Rabbibrian's Blog

A Voice for Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine

Young Jews challenge Netanyahu

Posted by rabbibrian on November 11, 2010

On Monday this week, five courageous and inspiring young adults interrupted the speech by Bibi Netanyahu at the  General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America and Jewish Council on Public Affairs.   At this meeting of leaders of the Jewish community at which they launched a 6 million dollar campaign to fight the “deligitimization” of Israel by activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, these young people interrupted the Prime Ministers speech with banners that said YoungJewishProud.org and one of the below-

The Settlements Delegitimize Israel

The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel

The Siege of Gaza Delegitimizes Israel

The Loyalty Oath Delegitimizes Israel

Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel

What a brilliant action of resistance to the clever tactic of the Israeli government and American Jewish leaders to silence resistance to Israeli policies by using the term “deligitimization.”

These young people are part of Jewish Voice for Peace which has recently established a Rabbinic Council of which I am a proud member.  They also released a poetic, powerful statement that I encourage you to read and sign the petition in support of their action.   This statement is an inspiring prophetic statement that gives us hope for the Jewish future.

Lastly, the crowd was not so enthusiastic about their interruption and reacted strongly including dragging them out of the hall.  One man held one of the protesters in a choke hold.   They elicited the intense hostility that lies just below the surface to anyone in the Jewish community who challenges Israeli policy.   I encourage you to see the video.

It seems to me that this event is another critical event in the growing resistance to Israel’s policies in America and in the American Jewish community.  When asked about the erosion of support for the government Netanyahu this week said we still have complete support, “We may have lost Tom Friedman, but we haven’t lost America.”  I believe Tom Friedman responded by reassuring Netanyahu that he still is as strong a supporter of Israeli policy as ever.  The point is that even Friedman is beginning to lose his patience with Israeli intransigence.

In traditional Judaism there are prophets, priests and kings.  This week these young people assumed the role of prophet challenging the Israeli Prime Minister who we have allowed to arrogate the role of High Priest  and King.  Their prophetic courage gives us hope for the future.  I hope many more young Jews join them and that we follow their lead.  The times they are a changing!

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One Response to “Young Jews challenge Netanyahu”

  1. Mary said

    Thank you for sharing this story, Rabbi. As a Christian who was sometimes received the blessing of being invited into Jewish homes for a Passover meal, I was always deeply moved by the readings, the committment to respond to the evils of suffering from oppression by making the resolution to stand against it. I am deeply moved now to read about these young people who are living that promise.

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