Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

07.22 The New Yorker Is Temporarily Making All Of Its Archives Free; Here Are 8 Stories You Should Read

07.21 Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.23 Germany, UK and Poland top ‘dirty 30’ list of EU coal-fired power stations

07.23 The strange relationship between global warming denial and... speaking English [chart]

07.23 Great Barrier Reef contaminated by toxic coal dust, inquiry told

07.23 Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death

07.22 California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

07.22 Paterson's 'green blob' tirade reveals the right's problem with climate change

07.22 Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

07.22 HIV breakthrough reveals virus hidden in immune system cells

07.21 Green Energy Robin Hood: India Doubles Tax on Coal to Fund Solar and Wind

07.20 PROTESTERS URGE BROWN TO PROTECT CALIFORNIA’S WATER BY BANNING FRACKING

07.20 GERMANY LEADS THE WORLD IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY [map graphic, charts]

07.20 WHAT DOES THE EXPANDING SOLAR SECTOR MEAN TO GERMANY’S UTILITIES?

07.20 Boris Johnson: 'bollocks' to say Oxford Street has world's worst pollution

07.20 Death of Australian Pollution Levy Marks First U-Turn on Climate

News Media

07.21 Journalistic Malpractice: The Media Enables the Right-Wing Politicization of Science

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

07.23 "Conservative" judges are ganging up to steal your "affordable" healthcare

US Politics, Policy & Culture

07.22 The Senate flunks basic biology: Inside a disgraceful hearing

07.22 If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror

07.22 Detroit residents fight back over water shutoff: 'It's a life-or-death situation'

07.21 5 Giant Un-American Corporations Trying to Bolt U.S. to Avoid Taxes

07.21 Talking Openly About Obama and Race

07.19 Full Show: The Crusade Against Reproductive Rights [24:26 video]

07.19 Can Obama Weather the Current Geopolitical Shitstorm?

07.19 'Run, Liz, run!' Elizabeth Warren plays down 2016 bid despite growing chorus

High Crimes?

07.17 Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises [Over 1,000 comments]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.23 Detroit, Other Cash-Strapped US Cities, States Slashing Pension Benefits While Subsidizing Professional Sports Stadiums

07.23 Top lawmaker wants corporate tax loophole 'plugged now'

07.22 Here's Why Wall Street Reform Is Still in Limbo

07.21 OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

International

07.23 Wall Street Journal Argument that Gazan Civilians Aren’t Innocent Is the Exact Same One Bin Laden Used To Justify 9/11

07.23 Ethiopia Becomes China’s China in Search for Cheap Labor

07.23 US and Germany hold restorative talks after series of spy scandals

07.22 The Waste of War

07.22 Israel hits hundreds of targets in Gaza as soldier is confirmed missing

07.22 Bloody Weekend in Gaza [42 photos]

07.22 New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution

07.21 What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? [3:17 video]

07.21 A Damned Paradise: Does Haiti Need Tourism? Or Does It Need Justice?

07.21 MH17: world's anger at Russia grows as bodies pile on to train at crash site

07.21 Gaza crisis: UNSC and Obama call for immediate ceasefire – live updates

07.19 Needing Skilled Workers, a Booming Germany Woos Immigrants

07.19 Understanding What Hamas Wants

07.19 Russia Has Become Dangerous Again

07.19 I'm in love with New York, but I know how lucky Australians are

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: