Archive for June 22nd, 2018

Young Jews confront myths about Israel

June 22, 2018

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Young Jews raised in the synagogue with universal Torah values have broken with the silence of their elders  and the timidity of their rabbis to confront the decades of lies
they endured.

 

With rapid post war advance of capitalism, serious deformations occurred in the dominant North American Abrahamic faiths, Christianity and Judaism. Catholics ended up voting twice for Reagan and now for Trump. Rabbi Dr. David Goldberg, the much published rabbi emeritus of the London Liberal Synagogue, wrote this about contemporary Judaism

 

With the erosion of belief, God has been replaced by Israel as the credo of the Jewish people to the benefit of neither. Excessive reference to the Holocaust and dark allegations about resurgent anti- Semitism are two of the diversionary tactics used in the diaspora by the Israel lobby to deflect growing criticism of Israel.

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Computer technology, cell phones and other modes of instant communications shattered Israel’s control of the dishonest narrative they had been peddling for decades. Smart idealistic young Jews have seen through it and discovered another perspective.IfNOT Now is but one such group https://ifnotnowmovement.org. This is their clarion call on their website:

THE TIME HAS COME TO END OUR COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT FOR THE OCCUPATION.
WE WILL BE THE GENERATION TO DO IT.
THE OCCUPATION IS A DAILY NIGHTMARE FOR THOSE WHO LIVE UNDER IT AND A MORAL DISASTER FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT AND ADMINISTER IT.
IFNOTNOW IS WORKING TO TRANSFORM THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT FOR OCCUPATION INTO A CALL FOR FREEDOM AND DIGNITY FOR ALL.

‘You never told me’: Confronting American Jewish myths about Israel

A group of young American Jews are challenging the the institutionalized myths they were taught about the Jewish state in classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camps.  Emma Goldberg of IFNot Now

 

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U.S. anti-occupation movement IfNotNow released its “Liberation Syllabus” last week. Crowd-sourced from teachers, students, journalists, and rabbis, the syllabus offers a collection of resources — from picture books to nonfiction, cookbooks to podcasts — that Jewish institutions can integrate into their curricula to offer more balanced and just lessons about the occupation.

 

The syllabus is part of IfNotNow’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, in which alumni of Jewish summer camps, day schools, and youth groups are calling on their institutions to change their Israel education to include honest understandings of the occupation and Palestinian narratives. Some of the resources in IfNotNow’s syllabus, for example, include Rashid Khalidi’s Palestinian Identity and Edward Said’s The Question of Palestine.

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IfNotNow’s campaign is a critical call to action. For American Jews distressed by the intransigence and violence of the Netanyahu government — enabled and encouraged by the Trump administration — distance does not permit inaction. Meaningful responses to current conditions on the ground in Israel-Palestine can start in the U.S., with critical examination of the way American Jewish institutions teach and talk about the occupation. Most importantly, this examination must begin early in the pipeline, engaging the narratives that Jewish youth consume about Israel and the history of the conflict.

 

For a compelling example of the lasting effects of poor Israel education, we need look no further than Jared Kushner. Just last month, Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated at the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem, smiling blithely for selfies and paparazzi, while just miles away more than 60 Palestinian protesters were being killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border. Kushner, a strong supporter of the decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, praised Israel’s human rights record during the embassy opening. He also briefly addressed the violence at the border by saying the protestors were “part of the problem and not part of the solution,” a comment that was absent from advance excerpts of his remarks delivered to the press.

 

Considering the narratives with which Kushner was raised, his tone-deaf engagement with Israel-Palestine shouldn’t be at all surprising. From a New York Times profile last year, we know that Kushner was taught in classrooms where eight year olds were asked to draw the map of Israel from memory and were taught to refer to the West Bank by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria: “In his classes, Palestinians were regarded at a distance, in part as security threats who committed acts of terrorism.”

 

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Kushner received precisely the sort of education that IfNotNow’s campaign is targeting: an education that whitewashes, pinkwashes, and greenwashes Israel’s human rights abuses, that stubbornly insists on conflating an appreciation for Israel’s culture and history with support for its current government. Kushner’s callousness shows the long-term costs the Jewish community pays for institutions that fail to intervene and teach the inconvenient truths. For Palestinians on the receiving end of Israel’s abuses, the price is far higher.

By +972 Blog |Published June 19, 2018