Is it appropriate to criticize Israel when other nations and states commit the same actions, and much worse, without any comment from the world community? At what point does self examination become almost masochistic?
Knowing how to properly criticize was a concern as far back as the time of the Talmud. Rabbi Akiva claimed that the tact necessary for criticizing is a rare personal quality. In our own day, Natan Sharansky has properly noted that when criticism is directed against one party exclusively when it could rightly be directed against others, it reveals a bias or prejudice that undermines the very substance of the criticism. This helps us identify and distinguish between those who are fair critics of Israel and those who are (or try to be) discreet anti-Semites. An additional problem is faced by those who dispute some of Israel’s policies but fear that adding their voices to those of Israel’s detractors will only isolate Israel further and will do nothing to address their point of concern. Waiting until such time that fair criticism may be offered without worry over how it will be perceived may not be practical. After all, can we ever imagine a time when Israel will have no enemies? So offering sincere and loving criticism as the case demands is legitimate. But the key is to offer it privately. That is to say, rather than take out ads in the media or call press conferences, the criticism ought to be shared in writing with the ministry that has responsibility for the actions in question. Answered by: Rabbi Wayne Allen
Implicit in your question is your desired response.There is a clearly is delineated an imbalance in the way Israel is perceived and treated in the community of nations.
While studying in Jerusalem, a fellow student and friend once said that Israel is treated as the Jew amongst nations of the world.It may see itself as a democratic, modern country, but it is seen as the Jew is seen in the eyes of the nations.
I am one who avoids commenting as a rabbi on political matters, choosing to leave this to others who excel in the field of political and social sciences.However, it is impossible, as a rabbi, to ignore the excesses that are so obvious in the media characterizations of Israel, while seemingly ignoring the very same issues and worse that are being carried out in other nations, many of whom are allies of our own nation.
The Jewish people are charged by G-d and Torah to be a fair and just nation.We are taught that we must use honest weights and measures and not to recognize the mighty in the face of the weak.Therefore, it would seem unfair and inappropriate for us to contribute knowingly to the castigation of the State of Israel on the world stage.
This does not mean that one has no right to challenge or question Israel when they may feel that there is due reason for it.But, opening wounds publicly and jumping on the bandwagon of the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people, seems to me unnecessary and to be avoided at all costs.
I, personally, do not want to be the source of criticism, but rather the source of support and caring.
It certainly appears that one may not openly express words of both support and criticism, without discovering that only the negative words are reported, while totally ignoring the positive take on the matter.
Since this is s the case and a universal in the world of the present day media, it therefore appears to me that one can only publicly express support for Israel and not join in on the public condemnation feeding frenzy that is so pervasive.
I offer this by way of guidance, but cannot say that this is an halakhic –Jewish legal pronouncement.
There are two forms of criticism, within the community, and to the outside world.
I am reminded in this discussion of the statement in the United States Senate made by Carl Schurz in 1874, “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” When arguments are made within the community, this is the appropriate approach to critiquing.
However, when in the outside world, there are more than enough negatives spoken about Israel. Let us rather point to what contributions that Israel has made to humanity. Let us remind the world of what the sciences and agriculture owe to Israel. More contributions are found at http://centerforsanity.blogspot.com/2006/08/israels-contributions.html .
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