Josh Nathan-Kazis, flashing his shoeleather, posts this astonishing passage from Michael Oren’s speech to a Conservative Jewish audience last week. It reminds me of why Shlomo Sand’s book is so necessary and important right now. Sand demonstrates how Zionism–Jewish nationalism–took biblical myths and made them into an ideology of Jewish race and nation. Oren, who is not nearly as critical or intelligent as Sand, has swallowed that ideology but does us the service of exposing its religious basis:
A God who fixes laws throughout the physical space can also intercede through the course of human history. Perfectly logical. To believe in the God of history is to believe in the reason why a tiny remnant of [the Jewish] people, rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, returned to [Israel].
… To believe in a God who cares about history leads one to assume that there is a reason why, some 3,00 years ago, this obscure group of nomads, wandering somewhere around the Middle East, came up with these extraordinary notions of a single God, and the extraordinary notion of universal morality. And there’s a reason why that faith enabled that people to survive as a people when so many other peoples have vanished, in spite of expulsions, inquisitions, and massacres. And there’s a reason to believe why this people was given a land in which to realize its national destiny, and to understand why that people, bound by its faith, longed to return to that land, even when that people was exiled.