It’s Time for Jews to Give Up on “Social Justice”

Many American Jews, especially those involved in the Reform movement, see “social justice” as a key component of what it means to be Jewish. Many look with nostalgia to the 1960s, when a number of Jews became involved in the civil-rights movement. But now, argues Josh Block, the progressive left, contaminated by the worst excesses of postmodernist and intersectionality-soaked academic theory, has rejected the values that animated the activists of yesteryear. Worse, despite its obsession with identity politics, the new progressivism has no room for Jewish particularism:

Today’s . . . social justice does not have the same goals as that of the 1960s, which sought equal rights and opportunity and was rooted in the traditions of Western law and philosophy—and ultimately of Judaism. To the contrary, [it] seeks not equal treatment for all under the law, but to create an equality of outcomes by trashing the systems [of law and rationality that have developed in the] West. It embraces a relativist basis by which to judge human conduct and seeks to delegitimize the foundations upon which Zionism and the rights of the Jewish people rest. . . .

We Jews have [our own national] history [as well as] values that are universal and that have given rise to the modern view of human dignity, but these count for nothing in a world where [advocates of] social justice put daily demands on our children to dismiss Jewish identity, uniqueness, and rights as . . . illegitimate views produced by white men of privilege. The view that pits Jewish particularism against universal values is contrary to the lived experience of our people, and to the kind of liberalism that the American Jewish community has long endorsed—but that’s what [many Jewish] philanthropists are now paying for. . . .

If those who seek to engage in Jewish life believe that the universal good always outweighs the needs of the Jewish collective, we will not have a Jewish collective a generation from now, and the Jewish people and America will both be impoverished by that loss. . . .

Ironically, Jewish particularism has become acceptable only when it involves vehement critiques of Israel, whether over its policies toward the Palestinians or its very existence as a sovereign state. When young Jews come together in such a framework, the net result is to make Judaism and Jewish history a source of shame instead of pride—to the point where students interpret the anti-Semitic demand for dismantling the Jewish state as a positive demonstration of opposition to racism and “colonialism.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, New Left, Religion & Holidays, Social Justice

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy