Progressive Jews Abandon Their Commitment to Jewish Solidarity at Their Own Peril

As American liberalism moves increasingly in an anti-Israel direction, liberal, non-Orthodox Jews are becoming ever more uncomfortable with Jewish particularity. Ammiel Hirsch examines this disturbing trend:

While there was always a healthy tension in Jewish thought between the centrality of Jewish peoplehood and Jewish interactions with, and obligations to, the world at large, it is increasingly difficult for liberal Jews today to accept that Jewish distinctiveness is a core Jewish value or even a contemporary social good. Thus, liberal Jews are abandoning their Jewish identity in accelerating and unsustainable numbers. . . .

Under what theory of liberalism are we required to discard attachments and loyalties to Jews? What is this new Jewish progressivism that asserts that the acceptance of others requires the negation of self? . . . To care about fellow Jews, to feel connected to the Jewish people and to be attached to the Jewish state are not proof of ghetto Judaism. In fact, not to be committed to these values is evidence of Jewish decline. Don’t liberals believe in diversity, in a pluralism of communities? Don’t we believe in the dignity of human difference? Or do we believe in diversity for everyone but Jews? . . .

We liberal Jews never seem to speak about Jewish solidarity anymore. We speak about our obligations to the world with profound conviction and eloquence, but never seem to speak about our obligations to Jews. Thus, for many Reform Jews, “tikkun olam” implies everyone in the world except Jews. It is rare to meet an American Reform youth or activist who considers tikkun olam to include the obligation to assist, say, impoverished Jews in Israel or the former Soviet Union. A Reform tikkun-olam mission would more likely travel to a poor African village than a soup kitchen for Jews in Ukraine. . . .

The growing inclination among liberal Jews to de-emphasize Jewish distinctiveness is the gravest threat to the future of liberal Judaism. . . . Is it possible to sustain the Jewish people without being committed to the Jewish people? Can Judaism survive without Jews?

Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

More about: American Jewry, Israel and the Diaspora, Judaism, Liberalism, Reform Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Tikkun Olam

 

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy