Gil Troy: Student unions should stick to student issues

By Gil Troy, Canadian Jewish News, 2-26-09

Earlier this month, McGill University students voted 436 to 263 to postpone indefinitely a Students’ Society resolution condemning the “bombings” of “educational institutions in Gaza.”

The initiative paralleled similar resolutions that passed at other Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto and York. But a clear majority of McGill students proclaimed that they didn’t want their student union developing a foreign policy. As pro-Palestinian forces try to import yet another round of the Middle East conflict to campus, the McGill majority endorsed the vision of a student society devoted to students’ needs and enhancing campus society, not pontificating about political conflicts far away.

True, it’s the academic’s conceit to comment about everything. We enjoy passing judgment from our cushy ivory towers, inviting our students to join our know-it-all chorus. Few students need such encouragement, compelled as they are by their own youthful vanity to judge the world that their elders have bequeathed them.

Student political organizations convey that spirit, legitimately. Campuses should be filled with many social, political and religious organizations, reflecting diverse attitudes, ideologies and political persuasions. I’m proud of my students who campaigned for now-U.S. President Barack Obama, and my student – note the singular – who supported Senator John McCain. I love seeing young Liberals and Conservatives electioneering, and I applaud the passion of those from beyond the conventional political spectrum, too.

Nevertheless, students’ partisan identities shouldn’t intrude on student union politics. The inspiration that so many students drew from Obama was commendable, but it would have been appalling if a student union had circulated a motion praising Obama and condemning McCain. This breach of political etiquette would have turned the student union into partisan Democratic headquarters, making it the student disunion.

Following a similar rationale, the anti-Israel resolutions are divisive and distracting, as well as disproportionate and discriminatory. They sabotage the modern university’s commitment to diversity. All great universities today welcome students of different religions, nationalities, races and creeds. Pronouncing on such a hot-button issue, implying that students share some consensus position, imposes thought control and presumptions of uniformity where none exist. This posture of unity will foster disunity, importing passionate divisions into an arena where they don’t belong.

Such incendiary, irrelevant resolutions distract from what should be a student society’s mission: improving students’ experiences.

Five years ago, engineering and commerce students at Concordia University rebelled against their student union’s political obsessions. Students were embarrassed that all too often, job recruiters related to Concordia as a place characterized by radical, sometimes violent, pro-Palestinian stands rather than as a centre of academic excellence. The students elected new leaders committed to helping students, not developing a foreign policy.

Finally, the resolutions themselves give a slanted view of a complex conflict. They ignore the role of Hamas, a terrorist group with an anti-Semitic, genocidal charter that advocates Israel’s destruction, in triggering the recent violence, cowering behind educational institutions, mosques and hospitals, and targeting Israeli schools.

Where were these concerned students when 10,000 Palestinian rockets bombarded Israel? Where were student unions when these rockets fell on Sapir College in the Negev or on nurseries, kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools in Sderot and its environs? Where is the outrage that smuggled Grad missiles menaced Ben-Gurion University, or that Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva – which serves Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Bedouin equally – is targeted? Does anybody care that Soroka had to place sandbags on its sleep lab and evacuate its maternity ward under fire?

More profoundly, has anyone condemned Hamas for threatening chances of a two-state solution by using the Gaza pullout to launch rockets and dig tunnels rather than building a functioning civil society? The umbrage at Israel’s actions seems false and disproportionate, thus discriminatory, singling out the Jewish state for special scrutiny and particular enmity.

Campuses are fragile ecosystems, special places where many different people congregate to live together and learn together. Campus leaders have a special responsibility to avoid polluting the atmosphere with poisonous rhetoric, biased behaviour and irrelevant assaults on fellow students’ sensibilities. Indulging in foreign policy postures regarding explosive issues, particularly the Middle East, fails that test – raising tensions rather than alleviating them, doing nothing to solve the conflict and importing tensions from 10,000 kilometres away too close to home.

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Gil Troy: Center Field: Conservative Rabbis should foster Zionism before pushing Aliyah

By Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, 2-24-09

At its recent annual convention in Jerusalem, the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly launched a campaign to boost Aliyah – immigration to Israel. The slogan “A Call to Action – Putting Aliyah on the Map,” illustrated that Aliyah barely ranks on American Jews’ agenda. With 399 Conservative North American olim (immigrants) in 2008, this campaign has nowhere to go but up. But trying to boost Aliyah among American Jews is like trying to encourage virtuosity among music ignoramuses. The goal, while noble, is out of reach. Before pushing Aliyah, the Conservative Movement should stimulate a more pressing conversation about what Israel and Zionism can mean to American Jews.

Pushing Aliyah usually alienates American Jews – and has distorted attitudes toward Israel and Zionism. Although when I speak about Zionism I neither push Aliyah nor negate the American Jewish community’s validity, questioners frequently accuse me of both. So many speakers before me have pitched Aliyah so aggressively, that as soon as I mention “the Z word” the already alienated questioners become defensive. Actually, many American Jews reject Aliyah as a goal. For them, it is like trying to sell ham in a synagogue.

Moreover, I have experienced particular hostility from some Conservative rabbinical students who bristle during their mandatory year studying in Jerusalem, because of the religious politics. Angry at Israel’s parallel Masorti movement for rejecting gay rabbis, alienated by the fact that a woman cannot feel comfortable wearing a kippah or a tallit publicly in Jerusalem, they yearn for their promised land of Southern California or the Upper West Side. I often respond that many share their contempt for some not all Israelis’ intolerance and oppose the Israeli rabbinate’s authoritarianism. But just as no rabbi wants congregants judging Judaism by the parts that least speak to them, we should not judge Israel by the aspects that most bother us. Still, I worry about how some of these future leaders will teach Israel to their congregants, let alone respond to perceived “pressure” for Aliyah from their movement.

Too many heavy-handed Israelis make matters worse. Coming from a command-and-control culture, too many Israeli speakers have barked too many orders to too many American Jewish audiences, regarding how to think, where to live. Ham-handed American Jewish tour operators are also guilty. One student recalled A.B. Yehoshua haranguing her and her young peers on her first Israel trip. Yehoshua negates the Diaspora as a valid Jewish home – except when it comes to collecting lecture fees from there. American celebrity worship blinded the organizers to the damage Yehoshua’s Israel-or-bust message might cause.

A healthy, constructive approach to Zionism would start by addressing some of the central contradictions between America’s cosmopolitan dream of liberation from Old World traditions and the Jewish commitment to ritual, history, faith, tradition. American Jews also try reconciling love for two Promised Lands, Israel and America.

Zionist thinkers from the past can help. Ahad Ha’am conceived of Israel as a center for Jews without negating Diaspora Jewry. Judge Louis Brandeis was a great American and a great Zionist who explained that being American frequently means maintaining a different ethnic, religious and even national identity. Mordechai Kaplan posited Jewish peoplehood as a touchstone for Jewish unity, Jewish pride in Jewish civilization, and Jewish equilibrium between modern seductions and the call of the past.

We also must stop seeing Israel through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was Yasser Arafat’s central conceit to make almost every conversation about Israel be about the Palestinians. Just as every conversation about America is not about race, so, too, we need a broader multi-dimensional relationship with Israel.

Even more important, we must stop treating Israel and Zionism as the Jewish people’s central headaches and start seeing both as potentially redemptive forces. We need new Zionist thinkers relating to today’s challenges, and today’s Israel. A New American Zionism should begin by critiquing the American Jewish community – and the modern condition. Just as European Zionists in the 1890s built an ideologically-diverse, Israel-based response to their central challenges of anti-Semitism and the fallout from industrialization, modern American Zionists should explore how Zionism can solve today’s problems.

Learning from Israel, building a communal, peoplehood-oriented, Israel-based identity to counterbalance assimilation, alienation, media-sated materialism, excessive individualism, post-modern cynicism, will establish a richer relationship with Israel.

Engaging Israel in many different ways will also revitalize American Jewish Zionism. The Conservative Movement would have much more impact if it dedicated itself to teaching Hebrew, opposing American Jews’ drift away from the Jewish people’s language. A Hebrew revival can open gateways to Israeli culture, professional exchanges, intellectual ties, more emotional and personal bonds. More Hebrew speakers would embrace the key formula for future American Jewish vitality: 2 DW = 1 il, meaning the cost of two Disney World trips for most could yield one Israel trip. Birthright Israel’s happy experiences teach that more interactions with Israel and Israelis, especially in Israel, would not only orient more American Jews toward Israel, it would spark an American Jewish revival by importing more Israeli energy, creativity, chutzpah, and pride. And, of course, we need a spirit of true mutuality – a more robust friendship would benefit Israelis, Israeli Judaism, and Israeli Zionism.

All these approaches will advance American Jews up what the legendary educator Mel Reisfield calls “the ladder of Zionist achievement.” Aliyah is most appealing when it bubbles up naturally, from powerful Israel trips, inspiring experiences with Israelis, and, alas, still in this world, the occasional Diaspora-based trauma, be it anti-Semitism or another alienating force. Once a Zionist revival makes Aliyah a possibility, then the practical help the Conservative Rabbis offered will prove beneficial. But, as with most ideological and educational initiatives, first lay the proper groundwork – and do whatever damage control is required – before rushing ahead.

Gil Troy “Center Field: Parliamentarians pledge to fight”

By Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, 2-21-09

I have considered myself a “Daniel Pearl Jew.” Like that Wall Street Journal reporter Islamist terrorists kidnapped then beheaded in Pakistan – whom I never met – I was born in the early 1960s into the post-Auschwitz covenant. The world had sinned against our people, but now condemned anti-Semitism. We felt especially protected as Americans. Welcomed by America’s meritocratic openness, we were lucky enough to attend elite schools, I went to Harvard; he went to Stanford. Our final layer of protection came from working as professionals for world class institutions, me at McGill University, him at the Wall Street Journal. Pearl interviewed Islamic fundamentalists unafraid – he was a Wall Street Journal reporter in a post-Holocaust world, after all.

Pearl’s brutal beheading after being forced to say “I am a Jew,” symbolized the new surge of anti-Semitism from Islamist barbarians. This resurgence, fueled by genteel enablers on campuses and in the media, violated the post-Auschwitz covenant. Few of us have paid the price Daniel Pearl and his family did. Nevertheless, too many of us have experienced an unhappy step back toward our grandparents’ world, a world populated and marred by too many anti-Semites.

FOR THAT REASON, the London Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism held February 16 through 18, was so significant – and potentially healing. Watching 125 parliamentarians from 42 different countries devote two and a half days to discussing this curse, was sobering yet inspiring. The magnificent setting in the House of Parliament and historic palaces generated a mystical sense of historical tikun, repairing, as so many non-Jewish politicians denounced this old-new malady in halls of power that once helped perpetuate it. Cocktails at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s majestic home adorned with severe portraits of pinched predecessors who detested Jews, felt particularly redemptive.

The words spoken were even more splendid than the buildings, evoking a collective power repudiating this hateful prejudice. John Mann, the member of Parliament who hosted the gathering, is an altruist with no Jewish connection, few Jewish constituents, but an aversion to injustice. “We have drawn a line,” he thundered in closing the conference, “and those who cross it – we will re-educate or we will knock down.”

Earlier, the Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, co-founder with Mann of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, explained the need for such a conference. He described the new anti-Semitism’s “globality and toxicity,” generated by a pathological Islamist ideology, fueling genocidal threats against Israel from Iran, spread by the Internet, echoed by useful idiots who overlook Islamist’s fascist tendencies in their zeal to tag Israel with the sins of Nazism and Apartheid. This demonization transforms the traditional hatred of the individual Jew into an unreasoning prejudice and unremitting campaign against Israel, the collective expression of the Jewish people.

Amid all these eloquent ministers and righteous legislators, a highlight was the appearance of that hero who showed that sometimes good men can triumph over evil systems, Natan Sharansky.

BEYOND THE RHETORIC and the ringing tones of the London Declaration the parliamentarians ratified, a parallel conference of experts analyzed strategies for combating anti-Semitism. The conference showed that:

  • It is possible to criticize Israel without degenerating into anti-Semitism; it becomes anti-Semitic when Israel is treated as individual Jews have been treated over the centuries, singled-out, disproportionately criticized, demonized.
  • Islamism is the enemy. Dennis MacShane, Labour MP, writes in his important new book, “Globalising Hatred”: “Islamism the ideology … has unleashed new twenty-first century anti-Semitism and it is impossible to discuss the problem without dealing with Islamism.”
  • There are many ways to criticize Israel but those who call Israelis Nazis or invoke the historically inaccurate analogy of apartheid racism malevolently link Israel with the 20th century’s two great national sinners to justify Israel’s ostracism and destruction.
  • Thanks to the Internet, anti-Semitic material that marginal characters once peddled wrapped in brown paper can now be cited unwittingly by students who stumble onto information manipulated to appear at the top of the Google search engine.
  • In April the review of the infamous Durban conference will probably give modern anti-Semitism renewed respectability. Inviting other countries to join Canada in boycotting this farce, the Canadian Minister Jason Kenney challenged Europeans for waiting for the Americans or worrying about the UN’s sensibilities, saying: “I always thought Europe prided itself as having its own independent foreign policy aligned with its own values and interests.”THE FIGHT against anti-Semitism must be proactive not just reactive. Smart coordinating strategies between Jewish institutions and local police forces in both England and Canada have improved community intelligence, increased police effectiveness, while empowering individuals. On the Internet, defensive strategies are insufficient. Educators must envision Citizenship 2.0, teaching students to avoid polluting on line-discourse themselves, to combat on-line hate, to be critical of sources on-line, and to use the net’s grassroots power to defend democratic values against purveyors of hate.

    At the opening breakfast, England’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks praised the gathering’s cross-party and international nature. “I want to bless you for being here,” he said. “One of the worst things about being hated is the fear that you are alone. We are not alone.”

    We are blessed. In the name of Daniel Pearl and other victims, in the name of the Holocaust martyrs who had no such conference to try saving them, in the name of Jewish students harassed on campuses, in the name of French Jews beaten by fresh converts to Islam forced by their new co-religionists to prove their loyalty, the 125 honorable parliamentarians proved this is not the 1930s. We cannot let the Islamists and their enablers Left and Right win. We should follow leaders like John Mann and Irwin Cotler, spearheading this army of righteous people to repair the post-Auschwitz covenant, and combat Jew hatred as part of the broader fight against bigotry worldwide.

    The writer, a professor of history at McGill University, is the author of Why I Am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today. His latest book Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, was recently published by Basic Books.

  • Gil Troy: Center Field: A Yom Kippur for the Left

    By Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, 2-11-09

    Regardless of who ends up as prime minister after what seems to be emerging as the Israeli equivalent of the George W. Bush-Al Gore deadlock of 2000, Election Day 2009 was “a Yom Kippur for the Left,” as one Meretz activist called it. The once-dominant Labor Party and once-rising Meretz Party have both been humiliated. The elections’ three winners, Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, all launched their careers from the Right, while Lieberman’s aggressive campaign demonizing Israeli Arabs set the election tone.

    As Israel’s critics around the world and at home mourn this “rightward shift” and the rise of the “ultra-nationalist” Lieberman, as they fret about dimming prospects for a two-state solution, instead of further demonizing the country they should apologize, in the true spirit of Yom Kippur. The rightward shift resulted from the failure of the Left’s ideas at home – and the betrayal by liberals from around the world.

    Israelis have turned rightward because the failure of territorial concessions has been compounded by a broken covenant with the world. For decades liberal critics pounded two ideas into Israelis’ heads. The first was that if the country withdrew from the territories it conquered in 1967, Palestinians – and the rest of the Arab world – would make peace. The second, related, assumption was an implicit compact that whatever security risks Israel took by ceding territory would be compensated for by the world’s friendship.

    TRAGICALLY, NEITHER the Oslo peace process nor the Gaza disengagement produced the desired results. In fact, many Israelis feel that the more they risked for peace, the more they suffered from those risks, the greater was the world’s disapproval. Of course, Israel is not blameless. But whatever missteps it made pale in comparison to the three tragic truisms now dominating the political consciousness: Oslo’s concessions resulted in terrorists murdering more than 1,000 people; disengaging from Gaza resulted in thousands of missiles raining on the South; and both times, when the country finally defended itself, the worldwide chorus of denunciation was so intense it fanned the flames of anti-Semitism.

    It may be a reflection of living in a small, embattled democracy surrounded by autocrats and terrorists demanding your destruction, but Israelis are particularly sensitive to world opinion. Moreover, the mainstreaming of rhetoric that “Hitler didn’t finish the job” and that Jews are “apes and monkeys” is particularly painful for a people still healing from the Holocaust. True, talking about “the world’s” attitude vastly oversimplifies. But the shorthand works, considering how monolithic the criticism seems to be and how lethal previous rhetoric proved to be.

    IT IS PARTICULARLY demoralizing to see how anger at Israel’s behavior absolves Palestinians of responsibility – and seems to sanitize terrorism. “The world” should denounce Palestinians for harming the possibility of a two-state solution, first in turning away from negotiations and toward terrorism in September 2000, then again for choosing to build Gaza into a base for launching Kassams rather than a model for a future state. “The world” should be furious at Hamas’s rise, with the Islamists once again murdering supposed infidels while killing or maiming fellow Muslims who dare to disagree. “The world” should demand Palestinians change their culture of martyrdom, taking some historic responsibility for their failures to compromise.

    “The world” should note that Israel’s Arabs fueled Lieberman’s campaign against them by applauding demagogic leaders like Azmi Bishara who spew hatred against the Jewish state. Instead, Palestinians’ crimes or excesses are tolerated and rationalized; “the world” gives Palestinians a free pass.

    AGAINST THIS BACKDROP, it is remarkable that so many remain willing to risk for peace, that so many former rightists like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert now champion the two-state solution. Even Lieberman is open to territorial compromise. This willingness reflects how ingrained the culture of peace is. For all the talk we hear about the “rightward shift,” Kadima, Livni’s centrist party, seems to have won the most votes. The estimated Right-Left breakdown in the Knesset of 64 to 56 remains quite balanced – and Israel remains the only liberal country in the Middle East, judging by its commitment to equality, to democracy, to social justice, of sensitivity to women, to homosexuals, to racial diversity.

    Over the next few weeks, as politicians use the votes they earned to bargain like peasant merchants at a Middle Eastern shouk, world opinion should note the subtleties amid the crudity. No matter what the ruling coalition’s constellation, no matter who leads, the country will still seek a true peace.

    While its critics will always look – almost exclusively – at the cards it holds and scrutinize whatever it does, Palestinians will remain far more in control of their destiny than their enablers admit. If Palestinians want a state – and want peace – they need to build a political culture devoted to nation-building, not martyrdom. And if leftists want to see progress in the Middle East, they must push for Palestinian reforms while rebuilding the world’s covenant with Israel.

    Yom Kippur is a day of atonement and thus renewal. Perhaps this “Yom Kippur of the Left” will lead to a new Middle East dynamic that replaces the “bad Israel, blameless Palestinians” paradigm with one of mutual responsibility leading to mutual trust, with gradual steps toward stability, not headlong rushes into one-sided blame games.

    The writer is professor of history at McGill University. He is the author of Why I Am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today and Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents.

    Center Field: Is the Green Movement-Meimad the little counterweight that could (help tremendously)?

    By Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, 2-4-09

    As an American historian, I instinctively dismiss third parties. In American elections they usually are spoilers. At best, they fulfill the role the historian Richard Hofstadter identified, serving as bumblebees, stinging larger parties, injecting their ideas like toxins into the system, then dying. In Israel, at best, third parties have been comets, illuminating an issue brilliantly but fleetingly, then crashing and burning. Usually, Israeli third parties are like rotten eggs, their stench creates a strong presence you cannot ignore even though most voters wish the politicians would. Yet in this desultory but critical election campaign, with three flawed candidates leading three tired political parties, third parties may once again shape Israel’s future. And one party in particular – the Green Movement-Meimad — may play a particularly constructive role.

    This small but potentially transformative party has been generating surprising buzz despite the challenges of this truncated campaign. The Gaza operation deprived new parties of weeks to become better known while refocusing debate from quality of life back to security. Polls favor established parties, due to small sample sizes and younger voters’ reliance on cell phones rather than the land-lines most pollsters call. As a result, horse-race-driven reporters ignore small parties. Also, too much green is clouding Israel’s political horizon – the Green Movement-Meimad with its electoral sign “Hay” is not The Greens nor is it Alei Yarok – the Green Leaf, pro-marijuana party, nor the Green Leafers who allied with Holocaust refugees forming a party that makes Israeli politics seem like a Seinfeld parody.

    Despite this color confusion, the Green Movement-Meimad has a distinct identity and has been gaining traction. Two leading environmentalists, Eran Ben-Yemeni and Professor Alon Tal, founded the Green Movement. This grassroots, quality of life party allied with Meimad – a left-leaning religious Zionist party established in 1999, led by Rabbi Michael Melchior. Meimad is a Hebrew acronym for Medinah Yehudit, Medinah Democratit, a Jewish state, a Democratic state. This powerful alliance unites religious and secular activists with an impressive track record for cleaning Israel’s environment, improving Israel’s education system, and, most important, showing Israelis that grassroots activism and traditional politics can improve their lives.

    Some experts, noting that 2000 people attended the campaign launch and 12 percent of Hebrew University students participating in the recent campus vote voted Green Movement-Meimad, speculate they might yield the election’s surprise. A recent Maagar Mohot Survey Institute poll found as many as 7 percent polled saying that if they did not worry about the voting threshold for getting Knesset seats, they would likely or definitely vote Green-Meimad. The approximately 70,000 votes needed to pass the threshold are attainable. Some security-minded voters, expecting Bibi Netanyahu’s victory, even confessed they are considering the Green-Movement Meimad to pull Likud toward the center and toward quality of life concerns.

    To learn more about this little engine that may succeed, I contacted my old friend Alon Tal, who is number three on the list. Full disclosure: Professor Tal and I were Young Judea Zionist Youth Movement leaders together and graduate school tennis buddies. Despite his academic credentials combining a Hebrew University law degree with a Ph.D. from Harvard’s School of Public Health, and his current job as a professor of environmental policy at Ben Gurion University, Tal is a doer. While he can wax eloquent about his green dreams for a better Israel, he focuses on what the Green Movement can accomplish if it is elected, reassuring voters that voting “Hay” will not be wasting votes but maximizing their impact. “Israel’s political system gives undue influence to small parties,” he said, responding to my third-party skepticism. “Sadly, the system has been exploited by sectoral parties that seek benefits for special interests – ultra-Orthodox, agriculture, kibbutzim, etc. We are the only small party that seeks to ‘blackmail’ the large parties for the good of the general public, especially:  access to excellent education for Israeli children; clean air and water for all; open spaces and habitat for the creatures and nature of the Holy Land.” Finessing his blunt academic analysis, he added:  “I think ‘leverage’ would be a better verb than ‘blackmail.'”

    Tal believes allying with Meimad boosted the party’s chances of getting elected and, even more important, the party’s potential to make history in the next Knesset. He notes that “Rabbi Melchior, operating virtually alone as head of the Knesset’s environmental lobby, passed laws from a new Clean Air Act to the Polluter Pays Law. As head of the Knesset’s education committee, Melchior passed the revolutionary ’12 year mandatory education law.'” Melchior clearly is one of Israel’s good guys – and he knows how to get things done.

    Speaking practically, Tal addressed the unfortunate color confusion with the Greens, who, he reports “are universally rejected by Israel’s environmental community. Their party leader is highly unpopular for his anti-democratic norms and bullying tactics. The new ‘Green Movement’ was a result of Israel’s environmental movement’s collective decision to provide voters with an authentic alternative with integrity, professionalism and leaders with strong records.”

    American presidential elections concentrate on the one individual who will wield tremendous power. That focus, along with America’s winner-take-all elections, marginalizes third parties – although the Republican Party began as an anti-slavery third party in the 1850s. In Israel, with proportional representation and prime ministers perched on broad frequently unstable coalitions, third parties play a critical role. The correct third party can be a constructive protest vote, tempering extremes or advancing specific agendas.

    Zionism has always been about making a better world not just surviving. Perhaps after this election, the Green Movement-Meimad will function as neither comet nor rotten egg but as a contrapuntal melody line in the symphony of visions shaping the next Knesset, yielding a more vibrant governmental chorus bringing harmony and security to Israel.

    Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Montreal. The author of Why I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity, and the Challenges of Today,  his latest book is Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents.