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Old 09-02-2010, 04:28 AM
Florian Florian is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,118
Default Re: Poetaster Edition (Hussein Ibish & Eli Lake)

Originally Posted by soral View Post
I disagree. You are probably aware that Jewish identity is split between heredity, culture and religion, as is the Greek or Brazilian identity, etc. Jews are not simply adherents of a religious tradition; just ask most Jews. To say that the enterprise of a Jewish state is suspect is just as debased as saying that the enterprise of a Greek state is suspect. But, you might speak up and say, Greeks in Greece are not as religiously fervent as a proportion of their population as Israeli Jews are! And you would be absolutely right, but the fact is that Greeks certainly have been in the past and that if there were a resurgence of religiosity in the Greek state as there has been in Israel, this would in no way obviate the right and the need of the existence of a Greek state, as you claim the right of the Jewish state is obviated by its religiosity..
The concept of the state, as it developed in Europe from the 16th century on, is in essence secular, even though it took several centuries for the governing classes to catch up with the theorists (Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant etc). It is based on the idea that individuals as individuals possess certain "natural" rights and that the state exists to secure these rights, one of the rights being the right to worship (or not to worship) God as one sees fit. Both the American Revolution and the French Revolution, in their very different ways, gave expression to this aspiration.

Religion, cultural identity, heredity (!) do not belong to this tradition. They belong to the German and romantic tradition of "Volk" (=nation, people) worship, which developed in opposition to the French Revolution and ultimately led to the disastrous conflation of state and nation or people. The idea of the "right to self-determination," i.e. the right of every nation, of every "Kulturvolk," to govern itself was one of the main causes of WW I. There is a direct, historical link between Zionism and the German doctrine of Volks-und Blutgemeinschaft (=community of blood).

If I were Jewish, I would be reluctant to base Israel's "right" to exist on such a blood-stained doctrine.

The conflation of culture, history and faith is something many Christians and (to a lesser extent) Muslims have a hard time conceptualizing, because to be a Christian or a Muslim in the conventional sense requires faith, whereas to be a Jew does not. This confusion should not, however, lead anyone to claim, as you have, that the Jewish nation's right to a state is somehow "suspect"..
I think that Christians, if they are at all historically informed, know quite well that their "faith" is not the same thing as culture and history! Muslims, on the other hand, are as unable as you are to see the difference. Indeed it was the Christian (Augustinian) doctrine of the two cities, and of the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal powers, that made possible the separation of church and state, and ultimately the "exit from religion," which is now possible in Europe and its offshoots.

Last edited by Florian; 09-02-2010 at 04:45 AM..
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