Extremism in Israel


As we have been facing the need to confront the racism and inequality built into American society, we have seen this week a very troubling move by the current Israeli government to include an extremist far-right party–Otzma Yehudit or “Jewish Strength”–in their electoral coalition, a party that represents precisely the forces we are fighting against here.  Otzma Yehudit is a spiritual descendant of Kach, the extremist Orthodox ultra-nationalist political party created by Meir Kahana, which was banned for its racism in the early 1990’s.  Just as our commitment to this country drives our insistence that the U.S. confront its flaws and failings, so too must our love for Israel propel us to insist that it reject the racist extremism and ultra-nationalism that threaten to tear it apart.  May we always have the strength to confront the scourges of racism and inequality wherever they are found, most of all when they come from inside ourselves, for we are forever tied by bonds of loyalty and love.  We must be willing to look even our worst impulses in the face if we are to hope for a better world.