ISRAEL RECLAIMING THE NARRATIVE

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On the one hand, we have much for which to be grateful.

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The Jewish people made great strides from the time of the Balfour Declaration 90 years ago to the establishment of the State of Israel 60 years ago. We received international recognition of efforts to build a Jewish State, initiated a movement of Jews to the Land of Israel and formed a political-administrative structure to develop Jewish statehood.


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Our people passed through the horror of the Holocaust and moved from destruction to the redemptive reality of a Jewish State. The frail and endangered newborn country of grew into a confident, strong Israel following the Six Day War.

2019 HSML - "Popular Resistance: Reclaiming the Narrative and Recreating the Self"

Israel has become a first-world country with a flourishing, knowledge-based economy, a strong commitment to democracy and human rights and a determination to defend its national interests. Moreover, the vibrancy of Israeli life has contributed to a tremendous renewal of Jewish culture and commitment in the Diaspora.

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Threats of Iranian sponsored terror in the north from Lebanon , active attacks in the south from Gaza , and the steady development of the Iranian atomic bomb all threaten the possibility of peace. The rise of radical Islam, terrorist threats to Jewish institutions in the Diaspora, and the recrudescence of anti-Semitism create great unease. Singling out Israel by the international community for excessive criticism is part of an effort to undermine its legitimacy as a nation-state.

While Palestinians must be treated with dignity, the State of Israel has the right to defend its territory and citizens. The problems and challenges are real.

Openness, Mapping, Democracy, and Reclaiming Narrative: Majd Al-shihabi in conversation

So are the achievements. We must not lose sight of the many accomplishments of Israel. The Israeli narrative of progress and redemption may require some revision, but the essential elements of the story remain true. Most disturbing, no doubt, to Jewish supporters of Israel, the authors have concluded that Zionism is a mortal threat to their deepest Jewish identities.

Israel Week - Reclaiming Our Narrative - Event - Boca Raton Synagogue

That position, which each narrative makes with passion and personal precision, is an existential threat to Israel as a Jewish supremacist state. Nothing, perhaps, could give more comfort and hope to the long-shunned Palestinians. The stock Zionist response to their Jewish critics is to label them as self-hating Jews, or at least indifferent, overly assimilated Jews who have forgotten their Jewish identity.

Ironically, like most of the authors, Moss-Horwitz is rebelling now because she believed so deeply in the goodness of Zionism.

The story had no place for the Palestinians. Other authors, who look back over a lifetime of relationship to Zionism, describe the same basic trajectory from an idealized understanding of Israel to a deep opposition. History professor Marjorie N.


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  • Israel Reclaiming the Narrative!

This caliber of Jewish resistance to the Zionist vision seems likely to cause havoc in the American Jewish community. Less obvious, but perhaps just as threatening to the mighty Zionist narrative, is the impact this Jewish movement may have on the vastly larger population of non-Jews who feel constrained to defer to American Jews on the subject of Israel and who believe Israel retains virtually unanimous Jewish support.

If there is no longer a perceived monolithic Jewish position on Israel, the respect accorded to Jews will require respect for the Jewish, anti-Zionist narrative. That means the compelling Palestinian narrative of colonial, racist dispossession—the indelible offense held against Israel — will finally be weighed in the balance. This result is precisely what editor Carolyn L. Karcher intended in assembling the essays.