Posts tagged racism

Honest, ugly discourse: Gilad Sharon and John Stewart Mill

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One of the responsibilities of the news media is to set the parameters of acceptable discourse in society. But while media outlets have the unique ability to demarcate what is and isn’t acceptable to print, in doing so, they walk a fine line and risk masking the ugliest – but real – faces of society.

Last week, in the midst of the latest round of deadly violence between Israel and Gaza, The Jerusalem Post printed an op-ed penned by Gilad Sharon, a man who has pushed himself into the public eye solely by virtue of the name and legacy of his father, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

In a hyper-nationalist tone, Sharon advocated escalating the limited military operation into what would be the 21st century’s first instance of genocide:

“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

There is no need to delve into the plethora of reasons Sharon’s words and ideas are appalling. If he were a man of any influence, his writings might be considered criminal under the Genocide Convention; a cursory reading (more…)

Separation of synagogue and state

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The issue of separation between church (temple) and state is one that I usually shy away from in Israel despite it being something I feel very strongly about from my American upbringing. Ideology and politics aside, being a Jew in the Diaspora almost necessitates disdain for official state religion. When it comes to Israel, however, I have always dismissed the conflict between the two as one of the quirks that makes the country what it is. I was taught that the religious establishment’s role in Israel is part of a multi-faceted balance between a secular, democratic government and Jewish state. Recently, much of that willingness to overlook the gaps between my values and my surroundings has begun to unravel.

My second-guessing of the situation in Israel – specifically, the immense power of the orthodox rabbinate – began with stories from friends who were told they could not marry in Israel. I had always (reluctantly) accepted that a Jewish wedding in Israel must be performed by the orthodox rabbinate but with the realization (more…)

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