Chris: from our very inception as a people we have exhibited a great tendency for questioning. Jews argue about Israel out of concern for its future and a belief that it must be, above all else, a moral nation. Jews are not like other nations in this regard and it is the very core of who we are as a covenantal people. All Jews share a common history but how we interpret that history varies widely. For centuries, for most of our existence as a people, the majority of us lived in diaspora and for centuries held no political power. That changed in the 19th century with the rise of nationalisms, and it received a tremendous incentive with the greatest catastrophe in our history-the Shoah, or Holocaust. As for the Muslims being more united, I think you are a bit off on that observation. Within Islam you have many natiions who have fought each other at various periods in Islamic history, you have Wahabis, Sufis, Sunnis and Shi'ia, Ahmediyahs. You have those who wish to subject the Quran to critical textual analysis and those who would kill those engaged in such academic pursuits if they advocated applying those liberalizing tendencies to daily life (men and women praying together etc.) Judaism is a religion in which the particular has struggled with the universal and which of these tendencies remains on top usually has to do with the general situation in which the Jews find themselves among those they are living with. After the Holocaust and the wars in Israel, we are currently experiencing a period of extreme tribalism in which we have withdrawn into ourselves and look upon the rest of the world with the utmost suspicion. Throughout Jewish history this tension has swung back and forth and many Jews, myself included, long for the pendulum to swing back to a more universalistic mode. We are no long a ghettoised nation, reacting to everyday life by withdrawing and fearing the outside world. Israel should be a force for good among the nations and this ongoing occupation, indeed the very question of the Palestinians upon whom we have forced ourselves, is one of the most critical moral questions facing us today and our answer cannot simply be nationalism as we find it among other nations. We were not designed to be such.
Beirut protesters must leave environment ministry, interior minister says (Reuters)
from the article: Foreign Ministry protests EU contacts with Hamas officials