Brandeis Hillel imposes pro-Israel litmus test, excluding ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ chapter

Hillel, the national organization for Jewish life on campus, says that it seeks to enrich Jewish pluralism. But its idea of Jewish identity demands fierce support for Israel.

And sadly, the Brandeis Hillel yesterday formally rejected the Brandeis chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace as a member of the organization because JVP supports boycott of products of the settlements. So much for pluralism. “The latest failure of the American Jewish establishment,” Lev Hirschhorn of the JVP chapter said in announcing the news.

The decision has been celebrated by the Jewish Federations, the huge philanthropic body that supports Hillel (thanks Ali Gharib).

Below are portions of three emails I received today. The first is from Hirschhorn, a leader of JVP at Brandeis, giving the news from Waltham, MA. The second includes portions of the JVP application to Hillel. You can see how JVP sought to appeal to pro-Israel students, and even this wasn’t good enough. And third are portions of an email from Andrea Wexler, a student exec at Brandeis Hillel, explaining the reasoning (and sent to JVP folks; though my source is not Lev Hirschhorn).

1. Brandeis JVP news release:

On March 8, 2011, Brandeis University Hillel rejected the campus chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) from becoming a Hillel member group. In line with controversial guidelines recently issued by National Hillel, the decision was based on JVP’s support for targetted boycotts of goods produced in Israeli settlements.

In response to the decision, Brandeis senior and JVP activist Jon Sussman stated “Brandeis students have lost an opportunity to learn from one another. Jewish students must demand the national Hillel organization change its condescending guidelines which marginalize progressive Jewish opinion on campus.”

Hillel is the center of Jewish life on-campus , and its constitution affirms “the necessity of a pluralistic Jewish community on campus, with partisanship to none.” Regardless of this affirmation, Hillel’s new guidelines exclude Jewish groups on the basis of political opinions.

These guidelines are representative of a trend in the Jewish community to prevent open dialogue on Israel.

2. From the Brandeis Hillel application by Jewish Voice for Peace:

We are Jewish Voice for Peace and we are coming to Hillel tonight to become part of Brandeis Hillel, as full and equal members of the organized Jewish community.

Motivated by our Jewish values and our belief in Ahavat Yisrael (love of the Jewish people), we advocate for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that both peoples have a right to safety, security, human rights and full self-determination. We fully support the right of the Jewish and Palestinian people to live in their historic homeland. We believe in the principle of non-violent peacemaking, and to that end we oppose terrorism and military force as strategies to accomplish political goals.

…We offer Brandeis’ Jewish community an outlet for political views and ideologies that fall beyond the mainstream, and we allow students to grow intellectually by having an opportunity to expand and develop their beliefs. JVP, like Hillel, pursues the Jewish values of tzedek and tikkun olam: we want to heal Israel’s many wounds left by internal conflict and unnecessary violence while longing for justice and peace in the area.

There is an old joke about a man stranded on a desert island. When he is rescued years and years later, he shows his rescuers the two synagogues he constructed. “Why two?” They ask. “This is the synagogue I pray in,” he says, “and this is the synagogue you wouldn’t catch me dead in!” Internal divisions within the Jewish community have always existed. Jewish communal organizations should exist in order to foster healthy dialogue between these assorted political opinions.

Excluding us from Hillel would serve to increase polarization, while bringing us in would allow for increased learning and co-operation among the Jewish community. “National Hillel declares that it “is steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” We, too, support a democratic state in Eretz Yisrael based on Jewish values.” We urge you to ask any questions so we may clear up misconceptions.

Today, you as a Hillel board will make a powerful statement. You can reject Jewish Voice for Peace, and indicate to the Brandeis community that Hillel is an exclusive institution, and that only those who fall in line politically are welcome. Or you can accept us, and signal to the world that Hillel is the true umbrella organization for the whole Jewish community; a pluralistic community, with partisanship to none.

3. Here is a portion of the note from Andrea Wexler of Hillel to the Jewish Voice for Peace Club:

Dear Lev and the Jewish Voice for Peace club,

Thank you so much for coming to meet with Hillel board last night. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept Jewish Voice for Peace as a member group of Hillel at Brandeis. We as a board stand strong in support and agreement with the International Hillel organization, with which we are affiliated. While you noted that Judaism is an ever moving movement, as an organization, Hillel aims to support Israel to the best of our abilities. Our policy, consistent with our international guidelines, states that “Hillel is pro-Israel; steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations”.

While, based on your presentation, we understand that JVP at Brandeis considers itself a pro Israel club, based on positions and programming JVP has sponsored, we do not believe that JVP can be included under Hillel’s umbrella. One example, as we discussed last night, is that JVP supports a boycott of settlement goods. Hillel’s position is to oppose groups that “support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel”.

…You noted that Hillel should be a home to all Jewish students and not a litmus test for Zionism. While we understand this point of view, and we hope to be a home to all Jewish students at Brandeis, we do not think that politics is the only way to define home. We are a home in many ways, but politically we stand behind Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. That being said, we at Hillel, “welcome a diversity of student perspectives on Israel and strive to create an inclusive, pluralistic community where students can discuss in a civil manner matters of interest and/or concern about Israel and the Jewish people […] and we encourage students’ inquiry as they explore their relationship with Israel”. We understand that Hillel, as a pro-Israel organization, may not serve the needs of all Brandeis students.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 73 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. fuster says:

    You publish Sarah Hawas’ tyranny of liberalism and on the same day want to cluck your tongue and write “so much for pluralism”?

    • Saleema says:

      fuster,

      Unlike Hillel, Phil is open to allowing many voices to speak. So Sarah Hawas’s piece on this site, and Phil’s criticism of Hillel fits hand in glove with his philosphy of giving platform to a diverse voices.

      Heck, he even lets people like hophmi, you, Witty, and wondering jew write on this site. And he let’s me speak my mind, too.

  2. hophmi says:

    Well, I guess this boils down to semantics. The Brandeis chapter of JVP does not appear to reflect the policy of the national organization. And the national organization is not pro-Israel.

    I don’t really see why it’s necessary for JVP to be accepted under the Hillel umbrella or why JVP would want to be part of an organization that is at odds with its mission. It’s kind of like the local chapter of Greens asking to join the local chapter of the Democratic Party.

    I suspect JVP simply wants the funding that Hillel offers.

    Nevertheless, I would support the inclusion of a JVP chapter if I were part of the leadership of a campus Jewish organization, as I was in college. In most places, there really aren’t enough Jews on campus to start excluding groups.

    • Mooser says:

      ” In most places, there really aren’t enough Jews on campus to start excluding groups.”

      Curse you, rampant collegiate anti-semetism!
      Gosh, maybe that’s why Jews get college educations so much less frequently than anybody else.

      • hophmi says:

        “Curse you, rampant collegiate anti-semetism!
        Gosh, maybe that’s why Jews get college educations so much less frequently than anybody else.”

        That was not my point, but thanks for being a jackass.

    • Shingo says:

      I agree Hophmi,

      What is behind JVP’s desire to become affiliated with this group?

  3. pabelmont says:

    The “fix” is clear: Brandeis Hillel must cut its ties with the Greater Hillel and continue operating outside its “umbrella” until the larger organization “gets with it.”

    Greater Hillel should not be able to get away with the hypocrisy of being in favor of “Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” supported as a democratic state in Eretz Yisrael based on Jewish values — if, indeed, these are their promises — if they exclude Jewish groups which share those goals without trespassing on them. Support of illegal settlements CANNOT (IMHO) be an expression of Jewish values however it may be an expression of settler-colonialist values (like the Protestant Americans 1600-present), like the catholic French (Algeria, Vietnam), etc.

    It is “Greater Hillel” that trespasses. Shame on them! If enough campus-Hillels break free, the “Greater Hillel” will see the light.

  4. lysias says:

    Can harboring an organization with the policies of Brandeis Hillel be grounds for an attack on Brandeis University’s accreditation status?

  5. Potsherd2 says:

    That’s clear. Hillel places Israel above Judaism.

    • seafoid says:

      It probably has too much committed to Israel to do a reverse ferret at this stage. Israel is on the way down and it’s going to take a lot of organisations with it. Maybe this is HaShem’s will.

  6. eee says:

    Zionism is an integral part of Judaism today. You want to change that? Good luck. I suggest you work together with Neturei Karta.

    • Avi says:

      Zionism is not an integral part of Judaism.

      Zionism was forced on Judaism, it has perverted it, manipulated and co-opted it.

    • Jeff Klein says:

      Yes, the Zionists have defined modern Judaism as tribalist support for Israel, rather than any true religious faith. Does that mean that pious and anti-Zionist believers, like secular people who self-identify as Jewish but don’t support Israel, are not “real” Jews? What a perversion of history and religion..

      • Avi says:

        Does that mean that pious and anti-Zionist believers, like secular people who self-identify as Jewish but don’t support Israel, are not “real” Jews? What a perversion of history and religion..

        Well put.

        • Mooser says:

          “Zionism is an integral part of Judaism” is a completely meaningless statement. But then, maybe I’m speaking too hasty, like. After all some Jews commit adultery, steal, or even, like the infamous Nussbaums, torture children to death, and some Jews murder their spouses. Some Jews do, so shall we say these are an “integral part of Judaism.
          Also there is the question of “what kind of Zionism”
          I’m a Zionist myself, you bet. I hope and pray every day that God Hisself will take my off to the promised Land on a fust-cless magic carpet ride, to a land of peace and beauty. In other words, my Zionism doesn’t include stealing anything or killing anybody.
          But of course, you have no use for that kind of Zionism.

        • Shingo says:

          Yes eee is forever creating his own arbitrary yardsticks for what Judsidm means.

    • Ellen says:

      eee, can you call yourself Jewish? This question is not sarcastic, but serious.

      Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. It never did. Only the well-meaning duped and brainwashed who do not even understand Judaism fell and fall for it. Remember, the Zionist leaders and founders were secular and had worldly interests and motivations.

      “Prophesies Come True

      Jonathan Sarna, a Brandeis University historian and author of the book American Judaism, states: “Everything they (the American Council for Judaism) prophesied — dual loyalty, nationalism being evil — has come to pass.”

      It is instructive to review the response to Theodor Herzl’s plea for a Jewish state, enunciated at the First Zionist Congress held in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897.

      The chief rabbi of Vienna, Moritz Gudemann, denounced the mirage of Jewish nationalism. Belief in One God was the unifying factor for Jews, he declared, and Zionism was incompatible with Judaism’s teachings. The Jewish Chronicle of London judged that the Zionist scheme’s lack of religious perspective rendered it “cold and comparatively uninviting.” The executive of the association of German rabbis denounced the “efforts of the so-called Zionists to create a Jewish National State in Palestine” as contrary to the “prophetic message of Judaism and the duty of every Jew to belong without reservation to the fatherland in which he lives.”

      link to acjna.org

      • hophmi says:

        I’m guessing it’s the funding. Hillel is a source for all kinds of grants for Jewish activity on campus. I suspect that JVP may want to join to get that funding, “Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. It never did. Only the well-meaning duped and brainwashed who do not even understand Judaism fell and fall for it. ”

        Like Rav Kook?

        “The chief rabbi of Vienna, Moritz Gudemann, denounced the mirage of Jewish nationalism. ”

        I am constantly amazed by the inability of people here to consider the context of Jewish opposition in Zionism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was as much a sha shtil response as anything else.

        I mean, you are almost psychopathically daft to cite German Jewish leaders’ response to Zionists that Jews had an obligation to the “Fatherland.” Do you not have any sense of irony, Ellen?

        • Hostage says:

          I mean, you are almost psychopathically daft to cite German Jewish leaders’ response to Zionists that Jews had an obligation to the “Fatherland.” Do you not have any sense of irony, Ellen?

          Let’s be realistic. The Jewish Agency for Israel lost their cool when a multitude of Russian Jews started opting to emigrate to Germany instead of to Israel. The Jewish Lobby started twisting arms in order to force the German government into adopting antisemitic immigration policies. link to forward.com That was hardly the first time that Zionists had resorted to dirty tactics to prevent their fellow Jews from having the freedom to choose where they wanted to live.

        • Hostage says:

          P.S. The JAFI almost has to be “psychopathically” daft to demand that the German government take action to financially penalize Jews in order to make itself a less attractive place for them to live. But they damn sure did! See “Germany to decrease benefits for Jews” link to ynetnews.com

        • Shingo says:

          It speaks volumes doesn’t it, when Israel can’t bribe Iranian Jews to migrate to Israel and has to lobby to have Jews disadvantages in Germany just so they’ll end up in Israel?

        • Shingo says:

          The problem was compounded by the fact that Israeli Jews were also migrating to Germany.

          Also it seems that the Germans have outsmarted Israel, by limiting their immigration intake to those under 45. The Germans will now reap the benefit of keeping only the youthful and somewhat educated FSU escapees, while Israel will end up getting a disproportionate share of the older folks with fewer options and fewer years of productive work ahead of them.

        • Ellen says:

          Hophmi….”fatherland” is the language of that time. Today we hear “homeland” instead of “fatherland” And this language is just as distasteful.

          Point is (and you know this) is that Zionism was called out in the early days for what is is: A Nationalistic Golden Calf enterprise. And this enterprise has grown and corrupted Judaism.

          As Allan Brownfeld writes:

          “From Israeli flags in synagogues to “Birthright Israel” trips sending young people on free visits to Israel to a host of Jewish organizations focusing on influencing U.S. Middle East policy — the center of attention within the organized American Jewish community has not been the traditional Jewish commitment to God but something far different. It should be no surprise that more and more American Jews, particularly young people, are increasingly alienated from this enterprise.

          More and more thoughtful Jewish voices — in Israel, in the United States and around the world — are increasingly using the term “idolatry” to describe the elevation of the State of Israel to the “central” position in Judaism. ”
          link to acjna.org

      • The present is whats important.

        • Shingo says:

          The present is whats important.

          So if history is not important, there is no need for a Jewish state.

        • Citizen says:

          You mean the Israeli flag present in your synagogue, Dick Witty? We all noticed you claimed it was not democratic to try to bring another POV to the IDF Seal’s (now cancelled) speech. But here you think Hillel’s stance excluding JVP is OK? That’s democratic?

        • Saleema says:

          He will never reply you. What’s Chabad’s view of hypocracy? This is guys is just too openly brazen about it. No shame whatsoever.

        • hophmi says:

          “We all noticed you claimed it was not democratic to try to bring another POV to the IDF Seal’s (now cancelled) speech. But here you think Hillel’s stance excluding JVP is OK? That’s democratic?”

          Well, no, there is no free speech right to force a private organization to present another speaker.

          Neither is there any obligation on Hillel to accept the JVP, an organization that does not shared its stated mission.

    • Hostage says:

      Everything old is new again. Louis Brandeis was accused of not being sufficiently devoted to the Zionist cause and it was claimed that he did not share or understand the “Jewish soul”. I suppose that JVP should feel sort of honored.

  7. hophmi says:

    “Yes, the Zionists have defined modern Judaism as tribalist support for Israel, rather than any true religious faith. Does that mean that pious and anti-Zionist believers, like secular people who self-identify as Jewish but don’t support Israel, are not “real” Jews? What a perversion of history and religion..”

    Please show where “the Zionists” have defined “modern Judaism” as “tribalist support for Israel.” I have not seen that anywhere.

    “Does that mean that pious and anti-Zionist believers, like secular people who self-identify as Jewish but don’t support Israel, are not “real” Jews? ”

    Please show where the Zionists claimed that “pious, anti-Zionist believers” are not “real Jews.” I have not seen that anywhere.

    • Mooser says:

      Okay Hophmi, you asked for it!

    • Shingo says:

      Please show where “the Zionists” have defined “modern Judaism” as “tribalist support for Israel.” I have not seen that anywhere.

      It’s right there in eee’s first post. How could you miss it?

      • Citizen says:

        Eee said “Zionism is an integral part of Judaism today.” Is that why there’s Israeli settler memorials to Dr Goldstein for massacring those praying Arabs?

  8. Cliff says:

    Please show where “the Zionists” have defined “modern Judaism” as “tribalist support for Israel.” I have not seen that anywhere.

    Wow, just when I thought you couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

    Stop polluting threads with this tactic. Everyone knows the Zionist meme to conflate Judaism/Jewishness with Zionism. We don’t have to spell it out. You know what the guy meant.

    Then again, you’re out of hasbara talking points as of late! So I guess this is the best you can do.

    You are beginning to sound like yonira. Both of you are uncreative, unoriginal in your arguments and redundant. Go away.

  9. Shingo says:

    Brandeis Hillel suffers from Weiner’s delusions.

     ”Hillel is pro-Israel; steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations”

    So Hillel supports a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders, yet considers BDS against the settlements to be an attack on the  State of Israel .

    Those are contradictory positions. How can Brandeis Hillel support Israel within recognized borders while rejecting BMW boycott of territories outside those recognized borders as an arrack on The State of Israel?

    • Hostage says:

      During the discussions regarding the wording of the draft Security Council resolution, Secretary of State Rusk explained to Foreign Affairs Minister Eban that US support for secure and recognized borders does not mean we support territorial changes. See Foreign Relations of the United States Volume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, Page 942, Document 487 link to history.state.gov

      In subsequent interviews the author of the final draft of the resolution, Lord Caradon, said that all of the parties assumed that withdrawal from occupied territories as provided in the resolution was applicable to East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. He explained:

      “So what we stated was the principle that you couldn’t hold territory because you conquered it, therefore there must be a withdrawal to let’s read the words carefully: “secure and recognized boundaries.” They can only be secure if they are recognized. The boundaries have to be agreed; it’s only when you get agreement that you get security. I think that now people begin to realize what we had in mind that security doesn’t come from arms, it doesn’t come from territory, it doesn’t come from geography, it doesn’t come from one side dominating the other, it can only come from agreement and mutual respect and understanding.”

      See “An Interview with Lord Caradon” (1976), 5 Journal of Palestine Studies 142, at pp. 145-6

      Mutual respect and understanding are way beyond the comprehension of the typical hard line Zionist, so the phrase secure and recognized borders registers on them as the pre-state “defensible borders” doctrine of conquest that was enunciated by Yigal Allon in 1947. He said: the borders of partition cannot be for us the final borders … the partition plan is a compromise plan that is unjust to the Jews. … We are entitled to decide our borders according to our defence needs. See Scars of war, wounds of peace: the Israeli-Arab tragedy, By Shlomo Ben-Ami, Oxford University Press, USA, 2006, ISBN: 019518158, page 34.

  10. I know fully practising and proudly identifying Jews that are not Zionists, in the sense of requiring a Jewish state.

    I don’t know any self-identifying Jews that wish harm on the Jews that are in Israel, directly or indirectly.

    • clenchner says:

      Most of the Zionists I know who are also practicing Jews admit that a Jew can be non- or anti-Zionist. It is true that, that in most organizational settings admitting that one does not agree with the basic premises of Zionist thought (that Jews ‘belong’ in Israel and/or that the establishment of the modern state of Israel solves an existential problem for all Jews) is usually met with great suspicion.

      Remember though- Elmer Berger’s American Council for Judaism still exists, and is still part of the Reform denomination -which affirmed Zionist thinking some time ago.

  11. RoHa says:

    ” not a litmus test for Zionism. ”

    “Litmus test”? Wouldn’t “shibboleth” be more appropriate?

  12. eee says:

    A huge percentage of Jews are Zionists. Yes, not all are but any Jewish organization that matters is also Zionist. Non Zionist Jews like Phil and Neturei Karta are a small insignificant fringe. In a few more years, the majority of Jews in the world will live in Israel. The non-Zionist Jews like Phil and Tony Judt have very few offspring that identify as Jews relative to the religious Jews in the US. In short, the trend is clear and unstoppable. In a generation or two, Zionism will be part of Judaism for all practical purposes.

      • Shingo says:

        From your own link eee,

        The rate of intermarriage has risen dramatically in the past 30 years, from an average of 9% before 1965 to 52% in 1990.

        And this

        Secular Jews in the 18 to 39 year age group have an intermarriage rate of 72%, while those over age 39 have an intermarriage rate of 35%. Younger Reform Jews now at a 53% rate, compared to a 16% rate for the older group.

        So what this tells us is that Israel is fast becoming a Jewish Taliban state and one that pretty soon, not even you will tolerate.

      • Hostage says:

        Those “statistics” are extrapolations based upon so-called random interviews with “4,500 Jewish adults” and “approximately 650 people with Jewish background”. There was a deliberate oversampling in “areas of high Jewish population density”. So, the results reflect an a priori selection bias.

    • Shingo says:

      In a few more years, the majority of Jews in the world will live in Israel.

      In the contrary, the percentage of Jews in the world living outside Israel is increasing. The percentage of Jews who identify as Zionists is decreasing. In short, the trend is clear and unstoppable. In a generation or two, Jewish Zionists will be a minority within Judaism, and Israel is looking to replace ttat support base with Christian Zionists.

    • fuster says:

      eee, the religious Jews also collect welfare payments more often than do secular Jews who work for a living.
      will living off of the state become a part of Judaism for all practical purposes?
      will having the women ride on segregated busses also qualify?

      your argument amounts to saying that a movement that looks to the 17th century is the wave of the future…….
      cause they breed really well.

      n/g

    • Potsherd2 says:

      Neturei Karta does not represent “a small insignificant fringe” of Judaism. The haredi sector has always been more or less antiZionist, and the Satmar sect, much larger than NK, is strongly so, both in Israel and the US.

      • hophmi says:

        “Neturei Karta does not represent “a small insignificant fringe” of Judaism.”

        It does. Neturei Karta is not Haredi Judaism. Neither are they the Satmar community. They are a tiny radical fringe. Haredi Jews do not go and meet with the President of Iran. They do not run to every pro-Israel protest to hold up signs. Most of Haredi community is non-Zionist in the sense that they do not subscribe to Zionism as a national political program. But they certainly live there, and they support the right of Jews to be there.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Try again, hophmi. Neturei Karta is certainly haredi Judaism. Whenever they burn trashcans and riot in Jerusalem, the Israeli papers all say, “Haredi riot again,” not “Neturei Karta riots.”

          Zionists like to marginalize NK because of the activity of some of their more radical leaders, but they are well within the haredi mainstream. And growing, as the entire sector is growing.

          And most of the Ashkenazi haredi sects have also been antiZionist, from the beginning of Zionism. They make the distinction between living in the country, mostly for religious reasons, and forming a state to rule it in the absence of the messiah.

        • hophmi says:

          “Try again, hophmi. Neturei Karta is certainly haredi Judaism. ”

          Let’s try this again. Neturei Karta is Haredi Judaism. Haredi Judaism is not Neturei Karta.

          Whenever they burn trashcans and riot in Jerusalem, the Israeli papers all say, “Haredi riot again,” not “Neturei Karta riots.””

          “Zionists like to marginalize NK because of the activity of some of their more radical leaders, but they are well within the haredi mainstream. And growing, as the entire sector is growing.”

          There are, I think, about 40 thousand Neturei Karta. They are by definition not part of the mainstream, and most Haredi, are, in fact, quite appalled by them. Again, the mainstream does not believe in going to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Sheikh Yassin and other such leaders.

          “And most of the Ashkenazi haredi sects have also been antiZionist, from the beginning of Zionism.”

          A great deal of them revised their views after 1967. You keep lumping anti-Zionist and non-Zionist together. They are not the same thing. Many Haredi reject the idea of a state as holding some kind of divine significance for a number of reasons – secular rulers, questions about having a non-messianic state. This is reflect in, for instance, Sabbath prayer; Modern Orthodox Jews will usually say a prayer for Israel and Haredi Jews will not. But most Haredi made their peace with the concept of Israel long ago, and are militantly supportive of the country today (see the position of Agudath Israel, the main organization representing Haredi Jewry in the US).

  13. eee says:

    Fuster,

    My argument is simple and well supported by repeated research.
    1) In 2-3 generations secular Jews as a significant group will only exist in Israel because only in Israel can a Jewish community lead a non-religious life style and retain a Jewish identity
    2) In 2-3 generations most if not all of Jews in America will be orthodox
    3) In 2-3 generations 99.9% of Jews will be Zionists

    So again, the only place to fight the “war of ideas” on the middle east is inside Israel. No other Jewish community really matters long term. Asking Jews in the US to be non-Zionist is the same as asking them to be non-Jewish for all practical purposes.

    • hophmi says:

      I would not put it that starkly, but eee is essentially correct.

      I have said again and again that those who claim to speak in name of Judaism against Zionism are a minority of mostly secular people who do little Jewishly, care little about the religion, and, if they have children, have few of them, and do little to educate them as Jews. Most of them intermarry. So there is every reason to believe that they will simply fade away with time.

      • Shingo says:

        I have said again and again that those who claim to speak in name of Judaism against Zionism are a minority of mostly secular people who do little Jewishly, care little about the religion, and, if they have children, have few of them, and do little to educate them as Jews. Most of them intermarry.

        Your’s and eee’s argument is absurd. eee suggests that only on Israel will non religious Jews be recognized as Jews. And contrary to your arguments, young Jews are moving away from Israel, meaning that those who claim to speak in name of Judaism against Zionism are are increasing.

    • annie says:

      2) In 2-3 generations most if not all of Jews in America will be orthodox
      3) In 2-3 generations 99.9% of Jews will be Zionists

      eee, that is because your ‘evidence’ (your link) eliminates assimilated jews and secular jews from the statistics! and they start right from the beginning like this:

      How Many Jews Are There in America?

      According to the NJPS 2000, 5.2 million people in America today constitute the core Jewish population. Of these, approximately one million persons classified themselves as having been born Jewish, but having no identification with any religious group; 185,000 identified themselves as Jews by Choice, i.e., converts. (For the purpose of this article, all Jews by Choice have been con sidered Jewish, regardless of the denomination recognizing the conversion.) Thus, affiliated Jews numbered approximately 4.2 million in 2000, and constituted about four-fifths of all identified Jews.

      see how they just un jewed a million jews?

      In 2-3 generations secular Jews as a significant group will only exist in Israel because only in Israel can a Jewish community lead a non-religious life style and retain a Jewish identity

      don’t you mean according to you secular jews can only retain a jewish identity in israel?

      Asking Jews in the US to be non-Zionist is the same as asking them to be non-Jewish for all practical purposes.

      for you. because you do not consider non zionist jews to be jewish. you are attaching a political construct onto judaism and anyone who doesn’t meet your standards isn’t jewish.

      but life doesn’t work like that. either you respect peoples choice to self identify or you do not.

      any Jewish organization that matters is also Zionist

      so just like that jvp doesn’t matter? or just the members who are zionist matter?

      you have weird logic.

      • hophmi says:

        “see how they just un jewed a million jews?”

        I’m not clear. Do they not count affiliated Jews as Jews in this survey? The NJPS doesn’t do that.

        “so just like that jvp doesn’t matter? or just the members who are zionist matter?”

        I wouldn’t say it doesn’t matter. I would say the people who compromise the group and secular and assimilated, and that the voice will get smaller over time.

    • fuster says:

      eee, i agree that your argument is simple.

    • Shingo says:

      only exist in Israel because only in Israel can a Jewish community lead a non-religious life style and retain a Jewish identity

      do you want to break that to the non-religious Jews in America eee?

      In 2-3 generations most if not all of Jews in America will be orthodox

      Why, because those who intermarry will cease to be recognized as Jews?

      In 2-3 generations 99.9% of Jews will be Zionists

      Or not.

  14. eee says:

    Annie,

    If a person is born Jewish but doesn’t identify with Jews, why would anybody count him as a Jew as he does not self identify as a Jew?

    Secular Jews can only retain their identity as Jews in Israel because otherwise they just get assimilated and lose their Jewish identity. That is in fact happening before your eyes in the US. That is in fact what happened to Phil in his earlier life. The fact is that most secular Jews follow Phil’s early path and do not come back. It is such an obvious truth that I don’t understand why you keep rejecting it.

    Non Zionists Jews are Jews, I don’t deny that. I am only saying that in 2-3 generations there will be almost no one that fits this category. That is why non-Zionist Jews do not matter long term. They are like the Dodo in the 17th century, very limited future.

    • Shingo says:

      Secular Jews can only retain their identity as Jews in Israel because otherwise they just get assimilated and lose their Jewish identity.

      So again, you’ve declared all the secular Jews in the US and no longer being Jewish? Wow, what a megalomaniac you are!!

      And how do secular Jews only retain their identity as Jews in Israel? Because they are forced to associate with Jews? What about secular Jews in Israel who only associate with Arabs?

  15. annie says:

    If a person is born Jewish but doesn’t identify with Jews

    ignoring my earlier point won’t make it go away:

    In 2-3 generations secular Jews as a significant group will only exist in Israel because only in Israel can a Jewish community lead a non-religious life style and retain a Jewish identity

    don’t you mean according to you secular jews can only retain a jewish identity in israel?

    my point is that secular jews who don’t affiliate w/established jewish organizations or attend synagogue still identify as jewish. why shouldn’t they?

    Secular Jews can only retain their identity as Jews in Israel because otherwise they just get assimilated and lose their Jewish identity.

    says who? i know assimilated secular jews who have most definitely not lost their jewish identity. maybe you just don’t know any. maybe you should get our more.

  16. hophmi says:

    “my point is that secular jews who don’t affiliate w/established jewish organizations or attend synagogue still identify as jewish. why shouldn’t they?”

    No one said they shouldn’t.

    Just wondering what the long-term plan is, that’s all.

    “says who? i know assimilated secular jews who have most definitely not lost their jewish identity. maybe you just don’t know any. maybe you should get our more.”

    Do they have children who feel the same way who are planning to raise their children the same way?

    • annie says:

      one has 6 kids. they’re all jewish and raise their kids jewish in the sense they celebrate chanaka and things like that. one went to israel and married a rabbi and they moved to some state like idaho or someplace in the middle of nowhere last i heard and opened a synagogue. the other married some football player in the oakland raiders and has 2 kids. one of them has 5 kids and lives in oakland. his wife is black and they’re all still jewish last i heard. 2 others are in college but i don’t think any of them consider themselves non jewish.
      seriously get a grip.

    • annie says:

      Do they have children who feel the same way who are planning to raise their children the same way?

      some people don’t plan, they just live day to day and be who they are and that rubs off on their kids. i would guess the lionshare of jewishness is not spread thru ritualized teachings. it’s just a matter of passing on who you are like thru mothers milk. erasing ones ethnicity is not a matter of intermarriage it is generally a conscious decision that requires effort. you bring your own standards to the table and impose them on others and judge them. that is you not considering them jewish (unless they live in israel presumably). other people do not necessarily operate like that.

      • hophmi says:

        “erasing ones ethnicity is not a matter of intermarriage it is generally a conscious decision that requires effort.”

        No, but there are plenty of technically Jewish kids in this society being raised as Christian because of intermarriage. In fact, I’d say most Jews have an example of this in their own family.

        “that is you not considering them jewish (unless they live in israel presumably). other people do not necessarily operate like that.”

        Again. I never said these people are not Jewish.

  17. I think what EEE and Hophmi are saying is accurate as far as numbers. I think the country will become more and more religious.

    And, I don’t see any likelihood of a “successful” removal of the Jewish state, whatever it becomes.

    What I do see is ongoing debate within religious community about what the Jewish community will look and act like. And, in that debate, it will be MUCH better for the world, if those that have religious views that result in compassion for others predominate. That their/our views make better sense than an unnecessarily harmful ideology and practice.

    Phil’s published territory of inquiry utterly ignores those discussions.

    Its hard to be a journalist of devotion (devotion not the same as zeal). A journalist of events or ideas is easier.

    There are progressive orthodox. There are none that think that they should revise their worldview of intimacy with God, in a community of those that share that attitude, because the radicals in the world don’t like the language that they use to encourage it.

    I consider the adherent #and# kind view to be a MUCH more progressive approach than the trivial animosity directed towards those with a spiritual commitment. (more than a spiritual bent).

  18. “Does that mean that pious and anti-Zionist believers, like secular people who self-identify as Jewish but don’t support Israel, are not “real” Jews? What a perversion of history and religion..”

    The temple-sect that defused the “jesus” rabbis didn’t consider them(Him) a real Jew either. He was clear that he didn’t come to bring “peace’ as defined by the sect that expected gentiles to force pax-romana on all nations and recognize the world court in jerusalem. Is a thousand years of this kind of “peace” worth one more human or animal life?
    Is there another Jewish sect that will lead us to recognize that cabala is the product of the cabal and give all us females and males the significance of the Aleph-Tav so we can all see that Torah is a valid description of every human soul/spirit?

    Einstein was a cultural zionist; thought Jews were healthy for all lands. Said they must get along with Palestinians. Anybody notice he was ignored after ’48? Even his theories were/are attacked. Solzhenytzen was one too but Jculture wasn’t as important as giving “them” somewhere to go…..has anyone wondered why ’200 Years Together” isn’t published in English, the current gentiles expected to bring acceptable justice systems to all lands? Especially around the nation of Israel.

  19. MHughes976 says:

    What definitions of ‘Judaism’ and ‘Zionism’ are to be used?

  20. MHughes976 says:

    What definitions of ‘Judaism’ and ‘Zionism’ are to be used?

  21. MHughes976 March 18, 2011 at 10:10 am
    What definitions of ‘Judaism’ and ‘Zionism’ are to be used?

    My gloss on “ism” and “ist’ is a rigid adherence to any system of thought.

    Einstein was clear that he was a cultural zionist. He knew that jews can be a positive influence in any land. He insisted that immigrants to Palestine must get along with Palestinians. He was not a National Zionist.

    I don’t know what Judaism is. Possibly it is a people who express the characteristic of Judah(repentance). Judah repented investing(selling) Joeseph in Egypt. He repented agreeing to cast stones at his daughter in law till she proved she had only wanteed some Judah seed. I hope this characteristic manifests soon in the folks placing their face in nationhood and military might and numbering of all “its” people in a land possessive effort.