The Kosher Business
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Politics and Morality
His point, if I understand it properly, is that Israel's existence has to come first and it overrides other considerations, such as protesting China's treatment of Tibet. However, while I think his argument is essentially correct, I believe that he overreaches. For example, when he states that "It is very likely that the collapse of Israel or the loss of its Jewish nature would undermine the existence of the Jewish people as a whole." I believe that the Jewish people will continue to exist regardless of the fate of the State of Israel. While its demise would be incredibly tragic and would eternally injure the Jewish people, it would not spell the end of the "Chosen People". However, that is irrelevant. Israel as a country must put its continued existence as its number one priority.
Yet I still disagree with his conclusion mainly because I agree with his statement that this primacy "leav[es] limited room for ethical considerations". "Limited room", not "no room". We can never set aside our ethics due to our need to survive. Instead, we have to include that need within our ethical calculations, much like military ethics include such considerations. Just like a soldier does not automatically kill everyone on the battlefield because of his need to survive but instead balances the different priorities, the State of Israel must do so as well. There are times when the country can fulfill more than one of its ethical priorities and, when possible, it must. Is there really no way to create a relationship with China while still protesting its treatment of Tibet? Cannot the State of Israel act in support while stating its hesitations? Or allow individual citizens to protest while the government remains quiet? There are more ways to maintain a relationship than full support and full opposition. Perhaps Israel would do well to stake out a middle position, even if slightly to the middle, in order to accomplish its multiple ethical priorities.
I think Dror accepts this in principle. He writes, "Responsible decisions in such difficult situations require clear recognition of the involved moral issues, careful pondering of all relevant values and acceptance of responsibility for one’s autonomous judgment. They also demand an effort to reduce to a minimum the violation of moral values." But then he proceeds to demand full compliance by Jewish leaders and organizations with Israel's full support of China and Turkey. Is there really no middle ground?