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My Friend, The Zionist
A difficult and emotional conversation with Robert Nicholson, a Christian, a Zionist and—most importantly—a friend.
I wanted to share this with all of you. I'm really proud that we were even able to have this conversation with Robert Nicholson, a Christian and self-described Zionist. Probably the most searching, depressing, and emotional episode we've ever done on, the podcast that I co-host. Part of me can't believe it even happened. It shows what true friendship is. This may not be a time for "both sides" but it is a time for keeping our friends close, even if we find ourselves on opposite sides of a growing divide. Not a lot of people know this, but Wisdom of Crowds was born in Israel on the back of a bus.
Robert had invitedand I to a study tour on religion and nationalism. What better place to study that than Israel? I remember being both fascinating and slightly terrified by our conversations with Israeli leaders and thinkers. The left had moved well to the right. And the right had moved to the far-right. There was also a complacency and what now appears to be an illusion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be dismissed or cordoned off altogether.
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Robert and I have been debating these topics for years now and I don't think I've met anyone who can be both resolutely pro-Israel but tries to the best of his ability to understand and speak to the Palestinian side, including even supporters of Hamas. This takes a kind of generosity of spirit and intellectual curiosity. But all the generosity in the world is not going to erase foundational divides. And that's okay. Consensus is impossible, and if God had wanted to, he could have made us into a people of unity. He didn't.
And in this episode, you can see where those divides are. I fear they're more foundational than I thought. I wonder if they can be resolved. Because some conflicts are zero-sum. Some conflicts are irreconcilable. Part of me holds out hope that that's not the case, but in this moment of despair that I know so many of us are feeling, I really do wonder. Which is to say, please do consider giving our conversation with Robert a listen. I don't think you'll regret it.
Here you go. Please listen and share.