Wednesday, October 28, 2009

J Street's Spiritual Conceit

From BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 94, October 25, 2009, by David M. Weinberg:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The pious spiritual claptrap that characterizes J Street's conference in Washington this week is both a conceit and a new form of Jewish apostasy. Conference speakers earnestly broadcast their "profound" Jewish and "spiritual" identities in order to besmirch the mainstream Jewish community and engender a distancing in US-Israel relations. This certainly does not fool the American Muslim leaders who are speaking at the conference. They know and appreciate exactly what J Street is up to.

...This explains the preponderance of numerous, vaporous spiritual types at this week's big J Street hug-in in Washington. Rabbi Sharon, Rabbi Amy, Rabbi Tirzah, Rabbi Jennie, Rabbi Julie, Rabbi Toba and Rabbi Melissa are among the prominent speakers. They are "diversity facilitators," "spirituality counselors," and "interreligious leaders" at places called Neve Kodesh, Brit Tzedek, Dorshei Tzedek and Just Vision.

So much "Tzedek" (Justice)! So much "Kodesh" (Holiness)! So much overflowing of honey, holiness and justice! At a political lobby conference, no less. Perhaps the organization should be renamed Spiritual Street.

...Well, enough, I say, of this misty, sentimental and self-serving gobbledygook. All this soft spiritual urgency, supposedly on "behalf of" Israel, belies a triple conceit; or should we say, a great deceit.

Firstly, J Street is peddling the nutty notion that ...If only American Jews and Israelis ... would do the "left" thing and concede more generously to the Palestinians. Then, lo and behold, peace would come to the Mideast.

The second conceit is that such J Street-peddled nonsense – along with J Street support for talks with Hamas, opposition to military action against the Hamas, and opposition to sanctions or military action against nuclear Iran – represents the majority of American Jewry. Hogwash. Patently false.

The third conceit is that, if only Israel were to change ... then peace would come to the Mideast. ...it is Israel that needs to be pressured, say the J Street moral oracles.

J Street is a new form of Jewish apostasy. Its adherents hasten to embrace their Jewishness (even if they don't really know much about authentic Jewish tradition and morality) in order to besmirch Israel and the mainstream Jewish community. They earnestly declare how "profoundly" Jewish they are, in order to engender a distancing in US-Israel relations.

I guess that's why J Street has spent most of its resources bashing long-standing supporters of Israel – calling them extremists and right-wingers and accusing them of a "silencing" – and listing things that Israel must be made to do. All this, instead of calling out the dangers of Iranian nuclear weapons or Palestinian genocidal anti-Semitism. That's why they fret over the Jewish soul instead of working to save and protect the physical Jewish State of Israel.

The only people clearly not fooled by all this spiritual mumbo-jumbo are Salam al-Mayarati, Ziad Asali, Trita Parsi and other leaders of the American Muslim Public Affairs Council, American Task Force on Palestine and the National Iranian American Council – all of whom are speaking – surprise, surprise – at the J Street Jewish soul jamboree this week. They undoubtedly see past the pious claptrap, and know – and appreciate – exactly what J Street is up to.
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