The following is adapted from J. Zel Lurie’s weekly column of May 23 in the Palm Beach Jewish Journal. He began with a discussion of how he had helped novelist A.B. Yehoshua first get published in the US in 1970, and continues:
A.B. “Buli” Yehoshua is an outspoken dove. He went to Switzerland in 2003 for the signing of the Geneva Initiative between leading Israelis and Palestinians. It remains the only feasible basis for Israeli/Palestinian peace.
Yehoshua is just as vehement in expressing his views on Diaspora Jewry. He is a prolific writer on political and social subjects. Two collections of his essays have been translated and published in English.
Briefly, he maintains that Jewish existence in the Diaspora is partial. Only in Israel can one live a full Jewish life. Only in Israel can every facet of Jewish identity find expression….
The American Jewish Committee must have been aware of Yehoshua’s views when they invited him to speak at their hundredth birthday party in Washington early this month. The subject of the symposium was the future of the Jewish people.
Buli was in a foul mood when he entered the hall. It was the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day and he had just talked by phone to his youngest son who had participated in a service in memory of the [22,000+] who have fallen in Israel’s wars. Buli’s suggestion that the meeting observe Memorial Day with a moment of silence had been rejected.
So he set off a couple of firecrackers that shocked his audience of AJC makhers and have been resonating in sermons and speeches ever since:
1. The past hundred years have marked a series of failures for Diaspora Jewry.
2. Only Israel, and not Judaism, can insure the survival of the Jewish people.
Click below for Lurie’s response.
I heard this Zionist credo when I attended high school in Haifa, 27 years before Yehoshua was born. I first heard it from Yehoshua around 1981 when Doubleday published a book of his essays entitled “From Right to Right.”
I told Buli that I was born in the United States and that I participated freely in every facet of American life that interested me. I liked it and it did not lessen my support of Israel. While I did not agree that my Jewish life was partial, if it was, so be it.