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The Crowning Irony OR Beyond the Near Horizon

It would be the crowning irony if it came to pass that substantial portions of the more enlightened Arab-Muslim community in the Middle East and elsewhere are seeking to find common ground with Israel…and the main obstacle to that reconciliation are the most extreme Jihadists and reactionaries in the Islamic world together with the hardcore Marxists and their fellow-travellers of various stripes and degrees of prejudice and stupidity in the West.
It is a scenario that does not seem totally impossible, and that is one good reason NOT to fall into the trap of intransigent anti-Islamism and Israeli chauvinism while, at the same time, keeping our powder dry and eyes wide-open.
The article by Ed Husain which prompted those thoughts can be found here and I believe is important reading.
One of the wonderful side-benefits of blogging is that it forces me to engage with a wide diversity of opinion and information, mainly accessed through the Internet without which our lives would be immeasurably impoverished – and NO, I haven’t forgotten about the downside.
One great danger of a globalised world is that our frames of reference remain limited, selective and parochial. In short, we continue in our “comfort zone” or “mental rut” – call it what you will – sometimes deliberately ignorant of ideas, beliefs and events which lie beyond the near horizon. As Oliver Goldsmith misput it, “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.
On the contrary “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly not to be wise“.  For those of you who are prepared to spend the time, here are two sites always worth a visit…Kohelet Policy Forum and Mosaic: advancing Jewish thought.Visiting either will  never leave you without intellectual nourishment and food for further thought and mental exploration.
Here is Daniel Gordis’s recent essay in the Jerusalem Post and accessed through Mosaic. It also is worth reading and pondering.
Your comments welcomed!
Mike Berger

3 responses to “The Crowning Irony OR Beyond the Near Horizon

  1. Mike Berger July 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I’m not sure I fully understand your comment. What I was trying to say is that one can be clear about where one’s position is while at the same time not falling into the trap of simplistic, and essentialist thinking. For example, I can be aware of the major currents within Palestinian society which make settlement so difficult to achieve while at the same time being aware of other currents which open the possibility of change or how events may appear to the Palestinian masses. It is possible also to see options beyond the one state/two state binary choice if one thinks out of the box and looks at wider horizons. Does this make sense? Perhaps I’ll take a look at the last issue in my nxt post.


  2. Stephen July 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Mike I must admit to a certain ambivalence and confusion in understanding your position around Israeli chauvinism as you put it. In your blogging you warn against the dangers of lack of moral clarity and “useful idiotism” in confronting the fervour of Zionophobia. Agreed, is because I have a natural aversion to knee-jerk thinking that is “limited, selective and parochial” that I sometimes struggle to see my own more nuanced (fractured?) frame of reference as a weakness. Can you elucidate in greater depth how we live in integrity with these dichotomies (if they are) as your personal Guide for the Perplexed.


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