A ‘Normal’ People


“We Jews are, regrettably, no better than any other people,” said Jerome Segal (“The Growing Values Gap between Israel and the US,” Jan. 12). He is right: We are not better, but that is nothing to regret. We are a people with our own history, religion and customs. Israel was re-established in part to “normalize” Jewish existence.

This is summed up quite well by Israeli journalist Matti Friedman in his book “Pumpkin- flowers”: “Something important in the mind of the country — an old utopian optimism — was laid to rest. At the same time we were liberated, most of us, from the curse of existing as characters in a mythic drama, from the hallucination that our lives are enactments of the great moral problems of humanity, that people in Israel are anything other than people, hauling their biology from home to work and trying to eke out the usual human pleasures in an unfortunate region and an abnormal history.”

Jews are normal people, and Lord Acton’s quip does not apply: We are not absolutely powerful or absolutely corrupt.

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