The Moral Confusion of Repenting for Jewish Power

Oct. 14 2016

“A favored pastime of Jewish intellectuals this time of year,” writes David Schraub, “is to point out various sins of the Jewish community as a whole—Israel is a frequent target, though not the only one—and urge repentance.” With this in mind, Schraub comments on a recently formed “non-Zionist” (in fact, anti-Zionist) synagogue in Chicago, whose official ideology of “Diasporism” is based on a belief that Jewish political power is sinful in and of itself:

The ideal Jewish role, according to Diasporism, is a critical one—we imagine ourselves as the conscience, the gadfly, the light unto [the host] nation. Sometimes, of course, Diasporism keeps us busy simply [trying to survive]. By definition we are not the dominant group. . . . We certainly are not the oppressor group. . . .

Power gives one the opportunity to do things: terrible things and great things alike. . . . Jews in the Diaspora did not need to worry about “occupying” anyone; we had no nation that could do the occupying. We would never be responsible for promulgating unjust laws; the laws were not ours to promulgate. We had no risk of significantly hurting others; the hand on the sovereign sword was not ours. Even our uprisings and resistances were blessed in their hopelessness. In Max Weber’s terms, we could live a pure ethics of conviction, with zero concern for the ethics of responsibility. There is no true responsibility in Diaspora, nothing really falls on our shoulders.

Diasporism is, at root, the Jewish fear of Jewish power. It knows that powerful Jews have the potential to be bad Jews—in fact, it sees powerful Jews acting as bad Jews—and its solution, its t’shuvah, is to give up the trappings of power and return to the disempowered Diaspora state. But as Maimonides observes, this is not repentance. The man who cuts off his tongue so that he cannot slander his neighbor has not repented; he has made true repentance impossible. Complete repentance must coexist with the opportunity, the strength, the power to commit the sin once again and the free choice not to. To “repent” for the sins derived from Jewish power by abolishing that power is no repentance at all—it is a tacit belief that Jewish power will always, unavoidably, inherently be sinful power.

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Read more at Debate Link

More about: American Judaism, Anti-Zionism, Diaspora, Israel & Zionism

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank