Chosen, but Not Special

Michael Chabon, a well known American author of Jewish origin published on 4 June in The New York Times, following the Gaza flotilla affair, an article titled ‘Chosen, but Not Special‘, in which he criticises the militaristic policies of the state of Israel and their rooteness in the idea of the special role that Israel has in history, as a justification for their excessive use of force in their legitimate attempt to safeguard their nationhood.

It is a very interesting text, which is worth reading by those who side unquestioningly with Israel and by those who criticise the Jewish state.

Martin Marty himself, the well known sociologist of religion from the University of Chicago, comments appreciatively on this article in his Sightings article on 14 June titled ‘Chosen People‘.

Here is Marty’s conclusion in this text that I invite you to read:

Non-Jews will not understand Jews who have a sense of history unless they understand how central “the Land” is in their thought.  But they can chafe – as many of us confess to have done years ago – when chided for not believing that Israel’s chosenness had to be an article of Christian belief today, and that non-belief was anti-Semitism.  Chabon repeated the many reasons for identifying with Israel that are political, moral, strategic and empathic.  But such identifying does not need to become creedal, as it does in the world of Christian Zionists and their more moderate allies.  “Get over it” is part of Chabon’s message, and then “get on with it” implies more pragmatic consequences.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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