‘Young, Jewish and Proud’ issues challenge to the Jewish community

on 54 Comments

Above is a newly-released video of the Young, Jewish and Proud declaration. Rabbi Brant Rosen responds as the Jewish community prepares for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year):

It’s well known that Birthright was born in response to growing reports that American Jewish young people were becoming increasingly disconnected to the state of Israel. But by rushing to address this issue through a massive multimillion dollar community initiative, we successfully avoided asking some deeper questions.

Could it be that we were afraid to know the answers?

Could it be that young people are becoming disenchanted with Israel because they are becoming increasingly troubled by its treatment of Palestinians? Could it be that growing numbers of young Jews regard Israel more as an oppressive colonial project than a source of Jewish pride? Could it be that in the 21st century world, the identities of young Jews are tied less to Jewish ethno-nationalism than to a more universal vision of liberation?

“Young, Jewish, Proud” is decidedly not the product of a Jewish communal initiative. On the contrary it is a grass-roots, self-organized effort of young Jews who seek to express their Jewish identity in a time-honored Jewish manner: by speaking truth to power, by advocating unabashedly for peace, justice and liberation, by standing up to oppression, racism and persecution in Israel/Palestine – and throughout the world. They simply aren’t buying what the Jewish establishment has been selling them. They are finding their own voices.

Read Rabbi Rosen’s full response and learn more about Young, Jewish and Proud here.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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54 Responses

  1. Real Jew
    September 27, 2011, 12:25 pm


    Without it young Jews (and non jews) would be exposed solely to the one sided and bias MSM which has been the Lobbys most effective tool in spreading its propaganda to the masses. They will do anything in their power to prevent discourse on this subject because they know damn well once the discussions begins, israels apartheid policies along with the lobbys detrimental effect on Israel will be aired out.

    Keep getting informed my young brothers and sisters!

    • Kathleen
      September 27, 2011, 1:11 pm

      “They will do anything in their power to prevent discourse on this subject because they know damn well once the discussions begins, israels apartheid policies along with the lobbys detrimental effect on Israel will be aired out. ”

      I am a real believer that if the American public or any people’s are provided with accurate, fact based information consistently that the logical in a person rises to the surface and will ultimately prevail. This I believe applies to the lies told to the American people in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, the spin repeated about the I/P conflict etc.

      Give people the facts as close to the truth as possible. This is why we need to keep pounding on the MSM. It is their job to provide the American public with accurate information or be held and punished if they are found to have lied to the public

      “”The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government. But to punish as the law does at present any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall on a fair and impartial trial be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of individuals is still left free: the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left; the disseminating, or making public, of bad sentiments, destructive to the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects.”7

      Demanding accountability based upon the abuse of this freedom. Legal punishment. Judy “I was fucking right” Miller as well as other journalist and MSM outlets should be punished for pushing and not challenging the WMD lies

      • Real Jew
        September 27, 2011, 3:08 pm

        Very well said Kathleen. The responsibility of the media to the people is crucial and should never be undermined

      • James
        September 27, 2011, 3:31 pm

        the MSM, like congress, has largely been ”bought”… the idea of a neutral media where news is given to educate and inform people is mostly non-existent… the nyt and wapo are the new pravda.. they have been for quite some time…

      • seafoid
        September 28, 2011, 9:20 am

        “I am a real believer that if the American public or any people’s are provided with accurate, fact based information consistently that the logical in a person rises to the surface and will ultimately prevail.”

        Except for creationism.

    • Citizen
      September 27, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Real Jew, as an added minor bonus for non-Jewish American (98% of the population), the detrimental effect on the USA will also be aired out.

      • Real Jew
        September 27, 2011, 3:45 pm

        Absolutely. As an American I’m surprised I missed that lol. You’re on point as always Citizen

      • john h
        September 27, 2011, 6:02 pm

        Hey you two, Real Jew wrote “without it [the Internet] young Jews (and non jews)”…

        Don’t you think that might mean everybody “young” (young at heart too, like me) who uses the Internet, even Americans!

      • Real Jew
        September 28, 2011, 12:23 am

        Lol. yes of course john, didn’t mean to exclude anybody (if that’s what u meant)

    • Charon
      September 27, 2011, 3:05 pm

      Internet Killed Israeli PR. There is a humorous youtube video which says exactly that to the tune of Video Killed the Radio Star.

      It must frustrate Israel to no end that there is an upcoming generation of ‘self-haters’ (in their minds).

      • Real Jew
        September 27, 2011, 4:56 pm

        I’ll have to check it out Charon. Do you know the name of the video by any chance? I’ll try and find it when I get a chance.

      • Chu
        September 27, 2011, 5:54 pm

        for real. This must give Dersh heartburn seeing these acolytes of Finkelstein rising up to grab the msm narrative. Oy… geez us

      • seafoid
        September 27, 2011, 5:55 pm

      • Real Jew
        September 28, 2011, 12:29 am

        Thanks habibi, absolutely hilarious!

  2. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 12:30 pm

    So wonderful!
    “we exist”
    “we remember”‘
    “we are better than this”

    I met some of these young Jewish and proud individuals at the Move over Aipac gathering in DC. Wonderful. Reminding their parents and grandparents that standing silent for decades on this issue is terribly wrong and complicit. Better late than never. Hopefully will encourage their parents etc to stand with them and remind them that decades of silence is complicity.

    So important that they recognize all of the individuals who have come before them in this decades long struggle. Heard several of them entering the world of the ego in a big big way as if this movement for Palestinian justice started with them. Very dangerous and efforts to build a myth.

    Hopefully they will develop wisdom and acknowledge all of the very brave souls who have come out and stood on the front lines before it became far more acceptable…while celebrating young Jewish and proud for their continuing efforts.

    • Citizen
      September 27, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Yes, Kathleen, glad to have more Jews, young or otherwise, joining the rest of us, no small proportion being goys, beginning with the initiating Palestinians, to end the harm caused to both the Palestinians (now & at least since 1948) and the USA (now & since 1967) and to Israel (later, longer term).

  3. annie
    September 27, 2011, 12:35 pm

    thanks adam, beautiful

  4. mig
    September 27, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Hugs and kisses to you all. Love you !

    • Real Jew
      September 27, 2011, 3:06 pm

      Likewise Mig, its absolutely wonderful to interact with people who are equally as passionate and decent

  5. Dan Crowther
    September 27, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Ketiva ve-chatima tovah

    That was great. What I am hoping for is for people to question why they continue to define themselves as part of groups first, mankind second. Race, ethnicity, religion, skin color ( what am i missing?) are all still divisive in their nature, from a identification standpoint. Dont get me wrong, I applaud what these people are doing, I just think that putting a arbitrary lense up to see the world through is, well, dumb-da-dumb-dumb.

    Truth be told, I think these cats will get there, I really do. They ( and hopefully, we) will eventually realize that all the good feelings they have about their religion are derived from the principles that are most human; love, acceptance, selflessness and community. If those are the values, who cares who their neighbors are?

    • Kathleen
      September 27, 2011, 1:13 pm

      With you on this. But clearly movement

    • Citizen
      September 27, 2011, 2:36 pm

      Yes, Dan Crowther. Universal ethics and morality go back to Kant’s moral imperative; the root of universal morality is in the individual, not any group.
      As in a Seuret painting, the individual dots blend into a broad brush picture when you step back.

  6. Mndwss
    September 27, 2011, 1:10 pm

    We remember slavery in Egypt…

    We forget that we invaded Egypt and then wrote a holy book to explain how and why we lost and had to leave Egypt.

    We were slaves…

    We were victims…

    We are always victims.

    We have made it our religion.

    • Kathleen
      September 27, 2011, 2:06 pm

      If you have to make it appear that your religious or cultural identity has allegedly always been on the side of justice that is telling…but there is movement.

      • Citizen
        September 27, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Yes, historically, both the revolutionaries and the reactionaries always think they invented their stance. High School & college history lessons are lost on the young (even when they are taught not only by rote event and time sequence, but by a few teachers who see the conflicting ideas & can bring them home to their pupils), and when children get out in the working world history is not often a priority.

      • seafoid
        September 27, 2011, 5:57 pm

        Nice to see the young Jews on the video but they have to be ready to fight dirty. Expect to be spat on, taunted, threatened, beaten, brutalised. Zionists have been playing dirty since day 1.

      • Kathleen
        September 29, 2011, 11:04 am

        non violent truthful resistance based on facts

    • Dan Crowther
      September 27, 2011, 2:24 pm


      part of me wanted to also say “umm, no some of you definitely do not come from the people who were slaves in egypt etc.”

      The old “we are the descendants of the ancient tribes of Israel” narrative was still there, hopefully growing fainter……

      • Charon
        September 27, 2011, 3:45 pm

        Besides that, Egypt’s history was written and survived to this day without any mention of that slavery or plague event. One would think it would be a big enough deal to make a record of. People are allowed to have faith in whatever they desire, but from a historical stand point it likely refers to a combination of stories from the fertile crescent which evolved with time before being commit to paper.

      • MHughes976
        September 27, 2011, 4:48 pm

        Jan Assmann’s ‘Moses the Egyptian’ is good on these matters.

      • DBG
        September 27, 2011, 5:23 pm

        queue the bashing of Jewish history.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 27, 2011, 6:37 pm

        “queue the bashing of Jewish history.”

        No one’s bashing anyone’s history. There’s no archeological evidence for the story of the Egyptian captivity and the Exodus story. This isn’t bashing, it’s fact. Don’t tell me you actually believe those stories…

      • Chaos4700
        September 27, 2011, 6:56 pm

        I think you’re confusing actual history with mythology, DBG. Again.

      • piotr
        September 27, 2011, 8:10 pm

        To defend Bible, Egyptian history did not survive COMPLETELY. Some epochs have more complete record than others, and the largest gap is for the period when Egypt was ruled by Semitic Hyksos.

        The story of Josephus and Jews coming to Egypt is explained that it happened in Hyksos era. More plausibly, Semitic people living next to Egypt remembered that some time in the past rulers of Egypt were very friendly, and more recently, not so much.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 28, 2011, 9:22 am


        That still does not account for the absence of any archiological evidence of their supposed existence in Egypt or the “exodus.”

        It think that you are right, that this was merely a tale told down the ages that got more and more fictionalized in order to serve a social niche, like all mythology. Nothing wrong with that, until one starts pretending it is real and is history and relies upon it as a basis for one’s dealings with other people.

      • Citizen
        September 29, 2011, 8:02 am

        Yep, national and/or ethnic myths are harmless as Santa Claus until old St Nick pulls some machine guns out of his sack, then some nuke missiles…

  7. James
    September 27, 2011, 1:15 pm


    i think you hit the nail on the head with those questions in the ‘could it be’ paragraph… the answer is yes to all of that.. in spite of publicity campaigns the truth of those questions is much more powerful than any ad campaign to get people on a particular side.. revisionist history or cultural identity for that matter are not bound up and defined thru a campaign office on a media blitz..

  8. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 1:18 pm

    “radical intellectuals” who have for decades persistently ignored and blocked the truth about this conflict coming out. Own this, acknowledge this fact while moving forward

  9. pabelmont
    September 27, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Beautiful. Anyone wondering where the young Jewish generation is going may be reassured: it remembers JUSTICE and is not fooled by the false claims that Judaism is co-extensive with support for right-wing Israel.

    Many rabbis found they were not able to teach sabbath-observance, kosher-observance, and the like as the be-alls and end-alls of Judaism, and many came to believe that Judaism was no more (and no less) than love of the State of Israel, militant. These young people teach a different lesson: that love of JUSTICE may, alone, be a religion sufficient to them and to anyone.

    While standing on one foot, teach that JUSTICE is Judaism and all the rest is excess baggage if not worse.

    • Citizen
      September 27, 2011, 2:46 pm

      Maybe, while standing on one foot, teach more specifically that JUSTICE IS NOT JUSTICE IF NOT FOR EVERYONE? A bit of a mouthful, but there it is.

      • pabelmont
        September 27, 2011, 3:32 pm

        Thanks. There appears to be some fraction/splinter (I hope not the whole forest!) of halachic orthodoxy that believes (and teaches, in print but apparently in “code”) that respect by Jews for human rights means respect for rights of Jews (only). I believe that the late, great, Israel Shahak took a lot of flak for making this point — at a time when the lesson wasn’t so well taught by the settlers and their facilitating rabbis.

        In 1965 Shahak sent a letter to Ha’aretz in which he claimed to have witnessed an Orthodox Jewish man refusing to allow his telephone to be used to call an ambulance for a non-Jew because it was the Jewish Sabbath.[9][10][11][12][13] In the letter, Shahak also claimed that members of the rabbinical court of Jerusalem confirmed that the man was correct in his understanding of Jewish law, and that they backed this assertion by quoting from a passage from a recent compilation of law. The issue was subsequently taken up in Israeli newspapers and The Jewish Chronicle, leading to significant publicity.

    • seafoid
      September 27, 2011, 5:58 pm

      And Phil Weiss has to stand up to his mother!!!

      • Kathleen
        September 29, 2011, 11:04 am

        It’s called Mondoweiss

  10. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 2:10 pm


    • Citizen
      September 27, 2011, 2:47 pm

      I have been; they are pretty much ignoring me or sending me boilerplate stuff not addressing my specified concerns. Got any suggestions?

  11. eee
    September 27, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Very good, go have a discussion with the millions of young Jews in Israel.
    See you in the courts and on the street.

    • mig
      September 27, 2011, 4:25 pm

      “See you in the courts and on the street.”

      ++++ Which one comes first ?

    • Chaos4700
      September 27, 2011, 6:56 pm

      We know you bring your automatic weapons to the streets, will you be bringing them to the courts too?

  12. DICKERSON3870
    September 27, 2011, 4:16 pm

    RE: “Could it be that we were afraid to know the answers?” ~ Rabbi Rosen

    SIGMUND FREUD SEZ (posthumously): Quite possibly, because knowing the answer might trigger far too much emotional pain (cognitive dissonance).

    Displacement is the redirecting of thoughts feelings and impulses from an object that gives rise to anxiety to a safer, more acceptable one. Being angry at the boss and kicking the dog can be an example of displacement.
    Denial is the refusal to accept reality and to act as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of very early childhood development.
    Repression is the blocking of unacceptable impulses from consciousness.

    ALSO SEE: DEFENSE MECHANISMS & COGNITIVE DISSONANCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2011/09/the-privileged-divide-non-jews-want-to-talk-the-issue-jews-dont.html#comment-365465

  13. crone
    September 27, 2011, 5:09 pm

    Thank goodness for young people…

    wonderful article… thanks so much for posting it.

  14. RoHa
    September 27, 2011, 7:27 pm

    “Young, Jewish, Proud”

    Proud of what? Being young? Hardly an achievement. We all manage it at one time or another.
    Proud of being Jewish? Is that so difficult to manage? (I’m not a Jew, so I don’t know.)

    So what are they proud of? I don’t understand this “pride” thing at all.

    • Kathleen
      September 28, 2011, 9:09 am

      Not sure about their need to so heavily identify with being Jewish. Have never understood this. I don’t identify heavily with my Irish/French/Polish/Russian…Catholic heritage. Hardly at all.

      But this being “Jewish” is something I have never understood why Jewish folks often need to announce this almost immediately after you meet them. But oh well. Seems to be the way it is.
      The very positive is that these young Jewish folks seem to be saying to their parents, grandparents etc it that being Jewish to them means standing up for justice

  15. Shingo
    September 27, 2011, 9:14 pm


    Between this and listening to Miko Peled speaking last night, I can’t stop tearing up.

    Thank God we have such extraordinary people in our midst.

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