October 11, 2014

Freedom of Speech at Yale and the Jewish State

Tablet Magazine has published a fascinating interview with the Rev. Bruce Shipman, the Episcopal Yale chaplain who was forced to resign after The New York Times printed a letter from him suggesting that Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians had encouraged attacks on Jewish assets in Europe. The Shipman incident reflects badly on freedom of speech at Yale, but that isn’t what I want to write about today. (Do read the interview, however, but remember that Tablet is a Jewish publication, and the interviewer has a conspicuous bias.)

Shipman explains that he visited the West Bank over spring break and was “deeply troubled” by the way Israelis favored settlers over Palestinians. I was struck by his conclusion: “It is almost too late for a two-state solution.”

Indeed, Israel continues to create facts on the ground that are slowly eating away at territory  Palestinians can call home. The current Israeli administration is clearly intent on claiming all of Palestine for the Jewish state. If it succeeds, however, it will have to abandon any notion that it is a democratic state if it is to remain a Jewish state.

The best outcome is probably a single, secular state in Palestine that guarantees religious freedom. If Jews want a safe haven, this may well be their best option.

(See also my earlier post, “Thoughts on the Future of Israel.”)

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