Following up on Wednesday’s post on Jewish identity, check out Eli Valley’s terrific article suggesting a Birthright Diaspora. Lots in here I agree with. Here’s a quick excerpt.

It’s time to expand our notions of positive Jewish identity and at long last move beyond an ideology that fretfully masquerades self-hatred as Jewish empowerment. By digging through centuries of Jewish life, Birthright Diaspora will help transform Jewish self-awareness and break the dichotomy of “hero” and “victim” that has handicapped internal Jewish intellectual inquiry for decades. The goal is not merely widespread experiences in Jewish communities around the world, but a renewed understanding of Diaspora as a birthright that underlies roots of Jewish consciousness. If implemented effectively, Birthright Diaspora can lead to an existential transformation in the way Jews and Israelis view themselves and the world.

Valley goes even further in taking on the sacred cow of Israel’s intrinsic superiority to the Diaspora, which he refers to as “geographic supremacy.” And he delivers a strong rebuke, by implication, to Israel’s current political realities:

Imagine the possibilities of Israelis learning about Jewish life in countries that have rights enshrined in constitutions; in societies that protect the freedom of religion and the integrity of the state by scrupulously separating the two; or in nations that guard the democratic and human rights of citizens and non-citizens.

Check out some of Valley’s politically satirical cartoons in The Forward

Advertisements