No community can survive without limits on what is considered legitimate
If I could give this reasoned, passionate, compassionate and realistic column more than 5 stars, I would. Thoughtful plus data plus a tone of voice (firm without smug) that many who share the views expressed here would do well to emulate. Yasher koach
This is a great article. Ok this is not PC but here goes. These anti Zionist Jews primary religion is Progressivism; progressive politics, Non Jewish related causes like climate, BLM, CRT, socialist policies, and abortion rights. They see that in 2022 many of the loudest Non Jewish progressives despise Israel with a passion and they know they have to take the "anti Israeli" position to be part of that tribe. There is a certain personality disorder involved here for high IQ, low info Jews to be anti Zionist, which I wish a Psychologist or Psychiatrist could analyze. It's a small group but influential because they are among the loudest in the Universities, Social Media and the hugh progressive wing of the dem party like Sanders. Has this movement taken over the Rabbinical schools?. The one positive is I dont see these Rabbis getting enough dues paying Jews to cover the monthly nut and many will hopefully get out of the Rabbi profession, unless of course they can dip into grants from Soros orgs, his son, and other billionaire capitalists like the guy who keeps The Forward running.
I truly enjoy your articles. I have learned so much from your essays and books.
Several years ago, you came to Raleigh NC while I was leading a campaign against the Conservative Rabbi who has trying to organize a trip to Arafat's grave. If I recall correctly, we exchanged a few emails, but you did nothing. This "rabbi" has a large congregation and now has a "Black Lives Matter" sign (with a translation in Hebrew!) in his front yard. He gave up the trip, but both he and wife (also a rabbi!) are still active in T'ruah.
I have served in the IDF, my late wife served in the IDF and my son, daughter-in-law & 2 beautiful grandchildren live in Israel. My son has reserve duty for a month in the Golan Heights in a few weeks. I fully appreciate the situation for Jews in general and in Israel in particular.
Instead of speaking up against "woke" ideology and critical race theory, these rabbis are a poison to American Jews. I am definitely not optimistic. I doubt if you could have had any impact a few years ago, but it would have been nice for you to loudly condemn this rabbi and his colleagues. It's too late now....
it's funny/ironic/disturbing, how during last years Israel/Gaza mini-war, Jews in the US were attacked. The Jew haters kept claiming it's Israelis they were against, then they showed us how they really felt. Dunno how this didn't scare the Hashahar Ha’ole out of Jews in Liberal cities..
It's rife, perverse and scary. My recommendation for American Jews is to get a conceal carry permit to defend yourself, family & institutions. To be clear, I'm a pacifist, I'm just saying Never Again.
I'm going to donate to Im Tirtzu.
The difference between the Sabbateans and today’s “ Anti-Zionist” group is that one was an internal Jewish problem and the other is affiliated with outside groups and organizations who wish to eradicate Israel and,some, in other circumstances, Jews in general.
They are looking to “ deconstruct” the Jewish narrative and reframe it to meet their modern, intersectional sensibilities.
Being an Anti-Zionist indicates that they really do not see that Jews need a safe haven.
They live in a certain moment, and history has not taught them anything they wish to acknowledge.
I'm Catholic, but I have a question. In good faith. Israel was attacked in 1967. Why should it give back land it won?
"I actually believe that many of these anti-Zionists are well intended. ... they genuinely do believe that they know how to solve all of this, and that via their anti-Zionism, they are saving the soul of the Jews."
I disagree and think there's a substantive issue here. We should hold adults to a higher standard than children. The only way someone could believe "they know how to solve all this" is if they see Arabs as idealized victims without agency. Maybe there's some original caring impulse behind it all, but, for an adult, the intentions feel more about narcissistic self-gratification. Further, it's often supported by the current ideology that divides the world between oppressors and victims.
IOW, there's a moral illiteracy behind anti-Zionism that shouldn't be taken too lightly or waved off as just a bit naive.
It’s not just that anti-Zionists shouldn’t be let into rabbinical seminaries. Any who are in should be expelled before they get a chance to do additional harm as ordained rabbis. And any who are ordained should be kicked out of any rabbinical associations and certainly not hired by any synagogue or any Jewish organization.
I really appreciate this article. I am disturbed by the plethora of Jewish organizations and individuals-- some in my own family-- who profess what I feel is antisemitic drivel. What I will say, however, is that I do not see it coming from Orthodox communities. I only see and hear of it from secular or liberal Jews. I cannot imagine ever hearing a rabbi or community member of Chabad, for example, decrying Israel and calling for the eradication of the Jewish state. But I have heard it from Conservative and Reform rabbis, or they themselves have said that it is "hard to be a Zionist" in their networks. This is, as you so eloquently state, a failing of the rabbinical schools and the platforming of anti-Zionist voices in liberal Jewish communities.
Honestly, I also see liberal Judaism as dying, and the proliferation of anti-or-non-Zionist beliefs in many ways speaks to that overall disintegration of the liberal Jewish project. In trying to allow Jews to fully integrate into society, and "reform" Judaism, much was jettisoned in terms of Jewish practice and identity. I see support for Israel is a natural victim of this trajectory. If the rabbinical schools can only attract anti/non-Zionist students, and the reality that Israel is the center of contemporary and future Jewish life does not sway them, what is the future of liberal Judaism? This is a really tough question. It is also a question I don't see most liberal Jewish organizations or synagogues asking. Rather, there is a constant focus on social justice, politics, rampant antisemitism, and a call for more "inclusive" Judaism. (And I say all this as a liberal Jew who is a member of a Reform congregation-- though our synagogue is very pro-Israel and Zionist, which does not platform anti-Zionists.)
Thank you for sharing your perspective in these articles. I have learned so much.
Perhaps it’s merely “Wir Sind Zuerst Deutche, keine Juden”. Between 1905 & 1932 twenty-eight German Jews were awarded the Nobel Prize. Many of them intermarried & became Lutherans. I wonder what happened to them? As for the Israeli-Palestinian “issue” Israel is between a rock & a hard place. “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free”! Does one think that many Palestinians don’t truly believe this. If democratic Palestinian elections were held on the West Bank Hamas would win. “Insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expecting different results” Albert Einstein.
I am beginning to think that some part of the anti-Zionist attitude from American Jews is related to their guilt over what the white settlers of this country did to the Native Americans/First Tribes in North America. That is, in Israel there are cases where Zionists [before '48 and under the guise of the IDF] evicted Arabs from their homes and seized their lands; in parallel, the white settlers of the US evicted the Native Americans and seized all of their lands. For those Americans who identify as pro civil rights and who would like to see treatments of the past redressed, it is difficult if not downright hypocritical to recognize the rights of Native Americans without lumping in the Arabs as kindred victims of [white] persecution. I do not think it pays to calibrate this equation too finely but I do think that some part of this plays a -- perhaps subconscious -- part in the widespread anti-zionism and embarrassment of Israel that does exist in the American Jewish community.
JTS preferentially admits students to their rabbinical program who can demonstrate serious commitment to social activism. Some of their graduates can barely read Hebrew.
I have become completely zionistic since reading Noa Tishby’s “Israel”. The lack of understanding and willingness to argue without it astounds me.
Daniel-- exquisitely written (as always). You may recall (but other readers may not know) that the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation adopted guidelines about funding groups/events related to Israel, to define its limits and its tent back in 2010. They're short but very much to the point:
The Federation does not fund organizations that through their mission, activities or partnerships:
1. Endorse or promote anti-Semitism, other forms of bigotry, violence or other extremist views;
2. Actively seek to proselytize Jews away from Judaism; or,
3. Advocate for, or endorse, undermining the legitimacy of Israel as a secure independent, democratic Jewish state, including through participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in whole or in part (full text available here: https://jewishfed.org/federation%E2%80%99s-israel-funding-guidelines)
To my knowledge, not a single Federation elsewhere in the US has followed our community's lead on this, at least to the point of creating official guidelines.
Some Jews are more interested in supporting their politically progressive allies than their fellow Jews. They must think that anti-Semitism didn't exist until 1948. SMH...
This column is balm for the soul. A few of us have been screaming for several years now about how anti-Zionists have been put on platforms and handed microphones -- in Jewish spaces of all places -- here, in the “progressive” North Carolina region of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill. Mostly, we’ve been ostracized for it. So reading this and seeing how others are now starting to come along is really something. Cheers.