Taking a view on Israel 2

August 4, 2006

Every individual has a right to criticise any government, community or group anywhere in the world. But when a member criticises his own community publicly as a community member, the implication that will be drawn is that there is more of a reason to take the criticism seriously than if an outsider to the community were making it.

But many Jews who participate in public letter-writing, sign manifestos, write articles and join demonstrations against Israel, and who announce themselves publicly as Jews, are not otherwise visible in any aspect of the life of the Jewish people, and their negative views on Israel are hypocritical. They announce that they are Jewish only to add impact to their criticism, whereas the claim of being Jews only adds that impact because it raises an assumption of an identification with the community that is, in fact, absent. It would be more honest of them to write as individuals, not as Jews.

David-Hillel Ruben
University of London

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