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  • JVP offers bold universalist Hanukkah message in the wake of Gaza slaughter
    • Check out this Google Trends graph, comparing interest in AIPAC, Jewish Voice for Peace and American Council for Judaism:

      link to

      ACJ is flatlining. JVP is showing a bit of life -- but overall appears to be boxed in.

      More valuable for analysis would be membership numbers and budgets over time.

  • Yes, Virginia, there is a liberal Zionist
    • Mooser,

      Enlightenment 101:

      "Age of Enlightenment" link to

      "The Enlightenment generally refers to the 18th century intellectual and philosophical developments in Europe. This movement advocated rationality as the sole criteria for establishing an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge. The intellectual leaders of this movement regarded themselves as courageous and elite, and viewed their purpose as leading the world towards progress and out of a long period of doubtful tradition, full of irrationality, superstition, and tyranny (which they saw resulting from the "Dark Ages")."


      "Bernard Ramm writes that "the approved concepts were reason, freedom, nature, utility, happiness, rights, tolerance, deism, rational Christianity, natural religion, social contract, science, autonomy, harmony, and optimism. The disapproved concepts were authority, antiquity, tradition, church, revelation, the supernatural, and theological explanations."

    • Roberto,

      I think the universal values of Judaism are actually the Greek/Roman values developed in Europe over the centuries. We can see that the intolerant strain in Christianity (and Islam) has Judaism as its origin (a jealous God and his chosen people with a right to kill and take whatever people’s land it wants: Palestine or the New World).

      What you say is largely true. The Enlightenment -- which produced Reform Judaism in its most universalist mode -- was a European creation -- not an Abrahamist construct. In fact, the great Enlightenment thinkers were in open revolt against the Abrahamist strain in Western culture -- their models were Greek and Roman -- with an emphasis on reason and tolerance. Wonderful people.

      Try reading Thomas Jefferson's and Thomas Paine's views on the Old Testament.

    • Annie,

      From a statement of ACJ principles: "As American Jews, we share the hope for the security and well being of the State of Israel, living in peace and justice with its neighbors.""

      It sounds to me like they have accepted the existence of Israel as an established fact -- I don't think they are active Zionists -- simply a group that has passively accepted that the Zionist wing of the Jewish establishment has prevailed in the struggle against the anti-Zionist wing.

      To what degree they are pushing back against Jewish religious Zionist doctrine I don't know -- I need to look into it -- or perhaps someone else knows. Certainly they are pro-peace and pro-justice. Where they stand on BDS and the one-state solution I don't know -- and would glad to be enlightened.

      This is discouraging: "The organization publishes a magazine called Issues, with an estimated 2,000 subscribers." They seem to represent a small percentage of the organized Jewish community.

      In any case, I wish them well.

      Quotes above from Wikipedia link to

    • Mooser,

      Are NPR and the New York Times "right-wing mouthbreathers"?

      They were troubled about important aspects of the Michael Brown case -- the strong arm robbery, the physical bullying, the punching of a cop in the face, the grab for the cop's gun, the forensic evidence showing that Brown wasn't shot in the back, the shaky credibility of Dorian Johnson, the lack of any evidence that Darren Wilson was motivated by racism, the incitement by Michael Brown's stepfather to "burn this motherfucker down" (referring to Ferugson and the riots), etc.

      Again, there are better cases out there to use to energize political activism on behalf of black civil rights -- solid cases; righteous cases with no ambiguity. Pick the wrong case and you can suffer major political setbacks.

    • American,

      Can you think of a single organization within the Jewish religious establishment that now disavows the unity of Judaism and Zionism?

      You can find a list of those organizations at the homepage for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations here:

      link to

      and here specifically:

      link to

      They include all mainstream branches of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

      Even the American Council of Judaism now describes itself as a supporter of Zionism -- SEE THE LEAD ARTICLE FOR THIS CONVERSATION! :) -- above -- at the top of this page.

      How are many progressive anti-Zionists handling this situation? Not well at all. By engaging in evasion and denial -- by sticking their fingers in their ears and wheeling out the antisemitism smear. Sometimes they sound very much like liberal Zionists.

    • W.Jones,

      This is how we need to approach this issue, in my opinion.

      By far the most important issue in Israeli politics is the settlements movement -- and the continuing drive by the Israeli government to acquire full control of Eretz Israel and Judea and Samaria.

      The settlements movement relies heavily on the Torah -- on Judaism -- to justify its ongoing aggression in the occupied territories. It cites the most ethnocentric and anti-universalist passages in the Torah on a regular basis to rationalize its behavior.

      The settlements movement enjoys the full support of the Israeli government. The Israeli government enjoys the full support of the Israel lobby. The Israel lobby enjoys the full support of the Jewish religious establishment -- in fact, the Jewish religious leadership defines the core of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

      To start effecting change in this state of affairs, you need to challenge the underlying ideology which is driving the bad policies -- and we all know exactly what that ideology is -- the leaders of the settlements movement have spelled it out for us loudly and in detail. The Bible is literally their Bible -- especially the ethnic nationalist strains of the Bible which dominate most of the Old Testament.

      It turns out that not only are liberal Zionists trying to obstruct an open discussion on this issue -- but many progressive anti-Zionists are too. In effect, quite a few progressive anti-Zionists are running interference for the Israeli government, the Israel lobby and the settlements movement because they are hypersensitive about any criticism of Judaism.

      If Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz think that the subject of Jewish religious Zionism is too hot to handle on Mondoweiss, it can be discussed here, with only very light moderation:

      link to

      Regarding positive statements about Jewish civilization and Jewish culture -- I have made many of them in the past -- consult the archives. It would be insult to the intelligence of Jews to keep flattering them about their many virtues. It shouldn't be necessary to do so while addressing the role of Jewish and Christian religious Zionism in Israeli politics.

    • WJones,

      Congratulations on contributing an intelligent and well-informed post on this controversy.

      Btw, for rapid, unmoderated and uncensored exchanges on this post (and topic) -- in conversational mode -- visit link to

    • Sibiriak,

      Would you agree that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is the main pillar of the Israel lobby?

      link to

      link to

    • oldgeezer wrote:

      "It’s a bit silly to see adherents of Judaism as a monolithic block, and say their religion is the problem, just as it is silly to lump Protestants and Catholics together as one."

      No one here has said that all adherents of Judaism comprise a monolithic block that supports Zionism. The argument is that *all* of the leading organizations of the Jewish religious establishment strongly support Zionism -- and that they have combined Judaism and Zionism into a single ideological package. It's a gigantic issue -- one that can't be swept under the rug. Furthermore, Israeli leaders have increasingly used Judaism and Jewish religious themes to justify Israeli and Zionist policies -- especially the most extreme of those policies revolving around "Eretz Yisrael" and "Judea and Samaria" (the entire settlements movement).

      These religious organizations and leaders merit as much reasonable criticism as Christian Zionist groups.

    • Annie,

      There is nothing remotely antisemitic in pointing out that violent nationalist passages in the Old Testament greatly outnumber peaceful universalist themes, and that religious Zionists rely heavily on those themes and ideas to justify Israeli policies (especially expansionist and racist policies).

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