Jewish Paradigm Shift

Following the posting of my blog on a “Palestinian Paradigm Shift,” (23/2/16) I was asked why shouldn’t Israel be the one to make a paradigm shift?  My answer to that is that the Jews have already made a paradigm shift and Israel is the result of that.

First let me clarify that a “paradigm shift” requires a significant change in perspective and consequent human action.  What I was suggesting in the posting about the Palestinians is that in order to break out of the dead-end they have got themselves into, in which they continue to try to destroy Israel and Jews using incitement, violence and terrorism, they turn to a more peaceful vision of co-existence.  It reminds one of the supposed quotation attributed to Einstein that only a lunatic continues repeating an action and expects a different result.  It’s like banging your head against a wall and expecting the result to suddenly become pleasant.

What was the paradigm shift evidenced by the Jews?  It was the realization after the Holocaust during WWII that we could no longer remain a hated passive minority around the world, and particularly in Europe, and survive.   The date of the paradigm shift can be set to 1945 when the surviving Jews, not necessarily the survivors of the Holocaust themselves, but the minority of Jews who had been active Zionists and the remainder of the surviving Jews, saw clearly that the only way for Jews to survive, as a group and as a religion, was to take responsibility for our own actions and to become a majority in our own sovereign state, in our own homeland.

You could argue that this vision already existed in the opinions of such Jews as Leo Pinsker who wrote “Auto-Empancipation” in 1882 and of Theodor Herzl who wrote “Der Judenstaat” (The Jewish State) in 1895 and “Der Altneuland” (the Old-New Land) in 1902 and established the Zionist movement.  But, it required a change in the political opinions of millions of Jews before such a Zionist vision could be put into practice.  It was the sacrifice of one third of the Jewish world population that spurred the survivors into action.  This was a monumental Jewish paradigm shift.

Maybe every group of people needs such a paradigm shift to adjust to drastically changed exigent circumstances.  For example, the Germans and the Japanese needed to fundamentally change their viewpoints from conquering arrogant fascists to democratic moderates in light of their catastrophic defeat by the Allies in WWII.  And Britain needed a paradigm shift to change from Great Britain, the leader of a Great Empire, to Little Britain, with a loose Commonwealth.  What I am suggesting is that the Palestinians need a paradigm shift in their viewpoint to deal with the reality of their situation, otherwise they will continue to be hitting their head against a hard brick wall and that hurts.


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