Not Very Nice, Rabbi Yoffie

In an op-ed published at HaAretz, the Reform Movement’s Rabbi Eric Yoffie reverses the narrative of the liberal wing of American Jewry in an astounding switch-of-direction.  He writes

We American Jews are, at last, waking from our stunned disbelief, and that means we need to act: to denounce Donald Trump and what he stands for in our communities, our synagogues, at AIPAC.

For some two decades, in an ever-growing crescendo of anger and divisiveness, extremist elements among radical Jewish groups having been pushing the party line that Israel is harming Diaspora Jewry in that a lack of resolution of the conflict with the Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-‘Palestinians’ affects their lives in a negative fashion.

But more than that, they have been suggesting that Israel’s continued post-1967 administration of regions of the Land of Israel originally intended to be included within the boundaries of the reconstituted Jewish National home, decided upon in an act of international law is wrong, especially in a moral sense, as if a corruption of Jewish values is taking place.

Most prominent among those on the ground are the Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, Open Hillel,  and now, IfNotNow.

Carly, Evan and Nina of IfNotNow sent out a letter, composed in a rather ranting and even abusive tone which contains this strident message:

Are AIPAC and the American Jewish establishment so out of touch with Jewish values that they would condone a neo-fascist as long as he supports Israel? Does merely offering support for Israel make anti-Semitism, open racism and neo-fascism acceptable to our community?

…AIPAC is showing that it is willing to abandon all other values to ensure "pro-Israel at any cost."…For years, AIPAC has asked American Jews to check their progressive values at its door. And for years, they have bullied dissenters; vilifying those in the community and in Congress who refuse to toe their line, who believe Jewish values demand we speak out against Israel’s immoral occupation.

The chairman of the UK Jewish Leadership Council, Mick Davis, is also aligned with this  controversial approach to Israel-Diaspora relations.  Back in 2013, he criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for hampering diaspora efforts to fight delegitimisation of Israel since Israel was not doing enough for peace.

That was echo of an outburst of his back in 2010, when he was quoted as warning that unless there were a two-state solution with the Palestinians, Israel risked becoming an apartheid state.  British Jewry had a "left-of-centre leadership" concerned about "where Israel goes" he stated, and Netanyahu lacks “the courage to take the steps" to advance the peace process or address moral dilemmas over settlement building.  That view was applauded by the virulent anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism.  The student framework for advancing this undermining of Israel is Yachad.

The brouhaha that is being planned for the AIPAC Policy Conference is simply turning things around. The Reform Movement is sacrificing Israel’s interests for its own diaspora existence.  In announcing after the confirmation of Donald Trump’s appearance that

We, the leadership of the Reform Jewish Movement, believe we must speak up against such hate speech…Mr. Trump is not simply another candidate…he makes clear that he is engaging in a new form of political discourse, and so the response to his candidacy demands a new approach, as well. The Reform Movement and our leaders will engage with Mr. Trump at the AIPAC Policy Conference in a way that affirms our nation's democracy and our most cherished Jewish values. We will find an appropriate and powerful way to make our voices heard.

it is adopting a shaming maneuver, shandering Israel and using it as an instrument for American Jewry’s presumed agenda (but in reality, the political agenda of progressive liberals rather than Jews).

This, of course, is just what these Jewish liberals have been complaining about as an error in Israel’s approach to Jews residing abroad.

Rabbi Yoffie, this is not very nice.