observation - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • pt
    • 02.06.13 | 03:10 (IDT)

    Shlomo Sand has spent a lot of time thinking about nationality, identity, peoplehood, etc. Fine, that is what academics do, they define, they categorize and they label. For those of us who don't live in the ivory tower, it can often seem rather besides the point. Jews who define themselves as secular Jews are deluded, he claims,they don't belong to a Jewish people, because there is no such thing as secular Jewish culture. But if most secular Jews (not to mention religious Jews) identify as belonging to a common people, all of Sands protestations are not going to make a difference. He can define nationhood or "peoplehood" any way he wants, it's not going to change peoples feelings about themselves,their identity, and how THEY define peoplehood, which is really what counts if enough of them feel the same way. If Sand wants to make the case that Israel should be a country of all its citizens, rather than a Jewish state he should try to make it on political, legal and humanistic grounds- definitions of democracy, definitions of de jure discrimination, international norms, etc. Pissing on peoples identity and self image is not going to carry the day. NOTE: II's interesting that the largest and impactful Jewish communities in the twentieth century, Israel and the US, were created, for the most part, by a people, even by Sands definition of people, with their own distinct culture -the "Yiddish people of Eastern and perhaps central Europe". I would argue that they were also an ethnic group.

    from the article: On Israeli identity, Jewish democracy and oxymorons - A response to Carlo Strenger
    First published 20:05 01.06.13 | Last updated 20:05 01.06.13
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