Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

05.26 How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory [22:19 video from 6 years ago, a more recent 47:28 "Running out of Time" documentary is here.]

05.24 Pretty hurts: are chemicals in beauty products making us ill?

05.23 China factories releasing thousands of tonnes of illegal CFC gases, study finds [Instead of depleting the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultra-violet radiation, we should enhance the ozone layer to also reduce infrared radiation CO2 absorbs and heats from—in a reversible way to be safe]

05.22 Over 1,351 Climate Strikes in 110 Countries Planned for Friday as Global Revolt Escalates

05.22 Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study [Less supervised internet-based work from home would be more likely]

05.22 Internal emails reveal how the chemical lobby fights regulation [Political lobbying including unlimited bribes is terribly effective, especially when politicians are immoral]

05.22 Is modern life poisoning me? I took the tests to find out

05.19 The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work

05.18 The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves

05.17 Revealed: air pollution may be damaging 'every organ in the body’

News Media Matters

05.25 Sanders, Warren, Wyden Join Free Press Advocates in Denouncing Assange Prosecution as Grave Threat—But Others Are Silent

05.25 Facebook refuses to delete fake Pelosi video spread by Trump supporters [0:37 video; several versions of the clip are circulating]

05.24 Rising sea levels could swamp major cities and displace almost 200 million people, scientists say [Its unusal for US mainstream media to mention global warming...]

05.23 Finland is winning the war on fake news. What it’s learned may be crucial to Western democracy [3:52 video]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

05.26 In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

05.26 Christian rightwing figures warn abortion fight could lead to civil war

05.25 'This Is Big': 76 Retired US Generals and Diplomats Warn Trump Against War With Iran

05.25 Trump Lashes Out After Pelosi Accuses Him of a "Cover-Up": A Closer Look [10:36 video]

05.24 DID STEVEN MNUCHIN HELP HIS COLLEGE ROOMMATE STEAL $2 BILLION?

05.24 If Warren and Sanders want to beat Biden, one of them will need to drop out

05.24 Boy Scout sex abuse scandal’s stunning toll: Over 12,200 reported victims [5:07 video; abuse worse than the Catholic Church]

05.24 Slowly and Persistently, Elizabeth Warren Is on the Rise

05.24 Trump’s Cover-Up Accelerates

05.24 Kushner Cos. Gets $800 Million Federally-Backed Apartment Loan

05.24 Retirement should not mean hardship – but many older Americans live in poverty

Justice Matters

05.22 Outrage as Texas Senate Passes 'Unconstitutional' Bill That Would Hit Pipeline Protestors With Up to 10 Years in Prison

05.21 Rich white men rule America. How much longer will we tolerate that?

High Crimes

05.21 Palestinians need a state, not a 'business plan' [They have slow-motion genocide now...]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

05.25 New Analysis Reveals Inequality Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of Control'

05.22 Capitalism used to promise a better future. Can it still do that?

International & Futurism

05.26 Voters across Europe seek action over climate change

05.26 Russia launches new nuclear-powered icebreaker in bid to open up Arctic

05.26 Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public

05.26 Tory leadership race: the favourites to replace May

05.25 John Bolton’s dangerous 'obsession' with Iran

05.25 Jared Kushner Is Surprised He Can’t Get Palestinian Businessmen on Board with Promises of Prosperity

05.25 Iran tensions: 1,500 US troops head to Middle East as Trump seals $7bn Saudi arms sale [0:54 Video; Arming our most barbaric “ally”]

05.25 Boris Johnson: UK will leave EU in October, deal or no deal

05.25 Spanish socialists aim to consolidate general election win

05.24 Boris Johnson for Prime Minister, and Other Ways that the Brexit Mess Could Get Even Worse

05.24 School climate strikes expected to be largest yet – live coverage

05.24 Theresa May announces she will resign on 7 June [0:41 video]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  There Is No New Anti-Semitism
Newspaper logo

OPED:

There Is No New Anti-Semitism

by RABBI MICHAEL LERNER
The Jewish establishment has turned Judaism into a cheer-leading religion for a particular national state that has a lot of Jews, but has seriously lost sight of the Jewish values which early Zionists hoped would find realization there.
The New York Times reported on January 31 about the most recent attempt by the American Jewish community to conflate intense criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. In a neat little example of slippery slope, the report on "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," written by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, moves from exposing the actual anti-Semitism of those who deny Israel's right to exist—and hence deny to the Jewish people the same right to national self-determination that they grant to every other people on the planet—to those who powerfully and consistently attack Israel's policies toward Palestinians, see Israel as racist the way that it treats Israeli-Arabs (or even Sephardic Jews), or who analogize Israel's policies to those of apartheid as instituted by South Africa.

The Anti-Defamation League sponsored a conference on this same topic in San Francisco on January 28, conspicuously failing to invite Tikkun, Jewish Voices for Peace and Brit Tzedeck ve Shalom, the three major Jewish voices critiquing Israeli policy, yet also strong supporters of Israel's security.

Meanwhile, the media has been abuzz with stories of Jews denouncing former President Jimmy Carter for his book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. The same charges of anti-Semitism that have consistently been launched against anyone who criticizes Israeli policy is now being launched against the one American leader who managed to create a lasting (albeit cold) peace between Israel and a major Arab state (Egypt). Instead of seriously engaging with the issues raised (e.g. to what extent are Israel's current policies similar to those of apartehid and to what extent are they not?), the Jewish establishment and media responds by attacking the people who raise these or any other critiques--shifting the discourse to the legitimacy of the messenger and thus avoiding the substance of the criticisms. Knowing this, many people become fearful that they too will be labeled "anti-Semitic" if they question the wisdom of Israeli policies or if they seek to organize politically to challenge those policies.

Yet there is nothing "new" about this or about this alleged anti-Semitism that these mainstream Jewish voices seek to reveal. From the moment I started Tikkun Magazine twenty years ago as "the liberal alternative to Commentary and the voices of Jewish conservatism and spiritual deadness in the organized Jewish community," our magazine has been attacked in much of the organized Jewish community as "self-hating Jews" (though our editorial advisory board contains some of the most creative Jewish theologians, rabbis, Israeli peace activist and committed fighters for social justice). The reason? We believe that Israeli policy toward Palestinians, manifested most dramatically in the Occupation of the West Bank for what will soon be forty years and in the refusal of Israel to take any moral responsibility for its part in the creation of the Arab refugee problem, is immoral, irrational, self-destructive, a violation of the highest values of the Jewish people, and a serious impediment to world peace.

The most frequently repeated injunction in Torah are variations of the following command: "Do not oppress the stranger (the 'other')."
What the Jewish establishment organizations have done is to make invisible the strong roots in Judaism for a different kind of policy. The most frequently repeated injunction in Torah are variations of the following command: "Do not oppress the stranger (the 'other'). Remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Instead, the Jewish establishment has turned Judaism into a cheer-leading religion for a particular national state that has a lot of Jews, but has seriously lost sight of the Jewish values which early Zionists hoped would find realization there.

The impact of the silencing of debate about Israeli policy on Jewish life has been devastating. We at Tikkun are constantly encountering young Jews who say that they can no longer identify with their Jewishness, because they have been told that their own intuitive revulsion at watching the Israeli settlers, with IDF support, violate the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, or their own questioning of Israel's right to occupy the West Bank, are proof that they are "self-hating Jews." The Jewish world is driving away its own young.

But the most destructive impact of this new Jewish Political Correctness is on American foreign policy debates. We at Tikkun have been involved in trying to create a liberal alternative to AIPAC and the other Israel-can-do-no-wrong voices in American politics. When we talk to Congressional representatives who are liberal or even extremely progressive on every other issue, they tell us privately that they are afraid to speak out about the way Israeli policies are destructive to the best interests of the United States or the best interests of world peace—lest they too be labeled anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. If it can happen to Jimmy Carter, some of them told me recently, a man with impeccable moral credentials, then no one is really politically safe.

When this bubble of repression of dialogue explodes into open resentment at the way Jewish Political correctness has been imposed, it may really yield a "new" anti-Semitism. To prevent that, the voices of dissent on Israeli policy must be given the same national exposure in the media and American politics that the voices of the Jewish establishment have been given.

We hope that the creation of our interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP at spiritualprogressives.org) can provide a safe context for this kind of discussion among the many Christians, Muslims, Unitarians, Hindus, Buddhists and secular-but-not-religious people who share some of the criticisms of Israel and who will eventually try to challenge the kind of anti-Semitism that might be released against Jews once the resentment about Jewish Political Correctness on Israel does explode.

Even better if we could succeed in creating a powerful alternative to AIPAC. Unfortunately, that path is not so easy. When we approached some of the Israel peace groups to form an alliance with us to build the alternative to AIPAC we found that the hold of the Jewish Establishment was so powerful that it had managed to seep into the brains of people in organizations like Americans for Peace Now (not the Israeli group Peace Now which has been very courageous), Brit Tzedeck ve'Shalom and the Israel Policy Forum or the Religious Action Center of the Reform movement. As a result ,these peace voices are continually fearful that they will be "discredited" if they align with each other and with us to create this alternative to AIPAC. Meanwhile, while they look over their right shoulders fearfully, the very people that they fear will "discredit" them for aligning with each other and with us are already discrediting them as much as they possibly can.


Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, author of the 2006 New York Times best-seller The Left Hand of God (Harper San Francisco), and national chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (spiritualprogressives.org). He may be reached at RabbiLerner@tikkun.org.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on February 2, 2007.
 

Public Service Ads: