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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Educational Resources

Jewish Fears, Jewish Identity, Anti-Semitism & Holocaust

There are many complex issues surrounding Jewish fears of anti-Semitism that have a great effect on Jewish identity and ultimately Jewish behavior related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This section attempts to reflect on some of these complex issues of Jewish identity.
  1. What are we supposed to hear when we listen to the Shofar?
    by Rabbi Edward Feld, Shalom Center, September 9, 2003

    In this eloquent Rosh HaShanah article Rabbi Edward Feld explains how the sound of the shofar is suppose to remind to feel "the pain that was caused the mother of our enemy."
    [read more]

  2. How to Talk About Israel
    by Iam Buruma, New York Times Magazine, August 31, 2003

    In this informative historical essay, Professor Buruma reviews many of the myths around the US-Israel alliance and the anti-Semitic accusations of Jewish power. Buruma makes it clear that it is perfectly legitimate for a person to criticize Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic.
    [read more]

  3. No, it's not anti-Semitic
    By Judith Butler, London Review of Books, August, 21, 2003

    Butler, a Berkeley professor, writes a length reply to Harvard President Lawrence Summers remarks last fall that "profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities." Summers argued that such actions as divestment campaigns "are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent." Butler argues that Summers's approach will quell free speech and academic debate about Israel by classifying legitimate criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism.
    [read more]
    Lawrence Summers original remarks. [read more]

  4. Indifference
    By Susannah Heschel, Brit Tzedek Advisory Committee Member,
    Tikkun, July/August 2003

    Heschel argues for hope and against indifference and disengagement. She further argues that it is "politically unconscionable to equate Zionism with racism and to create a demonizing discourse…that accomplishes nothing constructive." She concludes that "we have to reclaim the integrity of [our prophetic]…traditions, ultimately to reclaim our soul."
    [read more]

  5. Our Foppish Self-Righteousness
    By Shulamit Aloni, Ha'aretz, July 23, 2003

    Aloni, the former Knesset member and former Meretz Party Chair, criticizes Israelis for their self-righteousness about their own suffering while they simultaneously in ignore and rationalize Palestinian suffering. She questions the rationality of the constant self-ustifying Israeli refrain that "everything we are doing is so our enemies won't bring another Holocaust down upon us."
    [read more]

  6. Holding Israel to the Highest Moral Standard
    By Rabbi David com, Reform Judaism, Spring 2003

    Rabbi Forman, Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel, argues that the Israeli government's policies of collective punishment show that it has "lost its moral compass." He warns Jews against the threat of the "downgrading of the moral principles that define us as a religion as a people."
    [read more]

  7. Anti-Semitism
    Delivered at Hebrew College, Newton Centre, MA, February 12, 2003

    In her speech, Cherie Brown, vice president of the Brit Tzedek board, analyzes what anti-Semitism is and is not, where it originates, and offers four specific actions to counter anti-Semitism.
    [read more]

  8. Partners in Pain
    By Aviv Lavie, Ha'aretz, February 7, 2003

    Lavie describes an inspirational project in which a large group of Jews and Israeli Arabs will jointly learn about the Holocaust and visit Auschwitz together in order to attempt to address the ghosts of the past and their effects on the present conflict. He describes the fears, hopes and doubts expressed among both groups of participants.
    [read more]

  9. Elective Affinities / Reality Bites
    Two of Israel's leading intellectuals contemplate the complexities of Israeli and Jewish identity in the two years since the collapse of the Oslo Peace Process. Oz and Grossman reflect on a wide range of subjects including the peace process, Sharon, Arafat, the upcoming elections, anti-Semitism, terrorism, globalization, Islam, Christianity, and more.
    [read more]

  10. Is Unity Good for the Jews?
    By Jo-Ann Mort, Los Angles Times, December 22, 2002

    Jo-Ann Mort of Americans for Peace Now pleads to Jews to return to the days of "two Jews, three opinions," when disagreement and debate was source of pride in the Jewish community. She fears that Jews often pretend to speak with unanimity regarding Israel and thus mask the important and deep disagreements that exist over the future of Israel. While there must be unity around our support for Israel's continued safe existence, we must not be afraid to have an open debate about its policies.
    [read more]

  11. On Anti-Semitism and Criticism of Israel
    By Emily Hauser, Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2002

    A dual US-Israeli citizen explains why it is critically important to separate often legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. While anti-Semitism is always wrong, criticism of Israel may often stem from legitimate grievances with Israeli actions and policies.
    [read more]

  12. Count Me In
    By Nan Fink Gefen, Tikkun, November/December, 2002

    Nan Fink Gefen, a member of the Brit Tzedek Board of Directors, shares her unique perspective as a Jewish convert trying to grapple with the painful difficulties of fighting for justice in Israel without feeling disloyal to her chosen faith..
    [read more]

  13. Manufacturing Anti-Semitism
    By Uri Avnery, Tikkun, November/December, 2002

    Avnery describes how Israel's abuse of the Palestinians is leading to the growth of anti-Semitism. The tragic irony is that the creation of a Jewish state was suppose to protect Jews from anti-Semitism, but now appears to be doing exactly the opposite by creating more dangers for Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora.
    [read more]

  14. Seven Pillars of Jewish Denial
    By Kim Chernin, Tikkun, September/October, 2002

    Chernin explores the complex Jewish fears and psychology that make it very difficult for Jews to criticize Israel and allow us to rationalize Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians.
    [read more]

  15. Living with the Holocaust: The Journey of a Child of Holocaust Survivors
    By Sara Roy, Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 2002

    In this remarkable personal article, Sarah Roy explains how growing up as the child of Holocaust survivors has shaped her views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    [read more]

  16. Thoughts on Anti-Semitism
    By Penny Rosenwasser, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom Member, Tikkun, July/August, 2002

    Penny Rosenwasser discusses how fear of anti-Semitism plays a role in the ongoing conflict. She tries to explain why equating Israeli behavior with Nazism is a counterproductive means of criticizing Israeli actions
    [read more]

  17. Healing Israel
    By Cherie Brown, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom Vice-President, Tikkun, May/June, 2002

    Cherie Brown analyzes why it is difficult for Jews to trust the peace process and lays out some simple, equitable principles for peacemaking.
    [read more]

  18. Against Ethnic Panic: Hitler is Dead
    By Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic, May 27, 2002

    The literary editor of the New Republic offers a sage warning to American Jews that the current rise in anti-Semitism in Europe and terrorism in Israel should not lead Jews to hysterical panic about the Jewish future in Israel and America. He reminds Jews that we are, historically speaking, "the luckiest Jews who ever lived." He warns Jews that the Netanya Passover bombing was not a new Kristallnacht and the current situation is not the beginning of a second Holocaust that Jews have come instinctively to fear whenever there are attacks on Jews.
    [read more]

  19. The Diaspora and the Intifada
    By Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, director emeritus, Harvard Hillel
    Based on a speech delivered at Harvard Hillel on April 14, 2002
    Boston Review, October/November, 2002

    Rabbi Gold, a Holocaust survivor, explains that Diaspora Jews must be willing to criticize Israeli actions as "an expression of respect and love for the people of Israel."
    [read more]

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