Ethics, Politics, and the State of Israel

One could ask of any state how its political character and practices are intertwined with ethical or moral considerations. On the other hand no one would think today of organizing an international conference on ethics, politics, and the French state, or ethics, politics, and Norway. Is Israel a special case? What is certainly distinctive is that Zionism and the Jewish commitment to a state grounded in Judaism is often seen as a political act that is also importantly an ethical enterprise.

At this conference we do not want to narrow any participant’s options to discussing the Israel-Palestine issue. There is a good deal of discussion of the relationship between the Jewish character of the state and its democratic character and even the primacy of the state and its institutions to the Zionist project. We will not foreclose discussion of these issues, nor on how Israel does and should deal with minorities within the state – Palestinian Arabs, Sefardi Jews and other immigrant groups, women, and so on.

While debates in Israel about what Israeli citizenship means and what the state means are one thing, they are not exactly what others – specifically Jews in the diaspora – might take Israel to mean for them and their Judaism. Marking the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel, this conference is a major opportunity for thinkers from Europe, America and Israel to think seriously about Israel today in political, ethical, and even religious terms.

This event is free and open to all but a ticket required. The full programme including timings of the event and the ticket release date will be confirmed on Monday 6 October at www.philosophy-forum.org

Keywords: ethics | israel | politics