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Long faces at Israel’s birthday party

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Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Israel is about to turn 66 years old, and here are two rather pessimistic birthday pieces by two men who once believed in it fully. JJ Goldberg at the Forward says “Every year it  gets harder to join the parade.” He does some cheering (which I’ve left out) but grants a lot of power to the Palestinian narrative.

[L]oving and celebrating the Jewish state has gotten just a bit harder than last year….

At times it’s seemed as if the whole thing is a makeshift experiment, that the miracle was an illusion, that the world — and perhaps the Jews themselves — weren’t ready for the revival of Jewish nationhood.

There is, too, the dark truth that many of us are just coming to understand, and others of us dismiss outright: that the rebirth of the Jewish nation brought with it the undoing of another people, resulting in decades of hurt, bloodshed and hatred. For years most of us didn’t see it, or wouldn’t. In part we were blinded by the other side’s violent hostility. Partly, too, we rejected it because we feared acknowledging a darkness at the heart of Zionism would impugn its very legitimacy.

Lately it’s impossible to ignore. The Palestinian narrative has entered the culture. It’s permeated public discourse, flooded the media, blanketed the college campuses. Many of us don’t know how to reconcile it with what we’ve understood to be the Israeli miracle. Was it no miracle after all?…

In fact, some scholars say, those who grew up after 1967 have only known Israel as a military power, an occupier, a focus of controversy and, to the extent they think about it, a source of discomfort. The common emotional response is what the sociologists call “distancing.”

Michael Lerner of Tikkun, at Huffpo on Israel’s 66th birthday, sounds an often despairing note, calling Israel one of the most arrogant nations on the earth and noting the ways that its needs are transforming Diaspora communities:

And yet, every year I mourn for Judaism that has become increasingly identified with a blind loyalty to the State of Israel and its policies, and the willingness of Jewish religious leaders to call it “the Jewish state” and see it as a religious duty to support its current government policies toward Palestinians. Those policies are in complete opposition to the Torah’s most frequently repeated injunction, namely one version or another of the following command: “When you come into your land, do not oppress the stranger (the other, ha’ger), remember that you were strangers (the Other) in the land of Egypt.”

Israel today presents the Jews as one of the more arrogant nations on the planet. Having entered into an agreement to release prisoners as part of the deal that allowed the Palestinian Authority to engage in negotiations even while Israel continued to expand Israeli settlers on the West Bank, Israel then refused to fulfill its agreement and then suspended the negotiations altogether when the Palestinians sought membership in various U.N. committees. Over and over again, Israel has double standards for Israelis and Palestinians, violating the Torah injunction “One law shall be for you and the stranger that dwells in your midst.” Israeli Human Rights organizations like B’tselem continue to document Israeli human rights violations and violations of international law. And I’ve witnessed first hand the oppressiveness of the Occupation on the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. It’s enough to make a Jewish soul cry in despair.

What’s worst is that the central motif of Judaism has been perverted by what has become the defacto idolatry for Israel worship. Go into any synagogue or Jewish community center and say that you don’t believe in God, don’t think highly of Torah, and certainly don’t follow Jewish law, and you are likely to be greeted and welcomed in with a smile and a shrug. But say you don’t support Israel and immediately you will be shunned and told you are likely a self-hating Jew. Israel has become defacto the God of the Jews.

In order to defend Israeli policies, Jews around the world insist on the need for the Jewish people to have power and dominate others, because that’s “the real world” in which we live. This is the logic of Roman imperialism, Christian colonialism, Hitler and Stalin and all those who have opposed Jews through history.

Judaism came into being to proclaim a different logic: that the world was not run by power but by a Force of Love, compassion and generosity, the Force that makes possible the transformation from “that which is” to “that which ought to be.” The slaves who elected to not follow Moses into he desert were the realists, the Jews were those who saw that reality could and should be transformed to a just reality. Abandoning this is the destruction of Judaism.

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49 Responses

  1. Ellen
    Ellen on May 7, 2014, 9:54 am

    I do hope J.J. Goldberg was writing only metaphorically when referring to a “revival of the Jewish Nation.”

    There never was a Jewish Nation. How can something that never existed be revived?

    There were tribes in what we call the Fertile Crescent. A few adopted and cultivated Abrahamic faith and culture. And in waves, this successfully spread and grew among other tribes and into other centers of civilization. Judaism is the seed of Christian and Islamic traditions/faith.

    Nation? It is a very modern abstract. Nothing to do with Judaism.

    • Accentitude
      Accentitude on May 8, 2014, 2:07 am

      From the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

      Nation: 1 – a large group of people living in one area and usually having an independent government. 2 – a large group of people with the same race and language.

      I think he may have been referring to the “nation” according to the second definition. In which case, this brings up the question of whether or not Jews constitute one race. Are Iranian Jews and Russian Jews part of the same race? How about Polish or African Jews? They indeed share the same religion, Judaism, but they aren’t the same “race” nor do they speak the same native language, and they certainly do not share the same culture.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on May 8, 2014, 3:14 am

      Ellen- Would you object to JJ Goldberg’s statement if he had replaced the word nation with the word “polity”? The polity that was controlled by the Macabees and their descendants was a Jewish polity. Then they invited the Romans in, for whatever reason and the polity was occupied by foreign troops. There was an attempt to rebel against the Romans and reclaim the polity from the occupiers. It resulted in the destruction of the Jewish temple, the primary symbol of the Jewish polity’s independent existence. If I am wrong correct me.

      I don’t want to get caught up in “nation”, because of 19th century European history.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 8, 2014, 5:51 am

        Yonah, “polity” was a Roman construct, western it had nothing to do with Judaic social order. It was imposed upon all regions of Roman occupation, of which Jerusalem fell. The word and idea is Greek in origin.

        The Maccabees did not “invite” the Romans. The Jewish Hasmonean family/tribe (Maccabees in Greek) ruled around there and got themselves into a nasty civil war. This tribal infighting opened the door for the Romans.

        Jerusalem was not the only center of Jewish life at that time. It was a settlement when most of the population did not live a settled life. Nor were the Hasmoneans the only Jewish tribe of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Persia.

        And from what I understand the search for a temple is still on. Historians question if a temple in Jerusalem (there were surely many over time) was the center or symbol of Jewish life. For all we know if there was any symbolic (unlikely) center of Jewish life, it may have been erased from history by historical biblical accounts for political reasons.

        And for what was still primarily a tribal and nomadic herding social structure, (inherently independent) it is most unlikely there was any”primary symbol of Jewish polity’s independent existence.” Just the idea would be an anathema to independent tribal families in that part of the world at that time.

        Bible stories are only that — stories and accounts. As Hillel said there is only one rule, one truth.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on May 9, 2014, 4:00 am

        ellen- You believe your own cant. And where did Hillel say there is only one rule, one truth.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 9, 2014, 5:21 am

        Yonah, what exactly is incorrect, false? You asked if the word “polity” could be more accurate to describe as a Jewish society/culture as a Polity of the time rather than “nation.” I answered how that word, too, would be just as absurd and wrong as “nation.”

        Does anyone really know where Hillel coined that? He was born in and lived most of his entire life in Babylon. A region that then had a much greater Jewish population than Jerusalem. He was an old man (for the times) before he made his way to Jerusalem.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on May 9, 2014, 5:47 am

        Ellen- To dismiss the existence of Herod’s temple based on what you presented is silliness. I’m not talking about pre history like 586 b.c. I’m talking about 70 a.d. But because the bible contains myths and also describes a temple therefore you consider you have permission to believe your own cant.

        You quoted Hillel. Is that a quote you made up or is it based upon a source that quoted Hillel. I don’t care how old Hillel was or where he lived. I mean where as in source material. You quoted him. Where is that quote from.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 9, 2014, 6:36 am

        Yonah, to your comment above: yet again you respond to stuff in your head and not to anything said. For example I never “dismissed” Herod’s Temple. Just said the search is still on. You are talking to yourself

        Also never quoted Hillel. But evoked the message of his teachings.

        As to your questions, don’t ask me. Look it up if you honestly want answers.

        Have a good day.

    • Peter68
      Peter68 on May 8, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Ellen knows the truth. Much love thank you maam.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont on May 7, 2014, 10:06 am

    JJ Goldberg: “For years most of us didn’t see it [roughly, the Nakba], or wouldn’t. In part we were blinded by the other side’s violent hostility.”

    I wish he’d written ” In part we were blinded by what we saw and what we (were) taught was the other side’s violent hostility.”

    After all, the push to expel the Palestinians and take over The Land was not a Palestinian push, and was extremely violent and hostile. But JJG ignores Israeli violent hostility. He’s not alone.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 7, 2014, 10:48 am

      @ pabelmont
      Yes, “what we were taught.” There never was a commissioned Nakba book, as there was a commissioned Exodus.

      The Zionists have taken full advantage of the way the US political finance system works. The real basic issue is how to change that system so it works to more reflect reality. Any takers? We’ve only got worse since Truman fell, a voluntarily victim to it. How do you get around the fact, “If I don’t get or maintain office, I can’t do anything for anybody? So I will do what I need to.” Witness Rand Paul’s recent bill to cut off aid to Palestine.

    • Krauss
      Krauss on May 7, 2014, 1:58 pm

      Hey pabel, watch out, the liberal Zionists HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Enough already!

      http://forward.com/articles/197730/broken-presidents-conference-faces-powerful-rebell/?p=all

      Bring us the Two State Solution now!!1!one.

    • Pixel
      Pixel on May 8, 2014, 3:20 am

      I agree. At the same time, he is inching forward. And where there’s movement there’s hope.

      He has a long way to go but he has also come far. The journey is a tough and lonely one. Saying good-bye to ourselves isn’t easy.

  3. eljay
    eljay on May 7, 2014, 10:42 am

    >> For years most of us didn’t see it, or wouldn’t.

    That you “wouldn’t see it” is the more likely explanation. Sadly, there are still so many Zio-supremacists who refuse to see it.

    >> In part we were blinded by the other side’s violent hostility.

    The “other side’s violent hostility” was and remains a reaction to the past and ON-GOING (war) criminal actions of Zio-supremacism, Zio-supremacists and the supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel.

    It’s no better an excuse than suggesting that the rape victims’ slaps and punches are responsible for blinding the serial rapist and his advocates to the injustice and immorality of his past and on-going crimes.

    >> Partly, too, we rejected it because we feared acknowledging a darkness at the heart of Zionism would impugn its very legitimacy.

    Zionism is, fundamentally, religion-based supremacism. That darkness has been at its heart from the outset. There was – and there still is – nothing legitmate about Jewish supremacism or any other form of supremacism.

  4. Kay24
    Kay24 on May 7, 2014, 10:50 am

    There should be more long faces…Bibi once again rejected peace for his people, and chose to continue colonization and occupation. They may desperately try to convince the world otherwise, but then these zionists are known to deceive and re-write history, to support their crimes. According to this Juan Cole article, Bibi rejected peace in 2011 too, but they continue to blame the victims, although that victims of a brutal military occupation. The zionists try to convince the world, that the Palestinians just love to remain under this insane occupation, in limbo, and no rights or freedom.
    http://www.juancole.com/2014/05/israeli-netanyahu-palestinians.html

  5. Kris
    Kris on May 7, 2014, 10:56 am

    “In part we were blinded by the other side’s violent hostility.”

    Really? Who would have thought anyone would be hostile over being massacred, driven from their homes and lands, imprisoned, and being abused in the myriad cruel, pointless ways Israel has been perfecting for more than 60 years of its cat-and-mouse game with the Palestinians?

    I read somewhere else yesterday that Israel has developed new methods to track Nazis, who must be in their 80s or 90s by now. There must be no statute of limitations against crimes against humanity; good news for the Palestinians in the future.

  6. shams
    shams on May 7, 2014, 11:06 am

    JJ Goldberg isn’t Jeffrey Goldberg, is he?!

    • Nevada Ned
      Nevada Ned on May 7, 2014, 4:41 pm

      No, there are two differerent people. JJGoldberg writes for Forward,
      Jeffrey (the “former” Israeli) Goldberg writes for the Atlantic.

  7. lysias
    lysias on May 7, 2014, 11:30 am

    Statement by the President on Israeli Independence Day (May 6, 2014):

    I send my warmest wishes to the Israeli people as they celebrate their independence. Generations of Jews dreamed of the day when the Jewish people would have their own state in their historic homeland, and 66 years ago today that dream came true. Today, Israel thrives as a diverse and vibrant democracy and as a “start-up nation” that celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation.

    The United States was the first nation to recognize the government of Israel in 1948, and today we are still the first to come to Israel’s defense. The enduring relationship between our two nations, based on shared democratic values and our unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, has never been stronger. We will continue to work with Israel to support a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, one that ensures that the Israelis will live alongside their neighbors in peace and with security.

    On behalf of the American people, I wish President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the Israeli people a joyous Yom Ha’atzmaut.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on May 7, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Interesting. I wonder, how long was President Obama’s statement on Canada Day congratulating our biggest trading partner and fellow NATO member on their National Day? Let me check… [google, google, google… BING!] Huh!! Odd, that the President couldn’t find time to issue such a statement, leaving it instead to the Secretary of State to do that on his behalf.

      Oh, but that had to be an anomoly. Surely the President took the time to issue a statement himself on Mexico’s Independence Day, congratulating our neighbor to the South on their independence??… Wow. No, it seems, there too, Obama left it to the Secretary of State to issue a statement on his behalf!

      But surely that must just be a North America thing, right? Surely Obama, personally, issued a statement on, say, Bastille Day or German Unity Day to congratulate our European NATO allies France and Germany on their national days, or personally issued a statement to Japan to congratulate our key Pacific ally on their national day, right??? Hmmmm… But no!! France… Secretary of State. Germany… Secretary of State. Japan… Secretary of State.

      Wow. Seems to be a pattern. How about a random NATO ally like Turkey?? Nope… Secretary of State.

      Why is it that Israel rates a personal message, but all these others don’t??? It’s such a wonder!!!

      That’s right, because those other states don’t attract a bunch of traitors, fifth columnists, I-firsters and blackmailers and don’t employ a massive Lobby, to hijack our government’s foreign policy, turning our politicians into boot-lickers and sycophants for Israel.

      Oh, wait, it turns out that the President DID personally issue a statement on one state’s National Day, besides the one he issued to Israel. On July 4, he issued a statement on American Independence Day. So it’s good to know that at least the President of the United States considers the USA at least as important as he considers the Aparthied state of Israel.

      • Krauss
        Krauss on May 7, 2014, 1:57 pm

        Watch out Woody, you’re almost writing as long comments as I do. Everything you write is absolutely true, of course, I’m just giggling because finally someone else outdoes me.

      • annie
        annie on May 8, 2014, 12:48 pm

        I’m just giggling because finally someone else outdoes me.

        well krauss, of course i could be wrong..but i don’t think woody is in the habit of replying to himself w/regularly like you do. it’s one thing to write long posts, it’s another to do it back to back with yourself in such a way other commenters are prevented from commenting in between. just saying!

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on May 8, 2014, 2:28 pm

        Annie, to be fair. I occasionally do that too, not because I want to in any way distort statistics, or appear more popular than I ever wanted to be ( never gave shits), but only since sometimes it is hard for me to keep both changes and the problem in mind that the links should ideally function too after edits. And thought processes occasionally have the evil tendency to outrun the edit time frame. ;) Even more if one allows oneself to be distracted by someone or something else.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on May 8, 2014, 12:56 pm

        “Watch out Woody, you’re almost writing as long comments as I do.”

        Keep it up, Krauss, I love your comments, no matter how long or short.

        Honestly, this one just started as a quick (and probably too petulant) quip about Canada Day, because I just assumed that Obama personally issued these statements about all of our allies. Then google told another story…

      • just
        just on May 7, 2014, 2:19 pm

        How very disheartening.

        Pitiful.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on May 7, 2014, 7:25 pm

        On Australia Day, the message came via

        [pause for Woody to phone his bookie and place his bet]

        the Secretary of State.

        He referred to Vietnam and Afghanistan, recognizing that Australia is an ally which actually sends troops to support the US in wars, and he did say that the relationship between Australia and the US was “as close as it gets”.

        But somehow the relationship with Israel is closer.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on May 8, 2014, 8:06 am

        @ Woody

        Nice catch. What you uncovered for us tell us much. So how do we get our fellow Americans to pay attention?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on May 8, 2014, 1:05 pm

        “So how do we get our fellow Americans to pay attention?”

        I wish I knew, Citizen. But the internet seems to be working, but slowly.

  8. John Douglas
    John Douglas on May 7, 2014, 12:02 pm

    These are pretty amazing statements. What strikes me is the sense of loss, that WE have lost OUR dream, that Our nation have turned sour. I wonder, though, if the idea that Israel belonged as well to American Zionists, that it was theirs as well as the Israelis’ was not itself smoke and mirrors. When the American money dries up, when the Lobby loses its clout, when the U.S. no longer humiliates itself by supporting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, I wonder if at that time the Israelis won’t announce to American Zionists, “What’s this we, Yankee? You chose your homeland, Israel is ours.”

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 8, 2014, 8:08 am

      @ John Douglas

      Israel’s working hard, hopefully grooming China to be its next host. Follow the money. The US is basically bankrupt, has been for a while now.

  9. DaveS
    DaveS on May 7, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Michael Lerner is usually a little too touchy-feely for my taste, but he makes a great observation here:
    Go into any synagogue or Jewish community center and say that you don’t believe in God, don’t think highly of Torah, and certainly don’t follow Jewish law, and you are likely to be greeted and welcomed in with a smile and a shrug. But say you don’t support Israel and immediately you will be shunned and told you are likely a self-hating Jew. Israel has become defacto the God of the Jews.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on May 7, 2014, 5:39 pm

      Yes indeed David,

      As Allen Brownfield stated at the recent summit on the special relationship, Israel has turned Judaism into idolatry.

    • Xpat
      Xpat on May 7, 2014, 6:34 pm

      Yes. It’s the simple truth. Even the Reform movement which elevates faith in God more than any other movement now accepts atheist (Humanist) congregations into its ranks.
      The only dogma today is the Jewish State. That’s why the flag of the State of Israel is next to the Torah.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on May 7, 2014, 7:38 pm

        ” Even the Reform movement which elevates faith in God more than any other movement now accepts atheist (Humanist) congregations into its ranks.”

        There are congregations of atheists who acknowledge that they are atheists, but still call themselves Jews and are part of the Reform movement? This sounds quite crazy to me.

        Even C of E vicars and congregations pretend to believe in God, at least while they are in church.

      • john h
        john h on May 8, 2014, 2:42 am

        “The only dogma today is the Jewish State”.

        Pretty much what happened a long time ago:

        “But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

        Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day– in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods– so they are doing to you also.…”

        1 Samuel 8:6-8

    • john h
      john h on May 8, 2014, 2:01 am

      “say you don’t support Israel and immediately you will be shunned and told you are likely a self-hating Jew. Israel has become defacto the God of the Jews”.

      Indeed, and not just Jews, but any non-Jew who challenges Christian Zionists.

    • American
      American on May 8, 2014, 9:21 am

      Op-Ed: The pulpit isn’t the place for Israel criticism

      http://www.jta.org/2014/04/29/news-opinion/opinion/op-ed-the-pulpit-isnt-the-place-for-israel-criticism-2

      ”I prefer, instead, to heed the approach outlined by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in its Centenary Platform on Reform Judaism and Zionism. This document lists “political support” as the first of “our obligations to Israel.”

      The hypocrisy involved in Judaism and Zionism, Israel and US I-supporting Jews makes my head reel. Clearly there is no seperation of “Church and State” for them where it concerns Israel.
      But who screams the loudest and brings the most law suits all the way to the Supreme Court against any overlap of religion and government when any other religion’s prayers are used in any civic institutions in the US?
      Here is an example of the lengths they go to —hypocrisy on steriods:……but they have no problem or complaint when the White House, a government entity, host Jewish religious celebrations and events—they dont see that as a mingling of Church and State?

      Supreme Court upholds legislative prayer at council meetings

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-upholds-legislative-prayer-at-council-meetings/2014/05/05/dc142ede-cf9d-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html

      Jewish groups pan US Supreme Court prayer ruling
      ADL calls decision ‘disturbing,’ says it could have ‘religiously divisive implications’

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-groups-pan-us-supreme-court-prayer-ruling/

      Supreme Court is wrong: Prayers divide
      By Richard Cohen
      May 6 at 10:07

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/05/06/supreme-court-is-wrong-prayers-divide/

      ”It was in the fifth grade that I confronted the crucifix. It hung ominously in Mrs. McCarthy’s classroom, looming on the wall opposite the door. I was the messenger for the day, stationed just outside the principal’s office, where I was given the occasional note to deliver to a classroom. The first time I entered Mrs. McCarthy’s, I recoiled and nearly did not go in. The crucifix, macabre or so it seemed to me, announced that this particular classroom was not for me. I was in a public school, but this was a parochial classroom.
      I am old enough to chuckle about that experience and my feelings – this was PS 39, after all – but I recognize, too, how the invocation of religion can be seen as a hostile act. The Supreme Court yesterday ruled, more or less, that that is not the case – the prayers conducted under government auspices are no more than ceremonial traditions, innocent, benign, a bit of atavistic Americana.
      The five justices in the majority are wrong. The prayers separate. They announce to nonbelievers that this place – this city council meeting, this courtroom, this place where you have come beseeching the government for something – is not yours. It belongs to them. It is their prayer they are reciting. So it is their courtroom or city council chamber and you, the supplicant, are an outsider – not one of them.
      I heard one of the plaintiffs in the case interviewed on National Public Radio and she recounted how an ancestor had fled from the joyously anti-Semitic Cossacks — oh, how they loved to kill Jews! – and how another had suffered under the Nazis, and I thought, “Oh, give me a break! This is America.” There are no Cossacks here, and the Nazis have been vanquished, the very last of them, creaky 90-year-olds, being hunted down by the German government for the incomprehensible crimes of so long ago. She sounded silly to me, alarmist – a bit too melodramatic.
      And yet her feelings have to be respected. The prayers that opened the city council meetings of Greece, N.Y., were not her own. They separated her from the very people she had come to see. She was not a fellow citizen, but a different kind of fellow citizen – a bit lower on the ladder, she had to feel; a bit lower on the ladder, they had to concur.
      I laugh at what the court has done. It has granted religion its unimportance. It says it’s no big deal. Relax! No one’s trying to convert you. No one’s insisting you bow your head or watching to see if you move your lips at the proper time. This is America,and religion is merely a talking point for the small-time Torquemadas of Fox News.
      But the vestigial fifth-grader in me knows better. I can remember what it feels like to know you have trespassed. It’s not that you are not welcome. It’s just that you are not as welcome as others.”

      Hypocrisy, hypocrisy,hypocrisy…..its mind blowing.

      • American
        American on May 8, 2014, 9:41 am

        I dont know what to call this…..is this also inserting state-(politics) into religion? Is it appropiate to insert a foreign state and Jewish victims into a US National prayer day in the US Congress? How is this related to the US National Day of prayer?

        News Brief
        Cantor, Wasserman Schultz invite bombing victim’s family on prayer day
        May 2, 2014 12:48pm

        Tuly and Sheryl Wultz, parents to Daniel Wultz, who was murdered in Tel Aviv in 2006, pose in the Capitol with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on May 1, the national day of prayer. (Office of Rep. Wasserman Schultz)
        WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, made reflections on the murder of a Jewish teenager in Israel a centerpiece of the Congressional National Day of Prayer.
        The two leaders, who are both Jewish, invited Tuly and Sheryl Wultz to address lawmakers and their staffs on May 1, the first Thursday in May designated as “the National Day of Prayer” by a 1952 law.
        The parents of Daniel Cantor Wultz, one of 11 people murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Tel Aviv in 2006, were invited to speak “about how prayers from people around the world touched and sustained Daniel and their family during the time following the terror attack that wounded Daniel and Tuly, and, ultimately led to Daniel’s death,” according to the invitation to the event.
        Sheryl Wultz is Cantor’s cousin.
        In remarks to the press after the session, which took place in the Capitol, the couple said the national day of prayer was an appropriate time to remember their son.
        “This was a great way to honor Daniel who was committed to prayer himself,” Sheryl Wultz said. “He had his kippah and his tzitzit on when the bombing took place.”
        The Wultzes are suing the Bank of China for funneling money to the terrorist groups behind the bombing.

  10. eljay
    eljay on May 7, 2014, 1:43 pm

    >> Israel has become defacto the God of the Jews.

    And Bibi is their King.

    (All hail King Bibi!)

  11. seafoid
    seafoid on May 7, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Israel at 66 is the ultimate boomer. Was idealistic and full of crap as a youth, never knew how privileged he was and then spent the last 40 years moving further right. Dreadful sense of entitlement and no care for the generations of the future.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on May 7, 2014, 6:43 pm

      It is difficult for him to be 66 given that he was born in 1943.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS on May 7, 2014, 9:52 pm

        Oops my mistake, I thought you repeated Phil’s mistake of Lerners age.

  12. pabelmont
    pabelmont on May 7, 2014, 5:59 pm

    “Many of us don’t know how to reconcile it with what we’ve understood to be the Israeli miracle. Was it no miracle after all?…”

    Most things are multi-dimensional, have many facets, describe it as you will. Yes, the creation of Israel was a “miracle”. Maybe not a surprise (to those in the know militarily) but a miracle.

    Definitely a miracle. That is to say, it seemed wonderful (and unexpected, hearts-in-mouths) to on-lookers in 1948, and the State of Israel has since become a great military power, a nuclear power, has wonderful modern (not-particularly-Jewish) cities and night-life and universities etc. etc.

    On the other hand, it was a dreadful tragedy for the Palestinians, for the Jewish people outside Israel who — having chosen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel are somewhat responsible for the Nakba and all the rest (so well documented on MondoWeiss), for the Jewish people of Israel, for the Jewish religion (if Rabbi Lerner can be beleived:

    Those policies are in complete opposition to the Torah’s most frequently repeated injunction, namely one version or another of the following command: “When you come into your land, do not oppress the stranger (the other, ha’ger), remember that you were strangers (the Other) in the land of Egypt.”

    .

    So a miracle? Yes! As an anti-Zionist I say so.

    And a disaster? Yes. And even Zionists are beginning to say so. (I’ve said so for a long time, but I was not brainwashed by Zionism, had a Palestinian wife, and my “stance” is no particular credit to me, nor was it at all difficult to arrive at.)

    May one fairly grieve for almost everyone here? Yes. Maybe not for the war-criminals and torturers, but ordinary Jews caught up in the (often money-enforced) Synagogal getting-on-board-Israel-train are to be pitied — they lost whatever was good in their religion and substituted a particularly odious golden calf. for the Jews of Israel? sure, a disaster. They’ve been taught they deserve all, can count on all, are beyond the law, beyond punishment and, anyway, did no wrong. The settlers have bought even more and even worse.

    So, a miracle and a disaster.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on May 7, 2014, 6:32 pm

      I see nothing miraculous in it. Well-armed and well-financed people with a near-sociopathic lack of regard for the rights of others, have regularly in the history of humanity, created new polities out of the lands of other people. There is absolutely nothing miraculous involved.

      Slightly OT, but I would say that one of the most maddening parts about this whole subject is the often unstated notion that there is something special or unique, not matter how small, about this situation because it is a Jewish enterprise. (The Christians Zionists are the worst in this regard.) You see it a lot of propaganda about how it is a miracle that the Jews survived as a people for whatever-thousand years (it’s not a miracle) or that it is a history-making achievment that Hebrew is no longer just a religious language, but is an every day language (it’s not that much of an achievment), or that it is somehow justified in light of the history of oppression the Jews have suffered or just that there is something ineffably special about Israel. This is nonsense and, sometimes, sheer religious hokum.

      From this beginning of recorded history, well armed peoples have invaded other countries and stolen them from their rightful owners, from the Mongols crossing Asia, to the Romans conquering the “known world” (except for the lands controlled by Germans, Persians and Scots) to the British Empire overruning a quarter of the globe, to the Americans and their Manifest Destiny, to the Beligians in the Congo, to the Japanese and their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and on and on and on and on. The conquest of Palestine by the Zionists is no different than any of these others.

    • john h
      john h on May 8, 2014, 3:03 am

      “they lost whatever was good in their religion and substituted a particularly odious golden calf”.

      Exactly.

      “And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God. You had made yourselves a golden calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you”. Deuteronomy 9:16

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 8, 2014, 8:19 am

      @ pabelmont

      If it’s not too personal, why did you and your Palestinian wife get divorced? Clash of cultures or ethnicities or religions? Or more individualized and personal conflict of interests?

  13. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on May 7, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Do what all pensioners do…, move to Florida.

  14. RoHa
    RoHa on May 7, 2014, 11:18 pm

    “Judaism came into being to proclaim a different logic: that the world was not run by power but by a Force of Love, compassion and generosity,”

    Is this part of standard Jewish theology ? It certainly doesn’t sound like the God of the Old Testament.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on May 8, 2014, 10:01 am

    Nice photo of Rabbi Lerner!

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