Avraham Burg writes:
In a very short time we will no longer be able to evade the real questions: Are we capable of apprehending our existence without the hatred of others? Do we really need external anti-Semitism as a means to define our inner identity? Think for a moment about a world in which Jews are not hated; about a utopia of peace in the Middle East, fraternity wherever our brethren live. Unreasonable? Definitely not! A hundred years ago, who believed in the existential transformations being played out before our eyes? Few, indeed.
A hundred years ago, Europe was awash in bloodshed that had lasted a thousand years, yet now it is a peaceful continent. Only a few months ago, the Middle East was one of the world’s largest repositories of nasty, bizarre dictatorships, yet today we are on the brink of what appears to be a historic and positive change. And with the world going into this mode, immediately or soon, will the Jewish people be able to survive without an external enemy? It’s not certain.
We have proven methods of coping with persecution, hatred and pogroms. But we don’t have a clue and don’t have experience when it comes to openness, acceptance and full equality for Jews, as for everyone else. That prospect threatens us in the deepest recesses of our being and confronts us with questions about our national existence as such, as “a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” This being so, we tend to return to the sick, pathological molds which are so familiar to us: junkies of hatred, we isolate ourselves from the haters, real or imagined. As though the evil we know is preferable to the potential – and threatening – good.
From this point of view, the establishment of the State of Israel not only failed to solve the problems for the sake of which it was founded but, on the contrary, made them a great deal worse. Israel is the biggest shtetl in the history of the world. One big town around which walls of segregation and resentment rise higher every day, cutting it off from its surroundings. Few of us know any other existential reality apart from our unrelenting war with everyone, all the time and over all issues.