Tibet, Israel and the Jews: The limits of non-violence

by Maskil on April 15, 2008

We have seen some excellent analysis of the current situation in and regarding Tibet over the last few weeks. Below is a sample of articles that appeared towards the end of March in JPOST, The Forward and FrontPageMagazine.com.

Are Tibetans the new Jews? | Jerusalem Post

Our Debt to Tibet – Forward.com

A Tale of Two Peoples

A few points stood out for me:

Tibet lost its independence at about the same time as the State of Israel came into being. The parallels between the Jewish and Tibetan dispersions have not been lost on the current Dalai Lama, who long ago took the initiative to find out what lessons from the Jewish Diaspora he could apply to that of the Tibetans.

It is a sad commentary on the nature of the world that more than 50 years of non-violent resistance to the Chinese occupation have done far less to highlight the plight of Tibet than a few weeks of rioting and disruption of Olympic torch relays.

It screams to the heavens how much more deserving of independence and international support the Tibetans are than the Palestinians, who have had autonomy and independence thrust on them at various stages since the 1930s, and on each occasion have rejected it as insufficient.

Rightness and justice without power are not sufficient in themselves. It’s sometimes a shock to realise that this does not only apply to the Jewish people.

From a Jewish religious and cultural perspective, the elephant in the room “was [for the Dalai Lama] to learn why so many young Jews abandon their roots and come to him for spiritual nourishment”. This is probably as true today as it was when he asked that question 1990 and still awaits an answer or program to address it.

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