The U.S. and Biblical Israel. By Barbara Lerner. National Review Online, January 5, 2012.
Instead of the “two-state solution,”
restore what God gave Abraham’s people.
BIBLICAL ISRAEL IS THE ANSWER
mystery is why so many Americans who recognize these obvious facts fail to
reject the two-state “solution” altogether; why, instead of saying a clear,
confident “No” to the two-state idea, they can only respond to the unending
pressure from Muslim supremacists in the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, their appeasers in the U.N. and the EU, and their allies on the
Bill Ayers Left with a feeble, evasive “Not now.” Why don’t we stand up and
say, “No. A Palestinian state is a Trojan horse of an idea; accepting it was a
great mistake, and it is past time to firmly and finally reject it”? Some few
won’t do that because they still cling to the blind faith that if we just push
the Israelis to make more of the sorts of increasingly painful and enfeebling
concessions they have been making to no avail since the Oslo accord two decades
ago, Muslim supremacists will suddenly make a 180-degree turn and say, “Okay,
that’s enough, we accept you as equals,” and peace and brotherhood with a small
b — a brotherhood that embraces all people everywhere, not just Muslims — will
prevail at last. Most Americans abandoned that illusion years ago, slowly and
regretfully, but fully.
problem for the great majority of Americans, I think, is that they have no new
formulation with which to replace the two-state idea, no new policy idea they
can openly embrace and work to implement in its stead. And when they look for
one in the tangle of U.N. legalisms that greeted Israel’s rebirth, they get
nowhere, because it is the wrong starting place. The shrunken and misshapen
little piece of lowland the U.N. initially ceded to Israel was militarily
indefensible — an open invitation to the attacks that followed. Looking for
answers in the Zionist movement Theodor Herzl founded in Europe in the 19th
century is no answer either. Herzl and his pioneering followers in Europe and
America did yeoman’s work, culminating in modern Israel’s declaration of
independence in 1948, but it is shortsighted Western ethnocentrism to say that
they created Israel.
Jewish state in Biblical Israel could not be created by the U.N. or by the Jews
of the West, only re-created. Ancient
walls, scrolls, steles, and pottery, meticulously dated by modern science, bear
irrefutable testimony to the existence of Biblical Israel. It was created
nearly 4,000 years ago, and Jews have lived there, continuously, ever since.
only in the last 400 or so years that they migrated to the West in significant
numbers, first to Europe and then to America. As late as the 19th century, a
majority of all the world’s Jews still lived in the Middle East. Often, in
their long, tortured past, they were reduced to a remnant in Israel itself, but
they never disappeared entirely, and most did not go far; they remained in the
Middle East. And from the rise of Islam in the seventh century on, they lived
there as dhimmis, subservient,
regarded as religious inferiors, impoverished, mostly, and with no rights that
a Muslim was bound to respect. Today, these native Middle Eastern Jews — not
Ashkenazi immigrants from the west — are a majority of all the Jews in Israel.
They became the majority not long after Israel declared its independence in
1948, because Arabs in Middle Eastern countries where Jews had lived for
centuries responded by stripping them of whatever possessions they had and
driving them out, creating about a million refugees. Mass expulsions like this
were not new to the Jewish people, east or west, but this time, all the Jews
had a place to go. Nearly all of the eastern Jews, the Mizrahi, went home, to
matter where they were, religious Jews never forgot the dream of a return to
Zion, greeting one another each year, on Rosh Hashanah, the penitential Jewish
New Year, by saying, “Next year in Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem). And, until the
20th century, most Jews were religious. Like most Christians then, and a
majority of American Christians now,
they believed what the Old Testament teaches: that God gave Biblical Israel —
the land from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the Golan
Heights to the Red Sea — to the Jews to be their homeland forever. They believe
that God directed Abraham, the first Jew, to settle there, in Hebron, where he
still lies, and his tomb still stands.
is the man who gave the world monotheism. Born into a primitive, polytheistic
world where every tribe had its own jealous and exclusive god, often one that
required human sacrifice, Abraham’s God taught him that there is only one God,
a God who created the universe and all mankind, a God who rejects human
sacrifice. And from that day to this, Jews at prayer repeat the same ancient
affirmation of monotheism: “Shema
Yisrael. Adonai Elohanu, Adonai Echad.” (Hear O Israel. The Lord our God,
the Lord is One.) This one God is a God of justice, the Old Testament tells us,
the God who gave us the Ten Commandments, to make clear our duty to treat all
Testament tells us that He did this on Mount Sinai, a ways south of the
Bethlehem birthplace of the next world-changing Jew, Jesus Christ; or from his
crucifixion site on Mount Calvary. Jesus came to us 2,000 years ago, the New
Testament tells us, to teach the world love and forgiveness, and well over 2
billion people — about a third of the people on earth — believe that He is
God’s own Son, sent here by a merciful Father Who took pity on us mortal
sinners and offered redemption and the promise of paradise to all who embrace
Him and show true repentance. All this and more happened in Israel, the unique
state whose essential geographical boundaries, the Bible tells us, were drawn
by God Himself. No wonder, then, that the whole of Biblical Israel is and
always has been holy ground to Bible believers everywhere. It is also
militarily defensible ground, because it includes both Judea and Samaria — the
land Muslim supremacists taught us to call “the West Bank” — as well as the
high ground to the north, the Golan Heights.
what?” I hear my secular friends saying. “What has all this ancient history got
to do with us, here in America, in 2012? Why should we care?” The answer is
that we should all care, whether we are Jews, Christians, or Americans of other
faiths, or of none, because our civilization — the Judeo-Christian
civilization, from which we have all benefited enormously, and of which we are
all a part — is under fierce attack today by Muslim supremacists, determined to
force us all to bow down before them, either by converting to Islam or by
accepting the status of dhimmis. This
war did not start with the emergence of modern Israel; it has nothing to do
with Israel’s treatment of the million or so Arabs in its midst; and it will
not end if we allow Israel to be destroyed.
war began in the seventh century, when Muhammad, believing that God had ordered
him to conquer and rule the whole world in the name of Islam, first used Taqqiya to trick and then slaughter Jews
in Saudi Arabia who did not bow to his new religion, and then went on to
conquer large parts of the Arab world. It began, and continues today, because
too many Muslims still refuse to accept people of other faiths — Jewish,
Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian — as equals they can respect and live
in peace with; because too many are still committed to using Taqqiya and violence to establish their
supremacy and our subservience. The problem is not that we have mistreated
Muslims or failed to show them the respect they are due as people with great
civilizational achievements in their own pasts. The problem is that supremacist
Muslims have no respect for us. Accepting the ersatz identity of the so-called
Palestinian people and groveling before this and other supremacist Taqqiyas
does not win us respect. It earns us contempt, and strengthens the conviction —
growing by leaps and bounds all over the Muslim world today, even in
once-friendly Muslim lands — that we are a weak, confused, and cowardly people,
remnants of a dying civilization, ripe for toppling. To change their minds, and
our future, we need to reject the Palestinian Taqqiya and embrace Biblical Israel.
How to Use Sex Like a Russian Spy. By Peter Sullivan. Foreign Policy, July 12, 2013.
Whither Egypt’s Democracy? By Ahmad Shokr. Middle East Research and Information Project, July 12, 2013.
Libertarianism’s Neo-Confederate Southern Avenger Delusion. By Carole Emberton. History News Network, July 15, 2013.
Ramadan series “Khaybar” is a battle cry against Jews. By Ariel Ben Solomon. Jerusalem Post, July 11, 2013.
The Image of the Jew in the Ramadan TV Show “Khaybar” – Treacherous, Hateful of the Other, Scheming, And Corrupt. By Y. Yehoshua. MEMRI, Inquiry and Analysis Series Report No. 995, July 10, 2013.
“Khaybar”—A Middle East Reality Check. By
Jonathan S. Tobin. NJBR, June 20, 2013.
There’s a New Anti-Semitic Television Series Set for Broadcast in the Muslim World. By Sharona Schwartz. The Blaze, June 20, 2013.
New Antisemitic Arab TV Series: Jews of Khaybar Instigate War Between Arab Tribes. Video. MEMRI TV. Clip No. 3874, June 13, 2013. Transcript.
Actors of Arab TV Series Khaybar Make Antisemitic Remarks. MEMRI TV. Clip No. 3902. July 8, 2013. YouTube.
Antisemitic Arab TV Series “Khaybar”: Deception Is the Creed of the Jews, Conspiracy Their Religion. Dubai TV. MEMRI TV, Video Clip No. 3934, August 1, 2013. YouTube. Transcript.
Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, after which they eat and many enjoy
television shows made especially for the holiday.
satellite channels are airing a series this year called Khaybar, referring to
the Muslim massacre of the Jews of the town of that name in northwestern Arabia
in 628 CE.
the attack, some Muslims, including Muhammad, took surviving women as wives.
Muslim conquerors charged the Jews a 50 percent tax on their crops and in 637,
after Muhammad’s death, the Caliph Omar expelled the remaining Jews from
Islamic tradition, the chant “Khaybar
Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud,” which means, “Jews, remember
Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” is used as a battle cry when
attacking Jews or Israelis.
for example, chanted on the Mavi Marmara
Gaza flotilla ship in May 2010.
show deals with the relationship between the Jews and the Arab tribes of Medina
as well as between the Jews of Medina and Khaybar, MEMRI (the Middle East Media
Research Institute) reported on Wednesday. One Arab media outlet described the
film as demonstrating the Jews’ “hostility toward others, their treacherous
nature, and their repeated betrayals.”
plot deals with Jews asking Miqdad, an Arab warrior, to fight for them; he
refuses to kill women and children and is sent to prison. Another episode,
based on Islamic tradition, involves a Jewish woman whose father and brother
were killed by Muslims and who tries to get revenge by attempting to poison the
film was produced by Echo Media, a Qatari company owned by Hashem al-Sayed.
show is set to air on channels such as Dubai TV, Dream TV (Egypt), Al-Iraqiyya
TV, Algerian Channel 3, Atlas TV (Algeria), Qatar TV and UAE TV, according to
the MEMRI report.
al-Sereity, one of the main actors in the show, plays Muhammad ibn Maslamah,
the bodyguard of the prophet Muhammad. Sereity told an Egyptian newspaper the
show portrays the evolution of Jews’ hatred of others.
hostility between us and the Jews still exists. The hatred is ingrained.
Neither Egyptians nor Arabs need this show to justify their hatred of Zionism.
The existing struggles between us provide the simplest proof of this,” he said.
actor, Ahmad Abd al-Halim, said, “I play one of the Jewish characters, who
demonstrates the behavior of the Jewish human being. All he thinks about is
show’s screenwriter, Yusri al-Gindi, said in an interview with Al Jazeera about
the series, “The Jews are the Jews. They still act according to their nature,
despite the passing generations. They corrupt any society in which they live,
and therefore no regime can protect them with any contract or agreement.
crisis in the Arab world offers the best proof of this, and this is where the
show gets its current relevance.”
added, “It happened in Babylon, Rome, Imperial Russia and Hitler’s Germany.
Later, the West banished them to the Arab region, where they continue to serve
it [the West] to this day.”
Korea’s Web community roiled by shocking video of Western men tormenting a local woman. By Max Fisher. Washington Post, July 15, 2013. Also here.
Controversial video of Western men harassing a Korean woman appears to have been staged. By Max Fisher. Washington Post, July 25, 2013.
Was video of Western men abusing Korean woman staged? By Suzannah Hills. Daily Mail, July 26, 2013.
Disturbing, 78-Second Video Surfaces of a Korean Woman Being Harassed at a Night Club. By Liz Klimas. The Blaze, July 16, 2013.
Men Seen Harassing Korean Woman in Graphic Video Claim It Was All Fake. By Liz Klimas. The Blaze, July 17, 2013.
A conversation with “lastknownsurvivor” about the “Facebook video.” Gusts of Popular Feeling, July 24, 2013.
Racism Video: Two Western Men Harass and Insult Korean Girl, Viewers Express Outrage on Racist Act. By Jenalyn Villamarin. International Business Times, July 16, 2013.
Video of Western men abusing a Korean woman is even more than it seems. By Rachel Tackett. Rocket News 24, July 22, 2013.
Video on Facebook and YouTube. YouTube.
MBC Report: White Men Tormenting Korean Woman in Nightclub. Video. freeoflegalism, July 16, 2013. YouTube. Also here.
Men Torment Korean Woman in Nightclub. Video. The Young Turks, July 16, 2013. YouTube.
Korean woman abused by white guys in shocking video. Video. TomoNews US, July 17, 2013. YouTube.
The Seeds of Jihad. By Shari Goodman. Family Security Matters, July 15, 2013.
day goes by when I venture out to any local shopping or recreational area when
I am not confronted by many Muslim women in their traditional hijabs or on
occasion full burkas. Sometimes they are alone, but more often than not they
are in groups and totally oblivious to the non-Muslims within their midst. Deliberately,
they avoid eye contact as they gaze past us.
years after 19 Muslims murdered 3000 of our American mothers, fathers, sons,
and daughters in the name of Islam, we find our American landscape transformed
with the practioners of the very ideology responsible for 9/11 and the nearly
22,000 murders committed worldwide by Islamists since that infamous day. Reason
dictates that the welcome mat should have been removed, but instead their
numbers have greatly increased and as their numbers rise so does the threat
from a civilizational jihad as outlined in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Explanatory
Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal
for the Group in North America.
daughter of Holocaust survivors, I lost too many family members to another
supremacist totalitarian ideology, Nazism. It is frightening to see a new
present form of Nazism within Islamic doctrine with the same mission of world
dominion, the destruction of the state of Israel, and the ethnic cleansing of
world Jewry. Cloaked in religion to avoid scrutiny and criticism, Islamic
doctrine is far more menacing. While our Judeo-Christian doctrine teaches “thou
shall not murder,” Islamic doctrine states that to die while waging jihad
ensures the jihadist entry into heaven. (Bukhari
1,2, 35 Mohammed said “The man who joins jihad, compelled by nothing except
sincere belief in Allah and His Prophet, and survives, will be rewarded by
Allah either in the afterlife or with the spoils of war. If he is killed in battle and dies a martyr,
he will be admitted into Paradise. . . .”) Islam’s command “to kill” vs.
Judeo-Christian’s command “thou shall not murder” are two diametrically opposed
doctrines that cannot co-exist. It is threatening and offensive to millions of
Americans that the descendants and subscribers of Mohammed, a murderous
barbaric warlord, who pillaged vast continents with his sword are given a home
in the land of the free.
our elected officials continue to give them entry at our expense. We now have
over 2000 Islamic command centers officially known as mosques throughout the
United States. A recent study, Mapping
the Shari’a Project, by the Center for Security Policy found that over 80%
of mosques in this country were preaching hatred of Christians and Jews in
their quest to impose Shari’a law upon all of us. (http://mappingsharia.com/) Additionally,
there are frequent demands for accomodations, special prayer time in schools,
prayer rooms at private and public institutions, Halal meat only in schools,
segregation between the sexes in public pools, Muslim Capitol Days throughout
the country, requests for Shari’a application in our judicial courts, and the
list goes on.
a woman the nearly total cover up and head gear of Muslim women is an affront
to Western women’s hard fought battle for equality. We drive, vote, work, dress
freely, and express ourselves without male supervision, consent, or fear. As
American women we enjoy equal protection under the law; yet, our right to be
free will be jeopardized if we continue to import a culture that forbids what
American women take for granted. Islamic practices of honor killings, female
genital mutilation, child marriages, and polygamy have now made their way into
cities across our land. The Women’s Movement born to secure women’s rights and
equality remains eerily silent. They should be outraged, but instead their
silence is deafening. Perhaps the Women’s Movement was never about aiding women
as much as it was about tearing down traditional American institutions.
question remains: Why are we allowing a hostile population with a culture of
jihad and Dawah (proselytizing Islam) entry into our home? They are not here to
assimilate, integrate, or adopt our traditions, values, or culture. They are
here to colonize, and we are permitting it. A quick glimpse of Europe is a
window to what awaits us here at home if we do not stop the colonization.
Sweden, a bedrock of civilization and a rescuer of Danish Jews during World War
II is now the rape capitol of Europe where Muslim gangs commit nearly 77.6% of
the rape crimes of young White Swedish females. (http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-living-hell-for-swedish-women-5-muslims-commit-nearly-77-6-of-all-rape-crimes/)
Malmo, a city in Sweden, once home to many Jews, is now practically devoid of
Jews after the many threats and acts of violence from Malmo’s Muslim
population. So threatening were the Muslims, that Malmo’s mayor, Itmar Reepalu,
declared that he could not protect Malmo’s Jews and suggested for them to leave
Sweden. Instead of ousting the Muslims,
the morally bankrupt Leftist mayor added insult to injury by asking the victims
of Muslim aggression to leave. In nearby France, cities are rocked by Muslim
rioting, and England’s no go zones such as Hamlet Towers are not safe for
non-Muslims. The beheadings commonly witnessed in Muslim countries have made
their way to England, and instead of protecting its citizens, British authorities
are protecting the Muslims by threatening to arrest those who criticize Islam.
Unless Europe musters the courage to forgo their policies of appeasement,
Europeans will lose their national identity and their once rich culture.
Without the motivation or courage to defend their continent Dhimmitude
(servitude) awaits them. Europe as we know it will be lost.
September of 2012, Obama stated that “the future must not belong to those who
slander the prophet of Islam” before a U.N. General Assembly.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGLJLGhPZBQ) His administration is in support
of U.N. Resolution 16/18 which would criminalize any criticism of Islam. Not
only would such a resolution be a violation of our First Amendment as
guaranteed by our Constitution, but instead it would lend support to the Muslim
Brotherhood’s mission of imposing Islamic Shari’a law upon our land. Much like
Europe, we too stand at a precipice. We can continue to disregard the danger
from importing a hostile Muslim population whose religion and culture are the
antithesis of ours or we can close down the mosques, ban the Muslim Brotherhood
within our shores, and boot out those who refuse to conform to our values and
culture. The choice is ours. The future
must not belong to those who support a Jihadist doctrine.
Trayvon Martin and Tisha B’Av: A (Left-Wing) Jewish Response. By Michael Lerner. Tikkun, July 14, 2013.
acquittal by jury of George Zimmerman who shot and murdered the unarmed black
teenager Trayvon Martin was emblematic of the consistent racism and double standard used in the
treatment of minority groups or those deemed “Other” in the U.S. and around the
world. Where is there justice in a world in which so many people suffer
oppression and in which those who choose to use violence as a way to address
and deal with their hatred and fear often seem to triumph?
theology holds that there is a karmic order, so that evil actions will not
always run the world. Justice and compassion are both essential to the survival
of the planet. Unlike many religions
that focus on individual sinners and imagine that they will be punished in some
future not currently verifiable—for example in a heaven or hell after life, or
in a reincarnation in some form that provides rewards or punishments for how
one lives in this world, most of Jewish theology sees karma as playing out on a
societal scale, and over the long run.
may never be a this-world punishment for George Zimmerman. Murderers and other
perpetrators of evil too often get rewarded instead of punished. James Comey, who played an important role in
approving water-boarding and indefinite detention without trial when he served
in the Bush Administration, was appointed last week by President Obama to head
the FBI. The Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress in denying NSA surveillance of
American citizens, but it is Edward Snowden who is now seeking asylum for
whistle-blowing and revealing the extent of that lie. Henry Kissinger who
played a central role in prolonging the Vietnam war (causing thousands of
deaths) still receives public acclaim.
Those bankers and investment brokers who were responsible for the 2008 meltdown
of the economy and the loss of homes for millions of Americans received rewards
and huge bonuses instead of prison sentences. And corporate leaders who have
been responsible for polluting our air, water and land around the planet remain
firmly in power while environmentalists are scorned and their message largely
ignored by the Obama Administration.
where’s the justice?
answer that emerges from Jewish texts is this: God has created the earth in
such a way that it cannot tolerate moral evil forever. There will be a
judgment, but it will come to the entire society, not just to the perpetrator
of evil. For the Jewish people, the Torah predicts that if we do not establish
a just society in the Land of Israel the earth will vomit us out. And for all
of humanity, we are taught that if the society is not based on the Torah
principles of justice, peace, love for neighbors and love the stranger (the
Other) there will be an environmental catastrophe and all human and animal life
is potentially at risk of perishing. The
reason we will all suffer for the harmful actions of a few is because we each
bear responsibility for doing our part to bring tikkun to the world. So if we
sit by in silence when people are suffering, the planet is being destroyed,
etc. we are also responsible and will suffer for our inactions. The Torah takes
a hard line on this—it calls for us to be bringing the issue of justice and
fairness, love and generosity, peace and environmental sanity into every
situation we find ourselves—both in the public arena and in our personal lives.
We are urged to bring up these issues even when others may feel it
inappropriate, when some people will tell us we should “lighten up” and should
not always bring “politics” into the discussion, when our friends tell us that
they don’t’ want to hear about things that are depressing. We should talk about
them when we go to sleep at night and when we get up in the morning, teach this
to our children, and right it upon the door posts of our houses and our gates.
Merely complaining to a few friends is NOT enough.
this theology that allowed the Jews to survive through what might be called
righteous self-blaming. When Jews this
week commemorate Tisha B’Av, the day of mourning for the various catastrophes
that have befallen the Jewish people starting with the exile from our land that
occurred after the Babylonians conquered Judea in 586 BCE and after the Romans
destroyed the 2nd Temple in 70 C.E. , our prayers proclaimed “because we sinned
we were exiled from our land.” This is a
form of self-blaming which is actually empowering, because it tells us that we
can change our situation through our own actions as a people (not one by one,
but together–and building and sustaining that “together” is really a central
underlying Jewish concern and a point of much of Jewish practice–not the lone
meditator but the community of people together seeking to connect to the
spiritual reality of the universe).
theologians have pointed out that in this kind of a world, there is much room
for human freedom precisely because God does not jump in and right every wrong.
To create humans in God’s image, the Transformative Power of the universe (aka
God) evolved in humans the freedom to choose how to live, even as that same God
gave us a revelation that taught us to love each other and love the Other (the
there is a danger to this kind of freedom: some people can literally “get away
with murder.” Too many of Hitler’s willing executioners, too many of Stalinist
Russia’s jailers and murderers, too many of those who implemented Western
colonialism and imperialism at the cost of massive suffering in the
“underdeveloped” world, too many of those who have abused and exploited in
every society, remain powerful and live relatively happy and contented lives
while their victims go to the grave without ever having been compensated and
their suffering has sometimes even scarred future generations. And every day
the capitalist marketplace’s values seep deeper into the collective
consciousness and unconsciousness of much of the human race alive in the 2nd
decade of the 21st century (in Jewish calculations, the year is 5773).
highest value of the capitalist marketplace is individual freedom (to consume
whatever they want whenever they want and without regard to the social
consequence sof what is being produced or consumed. Try to impose restrictions
on guns in the name of public safety, and you find yourself surrounded by
people who, having imbibed the capitalist notion that the good life is that
with the most possessions, that safety comes from domination over others, and
that the state must never play a role in restricting individual freedom, inist
that there be no limit on the proliferation of guns and weapons, limits that
might have kept George Zimmerman from parading around with guns to use on
strangers. A central command of Torah—to
love the stranger (the Other) has been wiped out of the collective memory of a
society which in other respects (e.g. on abortion or gay rights) often seems to
be checking its bible for guidance. So I have to mourn for a society that
perpetuates hatred, that created the George Zimmerman and the other George
Zimmerman’s in the world. Or that
created George White, the African American man in NY who was convicted of
murdering a white teenage boy – a black man who grew up in the lynchings of the
South and had a genuine reason to fear for his safety (even if he had other
options for how to respond in the situation) and was likely having a flashback
at the time but was recently convicted of murder. All this violence, all this
fear—and so we need so much more love, compassion, and generosity to heal all
the distortions that keep generating so much suffering.
when the oppressive regimes of the past are overthrown, the innocent in those
societies often suffer as much as the perpetrators of evil. Read the book of
Lamentations written in the wake of Jerusalem being conquered by the ancient
Babylonians and read this week on Monday night when many religious Jews begin
the one day of fasting and mourning called Tisha B’Av, and you can hear the
same kind of stories that we hear 2500 years later from the victims of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki—that it is innocents who often take the brunt of the suffering
even when an oppressive regimen is being overthrown.
same story will play out on a massive level unless global capitalism is quickly
replaced by global economic arrangements that gives priority to preserving the
global environment and building a
society that gives primacy to love and generosity over corporate and individual
greed. Just as the Torah predicted some 2500 years ago (or more), there will be
an environmental catastrophe unless there is the kind of revolutionary changes
sought by Torah (including the massive redistribution of wealth every fifty
years during the Jubilee—Yovel, the cessation of work every seventh year for
the entire society—the Sabbatical Year observed by everyone on the same year,
the weekly cessation of all work and all dealing with money or domination or
“power over”—the Jewish Shabbat—plus the forgiving of all loans; and of course,
the implementation of the Torah laws calling on us to love the stranger—the
Other—and love our neighbors). But here again, those who suffer will not only
be those who fought to keep corporate power and capitalist materialism and
selfishness in place, but everyone in the entire society.
the point here is that there is no possibility of people thinking that if they
personally live good and just lives they will be rewarded with health,
happiness, and the benefits of life on earth. That fantasy is a product of
capitalist distortion that encourages us to think of ourselves as “lone
rangers” whose fate depends on ourselves. The reality, Torah and Judaism teach,
is that we are intrinsically part of a larger society and world, and that our
fate is intrinsically bound up with the fate of everyone else on the planet and
the fate of the planet itself.
where is God’s beneficence in all this? That S/He/It conveyed to us that this
is how the world was set up, and gave us the insights on what we needed to do
to preserve the planet. Exercising stewardship over the earth, acknowledging
that we don’t ever have a “right” to the land but only an obligation to use it
in ways that are environmentally sustainable and socially just, to be loving
and caring toward each other, to respond to the natural world with awe and
wonder and radical amazement. Sometimes I wish that God were actually the big
man in heaven who intervenes in human history that appears in the imagination
of many and that gets called upon in some of our prayers. But that God doesn’t
exist, or, at best, is in hiding and can’t be expected to respond to our
prayers calling for immediate interventions into history. Except through us, created in God’s image and
now partners with God in the healing and transformation of the world (and the
word tikkun refers precisely to that process which we must carry out in this
world and at this time).
there will be no justice for Trayvon Martin, of for the hundreds of thousands
of minorities that fill our prisons, or for the hundred of millions of people
who are now suffering malnutrition and living in conditions of extreme poverty. But there will be a price to be paid, and it
will be paid, perhaps by those of us still alive in the next ten to twenty
years, certainly by the whole human race within the next fifty years.
there will be a come-uppance for the Jewish people for having allowed Israel to
present itself as “the state of the Jewish people” even while it was engaged in
oppressive policies toward its own Arab citizens, toward the Palestinian people
as a whole, and toward the Bedouins upon
whom the Knesset is now seeking to deny rights. For those of us, including
myself, who love Israel and wish it to survive and flourish, the continuing
tragic path it chooses, largely a result of the still-dominant Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder which I describe in my book Embracing Israel/Palestine and
which operates equally self-destructively among Palestinians, the
self-inflicted wounds of the Jewish people today raise more sorrow than anger,
more wishes to assist in healing than desire to see punishment, more deep
sadness for our people which once again, in power, is doing precisely the kind
of distorted activity that led to the last two Jewish exiles from our land.
this time it will be different, because the fate of Israel is intrinsically
tied to the fate of the rest of the planet. And that fate is growing more and
more disastrous every day we continue to allow the environment to be poisoned
and the minds of ordinary people filled with the common sense of capitalist
ideology: that are all alone, that we are powerless to change anything big beyond
our personal lives, that we can’t trust others except if we have power over
them, that domination rather than generosity is the path to homeland security,
and that we shouldn’t worry because everything will work out fine. It is this twin focus, mourning for the
mis-direction of Israel and the destructive impact of global capitalism on the
life support system for the planet, that is my focus for Tisha B’Av.
is all part of what I’m mourning as I start my fasting for Tisha B’Av. Monday night, July 15.
Judaism has always included a message of hope as well, and it is this: we human
beings are not morally neutral—we have a positive and powerful inclination
toward the good, manifesting as a fundamental human need to be in loving
relationship with each other and in an equally powerful need to live in a
morally coherent universe in which our lives have a transcendent meaning that
goes beyond the materialism and selfishness of the world of class structure and
oppression. This inclination can never be fully repressed. It continues to pop
up even among those seemingly most beaten down . So Tisha B’Av turns on Tuesday
afternoon from mourning to rebuilding.
was growing up, that rebuilding was focused on the Zionist enterprise, which was
seen as “the answer” or “the tikkun” to
the Holocaust and the previous suffering of the Jewish people. Today, it’s more obvious that Israel and Zionism itself
need a huge tikkun, and that must come from returning to the deepest truth:
that we are all equally created in the image of God, all deserving of love and
compassion, and all yearning for a world of kindness and generosity and caring
for each other and the earth.
that compassion must also extend to those whose own inner distortions lead them
to act in racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic ways. It is in building a
movement that can at once challenge the global ethos of materialism and
selfishness while simultaneously manifesting a great deal of compassion and
generosity of spirit toward those who are suffering from their own PTSD or from
their indoctrination into the values of the competitive marketplace that there
lies the greatest hope for a different kind of world, for the tikkun olam
(transformation and healing of the world). And that too is part of the meaning
of Tisha B’Av, and a reason for hope that before the next set of disasters
paralyze and possibly destroy human life on earth as we have known it, it may still be possible for an ethos of
love, kindness, generosity, ethical and environmental sanity, and awe and
wonder at the grandeur of the universe to bring the world to a deeper harmony
and a less destructive path. That deep inclination inside every human being is
apparent in hundreds of millions of people on our planet, if only we could find
a way to work together and recognize each other. I like to call this up-wising
(yes, up-wising) of the goodness in humanity: Love’s Rebellion—and it’s what
gave Martin Luther King Jr. the faith that the arc of the universe bends toward