A reader writes:
Re: the Goldberg-Beinart interview, I could barely get by the first question:"...Which is to say: Settlements are wrong, and various Israeli policies are discriminatory, but aren't liberal-minded American Jews being naive when they think that the Palestinians are blameless in this morass?"
Honestly, I have never in my life heard any Jew say Palestinians are blameless, and I very much doubt Jeffrey has ever heard that either. That's not even a strawman argument.
I used to go to an Orthodox synagogue (for proximity reasons) and stopped going after Yom Kippur ceremonies in 2001.
The 2nd intifada had just broken out, and there we were, reciting "Kol Nidre" on the eve of Yom Kippur. I'm one of those youngish liberal (Canadian) Jews who went to Hebrew school growing up, but never fully understood all the Hebrew prayers even while I was attending school, so I decided to read the English translation to myself this time around. Part of the Kol Nidre chant includes this:
"May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault."
Of course, Yom Kippur itself deals with atoning for one's sins. As is customary at this synagogue and likely many others, there was a break in prayers so the Rabbi could address the congregation. That year, there was a guest speaker from Israel's embassy. He spoke about the Intifida and vigorously defended Israel while attacking all of its critics. He didn't offer one word of criticism for Israel. Neither did the Rabbi. This didn't seem to upset anybody in the congregation, even as we were supposedly gathered in a ceremony to acknowledge our faults and atone for our sins. I had enough.
I used to care about being called "pro-Palestinian" or "anti-Israel," but then I realized that most of the people who throw out these names care more about Jews who criticize Israel "too much" than they do about the fact that Israel is on a path to become a de-facto apartheid State because of its own actions. I also used to care about being called a "bad Jew" because I don't keep kosher and don't go to Synagogue, but again, I realized that most of the people who say this kind of thing don't feel a damn thing when they see Palestinians suffering because of Israeli actions. Just look at Beinart's article. The orthodox Jews in Israel, the "good Jews," are the ones most likely to support a pardon for the man who assassinated Rabin.
I don't need lessons on what it means to be a Zionist, a supporter of Israel, or a good Jew from Goldberg or from AIPAC. Beinart's article should serve as another wake-up call for some of these folks, but they tuned out a long time ago.
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