Provocations and posturing should be outlawed
In Radical Democracy and also in my recent writing on Atheism, I plead for slaughtering the Idol of Freedom. Freedom when abused is not the highest good justifying everything else. Yes, that means that I might advocate unpopular positions. I hate restating the obvious anyway.
I’m against all massive public displays of hatred, intolerance, we-are-the boss-here, and we-are-right. The Jerusalem Gay Parade has no nudity, and doesn’t transverse Meah Shearim, and rightly so. But, it’s OK to have a modest version in Jerusalem and Mitzpeh Rimon. A Zionist march is lovely but not at the Damascus Gate.
In the case of the Western Wall, we could say that the Ultra-Orthodox are the aggressors against non-Orthodox gatherings. Yet, the latest fight was with American invaders who tend to feel entitled to boss the whole world.
Even if you would be right (but you are not) that the sex of homosexuals is evil and a threat to family life, how low must one sink to disturb a funeral of a random gay man with a picket line shouting hate speech in the name of a religion that claims to stand for love?
The whole outlook on who is entitled to what is almost foreign to Judaism. The Greek worldview wants people to compete (Olympics). Judaism teaches we should only compete against our old selves. We can all be winners when we try to be better tomorrow. And, to live by our obligations, not our rights. The latter form fosters spoiled brats.
Does that mean that we should never upset the establishment? No. In desperate situations, provocations might be called for. Once, Israeli undertakers went on strike. Not immediately burying Jews is a gross violation of Jewish Law and ethics. But, these highly ethical workers had exhausted all other ways. They were not paid their salaries for half a year. They need to eat and pay rent. The rabbis approved their action. They got paid within days. Life goes even before the rights of the dead.
However, in Israel, we have democracy. Participate before you ‘decide’ that all options are exhausted. Oh, you lost? Be a good sport. Don’t start provoking fellow Jews in the name of holiness. Jews hating each other is what keeps the whole world from reaching Redemption. The ‘other’ Jews are not the enemy. Jews fighting each other is the enemy.
Sometimes we can’t get it our way (yet). Be an activist, outspoken. But don’t start a fight (and then claim you’re the victim, which you might be). And don’t use innocent children as human shields in your grownup fight.
I want a democratic Kotel. Nobody agrees. Even when we’re right, we need to be modest. We can’t enrage a majority just because we’re right.
My parents’ driving instructor taught that it doesn’t pay to cause a collision just because one is ‘in the right.’ You want on your tombstone: “But I had the right of way!”?
To fight over who is right is an efficient way to get to divorce. Especially when the ones really right insist on fighting it out.
Right doesn’t make might.