How the Desire to “Repair the World” Came to Undermine Jewish Particularism

Aug. 10 2018

During the second half of the 20th century, the kabbalistic concept of tikkun olam—literally adjusting or “repairing” the world—was transformed in some American Jewish circles into a religious obligation incumbent upon Jews to make the world a better place. This imperative quickly became indistinguishable from the causes of the American left, so that tikkun olam is now synonymous with “social justice.” In his recent book To Heal the World?, Jonathan Neumann argues that this new understanding of tikkun olam has distorted much of American Judaism and undermined the rationale for preserving Judaism and the Jewish people. He discusses the book with Jonathan Silver. (Audio, 31 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)

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More about: American Judaism, Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Tikkun Olam

Support for Terrorism, Not Ideas, Kept Omar Barghouti Out of the U.S.

April 18 2019

Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian activist who played the leading role in founding the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS), recently had to cancel a visit to America when he was refused permission to enter the country. Contrary to what one might read in outraged columns in the media, the immigration authorities’ decision was prompted not by what Barghouti might say but by what he has done. Noah Pollak writes:

In 2007, Barghouti founded, and runs to this day, a Ramallah-based umbrella group called the BDS National Committee that serves as the leading group organizing and promoting BDS outside the United States. The reason Barghouti was barred from entering the U.S. is not because he advocates BDS or Israel’s destruction. There is no speech issue here at all.

The reason he was barred is because the group Barghouti runs includes five U.S.-designated terrorist organizations in its membership, [among them], Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, [and] the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]. Not only does Barghouti run a group whose membership includes U.S.-designated terrorists, he himself promotes terrorism. [He] has stated his support for terrorism dozens of times, plainly, openly, publicly, proudly, without euphemism. . . .

The only good part of the BDS movement is how it is exposing so many progressives as wishful, gullible, or dishonest in their need to paint the anti-Israel cause as respectable.

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More about: BDS, Palestinians, U.S. Politics