All People Want to Be Free and They Want to Belong

(Jerusalem Post) Natan Sharansky - Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, refusenik, Israeli government minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency, spoke this week with the Jerusalem Post about national identity. Sharansky asserts that not all populist parties should automatically be rejected by Israel, and that there are objective tests by which such parties can be evaluated. "Do they support Holocaust deniers? Do they support legislation against Jewish life, ritual slaughter and circumcision? Do they use anti-Semitic stereotypes?" He points to his three Ds definition of anti-Semitism - demonization, delegitimization and double standards toward either Jews as people or the State of Israel - as a good barometer. "After the Second World War, there was a lot of anger against nationalism, and it turned into a philosophy that nationalism brings about fascism, and that we in Europe had a few hundred years of religious wars and then national wars, and that the time had come to be above religion and nationalism. The dream was a world where there was nothing to fight over and nothing to die for, but it meant that there was also nothing to live for." "We must remember that all people have two basic feelings: they want to be free and want to belong, and we should not weaken their feeling of belonging. Patriotism, nationalism and religious belief can be very positive and a very necessary part of building our liberal world. When we take it away from our liberal world, then at some moment liberalism will become a hated word by everybody who is looking for their national identity." "The reaction to the First World War and the Second World War was to erase all identities, and the result was a decadent society with almost no values. Now there is overreaction to reestablish identity, and you're afraid of every foreigner, and there is a danger there [as well]. The sooner we will bring these two extremes together and people will be able to enjoy a liberal-democratic, national world, the better."

2018-11-09 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive