06 April 2011

Caroline Glick, Israel, and Jews for Jesus

In the midst of a decent article about American Jews and their views on Anti-Israel Jewry, for some unknown reason, Glick goes into a diatribe, or at least a forthright knock against Jewish believers in Jesus. It seemed to be from left field.

Her article published in the Jerusalem Post on 1 April 2011 begins with "Over the past year or so, American Jewish opponents of Israel like writer and activist Peter Beinart have sought to intimidate and demoralize Israelis by telling us that American Jews either no longer support us or will stop supporting us if we don't give in to all the Arabs' demands. But statistical evidence exposes these threats as utter lies."

OK, fair enough, I get the idea, she wants the anti-Israel sentiment to stop. I get it.

She continues, "In fact, American Jews under 30 are more hawkish about the Palestinian conflict with Israel than Jews between the ages of 31-40 are.According to the Brandeis survey, 51 percent of American Jews oppose a future division of Jerusalem, while a mere 29% would support it."

She cites examples of pressured groups on East and West coasts who have buckled to anti-Israel sentimentalists and organizers. She worries about Israeli support in the USA. OK, I get it, and appreciate her remarks. But out of nowhere comes this, "To get a sense of how unprecedented this is, it is useful to consider the American Jewish community's response to Jews for Jesus. While Reform and Orthodox rabbis agree on almost nothing relating to Jewish laws and practices, since the emergence of Jews for Jesus in the 1970s, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis have been unified in their rejection of the Christian missionary group's protestations of being Jewish.

Everyone understands that while Jews have a perfect right to change their religion, they have no right to force the Jewish community to accept Christians as Jews. That is, they have no right to change the definition of Judaism to include people who worship Jesus.

So-called Messianic Jews falsely call themselves Jews to undermine the community from within. But no Federation feels compelled to invite a representative of so-called Messianic Jews to proselytize on stage as part of a panel discussion in order to "welcome multiple voices."

Hillel organizations have rightly refused space and funding to Messianic Jewish groups.

But today, American Jews find themselves helpless when a marginal group of anti-Zionist Jews demands - like the Messianic Jews of their day - communal funding and space for their anti-Israel activities.

The anti-Zionist groups make the same arguments as the Messianic Jews. They call themselves pro-Israel even as they engage in activities aimed at harming, defaming, weakening and delegitimizing the Jewish state. They claim that refusing them communal funds constitutes a violation of their free speech rights.

Yet while communal leaders did not hesitate to call the so-called Messianic Jews' bluff, they cannot find the way to expunge anti-Israel groups from their umbrella organizations."

What! What a conflation of ideas and misstatements and borderline indictments. I'm so glad someone (and many have done so) replied. Case in point. Matt Sieger is a senior editor at Jews for Jesus. He took Glick to task in his reply on TownHall.com. I quote him in entirety.

"Dear Caroline,
In your column, "American Jewry's Fight," you use Messianic Jews (those of us who believe in Jesus) as a barometer of what the American Jewish community's response should be to anti-Israel propaganda emanating from Jewish groups. In doing so, you have tarred us with the same brush as those anti-Israel groups. To set the record straight, I would like to make the following points:

• Messianic Jews are almost invariably and unapologetically pro Israel.
• Messianic Jews in Israel show that commitment by joining the Israeli army.
• We do not attempt to "force the Jewish community" to accept us as Jews. We are Jews, descendants of Abraham, who believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.
• We do not seek to "undermine the community from within." Undermining the community is not our agenda. Our only agenda is to proclaim that Jesus is Messiah.
• As far as I know, Messianic Jewish groups demand neither space nor funding from Hillel organizations.

Your one sentence is particularly misleading: "But today, American Jews find themselves helpless when a marginal group of anti-Zionist Jews demands—like the Messianic Jews of their day—communal funding and space for their anti-Israel activities."

This sentence implies two things: 1) that Messianic Jews demand communal funding and space from Jewish groups; and 2) that we demand it for anti-Israel activities. Neither of those statements could be further from truth. I believe you owe us and your readers an apology for that implication. Thank you."

Sieger, don't hold your breath for such an apology, although I generally find Glick a person of good will. We'll keep a watch for whatever comes next.

1 comment:

M Dell said...

Caroline Glick is a brilliant ...we'll pick a title..she's just brilliant so if you choose to personalise any comment that has offended you, perhaps you should take the proverbial log from your eye and apologise to the number of people that have taken offence to any one of your blogs....
Just thinking out loud😉