Thanks for your post John! Also for the list of charities... but I was being sincere when I said I wasn't expecting you to reply, unless you wanted to, and then only by PM. I hope it was clear that I quite understand that the charitable work one does is a private affair unless one wants to make it public.
I must say though that you certainly seem to be doing great work!
As regards the idea of a Jewish homeland: I quite understand this concept, and why it might be so important to anyone of Jewish extraction in particular.
But from a philosophical point of view I find myself perplexed. In the culture and continent where I live, the model of democratic society we are given to understand is the ideal is that of the pluralistic society. For this reason, it would be considered inappropriate for someone to advocate say, a English England (though it might make commonsense). Were they to suggest that England should primarily be for the nominally christian English and that other ethnic groups and religions be either barred or not admitted fully into civil life there, they would probably be accused of racism.
This is a real difficulty, as countries like France and the UK in particular struggle to cope with the crisis of identity and direction caused by the presence of first and second-generation immigrants. In particular, Muslim immigrants pose a conundrum in that they wish to live according to customs in some cases quite unlike those of the Britons they share the island with. This is causing considerable tension. Some people say 'if they want to live like XYZ, let them go back to where they came from, this is England'. On the contrary, other people say 'sure, but when we wanted to reject old tradiotions and authorities we said pluralism was the only way, and that everyine should be free to pursue his or her own course without interference from the state. If we discriminate against these Muslims, we in turn will logically have to suffer discrimination against ourselves from people who don't like OUR particular lifestyle'.
The conundrum is of coure that both sides have a point. If I were to live in Saudi Arabia, certain freedoms I have here would be curtailed (even more so were I a woman). I would be expected to fit in with Saudi culture, no question. So it doesn't seem unreasonable to require immigrants to the UK to do likewise.
The problem is that for so long people have proposed the pluralistic. tolerant model that logically you cannot discriminate against ANYONE's particular lifestyle unless it's damaging to society. That sounds fine in theory, but once you start to argue that XYZ's groups actiosn are damaging to society you soon find similar arguments can be levelled at, and by, all sides.
So far, the 'West' has promoted a 'tolerant' (a much abused word), pluralistic, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural model as the ideal of the civilsed democracy.
I realise many arab nations do not fit this model - indeed some are antagonistic towards it (e.g Saudi Arabia and taliban controlled Afghanistan) - unless by chance they already have ethnically diverse populations (such as Lebanon). But Israel - conceived of as a specifically Jewish homeland where Jews are the dominant force politically, economically and socially, also struggles and fails to fit in this mould. Since it is on occasion presented as being practically the only democratic, 'western-style' model of society in the Middle East, it yet has to reconcile these facts.
I realise that these are philosophical arguments, but they do raise important questions about our cultural assumptions - not just for Israel, but for all Western society. Maybe the pluralistic model is not the ideal one after all. But if we are to follow that conclusion, we could eventually see a repeat of say, Spain under Isabella and Ferdinand in the late 1400s when all non-catholics (and in a sense, non-Spanish) people were forcibly ejected from Spain. This included large numbers of Jews and even larger numbers of Muslims. Those that remained did so very much as kind of 'inferior citizens' always unsure of what the state might decide about their status in future.
Anyway, you've said you wanted to wind up this post, and that's fine by me. I suppose other people might want to continue posting to it, I'll have to leave that up to them. Interesting discussion anyway, thanks!