Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Jewish Commonwealth in The Land of Israel

My interlocutor JR has already posted a response to last night's post, immediately below.

He notes that he is "feeling rather ill today" so I want to begin by wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.

I will respond to his interesting comments at greater length after I have had more time to think about them.

But I did want to post one additional item for consideration.

JR remains committed to the idea that a "nation" represents a people governed by their own government and laws in their own territory.

I want to point out that the Jewish nation certainly met his definition of a nation from the time of Joshua's conquest of the Holy Land to the dissolution of the Jewish commonwealth by the Romans, that is for more than 1500 years.

Which is longer than the English nation has existed in history.

One aspect of what makes the Jewish nation unique in the world's history is that unlike the many other peoples who were uprooted from their homelands and dispersed in the ancient empires of the world, the Jews maintained a national identity during centuries of exile. Even two thousand years later, the Jews were able to re-establish a Jewish commonwealth in their original ancient homeland, using their original ancient language, and maintaining many aspects of their ongoing and original national, cultural, and religious heritage.

JR also raises an important question here:
I am immediately drawn to renew my discussion with Punditarian -- who has just written a long post in support of his contention that Jews are a "nation". I am at something of a loss to know why that seems important to him -- "ethnic group" is the normal appellation -- but I will comment nonetheless.
One reason that this issue is important is that the genocidal Muslim jihadists and their useful idiots among Western leftists try to belittle the Jewish State of Israel as a theocracy or a religiously exclusive government. But the Jewish identity of the State of Israel is a national identity, and not solely a religious identity, although the Jews do have a particular religious culture.

(And of course it is ironic that the jihadists make such a claim, since every Muslim state in the world unselfconsciously proclaims Islam as the basis of its legislation, and they have no qualms about banding together as explicitly Muslim countries. It is the Muslim countries that aspire to univocal religious culture, and in no Muslim state are any other religions truly free and unthreatened. Christian and Muslim Arabs have more civil rights in Israel than they do in any Middle Eastern Arab Muslim country.)


JR said...

"useful idiots among Western leftists try to belittle the Jewish State of Israel as a theocracy or a religiously exclusive government"

But anybody with half a brain knows that not to be a reality

So I don't see that calling Jews a nation helps

Punditarian said...


It won;t help with the useful idiots, of course. But identifying the Jews as a nation rather than a community of adherents of a particular religion has the benefit of showing why the State of israel is neither a theocracy nor religiously exclusive.