Uncategorized

Jewish Activists Split With Mainstream Anti-War Movement Over Upcoming Rally

Jewish activists outraged over United For Peace & Justice‘s re-involvement with International ANSWER, have decided to organize their own activities at the upcoming anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
The charge, led by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center, was spurred on by the noted Renewalist’s editorial in The Forward:

There is a broad spectrum of organizations that opposed the invasion of Iraq and is working to end the American military presence there. Many of these groups are also critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. That’s not terrible — after all, so are you.
But some of these anti-war activists taint their opposition by demonizing the whole of Israeli society and by refusing to criticize the “violence of the oppressed,” even when it includes terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian groups. Their misguided views make it much easier for some parts of mainstream America to reciprocally demonize the entire anti-war camp and deprive it of support.
They have posed a problem to a major anti-war rally scheduled for September 24 in Washington. The broad anti-war group organizing the weekend-long gathering, United for Peace and Justice, had insisted for months that on principle it would not co-sponsor the event with Act Now to Stop War & End Racism, an ultra-left fraction, known as Answer, that has a bitterly anti-Israel policy.
But just three weeks before the event, United for Peace and Justice agreed to do just that. The Shalom Center had been urging Jewish support for the anti-war weekend, and we and many other progressives felt betrayed and outraged by the change.

Waskow has commented further on his own blog here.
In response, Waskow has helped organize several events, many with the involvement of other institutions of the religious Left, including Shabbat services for activists visiting the D.C. area, and a direct action Monday at the White House. For more information about these activites, click here.
(If anyone’s going down with The Shalom Center for the demo and would like to cover it for Jewschool, give a holler. My e-mail’s in the sidebar on the upper-right.)

37 thoughts on “Jewish Activists Split With Mainstream Anti-War Movement Over Upcoming Rally

  1. Well, judging by the direction the mainstream left is taking, there’s nothing “snide, arrogant or ignorant” about my position… In fact, your own post seems to support it. Someone needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

  2. moshiach! moshiach! moshiach!
    i don’t see you crying about the temple mounters or the kahanists or the lubavitch or the…

  3. I’ve never seen a kahanist or a lubavitcher call for a boycott of Israel or accuse her of “state-sponsored terrorism”. Also, I’ve never seen members of either of these groups get sexually aroused by the use of words such as “colonization”, “occupation” and “apartheid”. Both the kahanists and the lubavichers have people with a few screws loose, but the difference between them and the “progressives” is that the former are genuinely interested in the welfare of their people, while the latter seem to only be interested in making Israel and Jews in general conform to their definition of morality.

  4. Mobius says:
    oh, and as if zionism itself wasn’t a utopianism which has undermined judaism since its inception…
    You might be surprised, but I agree with you on that one. Secular zionism has failed miserably in recent years, presicely because of its anti-religious nature.

  5. “religious” zionism is just a self-deceiving revision of a quintessentially modern movement. its form of religiosity is modern and its political theory is modern. it is not some kind of improvement over secular zionism; it just sinks deeper into a scary hole.

  6. I think you’re all missing the real news in this post, which is that a Jewish progressive group has finally grown a pair and *proactively* disassociated itself from antisemites on the Left. Previously, Jewish progressives were so concerned with a “show of unity” that they ignored the simple fact that certain elements on the Left just don’t like Jews, and don’t want them as partners. At all. Worse, some Jews even tried to justify this antisemitism to themselves and to the public. So bravo, Waskow and company. You’ve shown that being a Jewish progressive doesn’t equal being a doormat or an apologist for Jew-haters.

  7. Not what I said. I did say that *certain* leftists are antisemitic. Unfortunately, they tend to have the biggest mouths, which leads to the misconception that everyone even slightly left of centre is a Jew-hater. No matter. Antisemitism must be opposed wherever it arises, yes, even on the right (Stormfront, Aryan Nations, Pat Buchanan, David Duke).

  8. You didn’t say that, but that’s the kind of a conclusion one might reach after reading Mobius’s post and your reply… Wow, you’re comparing the nazis to the “progressives” who only want human rights for everyone? 😉 And about that leftist jewish group that broke off… it seems that even on the loony left the Jews are a nation that dwells alone…

  9. I’ve never seen a kahanist or a lubavitcher call for a boycott of Israel or accuse her of “state-sponsored terrorism”.
    extremist settlers have only outright compared the disengagement to the holocaust and called zionists nazis. oh and all the leading members of kahane chai only went on camera in a pbs documentary (originally produced for israeli tv) and directly stated that the secular state of israel must be destroyed.
    Also, I’ve never seen members of either of these groups get sexually aroused by the use of words such as “colonization”, “occupation” and “apartheid”.
    how about ethnic cleansing?
    Both the kahanists and the lubavichers have people with a few screws loose, but the difference between them and the “progressives” is that the former are genuinely interested in the welfare of their people, while the latter seem to only be interested in making Israel and Jews in general conform to their definition of morality.
    that’s the only point you’ve made which i agree with. however, myp roblem is with what the religious right perceives as the torah-based definition of morality. it is somewhere between secular progressivism and religious extremisim. what we really need is a new jewish moral compass which takes into account judaism’s humanistic values (pertaining to goyim) as well as judaism’s particularist concerns (pertaining to our fellow jews).

  10. Mobi:
    what we really need is a new jewish moral compass which takes into account judaism’s humanistic values (pertaining to goyim) as well as judaism’s particularist concerns (pertaining to our fellow jews).
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … and this attitude is as doomed to failure as previous attempts to rewrite Judaism – or find a more perfect expression of Judaism in modern value systems.
    You cannot “take into account judaism’s humanistic values” while simultaneously trashing the Torah – which is the source of those values.
    See those smoldering ruins of non-Ortho synagogues – the ones your “underground” friends won’t deign to set foot in? They started out with the same Great Idea as you – and it failed. And THEY tried it at a time when Western liberal thought much more closely approximated “Judaism’s values”.
    We just had a post here about how somehow doing those “pointless” rituals, and bearing the “ball-and-chain” of communal obligations in a “closed” society – somehow all that primitive ritual crap preserves a more animate sense of “humanistic values” – such that people of faith admittedly are at the forefront of humanitarian relief efforts around the world (and in Israel, it’s the Orthodox who run Yad Sarah and Hadassah that runs most of the daycare centers…)
    See? No need to rewrite Judaism – those dusty old rituals do a very good job of not just preserving, but promulgating, those “Jewish values” y’all love to talk about. And in fact, they are the substance of Jewish morality and culture in and of themselves.

  11. first of all, you’re claiming that jewish denominations dictate the values of their constituents. but what you’re missing is the fact that it is precisely because the values of these institutions fail to represent the values of their constituents that they are dying. for example, many reform jews — particularly the students i know studying to become rabbis and cantors at HUC — criticize reform judaism for its outright rejection of halakha and it’s wholeheartedly anti-spiritual/intellec tual approach to judaism. the whole point of autonomous judaism is to allow people to be the jews they want to be, without their perspective and practice being dictated by an outside entity. would you tell a baal teshuva that there’s a problem because they aren’t ready to take on every single halakha all at once? or would you allow them to grow into it?
    rav kook said that he was really unhappy with the creation of the terms dati and chiloni because they would prevent people from ever doing teshuva. the datim will say, “i will do teshuva when the chilonim do teshuva” and the chilonim will say, “i will do teshuva when the datim do teshuva.” and thus no one will do teshuva.
    point being, this distinction that you’re creating between orthodox and secular is problematic, and i think, false. a jew is a jew. and the room for them to grow into a relationship with god and halakha is for them to develop in their own space and their own time. be shammai all you like, but a) you are not in the position to give tokhakha, and b) your tokhakha sucks and is thus a chilul hashem and as such is assur.
    i would suggest your revisit hilchot deot 1:4-5. you can find some of it in section 5 (v) of this page.

  12. btw, i don’t deny or doubt in any way that our culture, our traditions, and our values come from torah and rabbinic judaism. however i will dispute that those are entities which can be confined or limited to post-maimonadean and post-shoah orthodox interpretations.

  13. in that case, max, and thus yehudi (and zionista), i would argue that the vast majority of the mainstream left are israel friendly with only the exception of a few goons who the dnc regularly distances itself from.
    the scant anti-zionist left is usually found amongst the unapologetic socialists, as opposed to the dems, who are apologetic socialists.

  14. Mobius — Actually the dems, overall, are not socialists at all. They can’t be, since their candidates rely just as much as Republicans do on wealthy donors.

  15. mobius & dybbukingolem,
    Democrats are not “apologetic socialists” as much the party tends to promote policies respecting the regulatory role of government in checking the pursuit of unbridled private interests. Conservatives need this manichean discourse in order to win their war on the public sphere. Israel is an opportune issue to drive a wedge into a stiff-necked consistent source of Democratic votes and contributions. So all Democrats become unrepentent antisemitic Marxists, even as most Democrats and liberals are neither socialists nor anti-Zionist. Further, this is consistent with the strategies we have seen, at least since Reagan. Create an abstract “mainstream” that no one would presumably want to be omitted from, then stoke the fear of the appropriate boogeyman. Thus a judiciary respectful of public accountability for business and industry and of personal privacy becomes “activist judges”; investigative journalism becomes “liberal media”; cultural creativity becomes “Hollywood elite”; minding one’s own business becomes “the homosexual agenda,” etc.

  16. Now this is entertainment. Zionista the liberal lecturing Mobius the Anarchist because Mobius is blowing the Democrats’ propaganda cover.
    “Conservatives need this manichean discourse in order to win their war on the public sphere. ”
    Is Mobius a conservative?
    “Israel is an opportune issue to drive a wedge into a stiff-necked consistent source of Democratic votes and contributions.”
    So it is, but there’s no propaganda involved. It’s based on reality which nearly everyone but Zionista sees clearly. While it’s probably true that most registered Democrats or habitual Democratic voters favor Israel, the activists (MoveOn types, Chairman Screamin’ Dean, etc.) who disproportionately control the party’s agenda do not (to say the least).
    “So all Democrats become unrepentent antisemitic Marxists, even as most Democrats and liberals are neither socialists nor anti-Zionist. ”
    It’s true that some conservatives go over the top, but who is Zionista to complain? He does the exact same thing in reverse. How many times in the last few weeks have we seen comments implying that Bush wants no regulation of anything whatsoever, clearly a gross distortion of Bush’s record and conservative thinking?
    “Create an abstract “mainstream” that no one would presumably want to be omitted from, then stoke the fear of the appropriate boogeyman. ”
    A bizarre charge. The “mainstream” tactic is consistently used (abused) by Democrats trying to block Republican judicial appointments. (“Judge X is right of center, so is not mainstream.”)
    “Thus a judiciary respectful of public accountability for business and industry and of personal privacy becomes “activist judges”;
    Funny how we could reverse the order of these sentences and turn them into a conservative complaint about liberal propaganda. No, an activist judge is a judge who suddenly discovers brand new, previously unheard-of rights and concepts (pardon me, penumbras) that somehow were hiding in the Constitution for 150 or more years (in the folds? written in invisible ink?).
    “investigative journalism becomes “liberal media”
    Yeah, Dan Rather’s forgeries were very impressive. And sure, he wouldv’e done that to a liberal Democrat too. Right.
    By the way, speaking of journalism, still waiting for a post on the Air America – Gloria Wise scandal. By Zionista standards – one bad Republican and the whole party is out – that should be the end of (dirty, cheating, stealing from the poor children) liberals right there.
    Great post from Zionista. A paragraph decrying propaganda that is itself nothing but propaganda.

  17. dean’s not the guy you’re portraying him as … read his comments currently up on the jta breaking newswire and see the blog posting going on re: his trip to israel on the njdc’s site.

  18. Zionista — I agree heartily with your post about the conservative spin on everything vaguely liberal or progressive, with one exception: Hollywood hasn’t been a bastion of “cultural creativity” since the advent of explosion-every-scene blockbusters, obligatory endless sequels, and formulaic romantic comedies took over.

  19. Zionista’s in such a rush to impugn me that he apparently failed to notice how recent are the items Mobius is using to defend Dean.
    Regarding the items themselves, sorry, I don’t see Dean’s recent remarks as anything but the usual PR we would expect of the Chairman of a party with a (now nervous) Jewish constituency (and be honest – if I defended a Republican with fluff like this, you would call me on it instantly). I referred above to the Dean of the primaries and election season -you know, the one who complained that the US hasn’t been evenhanded enough between Israel and the Palestinians, and who pandered to the Leftist wing of his party (and the crazy wing – AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!). In short, the Dean that counted in helping set the agenda for the Dems at the most crucial time.
    All that said, I have no idea what Dean personally thinks. His record as Governor of Vermont was not Leftist; in some respects, it was even Centrist (I’m thinking of his fiscal policies). Most likely, he’s a somewhat shrewd opportunist who found his niche (or he’s Bulworth). But I judge him (and everyone else) by what he presents himself as publicly, so I don’t agree – he is in fact as I portrayed him.
    And, uh, Mobius, I read the article you linked to on Orthodox Anarchist. Started interesting, ended paranoid. But no, even if you were an economic conservative, which you aren’t, it wouldn’t be enough to make you a conservative. Why, your views on Israel alone…
    On the Hollywood issue, I think it’s a stretch to say that Hollywood’s output has ever amounted to “cultural creativity”. More like loads of crap, a decent amount of entertainment, a small amount of quality stuff, and the occasional work of art. Contrary to dybbukingolem, I think this was true even before Jaws and Star Wars (we often get the impression of a “Golden Age” in previous years because we’re exposed to the total output of today, good, bad and ugly, while our view of earlier times is the Greatest Hits of those times. Your revival theater won’t show a piece of crap from 1935 0r 1973, but the regular theaters show you everything from 2005.)
    Apropo of none of this, I hope everyone’s seen the posting above about Tibor Rubin. Who said there aren’t any heroes left?

  20. A “Hollywood Minute” for J and dybbukingolem. Remember Laura Ingram’s “Shut Up and Sing,” in which our heroine whines about the quality of our public discourse when it includes the likes of Barabara Streisand and Bruce Springsteen? Fine. So, ever wonder why we never hear those complaints when Fred Thompson or Ron Silver speak up? That’s what “Hollywood elite” means.

  21. The complaints are across the board. But given that celebrities have some influence, though they shouldn’t, and given that the liberal celebs are going to go public, it would be odd -and unheard of in party politics- if the Republicans took the purist position and refused to get their own celebrities out there.
    Further, your examples don’t prove much. Once Fred Thompson got elected, this discussion no longer applied. The main knock on Springsteen has been his sharply partisan political statements during regular concerts (as opposed to the Kerry campaign benefit shows he did, where anyone attending had to know what they were getting beforehand). As for Streisand, she stands out as one of the shrillest and most idiotic of Hollywood liberals. If I were a liberal, I would consider her an embarassment, not an ally.

  22. I was just listening to the peace rally as broadcast by 99.5 WBAI in NYC. A “Palestinian” refugee spoke very passionately about a “democratic secular state of Palestine from the river to the sea.” Now, OK, fine, that’s nice. But he ended his speech with a cry for “an Arab state from the river to the sea.”
    Umm.. that’s not MY peace.

  23. Democratic state from the river to the sea? Right…because the concept of a Jewish state is utterly offensive & racist….I suppose just about every nation-state out there will be considered racist then, because the overwhelming majority of nation-states have an ethnic majority of one sort or another…Here’s a novel idea for the “Palestinian” to consider…so eager for democracy…Why not begin with Iraq & Syria & let the Kurds have some freedom? That can be followed with Egypt, which imprisons millions of Copts…we can then move on to the Berbers, Chaldeans, Western Saharas, Assyrians, the Druze, etc. etc. etc. …once there are no more Arab states, but only “democratic once”, perhaps we can consider a “democratic” state from the River to the Sea…though personally, I think we should first use Gaza as an example. Let’s allow the Jews to return to Neveh Dekalim & we’ll see what kind of Democracy this “Palestinian” has in mind. Then we can talk about the rest of Israel

  24. While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does — except for the war. “President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let’s move on,” Rutherford said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein a noble mission” but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded. “We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily,” she said (JENNIFER C. KERR, AP, Sept 24).
    Watch as wingut Bushbots try to marginalize these people and paint them all with the broad brush of Intl.ANSWER, who is already marginalized by genuine liberals. In an ironic twist, wingnut Bushbots finish up just as marginalized as the ANSWER geeks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.