Recognize Palestine! Recognize Israel!

Egypt Raid

Viki Jan mourns the death of her parents, Dov and Shula Karlinsky, who were among the eight people killed August 18, 2011, when Arab gunmen crossed into southern Israel from the Egyptian desert and launched a series of attacks against Israel. Credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit.

The Palestinian people are seeking recognition at the United Nations, now that Israel’s ultra-right-wing government has refused to freeze settlements and is refusing to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority so long as Hamas is part of the Palestinian government.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives, Tikkun’s political action arm, is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. We are hopeful that UN recognition of Palestine would persuade Israel to freeze its expansion of settlements in the areas that were part of pre-1967 Palestine. We also hope that UN recognition would lead Israel to negotiate in good faith to create a Palestinian state and reach a just settlement of all remaining issues, ensuring security for Israel and Palestine. These arguments are made in more detail in Tony Klug’s article in this issue of Tikkun.

Mindful of the ways that the UN has in the past been perceived as one-sidedly anti-Israel, we believe that its recognition of Palestine should be accompanied by a statement reaffirming Israel’s right to security. Even though the State of Israel has enormously more power than the Palestinians, the inner experience of Israelis (and of Israel’s supporters around the world) is one of insecurity and fear—a feeling reinforced by the attack on an Israeli bus near Eilat in late August. It’s important to acknowledge that fear by offering Israel, one of the greatest military powers in the world, real reassurance while supporting Palestinian recognition and membership in the UN.


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Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, co-chair with Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. He is the author of eleven books, including two national bestsellers—The Left Hand of God and Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation. His most recent book, Embracing Israel/Palestine, is available on Kindle from and in hard copy from He welcomes your responses and invites you to join with him by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives (membership comes with a subscription to Tikkun magazine). You can contact him at

Source Citation

Lerner, Michael. Recognize Palestine! Recognize Israel! Tikkun. 26(4): 9.

tags: Israel/Palestine, NSP, War & Peace   
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