Reform Jews’ biennial will feature ultra-right, Sharansky and Kristol

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The Union for Reform Judaism, representing the more liberal wing of organized Judaism, has an interesting speakers’ lineup at its Washington biennial in December. Barack Obama, I get that. And a big Zionist rabbi named Richard Hirsch. OK, they’re sold on Zionism– all major American Jewish orgs have the Zionist religion.

But Natan Sharansky? Sharansky is a rightwing Israeli leader who chairs One Jerusalem, which has worked to kill the two-state solution, supposedly precious to liberal Jews. And Bill Kristol– WTF! Kristol is the neoconservative leader who pushed the Iraq war, writing that “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.” Kristol has backed Israeli colonies through the West Bank. 

This demonstrates the conservatism of even Reform Jews when it comes to Israel. Reform Jewish leader Eric Yoffie attacked Richard Goldstone months after the Gaza horror. Reform Jewish leader Rabbi David Saperstein criticized J Street for taking a fairly mild stand against settlements. And J Street has pulled back its criticisms of Israel because it has pitched its tent inside the Jewish community and the Jewish community is reactionary on the Israel question. So it follows that at a time when Israel is losing credibility around the world, Reform circles the wagons, and welcomes rightwingers.

And it’s really no wonder that Barack Obama, who relies on Jewish leaders and donors, has capitulated on his promises to the Palestinians back in 2009.

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Remind me again what “liberal Zionist” is supposed to mean.

It wasn’t always that way in Reform Judaism. The American Council for Judaism maintains a website that still promotes what they refer to as Classical Reform Judaism — Judaism as as religion:

“Founded in 1942, the ACJ has long offered a distinctive alternative vision of identity and commitment for the American Jewish community. We interpret Judaism as a universal religious faith, rather than an ethnic or nationalist identity.”

Obama is speaking there?

How much congressional and presidential time do these cast of characters use up that the American people need to have them concentrate on more pressing issues? In the olden days, they would have been kicked out of the country. Now, these murder-promoting thugs have a plot of earth they demand obeisance to.

Phil, I don’t understand why you are surprised. Reform Judaism needs in roads into Israel where it plays a very minor role and has very little influence. Sharansky and Kristol can give Reform Judaism the bona fides it requires in Israel and help change the Israeli view that it is only a “leftist” organization. If Reform Judaism wants to be seen as a movement for Jews of any political persuasion, this is a smart idea.… Read more »

Custer’s last stand for the neocons but they don’t seem to know it