Sunday, April 08, 2018

Gordis Left Out One Important Episode

In his March 22 "The Universalist Impulse and Israel's Being", Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis zeroes in on the reality of Diaspora-Israel relations, stating

that the roots of American-Jewish distaste for Israel antedate even the Jewish state itself

While he mentions the Reform movement’s 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, he then jumps to 1948 and Joseph Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee to illustrate the decidedly non-Zionist character of America's Jewish establishment in too many forms.

One thing he did skip over, and which I consider important, is that American Jews not only expressed discomfort with Zionism or declared that Zionism was not their cup of tea but that they actively sought, at times, to undermine, politically, the Zionist effort.

One, of course, was the American Council for Judaism.

Another was even more invidious.

As I had blogged previously, on March 9, 1919, 299 Reform Rabbis intervened to attempt to halt President Woodrow Wilson from proclaiming agreement with the Balfour Declaration and its role in the post-World War I political reality.

Their letter was published in the New York Times and eventually gathered over 300 supporters.  It included this theme:

We raise our voice in warning and protest against the demand of the Zionists for the reorganization of the Jews as a national unit, to whom, now or in the future, territorial sovereignty in Palestine shall be committed...We reject the Zionist project of a "national home for the Jewish people in Palestine"

and they continued there:

We protest against the political segregation of the Jews, and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctly Jewish state.

Among the signatories were

1. Congressman Julius Kahn, R-CA. 
2. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau
3. Simon Rosendale, Attny.General , State of NY, founder of the Jewish
Publication Society.
4. Simon Wolf, U.S. Consul in Egypt
5. Max Senior, 1st Pres. National Conference of Jewish Charities
6. Dr. Morris Jastrow Jr., Professor of Semitic Languages, U.of Penn. &
Librarian of the University.
7. Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, 1st Sec. of the Central Conference of American
Rabbis (CCAR - Reform Mvmt.)
8. Rabbi David Philipson, founder and past pres. CCAR
9. Jesse Isidor Strauss, Pres. Macy's, Ambassador to France
10. E. Robert A. Seligman, Prof. Political Economy and Finance, Columbia U.
11. Jacob H. Hollander, Prof. Economics Johns Hopkins U.
12. Adolph Simon Ochs, publisher The New York Times 


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