The Documentary “Israelism” Accuses American Jewry of Lying Its Youth into Zionism

Apologists for the campus demonstrations against Israel frequently point to the presence of Jews in the ranks of the protesters, who are often members of anti-Zionist Jewish groups such as IfNotNow. Among the founders of this group is Simone Zimmerman, who describes herself as, “like the best the Jewish community has to offer.” Zimmerman is one of the two stars of the documentary Israelism, released last year. Its thesis, Yehuda Kurtzer writes in his review, is that

the American Jewish community is committed to lying about the political plight and suffering of the Palestinians because if they told the truth, young Jews would reject Israel (and perhaps Judaism) in even larger numbers than they already do.

The film, Kurtzer observes, “is so one-sided and so certain of its own virtue and rightness that critique seems almost beside the point.” What is most striking to him is the way it frames its story of how Zimmerman and another American-born Jew achieve enlightenment:

Whether the film is conscious of it or not, the archetype here is Paul, who had been the Pharisee Saul until he had a vision on the road to Damascus, not too far from the one Simone had on the streets of Bethlehem. Paul’s vision transformed him from a self-described persecutor of Christians to Christianity’s first great evangelist. He went from being fierce, ignorant, and sad to happy, articulate, and liberated, as, the film shows us, has Zimmerman. Like Paul, Simone’s conversion moved her from a self-interested cloud of particularism to a vision of spiritual universalism—“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,” Paul tells the Galatians.

The Pauline trope helps explain two key dimensions of the film. Its insistence that young American Jews are lied to makes sense once one understands that the Jewish community has placed scales upon their eyes. And once the scales fall away and the truth is revealed—once one sees the horrifying truth that has been hidden—one must become an evangelist and bear the tragic burden of preaching the gospel, even at the cost of alienation from the community one seeks to transform.

For the enlightened, everything that runs counter to their new narrative must be a lie. This naturally gives rise to conspiracy theories. How else can one explain how the plain truth has been hidden, except through the perfidy of deception? This assumption helps explain the surprising plot turn of the second half of Israelism. The film argues explicitly that the rise of Donald Trump, and therefore the emboldening of the white supremacist antisemitism, is the fault of the pro-Israel community in America.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Zionism, Film, Paul of Tarsus

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy