Friday, July 17, 2020

Question. Should the Jewish community provide a ‘safe space’ for anti-Zionists? Jonathan S. Tobin

A community that wishes to have a future must understand that Israel provides the bedrock upon which Jewish civilization will rest. Those who wish to destroy that foundation deserve no “safe space.”

Jonathan S. Tobin..
15 July '20..

A prominent Jewish writer used the bully pulpit of The New York Times op-ed section last week to call for the elimination of the Jewish state. At the same time, an assistant rabbi at one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious synagogues took to Twitter to vent his anger at those who say the Jews are “indigenous” to the land of Israel.

Both Peter Beinart and Rabbi Andrue Kahn received some furious feedback. The debates about Beinart’s conversion to anti-Zionism and Kahn’s absurd doctrinaire woke linguistics was not without value, as it brought out into the open just how prevalent the dangerous ideas they are promoting. It also shone a light on the way such radicalism is not only undermining traditional liberal Jewish support for Israel, but also working its way into the mainstream.

Beinart and those who rallied behind Rabbi Andy’s dubious cause believe that anyone who stands up for Zionism and Israel isn’t only wrong, but represents the past, while the anti-Zionists are the Jewish future. As a result, they believe that it is incumbent on the Jewish community not only to listen to the kids who they think are cheering Beinart and Kahn, but to provide them with a “safe space” where they can be protected from the scorn being meted out to anti-Zionists from those who write in defense of Israel, Zionism and Jewish rights.

Kahn’s belief that Jews couldn’t be called “indigenous” was so outrageous that his boss, Temple Emanu-El Senior Rabbi Bruce Davidson, felt constrained to write a letter to the Forward newspaper disassociating the synagogue from his position. Davidson rightly noted that such a stance lends weight to those who wish to deny Jewish rights and history. That, in turn, provoked a response from hundreds of prominent liberal Jews who signed a letter of support of Kahn.

The question is: Are they right to assert that the woke left is the future of American Jewry?

(Continue to Full Column)

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