The Jews are a people of an idea, though a confusing one. We were chosen, the story goes – but for what? Even secular Israelis like Ehud Barak cannot resist calling Israel a “heavenly promise.” But is this touchstone of Jewish identity to mean that Israelis should swell with pride because they do better at human rights than Saudi Arabia or the Islamic Republic of Iran? Was it for alibis and self-pity that the Jews fought so tenaciously to survive? Was it in the name of bland euphemisms and aggressive defensiveness that the Jews honor a book in which God declares that we are to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”?