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.
My first article for Al-Jazeera http://t.co/mFqm6XRFsC
— Rabbi Ari Hart (@AriHart) March 18, 2014
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.