Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Anything Really New With JVP, IfNotNow, Yachad, Etc.?

I started to write this before I saw Zehava's FB post on the theme of betrayal from within the Jewish family so:

When segments of my own people willingly shun their own country, their history and their legacy, when they repudiate their people’s rights and their heritage, and when they negate their own nation’s plight and align themselves with those who butcher us, it crosses all lines and hurts like no other hurt.
It is the vilest perfidy. It not only pierces the heart, it slashes it into fragments and rips your gut.

Peter Beinart, a self-confessed "a fan of IfNotNow" has a new one up on the theme of millenials and their protest of
American Jewish complicity in Palestinian repression

But this perverted phenomenon is not new.  What Jews do not quite realize, I think, is that this type of behavior is very much unique to Jews.

Different peoples have ideological, political and cultural arguments and differences as to what policies should be promoted by the governments of the day and how and when and to what extent.  But to utterly deny one's national identity?  

You want to assimilate?  Fine.

You do not want to be a Zionist?  Okay.

But why take front and center stage and demonstarte your animosity, your rejection of identity, your refusal to take part in this great process and returning Jews to their homeland and all that that entails, no less than any other country.

Herzl was opposed.  The Reform movement rejected Zion. The Aguda and Admorim fought Zionism.

The Balfour Declaration was almost sabotaged from within the cabinet by Montagu and cousins.

In America, 299 Rabbis signed a letter in 1919 trying the prevent President Wilson from supporting the Balfour Declaration.

There followed Brit Shalom and Ihud during the Mandate Palestine years.

The American Council for Judaism.

In going over an article on Richard Storrs' later anti-Zionism, I came across the name of a Rabbi Mattuck.

Seems he headed the anti-Zionst Jewish Fellowship (Chap. 4 in this book) in England in the mid-1940s, a Reform Rabbi from New York.  

And there was a Daniel Lipson who is termed the most vociferous and outspoken Jewish anti-Zionist in parliament (see page 707 in this book and more in this book).

Here's a succinct summary of what was going on in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century:

There was Breirah after 1967.

But how bad are today's versions of anti-Zionists from within?

Here are some remarks from Liz Rose (an alias), a teacher from Chicago, who attended the JVP bash, i.e., National Member Meeting, this year

I was making connections in my own life to an increased awareness of “the wreck of Zionism.” I have felt so much shame in having been a Zionist. When I first joined JVP years ago, I went to meetings and actions and feigned a false comfort in pretending that I had always been an anti-Zionist against the occupation. Other Jews seemed so much more comfortable than me talking about Palestine. Now, with language, I’m able to understand that I was simply at the beginning of the process of undoing my Zionism. At the time, I even faked it, yelling, “Free Palestine!” with others as we protested. My face would get red and hot as I mouthed the words “Palestine” around others, as though I had committed some sort of transgression.

...When I stayed with Palestinians in Jenin years ago, I remember looking out the window of my host’s home. Palestinian homes dotted the landscape with giant olive trees. The apartheid wall was out of vision. I could see, for the first time, finally, in the dusky twilight, the land of Palestine as it was meant to be for Palestinians. This is not Israel, I thought. Israel has colonized this indigenous land. It’s all Palestine. The West Bank, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, all of it, I thought. This understanding has come in stages, in an undoing of the Zionist layers of propaganda that were deep in my unconscious...

...what opened inside of me was a permission to stop shaming myself for having believed the mythology of Israel and to acknowledge the importance of my own narrative as I work to untangle my own layers of denial– alongside Palestinians’ stories–that I haven’t fully given myself before. Being part of the oppressing group, I have noticed wanting to silence my embarrassment and shame at having been a Zionist–and my subsequent, privileged epiphany that Israel is actually all Palestine–to move my voice out of the way to make room for the oppressed voices...I was intrigued when I saw Osato’s “Self-Loving Anti-Zionist” as one of them. Even then, though, I felt a twinge of shame as I texted my husband, joking, “Maybe I’d go if it was called ‘Self-Loathing Anti-Zionist.’”

She has provided additional testimony about herself which provides insight into the workings of her psyche:

I learned that most of what I had learned growing up, what had been taught to me, was propaganda. I wasn’t special for loving Jerusalem so much; I had simply bought into what others had fed me–remarkably convincing propaganda backed by lobbyists and money to colonize and “Judaize” Palestine.

I’m not writing this to claim victim space. I know that I am not alone as a Jew who has the epiphany of Palestine–the Jew who realizes, slowly and painfully, that everything I had been taught about the mythology that is Israel needed to be deconstructed and rebuilt, that friendships would need to be lost and new ones found, that entering the “other side”–the side I was taught was the “dark side”–actually meant to enter into a commitment to justice and empathy.

And here is a letter from a good friend that contains some important insights:

One would do well to juxtapose Gil Troy’s Pollyannaish “What can your country do for you?” (Center Field, April 5), his thoughts on “how Israelis can bridge the gap with the Diaspora,” and Hal Ostrow’s cri de couer “Union for Reform Judaism practices intolerance in pursuit of social justice” (Comment & Opinion, April 5).
As Ostrow makes abundantly clear, liberal Judaism is willfully detaching itself both practically and emotionally from Israel’s needs and reality in order to maintain Democratic/progressive/ liberal bona fides that might keep an evaporating congregation from falling off the roster entirely. To the extent that this works at all, it does not work as a factor in fostering or maintaining a Diaspora commitment to Israel.
If anything, the opposite is true: The near-term survival of Reform Judaism and its dying ability to attract or maintain members requires it to move ever deeper into an anti-Zionist posture.
Troy’s outdated stereotype of the “aliya guilt trip,” whereby heavily-accented, pot-bellied Israeli war veterans insult Diaspora Jews, reveals the extent to which he is detached from reality.
The fact is no one, not even the start-up nation, can build a bridge when the other shore keeps receding.
Liberal Jews have made it abundantly clear where their values and priorities lie – and these are not under the wedding canopy, in the synagogue pew or in the maternity ward, and certainly not in anything to do with Israel, Zionism or Jewish continuity.
Thank God there is an Israel and that over half the world’s Jews live in this Jewish state. The Diaspora is self-liquidating and there isn’t a damned thing Israel can do about it.
Yes, there is a Jewish future, but only here. That’s why we exist.
J.J. GROSSJerusalem

All those who opposed Zionism as the Yishuv was flourishing and as the state of Israel developed and continued to fulfill the genuine process of returning to and returning Jews to the Land of Israel either became Zionists eventually, assimilated and disappeared or were murdered victims of anti-Semitism left behind in the lands of the Exile.

It is so obvious that Zionism is has been proven successful, true and correct as a solution for the classic "Jewish Question" and that the Arab behavior and character is so undeserving of denying the Jews our rightful place in this world. But, Jews are never satisfied.

I would also suggest that without Israel, these Jews have no identity as they have little to fill their Jewishness (and what they have they twist its real meaning or make things up) and furthermore, without Israel they have no real security.

Such a psychotic existence.


Another take. ^

1 comment:

NormanF said...

My theory goes further.

Human nature is essentially unhappy and full of complaint, misery and woe and human beings have to cultivate happiness, which is very difficult for them. Its just easier to see life as the glass half empty rather life as the glass half full.

If you look at Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they're full of it and their resentment over freedom and the obligations that come with it resulted in them wanting to return to Egypt and its bondage. Anti-Zionism has a long pedigree in Jewish history and Jewish unhappiness with the prospect of life in the Promised Land isn't a new one.

Fortunately, there were Jews who had vision and who sought to be happy. Jews who settled in Israel became happy in spite of everything. Surveys record Israeli Jews as being among the happiest people in the world. Its possible to discipline human nature and think about a better and more fulfilled tomorrow. Anti-Zionists think Israel is doomed to failure because of it.

People who love Israel think that's the secret of its success. If Jews who despise Israel looked beyond their own perpetual unhappiness, they would see that Israel is the greatest success story in the world. Human happiness is attainable when people want to be happy. The unhappiness of mankind is not a permanent condition. On the contrary, a Jewish State is a refutation of the notion we must settle for less.

Zionism means striving for more and in more ways than one, Israel is truly the "start-up" nation.