I keep waiting for the Forward to review Jack Ross’s book, and interview Jack Ross about anti-Zionism. In the meantime, this progressive publication continues to publish pieces by liberals justifying intolerance. At least student Benjamin Resnick is aware of the contradictions, and sees the conflict: “there is a growing concern among contemporary Zionists that liberal-minded Jews will soon find themselves with a generation of rabbinic leaders whose commitment to the State of Israel is attenuated at best and downright hostile at worst.” And he acknowledges the repugnance of tribal prejudice along the way (emphasis mine). It’s his word: tribe-centered:
The fact is, liberal commitments and traditional Jewish commitments are in many ways incompatible. They conceptualize political freedom differently, civic responsibility differently, personhood differently and nationhood differently. The American political tradition, emerging from thinkers like John Rawls and Isaiah Berlin, generally construes political freedom as freedom from our fellow citizens (that is, as long as we don’t hurt anyone, we can more or less do as we please). But Jewish tradition, with its robust emphasis on norms of tzedakah and communal obligation, takes a more communitarian approach. …
while traditional Jewish life does a great job of solidifying group identity, it likewise creates a kind of insularity that, when combined with political and military power, can produce the kind of legal and religious prejudice at once anathema to liberal sensibilities and (in all likelihood) absolutely indispensable to preserving the “Jewish character” of the Jewish state.
Jews have, with good reason, been fierce proponents of liberal democratic states throughout history. But from the perspective of American civic participation, the communitarian, tribe-centered approach of both the religious Jew and the committed Zionist is a very radical notion. The ritually observant Jew commits herself to a life that separates socially, visually and physically from the surrounding world. And the liberal-minded Zionist, who is deeply, genuinely concerned about the welfare of the Palestinians and the fundamental “fellowship of man,” nonetheless affirms that the Jewish democratic state must maintain a Jewish majority and a “Jewish character.”