Sunday, August 26, 2007

Time Magazine: "Anti-Zionist [Reform] Judaism"

Many Palestinian solidarity activists are familiar with the staunch anti-Zionism of orthodox Jewish groups like Neturei Karta but far fewer know that anti-Zionism was once a significant force in the Reform movement, too. Sadly, that is no longer the case and even the organization mentioned in the article below has been corrupted by the poison of Zionism. What follows is the text of a Nov. 3, 1952, article from Time entitled "Anti-Zionist Judaism."
Most Jewish religious agencies in the U.S. are enthusiastically friendly to Israel and Zionism. The contributions of American Jews have furnished substantial financial support for Premier David Ben-Gurion's Israel government. The Israeli flag is prominently displayed in the religious schools of some Jewish congregations. The modern Palestine pronunciation of the ancient Hebrew liturgy is encouraged, and children often sing the Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, before beginning their Sunday school classes.

In Highland Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, a Jewish religious school has opened for the avowed purpose of eliminating Zionist and Israeli influences from the lives of Jewish children in the U.S. The School for Judaism (enrollment: 115) is the first full-scale school to be run by the American Council for Judaism, an organization of U.S. Jews who hold that the loyalty urged on all Jews by the State of Israel is debasing Judaism from a universal world religion into a "nationalist faith" based on "the primacy of the Jewish people."

Angry Shouts. The Council was founded in 1943 by a group led by Lessing J. Rosenwald, onetime board chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Co. Almost all of its members belong to Reform congregations, and Executive Director Elmer Berger, 44, is a Reform rabbi who left his synagogue in Flint, Mich, to take the job. Some of the earliest Reform rabbis were explicitly anti-Zionist, and to Council members, the rising popularity of "Israelism" in the U.S. seemed the very thing the rabbis had protested.

From its founding, the Council has met [b]itter opposition. In 1945, no less a pro-Zionist than Albert Einstein attacked its program as "a pitiable attempt to obtain favor and toleration from our enemies by betraying true Jewish ideals, and mimicking those who claim to stand for 100% Americanism." On his speaking tours, Rabbi Berger has drawn angry shouts (e.g., "Pro-Arab!") in some congregations. Nowadays, however, the angry voices have become quieter, and the Council (dues-paying membership: 16,800) is getting some serious attention. Says Rabbi Berger: "American Jews are uneasy about the nationalism of the Israelis. They're beginning to listen to us."

New Textbooks. The Council's newest project is in the field of religious education. In a survey of Jewish religious schools in the U.S., the Council decided that Zionist ideas were being taught in most of them. Israeli national holidays, e.g., the Israeli Arbor Day, were celebrated as Jewish religious festivals. Of 114 religious textbooks studied by the Council, 73, the Council decided, were marred by "Jewish nationalism" in a more or less open form. When a mother came to the Council's Chicago chapter last summer complaining that she could not find a non-Zionist religious school for her children, it was decided to set up experimental schools in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York's Westchester County.

Rabbi Berger and other Council members have prepared new textbooks for the three new schools, and many teachers and Reform rabbis are cooperating. They hope to set up similar schools and ultimately to get their program adopted by all Reform congregations. Their object: "To demonstrate that Judaism as a universal religion has depth and vision and appeal . . . There need be no nationalistic accouterments or trappings, no secular separatism or isolationism of an allegedly unique 'people' to attract and hold a child to the faith of his fathers ... The child who is educated in the faith and eternal verities of Judaism will become—and remain—a devoted and practicing Jew."

Said Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, laying down the principles of Reform Judaism in 1885: "We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine nor a sacrificial worship under the administration of the Sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state."

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The Nine Commandments of the Holocaust Religion

The nine commandments of the "Holocaust Religion" below are developed in greater detail by the award-winning Israeli journalist Shraga Elam in his article, "Holocaust Religion and Holocaust Industry in the Service of Israel."
  1. Remember what Amalek has done to thee!
  2. Thou shall never compare The Holocaust with any other Genocide!
  3. Thou shall never compare the Nazi crimes with those of Israel!
  4. Thou shall never doubt the number of 6 million Jewish victims!
  5. Thou shall never doubt the Nazi Judeocide!
  6. Thou shall never doubt the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state!
  7. Thou shall not criticize the leading Jewish organizations and the Israeli government!
  8. Thou must never criticize Jewish organizations and the Zionist leadership for abandoning the European Jewry in the Nazi era!
  9. Thou shall not doubt the central Role of Hitler in the industrialization of the extermination of the Jews!
Also, in the same article Elam cites the Israeli historian Idith Zertal, a figure known to readers of this blog. Elam writes:
According to Zertal, the spectacular actions of the illegal immigration after the war, like the famous trip of the "Exodus", were mainly part of a very effective propaganda campaign. She quotes the Jewish welfare organization "Joint" that claimed at that time, that the total number of immigrants including the illegal ones was smaller than the British quota. This means that if the Jewish refugees had been transported to Palestine legally, under normal conditions, it would have been cheaper, more comfortable and safer for them than using the shaky illegal ships and their number would not necessarily have been lower. But by using this legal way, the JA [i. e. Jewish Agency] would have lost the propaganda effects of the pictures of British soldiers using excessive amounts of force against Jewish survivors.
See also: Atzmon on Jewish Religion

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Tom Philips, Zionist?

Recently, I got two anonymous comments that bore a striking resemblance to the work of the probably pseudonymous Tom Philips. Philips' stock phrase caught my eye: "SAVE HUMANITY! KILL THE JEWS!!!!!!" I always reject comments expressing this kind of this garbage because it is reprehensible garbage. But I also think it is Zionist garbage. This time I went back to read what I wrote last December about Philips' comment and realized that I didn't really explain why I think this is the work of a Zionist.

I think Philips is a Zionist caricature mainly because in all my years and varied experiences I've never actually encountered anyone (not even secondhand) who expressed these kinds of thoughts. Even the people whom I might consider anti-Jewish don't traffick in this stuff but I have heard angry Jews shout this type of garbage. So, I suspect that Tom Philips is a Borat--a caricature created by a Zionist Jew like Sascha Baron Cohen as an "anti-anti-Semitism" tool. Cohen says Borat "lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice" but Borat also functions to create a false sense that mindless hatred of Jews is widely held and accepted, especially among the boorish masses, and thus requires extraordinary vigilance and countermeasures. This, of course, would be consistent with the role of fear in Jewish identity as discussed by Gilad Atzmon.

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Atzmon on Jewish Religion

The expatriate Israeli musician and writer Gilad Atzmon published an essay last March that I have only today read. Called "From Esther to AIPAC," it deals with a number of subjects familiar to readers of this blog. Below are a couple of excerpts from the piece but I especially wanted to draw attention to one phrase which I think resonates with the more than 300-year-old remark of Benedict Spinoza on hatred as the glue of Jewish community.

Near the end of his essay, Atzmon observes: "Being exilic to the bone, Zionism had to turn to antagonising the indigenous Palestinians in order to maintain its fetish of Jewish identity." Where Spinoza writes of hatred and I focus on death, throughout the article Atzmon discusses fear as the basis of Jewish identity. I don't see much difference here as hate, death, and fear are but different facets of the pathology at the heart of mainstream Jewish identity.

Here are the excerpts from Atzmon. On "The Holocaust Religion":
Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas ('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).

Critical scholars who dispute the notion of 'Holocaust religion' suggest that though the new emerging religion retains many characteristics of an organised religion, it doesn't establish an external God figure to point at, to worship or to love. I myself cannot agree less. I insist that the Holocaust religion embodies the essence of the liberal democratic worldview. It is there to offer a new form of worshiping. It made self loving into a dogmatic belief in which the observant follower worships himself. In the new religion it is 'the Jew' whom the Jews worship. It is all about 'me', the subject of endless suffering who makes it into redemption.

However, more than a few Jewish scholars in Israel and abroad happen to accept Leibowitz's observation. Amongst them is Marc Ellis, the prominent Jewish theologian who suggests a revealing insight into the dialectic of the new religion. "Holocaust theology," says Ellis, "yields three themes that exist in dialectical tension: suffering and empowerment, innocence and redemption, specialness and normalization."[4]

Though Holocaust religion didn't replace Judaism, it gave Jewishness a new meaning. It sets a modern Jewish narrative allocating the Jewish subject within a Jewish project. It allocates the Jew a central role within his own self-centred universe. The 'sufferer' and the 'innocent' are marching towards 'redemption' and 'empowerment'. God is obviously out of the game, he is fired, he has failed in his historic mission, he wasn't there to save the Jews. Within the new religion the Jew becomes 'the Jews' new God', it is all about the Jew who redeems himself.

The Jewish follower of the Holocaust religion idealises the condition of his existence. He then sets a framework of a future struggle towards recognition. For the Zionist follower of the new religion, the implications seem to be relatively durable. He is there to 'schlep' the entirety of world Jewry to Zion at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people. For the Socialist Jew, the project is slightly more complicated. For him redemption means setting a new world order, namely a socialist haven. A world dominated by dogmatic working class politics in which Jews happen to be no more than just one minority amongst many. For the humanist observant, Holocaust religion means that Jews must locate themselves at the forefront of the struggle against racism, oppression and evil in general. Though it sounds promising, it happens to be problematic because of obvious reasons. In our current world order it is Israel and America that happen to be amongst the leading oppressive evils. Expecting Jews to be in the forefront of humanist struggle sets Jews in a fight against their brethren and their supportive single superpower. However, It is rather clear that all three Holocaust churches assign the Jews a major project with some global implications.
On Nazi collaborator Joachim Prinz:
... it is only natural that Rabbi Prinz later became the President of the Jewish American Congress. He became a prominent American leader In spite of his 'collaboration with Hitler'. Simply because of the obvious reason: from a Jewish ideological point of view, he did the right thing.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jewish Kids with Guns & Tu Quoque

One of my beloved anonymous Zionist readers sent me an LGF (no, this doesn't link to LGF) link to several photos of Arab/Muslim children posing with or around weapons. Apparently, in her/his hasbara-addled mind this constitutes some kind of rebuttal to the photos and commentary I posted in "Making Monsters at Beth Israel".

I'm not sure if this is a case of the 'they-do-it-too' ploy or the 'they're-more-eviler' manuever. In any case, it's a diversionary fallacy, pure and simple--tu quoque. Now, anonymous commenter, if you're reading then please pay attention because you won't learn this from your comrades on LGF (no, this doesn't link there, either, but it's not the quiz again): You can never justify or excuse the wrong that you or others do by pointing out an equal or worse wrong--imagined or real--of someone else.

Any way, below are some more images along the theme of my last two posts, the last being from a Purim celebration.

See also: "Summer Camp Teaches U.S. Teens To Fight Israeli Style" by Chris Hedges

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Making Monsters at Beth Israel

Sometime after I posted them on this blog, those Zionist Orwellians (but I repeat myself) at Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) sent two incriminating photos "down the memory hole". The two photos showed a child and an adult posing in front of an Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) armored vehicle while on BIC's triumphalist tour of occupied Palestine this summer. Not unexpectedly, these photos are now missing from BIC's online photo gallery.

Well, Winston, you missed one. Below is a screen shot showing an even more incriminating (and heartwrenching) photo from part one of their trip photo album and below that is the same photo alone. The child in the center foreground--clothed in red and wearing a white ball cap--is the same child who posed in front of the Israeli armored vehicle, apparently, pointing an imaginary gun. This time he is with an entire group of young children and they are posed in front of a group of armed Israeli soldiers. Weapons are visible on the right sides of the kneeling soldier and the soldier standing second from the left. Rifle shoulder straps are visible on at least three of the other soldiers.

This is what Rabbi Dobrusin and the other leaders at BIC think is appropriate for young children to do on their summer vacation. Here's part of what Dobrusin wrote about the trip:

Through it all, there was the sense that what we were seeing and what we were experiencing had not only a historical dimension but a spiritual dimension as well. ... And through it all, there were the kids. Our group included more than a dozen children who played and sang and hiked and swam their way through Israel, building a stronger connection with the land and laying the foundation for future high school or college trips to deepen their connection with Israel further.

Nice little Jewish girls and boys aren't born as monsters, they are turned into monsters by their parents and rabbis, who inculcate in them Judaism's culture of death. Posing children in front of soldiers and their war machines is only part of this process of indoctrination--Jewish holidays such as Passover help make the deaths of others holy, justified, and, in the case of Purim, fun. Of course, not every Jewish child emerges from this process ready to slaughter or cheer on the slaughter of hundreds of people--as Israel did, indiscriminately, in Lebanon just last year--but far too many do.

See also: "Summer Camp Teaches U.S. Teens To Fight Israeli Style" by Chris Hedges on Alternet

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Beth Israel: A House of WARship

Members of Ann Arbor's Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) recently indulged themselves in the privileges of Jewish supremacy in Palestine by visiting that part of Palestine stolen from its indigenous inhabitants in 1948. It's not clear if they visited the part of Palestine seized by Jews in 1967. Consistent with the culture of death and violence in Judaism, BIC's members have apparently seldom, if ever, shied away from tacitly or actively supporting violence in a Jewish cause, whether committed by their own members or by the state of Israel.

Below are two photos from the "Beth Israel Trip to Israel 2007 Part II" photo album on the BIC web site. The first shows a small child posing in front of what appears to be an Israeli army armored personnel carrier and the second shows a smiling adult posing in front of the same military vehicle. BIC's open support for Jewish supremacism and militarism in Israel makes them more than a "house of worship." They are also an arm of the Israel lobby and that certainly warrants the continued protests by the courageous members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends.

Thanks to HH for the tip on the photo album.

See also:

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