Judah Magnes was an American reform rabbi and founding president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But even more importantly, he preached the ideal of coexistence built on equality and self-determination for both Palestinians and Jews.His prophetic instinct that the failure to address “the Arab” question would undo the new state of Israel.this would prove to be the original sin of Zionism.
So at the age of 54, Charley Manekin, a professor of philosophy and Orthodox Jewish studies in Baltimore and Israel started a blog, The Magnes Zionist, in which he began to publicize updated versions of Rabbi Magnes’ views and testimonies. As a Catholic well acquainted with Magnes prophetic work, I have been devouring the Magnes Zionist for years. He is simply a Jew of conscience who has seen first hand the parlous state of his beloved Israel and the damage Israel has done to Judaism itself.
In the last decade these marvelous Jews of conscience have found their voice.They are no longer afraid of the bullies at AIPAC; they have moved beyond the self-censorship and pressure from families whom have reflexively supported the Jewish state and everything done it in its name.This led Charley to Jewish Voice for Peace as he describes it, “the only Jewish organization I know that fully embodies those ideals today—justice, equality and freedom for both peoples.” And let’s face, it organizations are needed to speak collectively for justice in Israel/Palestine.
How did an Orthodox Jew and an American Israeli end up like this? the Magnes Zionist says,”The answer is simple. I was raised by my parents with solid humanist values. In fact, my family’s Judaism was inconceivable without those values. It never would have occurred to me that a commitment to justice could clash with a commitment to Jewish peoplehood.”
But then Charley Manekin aka the Magnes Zionist moved to Israel and saw that clash constantly “in the treatment of women in the religious court system, in the treatment of non-orthodox religious denominations, but above all, in the treatment of the Palestinian people, whether living under occupation, or as citizens excluded from Jewish nation state, or as refugees from their Palestinian homeland.”
Still, he wanted to believe that Israel had the inner strength to deal with its problems on its own, and so he supported liberal Zionist parties.
It took the breakdown of the Oslo accords, and the brutal suppression of the Second Intifada to convince me that what was needed was a genuine partnership between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, and a willingness to think outside the tribal box.
Israel/Palestine is now his home, but it is also the home of millions of others. The people who live there are not enemies but rather potential allies in dispelling the darkness of chauvinism, bigotry, and excessive tribalism.
So now Charlie asks Americans to support the Jewish Voice for Peace 1611 Telegraph Ave, Suite 1020 Oakland CA 94 612 510.465.1777
But I am a Canadian who wishes to keep my plummeting dollar in Canada so i am sending my Hanukkah/Christmas money to the very brave Canadian analogue to the JVP, our very own Independent Jewish Voices http://ijvcanada.org
Independent Jewish Voices PO Box 26113 MPO Winnipeg MB R3G0