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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Not the Finkler Question

A correspondent to Friday's Jewish Chronicle writes: "...if the ideal of a liberal democracy in Israel is being subverted by the increasingly influential strictly-Othodox, then I have to ask myself the Finkler Question: how loyal should a diaspora Jew be to the state of Israel?". He wrote his letter after reading this piece (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/57850/this-israel-not-one-i-love) by Jonathan Freedland in another edition of the same newspaper.

But that isn't "the Finkler Question". The Finkler Question, in the superb novel of that name by Howard Jacobson, is simply intended to be "the Jewish Question". Neither the novel nor any of its protagonists actually asks a question with a question mark at its end, least of all "How loyal should a diaspora Jew be to the state of Israel?".

Being pro-Israeli and pro-American has nothing to do with being 'loyal' to Israel or to the United States; it has to do with being supportive of those countries' stance on various geo-political issues, while also sometimes disagreeing with some policies of each country's government of the day.

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