R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means To Me

Here is my latest from Haaretz:

During this recent campaign trail, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have channeled the spirit of Aretha Franklin.

“I think that it is a matter of self-pride,” says Netanyahu. “A people that respects itself doesn’t divide its capital. A people that respects itself does not run away from terrorism. A people that respects itself believes in its right to its land.,

The logic of Netanyahu’s position is crystal clear, as is his not-so-tacit message to voters: Since Livni or Barak (along with the international community) believe that dividing Jerusalem and returning land is a necessary condition for peace with the Palestinians and with Syria, they do not respect themselves or the Israeli people.

Of course one can easily flip Netanyahu’s logic and say that a people that respects itself does not value land over life. One can also point out that Netanyahu’s positions are a broken mirror image of a radical and intransigent Palestinian constituency that refuses to compromise with Israel on land and recognition. It will leave no one incredulous if the words quoted above (with slight modifications) came from the mouth of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and not Benjamin Netanyahu.

But the telling problem in Netanyahu’s logic is the overarching value he places on self-pride. Is respect for one’s self the only game in town? What about respect for the rights of others? What about respect for Judaism’s ethical heritage?

To read the rest, click here. As always, if the spirit moves you, please leave a comment.


11 responses to “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means To Me

  1. Funny how easy it is to live in New York and be willing to respect and give away pieces of Israel so we can give the people that want to push us into the water a closer spot to shoot their Grad rockets. That are still being launched today – interesting kind of ceasefire that is.

    I guess giving away Gaza got us a lot of respect = please tell that to someone that lives in Sederot.

    BTW I live in Israel and vote here.

  2. Leonid Blickstein

    Dear Roi,

    I think that your last article in Haaretz is right on target. The culture of positive reciprocity (as illustrated by the Golden rule in its various Jewish Christian and Muslim formulations) has to be the central point of truly comprehensive and mutually satisfactory resolution of the conflict. The main problem is how to design appropriate realistic political equivalent of this approach. I have some ideas about it and if you are interested in this issue you are welcome to contact me directly at my e-mail address.

    Best regards

  3. Dear Roi,
    Your comparison of Benjamin Netanyahu with Hamas is odious. Bibi is right on target. A nation must have self-respect, and this is precisely what is missing among many Israelis today. They no longer no what they are fighting for, which is a Jewish state in the historic Jewish homeland. Meanwhile, Hamas members know exactly what they are fighting for: the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a pan-Islamic Middle East.
    Israel has the right and obligation to set for itself red lines that it will not compromise (ideally, red lines set in private, rather than giving away its negotiating positions ahead of time). At minimum, these must include an undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, a refusal to concede the Golan, and a commitment to keep a good part of Judea and Samaria.
    I only wish Bibi could be trusted to deliver on his promises; unfortunately, I wonder whether he can.

  4. Fed Up, Barcelona

    It’s curious how you interpret Hillel to promote both necessary compromise with Palestinians and insulting intransigence towards Netanyahu. Seems like quite a double standard to me. I think the bottom line Hillel’s getting at is that one must decide what is hateful and apply it equally to others. Straining to overlook Palestinian shortcomings while trying to rub rightists’ faces in whatever filth is at hand, doesn’t seem like a believable macro-application of Hillel’s principles.

  5. david greenberg

    This is my first post to your blog. Most likely will be my last. I can’t believe the sympathizing you have for these hoodlums who would love to kill us. We have tried numerous times to make peace. We give them jobs, electricity, water, medical aid, money, and so much more in hopes that we will have a peaceful neighbor residing next to us. We have been overpatient, hoping the rockets would stop landing on our kindergartens without valid response for years. Now we stand up for ourselves and support a stronger gov’t. If we don’t have the land, we won’t have a people. The nations of the world are starting to reject us more than ever. We will need a place of peace we can call “home”. That is Israel. How dare you compare our great sages of the day with that heretic (JC) who created more bloodshed that any terrorist organization could have dreamed of. Shame on you!

  6. I totally agree with you. Israel cannot have self-respect when the rest of the world considers it to be a pariah because of its treatment of the Palestinians. I agree that the situation will turn around if Israelis start treating Palestinians the way Israelis themselves would want to be treated. Please read http://www.parityforpeace.org for a peace plan that would enable Israel to retain all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza and yet be fair to the Palestinians.

  7. Hello Roi,

    I was here yesterday, and I had to come back: love your blog!

    First, I read this article on the Haaretz yesterday (which led me to your blog); and I must say that its title is fantastic! I loved the “Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have channeled the spirit of Aretha Franklin.” it made me crack up!

    I understand Netanyahu’s words…he wants to keep the capital intact (as it should), he wants to protect his nation (as it is his right and duty), and he doesn’t want Israel to have to justify itself every time it is attacked as if it were a huge monster (which it isn’t).

    But I also comprehend where you are coming from. Netanyahu is focused on Israel only and you are saying that we must also look at the other side of the coin – I agree!

    You ask “What about respect for the rights of others’?” – it depends on what those rights are exactly.
    Do others have the right to peace? Yes, they have.
    Do others have the right to have a nation to call their own? Yes, they have (within reason).

    “What about respect for Judaism’s ethical heritage?” – good question!

    By the way, I noticed you ended up in my Portuguese blog; I would be honoured if you’d visit my English one (http://maxcouti.blogspot.com).


  8. Lois Michal Unger

    I have read that the so called moderate, Abbu Mazen, who checks out the textbooks, approves them even though they are still filled with teaching hate against us. I have heard that but I haven’t seen these textbooks. The following I experienced. In 1994 I went up to the Temple Mount. I was in a group of three. A Wakf guard walked beside me. I began to say a Tehillim. He said “No Jewish pray”. A couple of years ago I was up there again. This time no guard walked beside me…but the rule still was: No Jewish pray. I have also heard that they deny we have any connection to the Temple Mount and physically destroy archaeological evidence. This is consideration of the other? Attempts have been made to make a peace agreement. They have all failed. We left Gaza. Look what happened. Land for peace doesn’t work!!

  9. To Lois: If land for peace doesn’t work, try power-sharing for peace. See http://www.parityforpeace.org, which calls for two states on the same land, with bilateral (50-50) governance and equal access by all individuals to resources.

  10. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  11. Thanks Sandra. Much appreciated. Looking forward to reading more of your comments.

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