I still follow the rabbi of the largest (Reform) synagogue in the small California city where I lived before returning to Israel some 8 years ago. Yesterday, I saw that he wrote on his Facebook page that he and his institution, and I presume others of good will, “stand together,” against racial, religious, and anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, and “against all those who seek to divide us…all those who make people into ‘others.’”
He wrote this in response to a news report that several historically black colleges had received bomb threats for the past two days.
I don’t mean to suggest that he is insincere about deploring various forms of prejudice, but could there be an emptier gesture? I was tempted to suggest that if he really wanted to take action, he should send a busload of congregants to the nearest historically black college where they could spend the day checking dumpsters and bus shelters for bombs, as I recall doing during my army reserve duty.
Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in a perversion of its name and mandate, has established what Amb. Alan Baker calls “a permanent inquisition” against the State of Israel. With a large staff and budget, this “Commission of Inquiry” will proceed to demonize and delegitimize the one Jewish state. Even for the UN, such a one-sided “inquiry” is unprecedented, and its outcome will be used to justify prosecutions, sanctions and perhaps even expulsion from the international body for the Jew Among Nations.
I did not see that the rabbi mentioned this on his Facebook page. Again I was tempted to ask what he thought about it, since one of the first acts of the Biden Administration, for which at least 80% of his congregation voted, was to rejoin the UNHRC.
I also did not see any mention of Amnesty International’s vicious, antisemitic smear of Israel as an apartheid state, which will certainly be used as “evidence” by the UNHRC in its indictment of Israel. Amnesty’s report calls for the arrest and prosecution of Israel’s leaders whom it deems guilty of “crimes against humanity” [!] and sanctions against the country and any other countries that support it. It manages to almost entirely leave out the hundred-year long war against the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel that has been waged by Palestinian and other Arabs and their supporters (with the help of the Nazis, the Soviet KGB, and other interested parties). Even the Union for Reform Judaism, to my surprise, found the Amnesty report scandalous.
If there were ever a group that suffered from being made “others,” it would be the Jewish people. In addition to Israel’s confrontational enemies like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and the grass-roots antisemitism that appears to be popping up everywhere lately, there is also an organized and heavily funded international campaign against the Jewish state. Participants include the UN, the EU, and their allies in the so-called human rights industry, like Amnesty. If you read the Amnesty report, you will see that they will not be satisfied with anything less than the replacement of Israel with an Arab state. Anything else would deny the “human rights” of the millions of descendants of 1948 refugees. What would happen then to the Jewish people, inside and outside of Israel?
American Jews, some 90% of whom are non-Orthodox, make up the second largest Jewish community in the world (Israel recently surpassed it for the top spot). If they would “stand together” as the rabbi suggests, and present a unified political front to defend the Jewish state, it would be a powerful counterforce to the international conspiracy – there is no other word – against the State of Israel.
But unfortunately, they seem to care much more about every other identifiable group – blacks, LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, and even Palestinian Arabs. When will we see the liberal Jewish establishment demand that its constituency “stand together” … for Israel?
I will tell you, that on Twitter at least, I see Jews coming together to defend Israel against the smears. Also on Quora. For the most part, I don’t know who these Jews are or their affiliations, but there is definitely a coming-together that I have seen. Maybe we are seeing at least some “waking up”?
That’s the million dollar question!
Another fine article.
I’d like to comment on American Jews.
1. As far as I can tell from recent polls and articles, the demographics are approx. 40% Reform, 30% unidentified, 20% Conservative and 10% Orthodox.
2. At least 75% vote democratic regardless.
3. Except for the Orthodox, the State of Israel is barely in the top ten of their interests. (For the Orthodox their interest is religious, not nationalistic and certainly not Zionist).
QED. How many Zionists are among American Jews? I would hazard a guess that the figure is probably only 10 to 15%. And these are the only ones who would be interested enough to lift a finger in defense of the State of Israel and Zionism. For the rest it is, at best, indifference or, at worst, active opposition.