The Power of Possibility

An excerpt from Rabbi Sacks' keynote address, delivered to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC on 12th March 2013 and entitled ‘The Will To Life’.

"I have to tell you that what we grew up with - 'never again' - is beginning to sound like 'ever again'. And at the heart of it is hostility to Israel.

In the Middle Ages Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th century and the 20th, they were hated because of their race. Today, when it’s no longer done to hate people for their religion or their race, today they are hated because of their State. The reason changes, but the hate stays the same. Anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism.

Because make no mistake, this will be the defining battle of the 21st century. Which will prevail, the will to power with its violence, terror, missiles, and bombs; or the will to life with its hospitals, schools, freedoms, and rights?

Every time I visit Israel I find among Israelis, secular or religious, an absolute unswerving dedication to Moshe Rabbeinu’s great command: Uvacharta Bachayim, “Choose life.” Because we have to stand up and fight, and we have to stand up and win. 

Judaism is the defeat of probability by the power of possibility. And nowhere will you see the power of possibility more than in the State of Israel today.

Israel has taken a barren land and made it bloom again. Israel has taken an ancient language, the language of the Bible, and made it speak again. Israel has taken the West’s oldest faith and made it young again. Israel has taken a shattered nation and made it live again.

Friends, let us not rest until Israel’s light shines throughout the world, the world’s great symbol of life and hope.