Looking at Zion: Prof. Irven Resnick shares his views on Israel

"Looking at Zion” is an online project that aims to present a comprehensive look into the Israel- Diaspora relationship. In order to reach this goal we present a series of questions to members of Jewish communities around the world, asking them to articulate their thoughts and feelings towards Israel.
The interviewee- Irven M. Resnick (born 1952), was born and raised in Rochester, New York. Holds a position of Professor and Chair of Excellence, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dr. Resnick has a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and holds the Chair of Excellence in Judaic Studies.
In your opinion, what importance, if any, does the existence of a Jewish state has to you personally and to Jewish people in general?
“Extremely important as a permanent refuge (rather than as a fulfillment of prophecy)”
Do you feel committed in some way to defend the future existence of Israel?
Do you feel morally responsible for Israel’s actions (such as its management of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)?
In your opinion, what is the main thing Israelis fail to understand about the reality of being Jewish outside of Israel?
“That Judaism has a 2000 year history (or longer) of diaspora evolution and development. The modern State of Israel has not rendered the diaspora irrelevant.”
How would you describe Israel’s policy (formally and in practice) regarding its relationship with the Diaspora?
“Dismissive, except when it pertains to fund raising and political support.”
Can you give an example of an Israeli action or text that can demonstrate this dismissive attitude?
“Here is an example: although it has been many years since I visited the Diaspora museum in Tel Aviv, my recollection is that, although the museum draws attention to Diaspora contributions to Judaism/Jewish history, the museum design brings the visitor to the inevitable conclusion that diaspora history and contributions come to an end with the establishment of the State of Israel—as if the Diaspora has no history (and no meaning) thereafter.”
In your opinion, does Israel have an obligation to defend and help Jewish communities in need?
“To a degree (reservations over ‘defend’).”
Have you ever been to Israel?
“yes, four times, twice for two or three months.”
If an Israeli tourist should ever come across your hometown, which experience should he/she not miss?
“Hiking and rock climbing.”
For more interviews with prominent members in Jewish communities around the world go to -
Looking at Zion questionnaire  -