Lots of folks are passing around an advice column from the Forward titled “When Mr. Right Hates Israel,” in which a 32-year-old woman asks if her relationship with a non-Jewish man who sees Israel as an apartheid state can work. From her plea:
I met a really great guy. I am okay with his non-Jewishness because it will not interfere with my Jewishness or my kids’ Jewishness. I am not okay with his politics on Israel, which he calls an apartheid state. I tell him he hasn’t read enough, but he says the military occupation, settlements and large numbers of Palestinians who have died are all he needs to know. I am a Zionist, my father was born in Israel, and I am wondering if this should be a dealbreaker, or if that is ridiculous and I should just get over it.
She gets three responses, headlined, “Red Flags Only Get Redder,” “It All Depends on Whether You Can Respect One Another,” and “This is a Good Opportunity to Challenge How You View Israel.” The first one is of course Zionist; Harold Berman writes:
Israel is in your heart and soul. This is not as if you were a Democrat, he were a Republican and you had mutually exclusive opinions about health care reform. This goes so much deeper. It is part of who you are, and is also integral to the Judaism you want for yourself and future children.
The last response, by James Ponet, a Yale chaplain, says Israel has had “grand’ achievements but is problematic for many Jews. The piece is a giant step forward. It reflects a real conversation among young Jews, normalizes the idea that people can “hate Israel,” and embodies the Zionist captivity in its premise that it’s no big deal to marry a non-Jew, the issue is how he feels about Israel.
P.S. A year ago I made an argument that George Orwell would hate Israel. I had mixed feelings using the word, but I felt it was earned.
Thanks to Annie and Adam.