So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal Zionist

Not all criticism casts Israel as pure evil.

Not all criticism casts Israel as pure evil.

I’ve tried to avoid commenting on the Gaza conflict—on facebook, via text message, on the bus, to my dog—for many reasons, but this piece by Rabbi Menachem Creditor broke my will. Creditor’s writing unintentionally lays bare a tension at the heart of large swaths of the American Jewry: a commitment to cosmopolitan liberal values that is incompatible with Zionism’s call for nationalistic identification with of the state of Israel. Everyone has a limit, and mine is here.

There are a few things that strike me as deep epistemic and moral failures in this piece.1 It isn’t overstating the point to say that these mistakes should be embarrassing for a “progressive US faith leader” to have made in print, and they strike me as the sorts of mistakes that undercut anyone’s claims to being a moral leader.2 These points are, in increasing order of seriousness: the challenge is made in a truly uncompelling manner; the challenge implicitly questions the motives or integrity of Israel’s critics; and, most appallingly, the piece relies a morally suspect mode of identification.
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