Exploring the phenomenon of the social justice Jewish warrior
In a recent talk to the Jewish Labor Committee, Hillary Clinton exhorted her audience to bring all their forces to bear to defeating Trump: “It’s gonna be a tough election and you need to bring your organizing skills, your shared sense of values, your feeling of empathy and compassion and caring, your deep conviction about justice, because we’re gonna need every single person in this fight,” she said. Fair enough.
Then, curiously, she added, “At heart, of it all is the concept of tikkun olam which says that repairing the world is the responsibility of each and every one of us, or as I learned growing up in the Methodist church, ‘Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.’”
I say “curiously” only because Clinton’s conflation of tikkun olam, Hebrew for “to repair the world” with the Methodist social gospel of spreading Christian love through do-goodery to all those who are in need is to err about the actual meaning of tikkun olam. I don’t blame Clinton for her mistake, of course. She’s only parroting the mantra she hears constantly from left-wing Jews. She knew that the very mention of tikkun olam to this particular group of lefties would be a winning trope, a political Cupid’s arrow to elevate the fervour she already excites in this crowd.
Tikkun olam is shorthand for the Judaization of political progressivism.
For liberal Jews have always experienced a deep yearning to melt into the left’s universalist, “brotherhood of man” vision. That yearning has made leftism a magnet for Ashkenazi Jews ever since the Enlightenment freed them from the ghettos of Europe. Diaspora Jews could for the first time choose between continued attachment to Jewish peoplehood as their primary cultural identity and attachment to complete secularism with a view to “disappearing” their Judaism altogether via a universalist ideology. The latter option—social acceptance, normalization, liberation from constrictive codes of behaviour, formerly closed career opportunities—was alluring after centuries of persecution and marginalization.
It is an indisputable fact that Jews were extremely disproportionately represented in the Communist movement and held high positions in the Soviet Union until that revolution began to eat its Jewish children with shocking perfidy. (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is doing a fine imitation of the syndrome, and the dazed British Jewish children being eaten find themselves bereft at their loss of a political home.)
To understand how and why it happened that Hillary Clinton, speaking to Jewish lefties, reached for the phrase like a homing pigeon finding its perch, I recommend English writer Jonathan Neumann’s 2018 book, To Heal the World: How the Jewish left corrupts Judaism and endangers Israel. In his introduction, Neumann writes, “The truth is that tikkun olam has no basis in Judaism. It was conceived by Jews who had rejected the faith of their fathers and midwifed by radicals who saw it as a pretext to appropriate Jewish texts and corrupt religious rituals … to further political ends.” In other words, it’s social justice matzo balls swimming in progressive political broth.
Neumann isn’t indicting ordinary Jews who believe that in embracing tikkun olam as a principle, they are “simply doing what feels in their hearts and seems in their eyes to be right.” His umbrage is mainly directed at those progressive activists who have weaponized tikkun olam to undermine all particularist Jewish aspirations, but especially to undermine Zionism.
Neumann writes, “The general rule appear to be that the stronger your commitment to tikkun olam, the weaker your Zionism and support for Israel. Among Jewish social justice organizations, they are either shades of hostility to Israel or they don’t mention Israel at all.
All the liberal branches of Judaism claim they “are fulfilling traditional Judaism” in promoting tikkun olam as social justice, and insisting that social justice was always core to Judaism—if only we interpreted the prophets and the Talmud properly, that is.
The whole 1960s counter-culture was dominated by secular Jews—Saul Alinsky, Jerry Rubin, Abby Hoffman, David Horowitz (who famously rejected his cradle leftism when he took candid stock of its human wreckage and became a conservative firebrand) – but radical movements always boast a high Jewish cohort. Neuman singles out Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, as singular for his “mediocrity.” He is fanatically anti-American and a Marxist who views the Torah as a Marxist tract that opposes private property. Socialism was once described as the new Torah. But “Tikkun olam is not about turning Jews into Marxists. It’s about rebranding Marxism as Judaism.”
Those groups who promote tikkun olam most assiduously as their mission spend the bulk of their time championing such causes as gender rights, healthcare, abortion rights and racism. None of these issues are based in Jewish sacred texts. As Neumann put it rather sardonically, “Isn’t it just a little bit incredible for the teachings of the ancient faith of Judaism to happen to comprise without exception the agenda of the liberal wing of today’s Democratic party?”
Passover is the go-to holiday for the social justice Jewish warriors (SJJW).
In 1969 Arthur Waskow, then a contributing editor of Ramparts Magazine (and considered by Newsweek to be one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America), published The Freedom Seder Haggadah, meant, he said for everyone, because “in our world, we all live under Pharoahs who could exterminate us at any moment and so enslave us all the time.” In Waskow’s treatment, Moses recognized the employment abuses of his “boss,” Pharoah, and decided to do something about it as a sort of trade unionist avant la lettre.
Emboldened by the success of the Freedom Seder Haggadah, in 1984 Waskow created The Rainbow Seder Haggadah, which focused on environmental concerns. A slew of other haggadahs by SJJWs followed, all with specific agendas like feminism, interfaith marriage, refugees, malnutrition, sexist violence and racism. Jewish Voice for Peace (which the Anti-Defamation League calls one of the most 10 most anti-Israel groups in the U.S.) created a haggadah in which modern Israel is portrayed as Egypt and the Arabs as the biblical Israelites. It condemns the ten “plagues” that Israel has wrought on the Arabs. Needless to say, discussion of the miracle of the State of Israel doesn’t come into it in these haggadahs. The Promised Land is entirely abstract—an ethical condition to be aspired to, not a homeland for the Jews.
Israel must remain abstract for the SJJWs, because they are caught in a Catch-22: for if the Promised Land is understood to belong to God’s Chosen People—a concept that makes them squirm—then it is a betrayal of social-justice universalism. The SJJWs are forced by their politics to regard Israel as a “colonialist” state, and it is therefore a sign of Jewish values for Israel to be open to everyone.
Thus the SJJWs have convinced themselves that the one-state solution, which would obliterate Jewish privilege in Israel and very likely obliterate Jews as well, is in fact the most “Jewish,” i.e. tikkun-olam-y of all propositions. Neumann observes, “It is simply not plausible that a major teaching of Judaism could be the belief in its own abnegation, yet this is precisely the implication of tikkun olam, which undermines Jewish Peoplehood and forecasts the redundancy of the Jews.”
The desire of progressive Jews to pound the square peg of universalism into the round hole of particularism would be funny if it were not so pathetic. The “singing rabbi” and spiritual leader Shlomo Carlebach used to visit a lot of college campuses. He would relate that when a student told him, “I’m a Catholic,” he knew the student was Catholic. When a student told him, “I’m a Protestant,” he knew the student was Protestant. But when a student told him, “I’m a human being,” he knew that student was a Jew. Funny and pathetic in one.
One week ago, US President Donald Trump released his long-awaited Peace to Prosperity plan. This plan will finally bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians alike after a conflict that has been occurring for more than 71 years. It is a bold plan that no other US President or world leader has introduced.
A moment in time that staunch Zionists have their entire lives for. To see a future of peace, a future where all of the lands that have always been known as Israel on a map with no backlash, rather with praise.
Israel, the home of hope now has even more hope for peace with this deal.
There is now a vision in place by one of the world’s greatest friends of the Jewish people and of the Jewish homeland, ensuring that there is a positive and ever-lasting Jewish future, with a homeland reflecting exactly where their indigenous roots lie, in the Holy Land.
The plan recognizes territory that is both vital currently for Israel’s security but also recognizes significant Biblical and historical claims that Israel has to the land. Israelis and Zionists should be rejoicing with immense pride in knowing that for the first time in history there is a plan implemented by the leader of the free world who understands that the indigenous land of the Jewish people extends into Judea and Samaria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the announcement, said that “for too long—far too long—the very heart of the Land of Israel where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled, has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory. Well, today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.”
The obvious is revealed, that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land Judea. The word “Jew” comes from the tribe of Judah, and the land they inhabited 3,000 years ago, the land of Judea.
Trump lays out a plan that lays out the truth, there is no way around the fact that the Jewish people are native to Judea and Samaria, where a rich history going back more than three millennia can finally be considered legitimate.
This opportunity truly is the best of both worlds. Israelis now can secure their border with certainty on the eastern side, through sovereignty over the pivotal Jordan Valley. This was a key part of the speech given by Trump during the release of the plan when he said: “the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my plan provides to be part of the State of Israel.”
The Jordan Valley can now be secured by Israel as an important security asset and ensure it can prosper, alongside a demilitarized and autonomous Palestinian state. No longer will this piece of land be disputed territory, but rather as legitimate and sovereign land that is part of Israel. The Golan Heights will remain recognized as sovereign Israeli territory, a piece of land that the US first acknowledged as part of Israel in March of 2019.
The idea of a nation-state also is at play here, with Trump enforcing the idea that the Palestinians must agree that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and vice versa. This is a great initiative to ensure that both states recognize the fact that their territory is the de-facto and rightful homeland of their people.
Israel now can keep portions of the land they gained from the Six-Day War in 1967. No longer will Israel be obliged to give all territories back to the Palestinians. Every settlement now will be under Israeli control and 15 other confined communities that will be within Palestinian territory. An innovative new security barrier will ensure that all borders are realigned securely. The contentious “right of return” of Palestinian refugees becomes nullified, as they will now be able to have a state of their own.
Jerusalem is the eternal and sovereign capital of Israel, and the Jewish people. It will stay that way. As will it be Israel’s responsibility to secure the religious sites in Jerusalem. There is encouragement for the Temple Mount to be open to all faiths as a place of worship, a change from the status quo of only allowing Muslims to pray at the Temple Mount. It is very positive to hear that the United States’ embassy will remain put in the holy city, in the Talpiot neighbourhood.
Multiple Biblical connotations have come from this important step, with Moshe Feiglin, the leader of the Zehut Party in Israel stating that “the Trump statement is the declaration of Cyrus of our days.” Former Likud Party politician, Rabbi Yehuda Glick compared this announcement to the Book of Ezra, regarding the construction of the Third Temple in the foreseeable future.
It really should be known that within the world’s most pro-Israel administration, a team of top advisors truly deserve immense credit for their behind-the-scenes work. They include Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and Avi Berkowitz.
Many other important figures contributed, but this group of three advisors did what should be considered the most important accomplishment of Trump’s presidency to this point, and that is ensuring there is a future full of optimism for Israel, as well as the Palestinians.
In total, 29 countries so far have accepted this historic plan for peace, including eight countries who are members of the Arab League (Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). The only nations or bodies known so far to reject the plan are the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Russia, and the Arab League body.
Even though members of the Arab League were present at the announcement at the White House, and initially provided support for this game-changing plan, it seems that they had a change of heart at the emergency Arab League meeting on the weekend.
Canada has been mostly neutral on this plan from the get-go. Besides a brief statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, that did not endorse the plan but did not directly go against the plan. Other G20 countries who at least at the UN, seem to be more critical of Israel have offered their support, such as Australia, the UK, France, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, and the previously mentioned Saudi Arabia.
It is in the best interest of the Canada-Israel relationship for Canada to endorse this plan to stand on the right side of history, even though this relationship has been disfigured recently with Canada voting against Israel at the UN last year.
Trump and his administration have offered an opportunity that does not come around often, or even at all for that matter. The plan is of the best interest for everlasting peace in the Middle East, for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. For the Jewish nation, in particular, it is a gift that no other world leader has ever offered and is both generous and reasonable.
This plan to be more than simply about peace, but the chance to start anew. This special plan is not nicknamed the “Deal of the Century” for no reason, this deal does not come around just once a century, it likely will never come again in centuries or even millennia.
The time is now for the world to realize that there is no time like the present to support and endorse this historic plan, for it is a gift and an opportunity that the Jewish nation has been longing for, since its modern-day inception.
A single clause at the end of the Trump Administration’s Peace Plan released last Monday seems to highlight an unspoken understanding that there is unlikely to ever be long lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
It states, “The State of Israel will maintain the right to dismantle and destroy any facility in the State of Palestine that is used for the production of prohibited weapons or for other hostile purposes… the State of Israel will retain the right to engage in necessary security measures to ensure that the State of Palestine remains demilitarized and non-threatening to the State of Israel, including from terrorist threats.”
If the Trump Administration were certain that this would be the Deal to end all deals, why did his Middle East Envoy add that Israel reserves the right to destroy weapon manufacturing facilities and hostile sites in the future State of Palestine?
The Associated Press has asserted in its coverage that the Peace Deal favors Israel. Putting aside the fact that the Plan is only to serve as a basis for negotiations between the two parties, it is undeniably true that the Plan contains many provisions that would be a nightmare for Israel’s security
For example, in order to connect Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip, tunnels would be built under Israel Proper. Over the past few years Israel has worked very hard to destroy terror tunnels built by Hamas that ran from Gaza into Israel. Now, the Trump Administration proposes to build a tunnel that runs further into Israeli territory and that could potentially be misused for kidnappings and violence.
Another security issue is that the Plan proposes to open up trade between the future State of Palestine and Lebanon, where Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah dominates the government. Iran would likely use this opening to supply illegal weaponry. That inevitability would seem to clash with the Trump Administration’s vision of a demilitarized State of Palestine.
What is also dangerous about Trump’s Peace Plan is that it carries a connotation that Israel’s empowered position will always be as is, and that Israel can afford to boost their enemies’ political status into statehood and maintain its safety at the same time. But recent history warns that the belief that Israel is invincible or safe and stable is an illusion.
Israel’s history since its founding in 1948 is not just of progress and victories, but the appearance of same followed by the shattering of naivete. For example, during some points in its early years, especially true after Israel won a war in six days in 1967, the country appeared to be invincible. But when Israel nearly lost the Yom Kippur War of 1973 it correctly remembered how truly vulnerable it is. Moreover, progress seemed to be occurring when Ehud Barak shook Yasser Arafat’s hand at Camp David. No one expected Arafat to end the talks abruptly and then incite his people to blow themselves up in busses, nightclubs, pizza stores, and ice cream parlors in order to kill Israeli civilians. This bloodbath became known as the Second Intifada. Thousands were killed, and thousands more lost body parts, were permanently maimed, and had long lasting psychological trauma.
Following the Intifada, the Israeli government seized on another moment to show itself as a willing partner in peace. In 2005, it sent in its own military to remove thousands of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip. It was not known at the time that this move would pave the way for what would ultimately become an expansive missile launch pad in the Gaza Strip that would be frequently used against Israel.
Until the present time, Israel continues to grapple with the consequences stemming from this concession.
For the last 15 years, thousands of rockets with increasing sophistication and range have terrorized Israeli communities. To cope with the madness wrought by an unpredictable rain of war crimes sent its way, Israel has funded bomb shelters in the homes of its citizens living in vulnerable areas. They also developed the Iron Dome, a missile defense system that intercepts rocket fire midair before it can harm people and destroy property.
True, Israel is capable of developing strategies for its defense when new hostilities, but the Jewish State deserves to simply exist without being pushed into more booby traps in which it is forced to find new ways to protect itself.
Palestinians walked away from peace long ago, if not from the very beginning. After all, a two state solution strongly in favor of the Palestinians was offered in 1947, but this partition plan was rejected. Unsatisfied, Palestinians opted to start a war in order to conquer the Jewish portion for themselves. Also rejected were deals in observance of UN Security Council resolutions, that edged close to the Palestinian demands, and those that went so far as to demand the liquidation of Jewish areas so it can be handed over to Palestinians. This policy of rejectionism irked President Bill Clinton during the Camp David peace talks to a point where he apparently said at Camp David, “What the hell is this?”
Indeed, there simply is no peace to be made with the Palestinians simply because their leaders do not want peace.
That is, if peace includes the existence of the State of Israel.
Regardless of this, It’s time that Netanyahu, or whomever the next prime minister of Israel will be, forget about how it is perceived to the world and focus on what is good for Israelis. The historic moment should not be showing support for a deal that endangers Israel, but the turning point when Israel says “enough is enough” and walks away with dignity and pride.
The Ottawa Police Service is starting a hate crime investigation after a Holocaust memorial in Ottawa was defaced following the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
The Holocaust memorial had eggs thrown at it, and remnants of the attack remain visible in photographs. This incident was reported to the police at around four in the afternoon.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly stated on Twitter, “Incidents such as this are deeply disturbing to many communities especially when they target specific groups. It is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.”
This incident was particularly deplorable as the anti-Semitic hoodlums threw these eggs only days after the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland.
Over one million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau over the course of the second World War. This Monday, over 200 survivors conglomerated at the camp to mark the anniversary.
Over the past few years, reports have shown anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada, with 2016 and 2017 being record-breaking years for hate incidents directed towards Jews.
President Donald Trump has released his Middle East peace plan after long months of speculation. The peace plan proposes a two-state solution, whilst not uprooting any Israelis or Palestinians from their homes.
The announcement was made Tuesday in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump stated that his peace plan “could be the last opportunity” for the Palestinian people.
The proposal has already been rejected by Palestinians, as many took to the Gaza strip early Tuesday after Israel deployed the IDF to the West Bank.
“Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace,” said Trump concerning the deal— labelled the “deal of the century.”
The plan was organized by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka.
“Palestinians are in poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism. They deserve a far better life,” said Mr. Trump of the matter.
Netanyahu praised the deal and Trump, calling the president “the greatest friend that Israel has had in the White House.”
“The deal of the century is the opportunity of a century, and we’re not going to pass it by,” he said.
Netanyahu is penned to travel to Moscow tomorrow to discuss the plan’s proposals with Vladimir Putin.
The plan also received praise from Israel’s official opposition leader Benny Gantz, who met Trump yesterday and called the plan “a significant and historic milestone.”
The “plan of the century” was rejected by Palestinian leaders in advance, as many believed it would permanently leave the West Bank in the hands of Israel.
“The US administration will not find a single Palestinian who supports this project,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday. “Trump’s plan is the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
An emergency meeting of Palestinian leadership Tuesday.
Palestinian leaders have not been in contact with the Trump White House since the end of 2017, when President Trump made the move to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy to there from Tel Aviv.
Trump has also said the plan promises $50 billion for the Palestinian people, and that the US would open a Palestinian embassy in “eastern Jerusalem.”