not  to hold power over other peoples.  I disagree completely with Boyarin,  but at least he forces us to face the unpleasant reality that to create, build, and protect a State, and a homeland, difficult decisions must be made, and the result is not always pretty, or tidy.


2 thoughts on “The book rack, not the gun rack

  1. Dear Boxin’ Rebbe,
    How wonderful to be a new subscriber to tbr. Bar Mitzvah at 60, blog reader at 76, vazemere, I just might come into adulthood before I die.

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