It’s Time For New Jewish Leadership

By Bruce Abramson, JEWISH PRESS

Cartoon by: Asher Schwartz

The past few weeks have seen a number of stories about “Jewish protesters” at ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facilities. That phrasing is important. These were not protests that some Jews happened to join. These were explicitly Jewish protests, organized in the name of American Jewry, claiming fidelity to the Biblical command of “loving the stranger.”

Meanwhile, last week the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed “reservations” over Israel’s decision to cancel Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib’s visit to “Palestine,” which was organized by a PLO-affiliated, pro-BDS organization. Apparently, fighting American immigration law is a core Jewish value while fighting anti-Semitic agitation against Israel is not.

How did we arrive at this point? The answer is illuminating – and critical.

The anti-ICE story begins with Momentum, “a training institute and movement incubator” founded in 2014 to “give progressive organizers the tools and frameworks to build massive, decentralized social movements.” Momentum has incubated at least three organizations: Movimiento Cosecha (which fights America’s immigration laws), the Sunrise Movement (which fights fossil fuels), and IfNotNow (which fights Israel in the name of Jewish values).

These groups “share an ongoing movement framework and a relationship of reciprocity, and are in deep personal relationships with one another.” The “Jewish” anti-ICE protests began with a social media call from a Cosecha activist who happened to be Jewish. IfNotNow quickly lent a hand, finding a Biblical verse to use for the cause – and bingo! A nationwide Jewish movement to abolish ICE in the name of Jewish values was born.

Welcome to the future. The beautiful organizational infrastructure that America’s assimilated and Judaically-ignorant “Jewish establishment” built in the 20thcentury has delivered a 21st in which American Judaism means anything – and hence nothing.

* Thanks to AIPAC, anyone who claims to be pro-Israel is pro-Israel. Pro-Israel Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand support the Iran Deal without losing AIPAC’s support. Pro-Israel Chuck Schumer, Jerry Nadler, Steny Hoyer, and AIPAC itself side with Omar and Tlaib over Israel.

* Thanks to the ADL, anti-Semitism is entering the American mainstream. While the ADL is quick to condemn every inaudible anti-Semitic dog whistle it claims to hear emanating from the political right, it ignores and whitewashes blatant progressive anti-Semitism when it can; when it can’t, the ADL excuses it as misguided and attempts to change the subject. When Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, “The Squad,” or anyone else on the left unleashes virulent anti-Semitic attacks, the ADL meekly requests an apology and encourages continued collaboration on shared principles and values.

* Thanks to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and JCRCs, Jewish voters consistently prioritize non-Jewish issues over Jewish survival. Their proud, hard left, “unified voice” makes itself heard on the environment, LGBT issues, immigration, and abortion. On issues critical to Jewish survival – Israel, anti-Semitism, freedom of religion, and education – they distance themselves and preen for having risen above parochialism.

* Thanks to newspapers like the Forward and Haaretz, anti-Semites find ready affirmation for their darkest theories about Jews. When identifiably Jewish sources slander Israel, Orthodoxy, and Republicans, who needs Neo-Nazis?

* Thanks to the many groups promoting “tikkun olam,” social justice now embodies the essence of Judaism for many. No Jewish progressive need ever experience a conflict between political preference and religious tradition.

American Jewish communal leadership has stripped all meaning from American Jewry. Our leaders have created a community in which every Jew is free to adopt a personal definition of Judaism, broadcast that definition “as a Jew,” and condemn those who behave differently.

A meaningless Jewish community is an unsustainable Jewish community. Our leadership, and the leading organizations that brought us here, have failed us on a massive scale. They have eviscerated the community we trusted them to lead. They have rendered themselves worse than worthless. They are counterproductive deadweight, holding our community back while coasting on brand value and selling a bill of goods to donors who see no viable alternatives.

America’s Jewish community has reached a critical juncture. Our leadership has failed us. A new leadership will arise. Will we rally to support new organizations willing to inject true meaning into American Jewry, draw red lines, and oppose those who oppose us notwithstanding potential agreement on unrelated issues?

Or will we let random activists with Jewish surnames, demonstrating ignorance of Judaism but mastery of social media, attach the Jewish label to their cause of the day? The choice is ours.

August 24, 2019 | 11 Comments » | 1,356 views

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. Terrific analysis!! It just underscores that the religion of the Dem/lib Jews is the SJW philosophy (taking Tikkum Olam to its extreme), while the religion of GOP/conservative Jews is still Judaism!!

  2. In my opinion, when AIPAC took for the first time a political side, aligning with the Democrats, they committed the American Jewish community to a path leading to suicide. Those who have forgotten the meaning of “Never Forget” have forgotten about where forgetting leads. The Jews of the early 30s of Germany said “It can’t happen here”. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention sang “It Can’t Happen Here” (I personally watched them sing it many decades ago). But as Santayana said, those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Those who tend to abandon Israel in the name of “Tikun Olam” will, from what I see happening, by joining with those who disparage Israel, will cause true Zionists to become dhimmis in their own homes in North America. God help the REAL Jews in North America.

  3. Who do these ‘Jewish’ organizations represent? Who made them leaders in the first place? These organizations push liberalism painted as Judaism when the two are diametrically opposed ideologies. AIPAC, the ADL and other organizations aid the DemocRats more than the Jewish people and when they condemn Israel for not allowing the two Arab Nazi haters to enter Israel, they are showing who they stand for and it’s not the Jewish people.

  4. @ Uzitiger:

    The ADL became partisan when Abe Foxman left, and now AIPAC has given up bipartisanship as well. Those circumstances cause an evil wind to blow on Israel and the Jews of America.

  5. It certainly is time for new Jewish leadership in America! My concern is whether that time has passed. After all, Jewish leadership in America (and I emphasize America) is representative of the vast majority of American Jews today who, unfortunately, are extremely liberal and leftwing in outlook and blindly vote for democrats in both local and national elections.
    As I see it, the only way to change this dreadful situation is to restructure Jewish education in a major way to put much more emphasis on Torah study, Jewish history, and Israel (Zionism). That type of education is needed for children and adults whether one is reform, conservative or orthodox. Hopefully, enriching education with the essence of what Judiasm and Zionism is really all about will eventually produce the type of leadership we need. In a facetious way, American Jews need a new course of study that can be called: “Judaism for Dummies.”

  6. Respecting the enrichment of Jewish education in America, it should also inculcate an appreciation that the Founders of the United States had an abiding affection for the Jewish people, and a deep understanding of the moral and ethical values found in the Torah. And, in fact, it is those values that the Founders saw fit to incorporate into the Declaration of Independence and the U.S.Constitution as guiding principles for their new nation.

  7. Uzitiger Said:

    Who do these ‘Jewish’ organizations represent? Who made them leaders in the first place? … and when they condemn Israel for not allowing the two Arab Nazi haters to enter Israel, they are showing who they stand for and it’s not the Jewish people.

    Uzi,

    Again, you astutely hit the nail on its head.

    Problem is, this didn’t start yesterday or in 2008 al a Obama & Co.

    It really started with the “Enlightenment” movement, later hijacked by the Modern Zionist Movement in Europe and then later in the US.
    Virtually ALL of its leadership were either ‘Kofrim’-‘Apikorsim’ Apostate quasi-Jews or Christian-leaning “Mishumadim.”
    Judaism (and Jewish Values) was THE LAST THING that interested them!

    Then there was the “US Jewish Establishment” during WWII, who did EVERYTHING THEY COULD to PREVENT the US Gov’t. FROM SAVING EUROPEAN “GHETTO” JEWS from annihilation during The Holocaust- Think: “Rabbi” Stephen Wise & Co.
    To them, being “Progressive” and Pro-American (=Assimilated) superseded any unwanted “Baggage” of kinship to those filthy, old fashion Hassidim from the Ghettos.

    History does indeed repeat itself- especially Jewish History. IF we WOULD ONLY LEARN our own lessons.

    Just as the Idolatress Kings of the First Temple Era and later the assimilated Hellenist Jews of the Second Temple Era and then the ‘Tzdokim’ eventually brought about the destruction and exile. So too, the “Modern” Quasi-Jewish Leadership has brought (and continues to bring, G-d forbid) only calamity and peril upon our holy nation.

    Historically, every time the Jews attempt at outsmarting themselves by rejecting the True Values of The Torah and it’s transmitted oral traditions and spurning her true Sages as some ‘Old Fashioned, long bearded Rabbis and viewing our vibrant tradition as some “Antiquated bunch of Laws”- replacing them with their supposedly superior “Enlightened” Contemporary Values, they’ve proven themselves pitifully and painfully wrong; At much cost to themselves as well as the rest of our people.

    As stated in The Torah itself: And you shall (must) heed and fulfill these laws (of the Torah)- for IT IS YOUR (intense) KNOWLEDGE AND (deep) WISDOM… (Dut. 4, 6).

    True Jewish Values and Torah Tradition is the ONLY time-tested and proven Moral System by which we should and must be guided.

    ANYTHING ELSE is a prescription for National Calamity.

  8. The anti-ICE story begins with Momentum, “a training institute and movement incubator” founded in 2014 to “give progressive organizers the tools and frameworks to build massive, decentralized social movements.” Momentum has incubated at least three organizations: Movimiento Cosecha (which fights America’s immigration laws), the Sunrise Movement (which fights fossil fuels), and IfNotNow (which fights Israel in the name of Jewish values).

    These groups “share an ongoing movement framework and a relationship of reciprocity, and are in deep personal relationships with one another.”

    George Soros Funded?

  9. @ Buzz of the Orient:

    From ADL’s Website:
    https://www.adl.org/who-we-are/leadership/staff/jonathan-greenblatt

    Since becoming CEO in July 2015, Greenblatt has modernized the organization while refocusing it on the DUEL MISSION it has had since its founding in 1913: to fight the defamation of the Jewish people… and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

    Prior to joining the ADL, Greenblatt served in the White House as Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

    Need any more be said?!

  10. @ roamnrab:

    No more needs to be said. He worked for and supported the POTUS who stabbed Israel in the back at the UN at the end of his tenure, when he no longer needed Jewish money or votes. I will always think of what he wrote. “In the event of a conflict,, I stand with the Muslims.”

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