I participate in Quora fora and was asked to help answer a very open-ended question: Why should someone support Israel? The question was interpreted very differently by the various participants. I started by exploring what “support” means to me — and I apparently inspired a few people. So I decided to share these thoughts outside of Quora.
“Support” for me means recognizing the legitimacy of the nation state of the Jewish people. I haven’t always felt that way, in fact I used to be embarrassed by the whole thing. You know, why couldn’t my people’s homeland be moved to an uninhabited island some where? Hmm, does a people exist? Why is there so much violence, Israel must be doing something wrong?
But being slightly embarrassed didn’t make me anti-Zionist — just kind of non-Zionist. I didn’t even know enough to be post-Zionist.
As my awareness of the vicious, outrageously unfair attacks on Israel grew, so did my curiosity. No nation in the world could deserve being treated like this. And the more I learn about Israel’s many facets — not just the technological achievements and “hot babes” — the more I am in awe of what Israel has accomplished.
So “support” for me means spending most of my time as a retiree learning and writing and speaking about Israel — about why it is not only a legitimate state for a very real people, but also a treasure for the world.
“Support” for me also means being critical sometimes — remembering, however that I don’t live in the line of fire, that things are often much more complex than one would think, and that neither Israelis nor her neighbors are helpless children who need the rest of us to interfere in their business.
I usually keep the criticism within closed circles of other Israel supporters because we know how out-of-context information can be turned into weaponry. Recommended reading about this
by journalist Matti Friedman:
My modest suggestion is that Israelis must become more aware of the dangerous tropes that are establishing themselves where their country is concerned, and avoid them to the extent possible. Although this may sound strange to friends of Israel abroad, many Israelis, including journalists and directors, don’t grasp the nature of the international discussion of their country, or the degree to which much of that discussion is unprecedented in its scale and hostility. Such ignorance might have been forgivable five or ten years ago, but it isn’t any longer. Playing ball with the “moral striptease” genre is hard to resist—because of the international interest that comes with it, and because it saves you the trouble of actually creating stories and characters with compelling universal appeal. But it should be resisted nonetheless.
Read the whole thing.
And one final thought: I support Israel out of gratitude. It is uplifting to know that at least one nation in the free world is refusing to lay down and die in the name of political correctness, greed or expediency. That at least one nation is coming to terms with the dangers of fear-based appeasement. I hope the whole nation comes on board before it is too late!