note: Rudolf Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state, as he considered ethnicity to be an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity.
Jewish Daily Forward
Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising and decisive victory in the Israeli elections has created a wrenching dilemma for many American Jews: how to continue to love Israel while a government that violates many of our community’s values is in place.
This may not be an issue for those who unequivocally support Netanyahu’s aggressive, nationalistic stance, and cheer the fact that he won by dismissing the two pillars of American Mideast policy: the creation of a two-state solution with the Palestinians and the pursuance of a nuclear deal with Iran. The Bibi chorus of our community is already gloating, excusing the candidate’s offensive words about Arab voters, quickly accepting his “clarifications” and falling back on the ancient pull of peoplehood to rally American Jews once again.
It may not work so well this time.
The denial of Palestinian statehood aspirations and the blatant resort to racist statements that Netanyahu expressed in the last days of his campaign won’t soon be forgotten or reconciled, no matter what he now says.
Thus, the dilemma. For years we have been told that we must put aside our liberal values – the values that have allowed us to prosper into the Diaspora’s largest, most proud and significant community – when it comes to Israel. Ignore the occupation. Ignore the domination of an ultra-Orthodox rabbinate.
The occupation and settlement growth can’t continue indefinitely without dramatic change or renewed violence. For one thing, Israel’s already fraught diplomatic and economic relations with Europe will certainly worsen.
It will be harder to contain the growing resentment on college campuses and the growing alienation of many younger Jews. And it will be much harder to support the unquestioning amount of U.S. financial, military and diplomatic aid that Israel receives every year when its government sometimes works against American interests and policies.
The question now for us is how to maintain a genuine connection to Israel and what we believe are its deeply grand and humanistic values while distancing ourselves from a leader who stands for the opposite.