“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” – Thomas Paine
The American principles of freedom disdain the notion of a religious state. Has it not always been the duty of Americans to guarantee, as well as possess, the right of religious choice, so that every individual feels equal under law, regardless of religion? I imagine that the Jews of the United States would be among the first to protest if America wished to be called a “Christian State,” and replace the fifty stars of the flag with fifty crosses. It seems ironically unconscionable that the most state-persecuted religious group ever, the Jews, should want for themselves the sort of government that claims an official religion, being all too aware of the coercive dangers inherent to religious states.
Israel plays the lamb too often in American foreign policy. It takes two to tango, and while Israel can reasonably argue their aggressions are warranted, it can also be reasonably argued that their aggressions only fan the flames of Palestinian sentiment. The Israeli government cannot persist forever without assuring freedom and equality to all of the people of Israel. The government itself is in need of fundamental change, and the Jewish heritage of Israel should be considered only heritage. A compromise is necessary between the Jews and Muslims of Israel, and as long as it is a Jewish State in official capacity, it is hard to see that happening.
It is difficult for me, as an American Jew, to understand why the United States has stood so steadfastly in favor of the Jewish State of Israel. I believe Israel should exist, but not as a “Jewish State.” The American position on Israel, if it must have one, should be this: “Jews may live there. Muslims may live there. Anyone may live there. They should be treated equally, just as various people are treated in the United States.” However, it seems more reasonable for the United States to let the inhabitants of an area sort out their problems without intervention, and serve as a refuge for those wishing only to work and live freely and peacefully.
History and reason tell us that the Jewish Homeland, the “Promised Land,” or Eretz Yisrael, will always be the freest nation in the world, wherever that may be. It was always promised as a place away from all servitude, external political forces and armies, so the region contemporarily called “Israel” seems anything but the “Promised Land” today. The land that once was free and peaceful has faced about over the centuries, and has therefore lost its title. Eretz Yisrael’s location is not static. Thousands of years ago, it was the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Today, it seems to be the United States. Tomorrow, who knows?