Even Jews Who Support BDS Must Not Morally Divest Themselves from Israel

We the Jewish people are at a very pivotal moment in our history. The State of Israel, the one and only Jewish homeland, is in a state of moral crisis. Specifically, The Occupation of the Palestinian people has undermined the moral health of the country. A nationalist government has taken hold in Israel, headed by the poisonous Benjamin Netanyahu and supported by some who are even to the right of him in the Knesset. Racism is at record highs, with Israel keeping African Asylum refugees in jails instead of providing them with the care they need. Simply put, Israel can choose to either go down its current path of apartheid or choose democracy instead.

With such negative tidings in the Holy Land, it is understandable that some Jews simply want to look away and pretend that they have no connection to what is happening in the region. But this would be a grave mistake. Whatever we liberal Jews think about the government of Israel’s actions, that does not change the fact that Israel is the one and only Jewish state in the world. It doesn’t change the fact that the country we know and love is headed down a path of racism, destruction and apartheid. It doesn’t change the fact that Israel is a place for Jewish refuge in the worst of times.

Thus, with the importance of Israel and its health to every single Jew on the face of the Earth in mind, it is necessary that we commit as Jews to morally invest ourselves into Israel. No, I am not suggesting that we adopt some absurd right-wing narrative in which Israel can do no harm and the Palestinians are all Nazis. This is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that Jews need to start to pay close attention to Israeli politics and they need to specifically ally themselves with the Israeli left.

Jewish people can take concrete steps to ensure that in our community there is a significant amount of knowledge regarding the Israeli political process. Instead of spreading right-wing propaganda in our Hebrew schools about Israel, we should instead teach our children the structure of politics in Israel. We should hold annual mock elections at our synagogues and have debates over which policies and parties are best for Israel. As a general rule: whenever one Jew sees another Jew, even if they are complete strangers, they should discuss the state of the Jewish homeland. 

I believe that if Jewish individuals were educated on the internal politics of Israel, we would naturally align with the Israeli left, which could then lead to growing opposition against The Occupation and support for democracy in Israel. I believe that we should commit ourselves to being truly pro-Israel by supporting democracy and liberal values in Israel and not just blindly supporting nationalist right wing Israeli dogma.

I would even go so far as to say that every single Jewish individual should obsess over the State of Israel. It should be something that is constantly on our minds and always at the top of our agenda. We, the Jewish people of the United States and of the Diaspora have a significant amount of hurdles before us. By morally investing in the well being in the state of Israel, my fellow Jews will not only gain a better understanding of the conflict but will also value the promotion of democracy in Israel as well.

About the Author
Zachary Kolodny is a senior in high school. He lived with his family in Israel for almost a year. His passions include politics and civil rights. He is a liberal Zionist who cares deeply about Israel.