Monday, December 27, 2010

Alan M. Dershowitz: The Finkler Question: Jews' irrational hatred of Israel

One of the worst epithets that one Jew can throw against another is "self-hating." We most frequently hear it when a Jew criticizes Israel. What drives a Jew to become critical of a country that one would think a Jew would have a natural adherence to?

Alan Dershowitz examines that phenomenon in a Jerusalem Post column The Finkler Question: Jews' irrational hatred of Israel.

Why do so many Jews regard Israel as a pariah state? The extraordinary characters in Howard Jacobson's novel shed light on the psychology behind the country's Jewish detractors.
Any objective assessment of Israel’s actions over the 62 years of its existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people would rank it near the top in compliance with human rights, civil liberties and efforts to minimize civilian casualties. The Israeli government has repeatedly offered statehood to the Palestinians: in 1948, in 2000-2001 and in 2008. Each time the Palestinian leadership rejected these offers. The current Israeli government is now offering to negotiate, without any precondition, a two-state solution and an end of the occupation of the West Bank. (Following the end of the occupation of Gaza, Southern Lebanon and Sinai.)
So what gives according to Dershowitz?
When I am asked the question: Why is Israel so demonized and why are the Palestinians so glorified, especially by some Jews, I am used to responding that the answer is beyond my pay scale: it is more in the domain of Freud, Sartre and others who are capable of deeply exploring the human condition. But now I have a better answer. I can point to Howard Jacobson’s remarkable comic novel, The Finkler Question. Jacobson...not only poses the question more astutely than anyone I have read, he also provides more interesting and provocative answers.
Read the full column to find out what Jacobson has to say.

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