The Evangelicals Ain't Got Nothing On Us

That’s right, there is a movement afoot to take values voting out of the hands of the Christian Right, and place it firmly where it belongs, in the hands of the Jewish Left.
And to kick it all off we are going to get indignant!
Actually, the Jewish arm of this movement is only a piece of a broader movement to bring faith and values into the political conversation on the left, and to bring progressive religious voices into the mainstream debate about current political issues.
To kick this off right The Righteous Indignation Project is hosting a conference in Boston, May 4th – 6th.
One of the things that makes this conference so cool is that it is going to be a meeting of (at least) two generations of the Jewish left. Its also bringing progressive groups from across the country together. It is a collaborative effort of all sorts of cool groups from across the country, including jfrej, jewish funds for justice, jcua (chicago), pja, kavod, jalsa, avodah, ajws, tikkun ha-ir (milwaukee).
The conference speakers include david saperstein, ruth messinger, melissa weintraub, leonard fine, jill jacobs, mik moore, aryeh cohen, dara silverstein, alana alpert, arthur waskow, carinne luck, diane balser, dan sieradski, daniel sokatch, sharon brous, and jonah pesner (among others).
You know you want to be there!
Check out more details after the jump.

Righteous Indignation Conference: May 4th-6th in Boston, MA
Are you a progressive Jewish activist concerned about the 2008 elections? Do you want to join others in voicing your shared values in this critical moment in U.S. history? Join leading and emerging Jewish activists, intellectuals, and religious leaders from across the country to help strengthen the Jewish social justice and environmental movement , invigorate the growing progressive interfaith religious community, and lead our country in a more progressive direction.
Building on the success of the groundbreaking anthology of Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice (Jewish Lights), 15 Jewish justice organizations are co-sponsoring a national conference that will prepare young Jewish leaders (age 21-40) from across the country to help mobilize their communities to voice social justice and environmental issues as Jewish priorities in the 2008 elections. In return for free admission to the conference and heavily subsidized travel to Boston, participants will pledge to put their skills to work by helping to organize voter education, registration, and media events in their home communities in the months leading up to the 2008 elections. There are also plans to take a large cohort of Jewish activists to one state the week before the presidential election to aid with voter mobilization, transportation, and observing polling stations.
At the Conference:

  • Connect with progressive Jewish activists from across the country, together working to strengthen the growing Jewish justice movement
  • Learn election-related organizing and media skills (including an advanced strategic communications track for experienced organizers)
  • Study Jewish sources on a key justice issue with leading scholars, rabbis, and educators and teachers. Issue tracks will include education, environment, genocide, healthcare, immigration, worker’s rights, and the war in Iraq.
  • Come away with an action plan for how to organize voter events, participate in national days of action, and garner media coverage for your activist work during this critical moment in U.S. history.

To find our more information about applying, contact [email protected] and check out the conference website.

31 thoughts on “The Evangelicals Ain't Got Nothing On Us

  1. Yeah now people can find out how powerless Jews really are in the country, and nobody will bother pandering for the “Jewish vote”. Newsflash, it’s the money they want, not that .2% vote you can deliver.
    Oh, and while we’re at it, can progressive Jewish activists actually take into account that anti-Jewishness is anti-Progressiveness, and perhaps, look to tackle it the way you want to tackle all prejudice? Or does Jewish justice only apply to non-Jews? All I know is Obama’s moderated website blog has been filled with vitriolic hatred towards Jews (not Israel, Jews) and this notion of the Jewish vote. Kerry’s campaign is another example of attempts of so called progressive Jews like those aligned with Tikkun who sought to undermine the official Democratic platform on issues they thought Jews care about. Perhaps you do have an opportunity if these campaigns want to pander to Jews, but in the end it only serves to make these candidates look like hypocrites with double agendas. Oh, and reaffirming stereotypes against Jews in your desperation to reinvent effective progressiveness …. it’s not a great idea.
    Also what the hell is “Jewish justice”. As if this is some universally defined concept. Could you sound any more cult like?

  2. I think you will have to cite some examples, sir/madam. Or is this another pathetic “Obama may or may not be anti-Semitic” attempt?

  3. “I think you will have to cite some examples, sir/madam. Or is this another pathetic “Obama may or may not be anti-Semitic” attempt?”
    Examples? You mean essays like the one on Obama’s blog threatening that Africans will never forgive Jews if Obama isn’t elected aren’t concerning to you? Has the Obama camp even apologized or acknowledged this essay was prejudice? Take into account the quotes attributed to Obama’s own advisors which undermine his public platform, and there’s a curious message being sent to Jews of any stripe.
    Fact. Tikkun has employed a message board/blog presence during the last two Democrat Party campaigns for Presidency. Kerry’s forum shut down the Middle East topic in the forum because they couldn’t control the amount of anti-Jewish material. CommonDreams documented it, and blamed it on a block of pro-Israel voters (gasp, a secret society of internet Jews) who attempted to stifle debate about Israel. The author of that article never mentioned he was really a Nadar supporter in the first place, or the screen name he used to post on Kerry’s board bragging about his connections to Indymedia, WBAI, and CommonDreams, along with his expressed desire to subvert the party platform. In short he was posing as a Democrat, posting far more radical politics in hope to change Kerry’s campaign viewpoint, or anyone who visited the forum. For every post which matched Kerry’s actual position in support of Israel, members claiming to represent (and openly soliciting for) Tikkun would flood the forum with 6 pages worth of essays by Israel Shahak, Norman FInkelstein, and all the other usual suspects. The forum was heavily moderated, with ground rules that members were supposed to be supporting Kerry, but it was moderated in favor of members with extreme leftist viewpoints advocating the destruction of Israel, and accusing American Jews of a litany of blood libels. Many rebutals were deleted by moderators. Complaints of the anti-Jewish tone attacking Jews culturally, and for their beliefs, were ignored. One could read the Kerry forum and see “scholarly” essays critical of Jews rather then Israel, with your usual list of conspiracies, Holocaust denial, and so on. Again, this was being advocated by Tikkun.
    We’re seeing the same thing again on the Obama website. http://www.israpundit.com/2008/?p=709#more-709
    Isn’t the reason you’re meeting in Boston, to coordinate methods to push a Leftist agenda into the mainstream political field? Isn’t the goal to subvert these campaigns, and push them away from their centrist politics, in favor of your own values, as a response to the heavy Christian Right presence? How about you just support a candidate who meets your ideals instead of manipulating the process? How about you address the anti-Jewishness within a movement of progressive Jews so that you stop alienating your own community? Otherwise, there’s nothing progressive about looking the other way when it comes to prejudice against Jews.

  4. Ugh, you don’t make sense. The US is basically a two part system in which minority viewpoints make progress by getting one of both of the major parties to adopt their positions.
    Following your logic, minority viewpoints should either field their own candidates or shut up. Which is fine as a point of view, but to write as if this mindset is normative, while efforts to influence party platforms is a form of subversion, is counter-factual. It’s called lobbying, and is a cherished part of our system.
    And all this in service of centrism? it’s the most undemocratic voice there is, seeking to deprive those on the right and the left of having a role, by dint of not actually occupying the center. The ‘center’ is a fluid place, determined in large part by the activities of interest groups competing to define it. Obama as candidate will win largely on the basis of enthusiasm, as opposed to big money help or establishment approval. And centrism, ugh, is one of those causes with the highest amount of donors and the smallest amount of grassroots enthusiasm.

  5. ugh-
    I can’t believe we’re back to this ridiculous argument again. But here we go.
    John McCain’s campaign website says “Jews are terrible at ping-pong!” (Scroll down to 11:36 AM on 4/11/08, since his website doesn’t provide permalinks to individual comments.) Are we going to let McCain’s antisemitic remarks stand?

  6. BZ, as a Jew who is really terrible at ping-pong, I’m afraid I have to let the comment stand.
    Seriously. Last time I played, I didn’t even score a point. Sorry to let the Tribe down on this one.

  7. Look kids, the idea is to find a candidate who stands for ideas you believe in, and sure you can express your concerns, and help shape a candidates message over time, based on genuine community outreach… but what you’re talking about doing is abandoning those candidates who do represent your viewpoints, with the intention of infiltrating the Democratic party in order to push it farther left in agenda. You condemn the Christian Right for doing this very same thing, and yet, you want to follow in their footsteps. What a bunch of self righteous hypocrisy.
    Meanwhile, my original point is to suggest that this movement of yours is meaningless if you do nothing to stop blatant negative portraits of your own community on major party sites…. that’s a non partisan request. It’s also hard to do when such anti-Jewish rhetoric comes from deep within the Jewish left itself.
    Obama’s campaign blog posts less then 20 entries a day. There is no excuse for a single essay attacking Jews, and NOBODY should be tolerant of it.
    (by the way, how is a comment on McCain’s blog the same as multiple essays on Obama’s blog? Let’s have some intellectual honesty here.)

  8. Oh, goody! More logorrheic stylings from another drone in the neocon borg hive. Not surprisingly, the whole mind-numbing, accusation-packed screed contains exactly one link, and that to a comparably dispassionate analysis by our old friend and renowned scholar, Bill Levinson. Perhaps Bill can be persuaded to stop by and assault us with yet another exhaustive update on the latest happenings at Move On; of course, that’s presuming he can tear himself away from his current observations that Barack Obama supports the extermination of all the Jews in Israel, and that liberal Jews are kapos and Judenrats who support him in that effort (http://www.israpundit.com/2008/?p=587). Ahh, good times!

  9. So being upset that someone could read threats against Jews on a Democrats official website triggers that kind of wingnut reaction from you? How about being upset that a so called progressive Jew would attribute my discomfort with that to being a part of a “neocon borg hive” ? Seriously. Don’t play yourself.
    BZ, hey, go for it… you’re clearly still be missing my point. I’d say the deeper problem is many of you do not see such content as anti-Jewish to begin with. Hell, some of you don’t even see a problem at all!

  10. Ugh,
    This doesn’t have a damn thing with being upset about “threats against Jews,” it is simply regurgitation of the loathsome Republican campaign to persuade the American public that the Democratic Party (oh, sorry, the “Democrat Party” for you ultra-mega-dittoheads) is a hotbed of Jew-hating, anti-American traitors. Of course, this shit isn’t an argument, a position, or a human response of any kind, but crude, transparent propaganda straight from the cesspool of Republican talk radio, and it isn’t merely false or dishonest or egregiously stupid, but a repudiation of the notion that human beings are capable of meaningful communication.
    Here are some of the more ludicrous assertions included in your comments:
    Obama’s moderated website blog has been filled with vitriolic hatred towards Jews (not Israel, Jews)
    essays like the one on Obama’s blog threatening that Africans will never forgive Jews if Obama isn’t elected aren’t concerning to you?
    Kerry’s forum . . . was moderated in favor of members with extreme leftist viewpoints advocating the destruction of Israel, and accusing American Jews of a litany of blood libels.
    One could read the Kerry forum and see “scholarly” essays critical of Jews rather then Israel, with your usual list of conspiracies, Holocaust denial, and so on.
    As someone asked you already, where are the examples of such statements? Not the incoherent descriptions contained in your execrable prose, but evidence, actual links to whatever events you’re talking about. The single link you did provide is to Bill Levinson’s paranoid ranting at Israpundit, whose propaganda is virtually identical to yours – in diction, syntax and message – and which has nothing whatever to do with any of the above-referenced smears. You’re real big on demanding explanations, so how come you haven’t answered: Do you agree with Levinson that liberal Jews are Judenrats and kapos, and that Barack Obama supports the extermination of all the Jews in Israel. Or are those claims not something you’d find worthy of becoming “upset” about?

  11. Frankly, I didn’t even know or care who Bill Levinson was until you brought his name up a half dozen times. I linked to his page because he provided a comprehensive list of screen grabs to the offending pages. I’m not impressed with the editorial roundup included alongside the links, and I find many of his conclusions to be far from sound…but surely you clicked on a few before you decided to enter this conversation? Sadly, Jewschool nor the rest of the liberal Jewish blogs have covered this, so Israpundit and right wing sources it is.
    Anyway, feel free to respond with some more irrational ranting about partisan plots and whatnot.
    p.s. You’re talking to someone who voted for Obama.

  12. Antisemitism is a cultural norm of Western civilization– so it cuts across the political spectrum without being of any particular political stripe: There are anti-Semitic rightists, conservatives, centrists, liberals, and leftists.
    That said, I have found that the recent efforts of the American right-wing to point out antisemitism on the American left to be reeking of hypocrisy. Mainstream figures of the American left have at least tried to push antisemitism to the fringes of their own movement– but the same right-wingers who condemn left-wing antisemitism still put banner ads for Ann Coulter’s books on their websites (I actually came upon this juxtaposition last week), still put a Holocaust-denier like Pat Buchanan on television, and still don’t support the First Amendment.

  13. Okay good, we’re getting somewhere. It’s within your partisan scope to acknowledge there’s a problem in the world, and you would like to shift focus strictly at the Right.
    Meanwhile, I see no efforts by progressives to protect Jews from said problems, even if it’s only in their own interest, by challenging the Right. Meanwhile shouldn’t the priority be to clean up your own house first?
    I see no efforts on the Left to distance themselves from someone like Michael Lerner, or Norman Finkelstein. Oh but hey, I guess you all come from families who profited from the Holocaust, and African diamond mining.

  14. Ugh:
    I see no efforts on the Left to distance themselves from someone like Michael Lerner, or Norman Finkelstein.
    Based on interviews with Michael Lerner (and I admit that I do not know the full extent of his opinions), it’s pretty apparent he’s an advocate for a secure and safe Israel with a Jewish identity who is deeply critical of the failure of the Palestinian leadership (on whom he places most of the blame) to work for peace. So I’m not exactly certain why the left should be distancing themselves from him. Doesn’t he have a son in the IDF?
    Alan Dershowitz, a prominent liberal (perhaps you have heard of him), has been a voracious critic of Norman Finkelstein. That said, I can’t think of anyone outside of the Holocaust denial movement and the Noam Chomsky cult that wants anything to do with Finkelstein.
    The point, however, is that the right (and I mean “the mainstream right”) seems to still embrace anti-Semites like Coulter and Buchanan– and sees no problem with using them as representatives of their movement– while Finkelstein has few friends who can’t easily be dismissed as ineffectual hateful extremists.

  15. ian, what insidious lefty nonsense
    the “mainstream right” sees no problem w/seeing Buchanan as Coulter as representatives of their movement
    can you demonstrate one fact in support of your partisan smear?
    i didn’t think so…

  16. The problem is Chomsky and Finkelstein have not been dismissed as extremists, at all. As for Dershowitz, he’s often the lone voice challenging these people, and if anything he’s been ridiculed by the Left, and lost his stature as a progressive.
    Re: Michael Lerner – he’s outright schizo…. Tikkun has dispursed essays by Finkelstein and he’s still penning op-eds with titles like “There is No New Anti-Semitism”.

  17. “The problem is Idi Amin and August Pinochet and Attila the Hun and Vlad the Impaler have not been denounced as extremists, at all.”
    See how fantastically stupid and dishonest propaganda can be? Cause the relationship of Vlad and Attila with the Right in this country is about exactly the same as that Chomsky and Finkelstein have with American progressives. How about if you provide a single illustration of someone connected with the Obama campaign or any other Democratic candidate or any mainstream progressive figure embracing the views of either Chomsky or Finkelstein? If not, how about if you cut the shit.

  18. Oh, except, of course, for your sophisticated and deeply persuasive argument demonstrating the anti-Semitic fanaticism of Michale Lerner. Cause once Ugh states that someone is “outright schizo,” well, clearly there is no additional evidence any thinking person could possibly ask for.

  19. David-smith, Keep up.
    I was clearly responding to the post above mine which questioned why the Left should distance itself from Michael Lerner, while also suggesting that nobody but Chomsky and Holocaust deniers want anything to do with Finkelstein.
    As for Michael Lerner… if you’re actually familiar with his varied opinions over the years and fail to recognize the schizophrenic nature, then there’s little help for you. It’s a bit like starting a Temple, under the guise of Judaism, and practicing some hybrid of hippie Darwinism, with a touch of Laveism. The contradictions are evident!
    There’s no convincing someone like yourself who denies mainstream progressives have embraced the views of Chomsky though.

  20. the world is unfair, unjust and morally twisted. And rarely more so than in its support for the Palestinians — no matter how many innocents they target for murder and no matter how much Nazi-like anti-Semitism permeates their media — and its neglect of the cruelly treated, humane Tibetans

  21. As I said earlier, my familiarity with Lerner’s views is limited to a few interviews where he came across as a liberal who, like Dershowitz, supports a secure Israel and believes that security depends on a two-state solution. That said, it was also clear from said interviews that he had come to doubt that there was any on the Palestinian side who was both seeking peace and capable of leading the Palestinians to that goal. If he changed position and admits to it, that’s not “schiziophrenic” but being intellectually honest.
    Honestly, I’m really not aware of any one on the left who promotes Finkelstein and Chomsky who is not also an obvious anti-Semite. Left-wing and liberal opponents of antisemitism have no problem attacking the anti-Semites of the left.
    The hypocrisy I noted on the right, however is that of “conservative” publications that condemn antisemitism of the left on their own pages, but then promote the work of conservative anti-Semites like Coulter.

  22. Did you read my previous post?
    Lerner published Chomsky in the 2006 edition of the Tikkun Reader.
    Why are you still claiming nobody on the Left promotes Chomsky?

  23. Good God, why don’t you just quit while you’re way, way behind? Who the hell ever said that no one has ever published a single thing that Chomsky has ever had to say? And you’re actually trying to use that to suggest that Jew-hatred is an extant phenomenon among American progressives. And, gee, what a shock that, once again, there’s no link to this ostensibly compellign evidence!! Could it be that the article has absolutely nothing whatever to do with what you’re implying? Or possibly that it doesn’t exist?
    My God, you really are more full of shit than a Christmas turkey.

  24. Thanks for the personal attacks there David-smith, but at least be clever or you know, try some reading comprehension….add to the conversation…do something other then chew on your tongue.
    Someone claimed Chomsky had no mainstream Jewish support and I proved that he did.

  25. I didn’t claim “that no one on the left supports Chomsky.”
    I stated that antisemitism is such a widespread cultural phenomenon that it cuts across political ideology. There are antisemites of every stripe. The difference is that from my experience:
    Liberals and leftists who oppose antisemitism on the right, tend to also oppose antisemitism on the left: i.e.: they condemn both Chomsky and Coulter.
    Conservatives and rightists who oppose antisemitism on the left, tend to ignore antisemitism amongst their own political allies: i.e.: They condemn Chomsky but put banner ads for Ann Coulter on their website.
    This is not to say that there are no left-wing antisemites– obviously I regard Chomsky as being one.

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