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.