I spoke with a respected staffer at the OU, who told me he was at a rally for Israel in Great Neck earlier this week that was well attended by Israel supporters, politicians, and clergy. A Reform rabbi expressed his solidarity with Israel, which truthfully was a pleasant surprise. Of course, the expected “but” followed.
“However, we must not hold back our criticism of Israel when it mistreats Palestinians,” said the erstwhile rabbi. I didn’t expect any better from the Reform rabbi. I actually am glad he did not identify totally with the poor oppressed Palestinians, as has been done by a major sector of the Reform clergy. Leftist Jews have been abandoning Israel by the droves. The more the Arabs are hostile, aggressive, and terroristic toward Israel, the more the Left, including Jews, sympathizes with Israel. It is all part of the reverse psychology of Leftist thinking, and Jews are at the helm.
I am wondering if that Reform rabbi would ever say, “We are in total solidarity with the African American community, but we must not hold back on our criticism of them for...” Or the Asian community. Pick your ethnic group that suffers from discrimination and bigoted attacks.
How many Jewish politicians have you heard condemn Hamas for their terror outright? I’m waiting for an answer.
The closest I heard about was Jerrold Nadler, who also expressed his solidarity with Israel, and followed with, “However, we must insist that right-winged Israelis and the police do not get violent with Palestinians.” Now, mind you, I had to do this from memory, because I just went to his website and found nothing on Israel. Maybe I don’t know how to search for Israel or Mid-East. Possible.
What is he talking about?! Why can’t the ex-yeshivah bachur from a Crown Heights yeshivah bring himself to condemn Hamas and their terrorist campaign of rockets upon civilian Israel outright? Vos shemt er – What is he embarrassed about?
I never heard LeBron James qualify his support for his fellow African Americans with a “however.” Why do Jews feel compelled to do so?
Part of it is this twisted notion that if we are good to others they surely will be good to us. Israeli leaders thought the same when it came to the Oslo Accords and surrendering Gaza. How deadly mistaken they were!
Mostly, it’s predicated on a very basic neurosis. Too many Jews feel, “I don’t want to be seen as ‘too Jewish.’” As though to say, I’m Jewish, but you shouldn’t think that my heart is not with others, as well. I’m not exclusively Jewish.
I just viewed a very poignant sermon given by Conservative Rabbi Jeremy Fine, given to his congregation in Minnesota. Rabbi Fine bemoans the fact that his local rabbinate has done nothing in support of Israel during this time. (In truth, as I wrote last week, our Orthodox record is not so great either). Even worse, many have been critical.
What was most striking was that he reported that so many Jewish people he knows who were supportive of every other group or cause, such as BLM or LGBTQ, feel bitterly abandoned now that it comes to needing support for Israel. Good morning!
I wrote him a letter of “Yasher Koach” – which he deserved – but it is all very predictable.
I come back to what I wrote about two weeks ago in my “Open Letter to Liberals.” Please; it’s not too late. Get off that train to nowhere and change your way of thinking... and voting. It will make all of our lives that much less neurotic.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.