I recently came across an article by a Rabbi Brian Walt, titled "Affirming a Judaism and Jewish identity without Zionism." Rabbi Walt obviously comes from a fundamentally different religious and theological perspective than I. That being so, I usually wouldn't even bother writing about such an article. However, I believe that Rabbi Walt's article expresses views that are, amazingly enough, at conflict with my own at an even more basic level than theology (which shouldn't even be possible). The differences touch upon the most basic issues of all, the role of rationality in human life and arguably even the basic nature of reality. Moreover, I believe that the kind of thinking underlying Rabbi Walt's article is becoming increasingly common, even in (perhaps even especially in) those circles that ostensibly celebrate rationality.
The article is a near-perfect illustration of the superficial romanticism that underlies much of what goes by the name "liberalism" nowadays, and helps explain why "liberal" Jews are increasingly finding themselves feeling like they have to chose between their identity as "liberals" and their support for Israel. By "superficial romanticism", I am referring to a worldview in which one's "feelings" have absolute moral authority. I am not addressing the various political and ideological positions commonly associated with liberalism (of any stripe), nor am I addressing the the fact that our emotions inevitably color our moral judgments. I am addressing the increasing tendency to see superficial feelings, i.e. one's immediate gut reaction to an idea, image, or story, as having sufficient moral authority to render any further thought irrelevant. While such thinking certainly exists in all circles, my observation has been that this kind of thinking is increasingly seen in ostensibly "liberal" circles as not only respectable but as "deep" and "profound", and that much of what passes for "liberalism" today is simply advocacy for and celebration of such a worldview. [...] click for full article Olive Seedlings