As loyal members of the RP Nation already know, the RP recently returned from a life-changing trip to Israel.
Last week, he filed reports on Bibi Netanyahu, Why Israel Traded 1000 Prisoners for Gilad Shalit, Fun Facts from an Extraordinary Tour Guide, and Walking in Jesus’ Footsteps. (Click on the preceding topics to access the links).
Today, The Huffington Post has published the RP’s most comprehensive and thought-provoking post yet: The Liberal Case for Israel.
(And controversial — within the past hour, more than 150 people have commented — Join in on the fun!)
In it, the RP introduces his readers to the 21st century Israel — one that is much-under-publicized — a country with a vibrant, open, tolerant, and yes, progressive culture. Israel’s record for promoting liberal values — on gay rights, economic equality, race, and immigration — matches or passes most Western democracies, including the U.S, and far, far exceeds its intolerant and illiberal neighbors.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Palestinian flag at a gay rights rally?
It’s the iconic ironic image of the New New Left.
The sentiment’s familiar: a maltreated minority identifying with the victim célèbre of radical academia.
But the juxtaposition of these two particular causes would be absurdly hilarious if it weren’t profoundly tragic: The Hamas regime represented by that flag demeans, oppresses, jails, harrasses, assaults, and tortures gays and lesbians.
Imagine what would happen if you flew a gay rights flag in Gaza City.
(On second thought, don’t even imagine it.)
Of course, the flag waving is less likely an endorsement of Hamas than a symbol of the Far Left’s persistent preoccupation with Israel’s reluctant occupation of lands it captured in its defensive struggle for existential survival during 1967’s Six Day War.
I’m not going to use this column to relitigate that debate.
Rather, as a card-carrying member of America’s center-left — those of us who call ourselves liberals, progressives and/or mainstream Democrats — I write to share with my ideological fellow travelers a much-under-publicized reality: That Israel is not simply the region’s only democracy and the U.S.’s strongest ally; but that the Jewish State also models liberal and progressive values as well as — or even better — than any other nation today.