Politics, as defined by Carl Schmitt — a thinker of the present century — exercises the freedom to determine who is an enemy and who is a friend by taking into consideration the changing interests of the nation-state. Apparently, much of Jewish thought is governed by a deterministic conception whereby "Esau hates Jacob" and Amalek figures as the archetypal enemy. Given these notions, the question arises whether it is possible for Israeli political thought to approach the enemy in terms of "normal politics." This paper expresses the view that establishing peace between Israel and its neighbors is conditional upon making alliances with some of the Arab states. This will ensure the formation of reciprocal relations and the pursuit of common interests shared by Israel and its neighboring countries. Since such alliances do not seek to accommodate the claims of justice or historical right, the nation-state must choose between political maturity and giving in to the religious-historical forces operating within it. A rigorous scrutiny of Jewish history uncovers a steady commitment to making alliances, such as those between the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and the dominant powers, which granted the Jews protection and security in return for their services. However, the Jewish collective memory of Holocaust makes it difficult for contemporary Jews to draw a political heritage of value from the sources of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Consequently, it seems that following the route of normal politics cannot be an easy undertaking for the state of Israel.
|Translated title of the contribution||Is 'Normal Politics' Possible for the Jews?|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Democratic Culture / תרבות דמוקרטית|
|State||Published - 1999|