Saturday, January 26, 2008

Double Vision: Part 2

I have been reminded again and again of the importance of really listening to those we disagree with, of really trying to understand where they are coming from, of, in Volf's worlds, placing ourselves behind their eyes so that we can see the world as they see it (at least to a certain degree). This does not mean agreeing with everything they say, or saying that all positions are of the same validity, but it is granting a common humanity to your "enemy." It is approaching issues of injustice with both boldness and humility. Yes, we take a hard stand on what we consider injustice, but at the same time we realize that what we may consider justice might be flawed. It is in the process of action that we continually step back and say "am I really seeing the situation correctly?" and then guiding one's action accordingly. Humility and activism... a seemingly dissonant pair.

So in continuation of this line of thought begun with my last post, I now want to include another Jewish voice, that of Benjamin Netanyahu. This is from the intro to his "a Durable Peace" and, I think, represents quite well much of the ethos and thinking that lies behind much of the action of the Israeli people and government. Here it is:

" For the Jewish people, therefore, the history of the twentieth century may be summed up as thus: If there had been a Jewish state in the first half of the century, there would have been no holocaust . And if there had not been a Jewish state after the Holocaust there would be no Jewish future. The State of Israel is not only the repository of of the millennial Jewish hopes for redemption; it is also the one practical instrument for assuring Jewish survival."

"Israel at the start of the twenty-first century is undoubtedly one of the greatest success stories of the twentieth century. Communism, fascism, socialism, and so many other "isms" have crumbled into dust. But Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, the one true liberation movement amidst so many false ones, has far from crumbled."

"...the last fifty years have shown that the Jewish people will survive, and that against all obstacles the Jewish state will prevail."

I will only briefly note that this notion of "survival," defense, and victimhood play a very strong role in politics today. "Never again" is in the back of many people's consciousness.

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