In his address to the President’s conference last week, Netanyahu reiterated his call for Israel to be a light upon the nations. In doing so, he continues the line that we are the chosen people meant to show the rest of the world the light.
There’s just one tiny problem: the rest of the world really doesn’t think that we have much to teach them when it comes to morality, and they certainly not that we should show them the light. They are asking for something much simpler: that we behave in a manner that befits the standards of international law, and that we finally realize that we are not God’s gift to the world, but a part of the human race with the same rights and the same duties as all others; no less, no more.
most modern Jews have dumped Jewish Exceptionalism and endorsed Universalism (four out of five Jews voted for Obama). This majority of Jews is now becoming more vocal, as shown in the emergence of J Street.
Do I actually believe that Netanyahu is capable of moving from old Jewish Exceptionalism towards Universalism? To start dealing with the Palestinians on the basis of the Universalist principle of seeking true dialogue and avoid petty manipulations? To stop relating to the rest of the world like we used to in the shtetl, when we had no power worth speaking of, trying to fool them all the time – while lecturing them on progress?
I certainly would like to think he can.