Reader Post: The Unholy Mix of Leftism, Zionism, and Judaism

For anyone who has been following the Open Orthodox drama in America, they are already aware of the many controversies members of their movement have been involved with. Charges leveled against them include undermining Jewish law, disrespecting Torah scholars, and defaming the Orthodox Jewish community. Now they can add aiding and abetting Israel’s detractors to the list.

YCT graduate and Uri l’Tzedek founder R’ Ari Hart in his infinite wisdom has decided to become a regular contributor to al Jazeera, with his first article just being released.

In it he repeats the same myths perpetuated by the left about moral equivalency between Israeli self defense and Palestinian terror and undermining Jewish claims to the land of Israel, all the while swearing up and down he’s pro Israel. It’s a position one would expect from J Street, not someone claiming to be Modern Orthodox. This is especially problematic given that the author is someone who started an organization to allegedly promote Jewish social justice (though it is curious that they are giving a rabbinic certification on their conformity to proper business ethics that they do not have a full-time qualified dayan on staff and only one CPA). It’s incalculable the amount of damage his actions have done to Israel’s cause.

The recurring theme is clear: when Jews decide to put liberalism ahead of Judaism, chaos ensues. I don’t think even twenty years ago “taking the other side” would have been considered a legitimate position except by the most radical fringe elements on the left. Thems days are long gone. Now such attitudes have become vogue and are taking over in places it was a given that Israel could find her natural allies.

I understand anti-Zionism is a valid if not distasteful Torah position. For the vast majority of Jews, being identifiably Jewish is synonymous with at least some support for Israel. There is a latent understanding that we did not manufacture our history a la Protocols of the Elders of Zion and we have a real inherent connection to the land, regardless of our religious level. Whether or not well intentioned people realize it, embracing the anti-Zionist leftist narrative is so self defeating to the causes of justice and peace they claim to represent. Israel is a shining example of tolerance and good will for all peoples, not just Jews. For a religious Jew, it adds insult to injury by promoting elements that hostile towards their own people, inside Israel and outside.

The College Rabbi has been working with college students and speaking around campuses in the New York area for the past seven years. He was ordained at YU’s RIETS seminary and by Rav Ephraim Greenblatt zt”l. He’s a recovering Social Studies teacher, a member of the RCA, and a one of the biggest punks ever to receive rabbinic ordination.

About The College Rabbi

This could be you! To submit a post for publication on this site, click on the Submit Post link on the left of the top menu below the banner, fill in the details, and use the editor to write your post. More details here

Facebook Comments

  • dcomplex

    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

    Looks to me like some people are troublething our Jewish house and aiding our enemies.

  • dcomplex

    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

    Looks to me like some people are troublething our Jewish house and aiding our enemies.

  • Herb Glatter

    Perhaps you can guide me on how to respond to a non-Jew who asks: “why are so many Jew haters Jews?”

    • Eric

      It’s a long discussion but I can basically break it down to a formula:
      Judaism-G_d and Torah+a need for acceptance by non-Jews=Jewish liberalism. Now the most liberal position out there is anti-Zionism so they’re all on board.

    • Andrew Brehm

      Racists believe that ethnicity dictates behaviour (and other attributes not technically related to one’s genetic background).

      Hence an antisemitic Jew makes no sense to a racist. This is what the racist will think:

      1. Race (ethnicity) dictates behaviour.
      2. Hence Jewish ethnicity dictates behaviour of a Jew.
      3. That Jew over there says X, which others have called antisemitic.
      4. Jews cannot be antisemitic because of 1 and 2.
      5. Hence X is not antisemitic.

      Antisemites are racists and will usually argue that a Jew cannot be antisemitic.

      If you are not a racist, it will be obvious to you that a Jew is capable of racism (and hence antisemitism) just as well as a non-Jew is. Not one’s ethnicity causes racism but other factors. Those other factors can influence Jews as well as non-Jews.

      So the answer is, there are Jew-hating Jews because ethnicity does not dictate behaviour and hence a Jew can hate Jews.

      And there are “so many” because antisemites like to point them out because antisemitic Jews, to them, prove that their own positions are not antisemitic. (But the proof only works if you accept racist principles about ethnicity influencing behaviour.)

  • Herb Glatter

    Perhaps you can guide me on how to respond to a non-Jew who asks: “why are so many Jew haters Jews?”

    • Eric

      It’s a long discussion but I can basically break it down to a formula:
      Judaism-G_d and Torah+a need for acceptance by non-Jews=Jewish liberalism. Now the most liberal position out there is anti-Zionism so they’re all on board.

    • Andrew Brehm

      Racists believe that ethnicity dictates behaviour (and other attributes not technically related to one’s genetic background).

      Hence an antisemitic Jew makes no sense to a racist. This is what the racist will think:

      1. Race (ethnicity) dictates behaviour.
      2. Hence Jewish ethnicity dictates behaviour of a Jew.
      3. That Jew over there says X, which others have called antisemitic.
      4. Jews cannot be antisemitic because of 1 and 2.
      5. Hence X is not antisemitic.

      Antisemites are racists and will usually argue that a Jew cannot be antisemitic.

      If you are not a racist, it will be obvious to you that a Jew is capable of racism (and hence antisemitism) just as well as a non-Jew is. Not one’s ethnicity causes racism but other factors. Those other factors can influence Jews as well as non-Jews.

      So the answer is, there are Jew-hating Jews because ethnicity does not dictate behaviour and hence a Jew can hate Jews.

      And there are “so many” because antisemites like to point them out because antisemitic Jews, to them, prove that their own positions are not antisemitic. (But the proof only works if you accept racist principles about ethnicity influencing behaviour.)

  • ahad_ha_amoratsim

    I assume you meant to say valid if distasteful Torah position, instead of valid if not distasteful. Terrific post, though. YCT never ceases to amaze me, and not in a good way.

  • ahad_ha_amoratsim

    I assume you meant to say valid if distasteful Torah position, instead of valid if not distasteful. Terrific post, though. YCT never ceases to amaze me, and not in a good way.

  • Hard Little Machine

    In any community there’s always going to be that fringe who’d rather be hated than ignored.

  • Hard Little Machine

    In any community there’s always going to be that fringe who’d rather be hated than ignored.

  • walt kovacs

    hart insisted to me that he wrote the article the way he did in order to get the message out to the left that “zionism” is not just 100 years old

    i hope he reads the comments section and sees that his work was all for naught

    if this is the quality of rebeim that weiss’s yeshiva is putting out, i now see why the israel rabbanut is questioning rav weiss’s credentials

  • walt kovacs

    hart insisted to me that he wrote the article the way he did in order to get the message out to the left that “zionism” is not just 100 years old

    i hope he reads the comments section and sees that his work was all for naught

    if this is the quality of rebeim that weiss’s yeshiva is putting out, i now see why the israel rabbanut is questioning rav weiss’s credentials

  • walt kovacs

    now rabbi hart is playing victim, saying that this post defames him

    he really didnt read the comments to his article

    • Eric

      He tried to say I was personally attacking him on Twitter. I think I’ve kept the conversation clean of personal attacks and just sticking to the issues. Anyone who thinks different please let me know.

      • walt kovacs

        you didnt personally attack anyone.

        and you are right, what he is doing is dangerous for klal yisrael

        • Eric

          My anti-Zionist Hassidic rebbe said it was a hillul Hashem and only Neturai Karta would do such a thing.

  • walt kovacs

    now rabbi hart is playing victim, saying that this post defames him

    he really didnt read the comments to his article

    • Eric

      He tried to say I was personally attacking him on Twitter. I think I’ve kept the conversation clean of personal attacks and just sticking to the issues. Anyone who thinks different please let me know.

      • walt kovacs

        you didnt personally attack anyone.

        and you are right, what he is doing is dangerous for klal yisrael

        • Eric

          My anti-Zionist Hassidic rebbe said it was a hillul Hashem and only Neturai Karta would do such a thing.

Israellycool is testing Sovevos. Click for more info.