Monday, March 23, 2009

From Tikkun: Morality, Judaism and The Crimes in Gaza

Jewish believers, friends of a viable Israeli State and American supporters of Israel must read the comments from Tikkun and Rabbi Michael Lerner.

In the meantime, listen to and read this letter to Obama from an Israeli woman, written back on the day of his inauguration. The price for having a conscience is such a "pain in our stomachs."


************************************ FROM TIKKUN***************************

Whenever human rights violations have occurred, the Israeli propaganda machine in the US and Israel proclaim that Israel has "the most moral army in the world and adheres to a doctrine of "tehorat haneshek" (purity of arms) that is a higher standard than any other fighting force in the world. Yet Occupation always and inevitably undermines such intentions. And as Ethan Bronner documented in theNY Times on March 22, there is a significant voice of religious Jews who no longer believe that they have a moral obligation to treat Palestinians by such higher standards, and that group has increasing influence in the Israeli Army's actual practice. Yet you don't have to be a Jewish religious extremist to treat Palestinians harshly--the logic of Occupation itself pulls for a disregard for the humanity of the occupied by the occupiers. And now we have concrete proof--supplied by the soldiers themselves. And what will the Israeli propaganda machine do? What it always does--it will set out to attack those who have raised the issue rather than addressing the substance of the charges.

All this deeply saddens us at Tikkun. We reject the notion that Israel is worse than all the other countries of the world--a notion that is too prominent in some circles of the Left. Similarly, we reject the notion that Judaism or "religion" automatically leads to these kinds of distortions. What is happening is a product of a specific set of historical circumstances--the Occupation, the moral failure of the Israeli Left to challenge the ethical distortions of the Occupation, the blind loyalty of American Jewish institutions to the Israeli government no matter what it does, the capitulation of Congress and every American Administration including the current Obama Administration to the political pressure from the Israel Lobby (which is composed not only of Jewish forces but also of the Christian Right), and the failure of the American media to honestly report what is happening while excluding from public presence voices like that of Tikkun which provide a different narrative and analysis to that of the propagandists. From our perspective, all this is tragic, will likely lead to decreased support for Israel in the long run and also to a growing rejection of Judaism on the part of young Jews who cannot accept a Jewish world that has lost its ethical moorings. So we send out this information not to rejoice in some "gotcha" but in mourning for the high values of the Jewish people, as well as in sympathy with the suffering of the Palestinian people and the people of Israel who are not served by this Occupation.

Please read the details of the latest revelations, plus the latest analysis of them by Gideon Levy, at

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