“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”
I too was a liberal Zionist.
I too thought the problem was the leaders of Israel and their policies.
I too thought a change of leadership and a change of policies could fix things.
I don’t think that anymore.
Like you, I care about “Jewish values” but I long ago gave up on the idea that Israel, and the Zionism that created and sustains the Jewish State, would protect those values.
We should both be clear about what those Jewish values are. They’re to be found in the Hebrew bible and are the ideas that have stood the test of time and been passed on to the world through Christianity and Islam: The innate equality of all humanity; a bias towards the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised; and a committment to speak out against the wrong-doing of authority. In your statement on Friday you list what happens when these values are lost: “violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power”.
But to protect those Jewish values you have to push yourself beyond Zionism, especially of the liberal variety that sees today’s violence and inequality as merely a derailment from Zionism’s true course.
Let me explain why.
Natalie, without doubt I welcome your decision to snub the Genesis Prize. As an A-list Jewish Israeli-American Hollywood movie star, your stand is a big deal. People take notice. It has influence. Minds are changed when people like you do things like this. So I congratulate you. You’re are already taking serious flak for this and it will take a toll on you personally and professionally.