Jewish Identity and Zionism: Young Jewish Leaders at Northeastern speak up
Posted by rabbibrian on March 18, 2014
The Forward just published a brilliant article by two young Jewish leaders about the suspension of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Northeastern University. I encourage you to read it and to support the struggle against the censorship of voices that challenge Israeli policy on campus.
I also encourage you to write a comment in support of these young leaders. Here is a copy of my comment:
Bravo! As a rabbi, I felt a surge of hope for the Jewish future when I finished this article. I particularly appreciate the courage of these two young Jewish leaders in challenging the injustice and daily human rights violations that are committed by the State of Israel, with the full support of mainstream American Jewish organizations, in our name. They are part of a new generation of Jews who, in increasing numbers, want to make a clear distinction between Judaism/Jewish identity and Zionism. There are many deeply committed Jews with a range of Jewish identities who are not Zionists. There are increasing numbers of liberal Jewish rabbis such as myself who are not Zionists. As they write: “Calling actions critical of the State of Israel “anti-Semitic” also essentializes what it means to be a Jew. It simplifies complex Jewish identities — drawn from religion, culture and history — into singular support for a nation-state.” Because support for justice for the Palestinians, makes some Jews uncomfortable, is no reason for banning those who work to end the human rights violations against the Palestinians, such as home demolition, that they highlighted brilliantly with the distribution of eviction notices on campus. Jewish students who are uncomfortable will be better served by support from Jewish organizations, teachers and leaders for exploring their discomfort rather than accusing those who support justice, freedom and dignity for the Palestinians, of “anti-Semitism.” Again as they write: “If telling history from a Palestinian point of view makes pro-Israel students feel uncomfortable, that’s not anti-Semitic on our part. It’s denial on theirs.”
What an important article. I hope many Jews, young and old, take it to heart.
Yishar Kochachem/May you be blessed with strength!
Rabbi Brian Walt