The Association for Jewish Studies Surrenders to Progressive Hatred for the Wrong Kinds of Jews

Founded in 1969 when the field was still in its infancy in the U.S., the Association for Jewish Studies has since then been the primary organization for academic Jewish scholarship in North America. The latest issue of AJS Perspectives, its biannual magazine, suggests to Joshua Karlip that the group’s acceptance of the worst traits of contemporary progressivism has born predictable fruit:

In its just-published “Justice Issue,” AJS Perspectives had an opportunity to address the rich history of Jewish thought on the topic of justice. . . . In their faithful reflection of current progressive orthodoxies, several of the journal’s contributors [instead] perpetuated anti-Semitic tropes regarding two contemporary targets of Jew-hatred: Orthodox Jews and Israel.

Joshua Shanes’s contribution, “Social Justice and Orthodoxy,” was particularly offensive. . . . According to Shanes, Orthodox Jews view the issue of social justice solely in terms of its impact on their communities and think only of how they can impose their values on everyone else. But how can one seriously discuss the relationship between social justice and Orthodoxy without writing about the legion of Orthodox charitable and volunteer-service organizations, most of which serve the entire Jewish community and beyond?

Shanes ended his screed by referring to a “smug confidence in Orthodox superiority” as “the cornerstone of Orthodox identity since its inception in Germany.” I doubt that AJS would have chosen to publish this if it had been said of Muslims or Catholics.

“The Justice Issue” also demonizes the state of Israel. . . . Atalia Omer’s article “Jewish Justice as Historical Praxis in Israel/Palestine” [asserts that] Zionists, through their “transnational discursive hasbarah (or public diplomacy)” have made it “increasingly difficult to differentiate between Zionism and Judaism,” thereby “introducing an ahistorical attitude toward the praxis of Jewish justice.” . . . In addition, Omer decried the Oslo peace process as an “illusion and delusion.” . . . Ultimately, Omer chillingly concluded, the antidote to Oslo is the “restorative justice” of dismantling the Zionist project through the end of Israel as the Jewish nation-state.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Jewish studies

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion