Monday, September 14, 2009

West Bank raises questions about national and personal ethics simultaneously


The New York Times has an interesting article on West Bank “hardliners” by Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner, “Unsettled: Resolve of West Bank Settlers May Have Limits”, link here. The article, with a picture of desolation around a “pretend settlement,” talks about the “moral code” of hardline Zionism, which sees the world in terms of historical destines of various peoples, and their struggles (but so does radical Islam see the world that way).

That’s in marked contrast to mainstream Judaism in the United States and Europe today, with the emphasis on individualism, personal liberty within certain variable precepts, academic success, and artistic expression, especially in classical music – an outlet that in the US usually fits into the Democratic Party.

Libertarians, without taking sides, often point out that land was taken from individual Palestinians by force, in order to serve abstract religious objectives. That would not be acceptable in the U.S. (but consider the "eminent domain" debate). The personal shame felt by Palestians is often described, as in a Time article a few years ago, a motivation for all the violence. Look at this article by Gary L. Rubin, "Exploring the Hidden Roots of the Israeli Palestinan Conflict: The Current State of Palestinian-Israeli Relations" (2006), here. Look at his discussion of the writings of Raphael Patai.

Wikpedia attribution link for p.d. map of Israel and West Bank, historical comparisons

Today, there was also wide discussion in the media of a new audio tape supposedly from Osama bin Laden, and a major NYPD bust in Queens about a possible terror plot, about which few details are yet available.

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