by Ronn Torossian
America's Reform Jews are extremists, Israel's Minister of Tourism is not.
American Jewish media recently reported that Reform Jews are refusing to meet with Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, after Levin told it like its and called Reform Judaism a “dying world” that has succumbed to assimilation. Levin, a secular Jew, said all Reform Jews would disappear in two or three generations. The fact is that their numbers get lower every year.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the American Union for Reform Judaism responded on Israel Army Radio that, “As long as he (Levin) doesn’t think that Diaspora Jews have a right to voice opinions on matters such as the [Western Wall], there’s no reason to give him a platform in Jewish communities and organizations in the United States, and added Minister Levin will not teach us what support for Israel is.” He urged Reform Jews to boycott Levin, forgetting that originally, Reform Jewry removed all mention of a return to Israel from its prayerbooks and was anti-Zionist.
It’s unfortunate that during this mini dust-up American Jewish media missed the fact that so many Reform Jewish leaders openly support a boycott of Israel and not just of Minister Levin. Take Rabbi Jacobs himself - a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street – and also a long-time board member of the extremist New Israel Fund, which openly supports a boycott of Israel, as well as the labeling of Israeli products from Judea & Samaria.
Jacobs opposed sanctions on Iran, and urged President Barack Obama not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning as “illegal” Jewish homes and communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Jacobs has demonstrated with the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, which urges an end to Israel “occupation” and the liquidation or fundamental change of organizations that contribute to the “dispossession of Arabs,” including the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Lands Authority. Jacobs is an extremist whose positions are far to the left of the Labor Party, and well out of the mainstream.
Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of Hebrew Union College the largest training school in the world for Reform Judaism is on the NIF International Council. On March 3, 2016, Temple Sinai of Oaklandwill host a speech by the President of the New Israel Fund in their congregation.
Is this the face of Reform Judaism in America? Supporting a boycott of Israel?
The New Israel Fund gives financial support to groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.The NIF also funds attempts to blacken the name of and demean the IDF and discourage young Israelis from serving in the armed forces through such NGOs as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and others. It funds media bias intended to isolate Israel through the likes of +972 Magazine. NIF grantee Hamoked is an NGO that funds lawsuits supporting the families of terrorists.
The New Israel Fund harms Israel – and the leaders of Reform Judaism must stop boycotting Israel. The extremists aren’t those who sit in the democratically elected government in Israel. They are those who masquerade as American Jewish leaders supporting Israel and fund a boycott of Israel – including Alisa Doctoroff, President of UJA-Federation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Rabbi Gordon Tucker of Temple Israel of White Plains and others.
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