At the end of the upcoming Passover seder, Jews around the world will say, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
Apparently, this thousand-year-old tradition will be changed by the Tzedek Congregation in Chicago, which has officially adopted anti-Zionism as a “core value.” Jews around the world face Jerusalem in their prayers, but this may now be changed by the Tzedek Congregation because according to their Rabbi Brant Rosen, “Diaspora is the focus of Jewish life.”
The congregation’s board voted unanimously to adopt this anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist platform that includes calls to boycott the state of Israel. They claim that 72% of their members supported the decision to boycott Israel. However, according to a study by the Zionist Organization of America, the congregation’s address is a P.O. box. The synagogue’s only live event in March was a 30-minute meeting in a church basement. Rosen is a co-founder and co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Rabbinical Council. JVP is notorious for its rabid anti-Zionist message.
When Rosen was asked about the State of Israel being a place Jewish victims of anti-Semitism could go, he responded that the state of Israel “exacerbated antisemitism in many ways.” Considering the fact that Jews had nowhere to seek refuge during the Holocaust and that the existence of a State of Israel before the Holocaust would have saved 6 million Jewish lives, that apparently does not concern Rosen. The reason is that according to Rosen, the State of Israel “comes at the expense of another people.”
The historical fabrication that Israel came into being at the “expense of another people” is the root cause of the increase in anti-Semitism today. This false belief was bolstered when former President Barack Obama abstained instead of vetoing U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which deemed eastern Jerusalem occupied Palestinian Arab land. The Biden administration exacerbated the matter when it similarly abstained on a vote on a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for a Palestinian Arab “right of return.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has led the increase in legitimizing anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism with her election to Congress despite her opposition to the existence of the State of Israel. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) joins Tlaib in supporting the anti-Semitic BDS movement.
U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced the J Street-endorsed “Two-State Solution Act,” which “prohibits the United States from providing support for projects in geographic regions that came under Israeli control after June 5, 1967. It also prohibits the use of any U.S. security assistance, defense articles or defense services provided to Israel for efforts to annex or exercise permanent control over any part of the West Bank or Gaza.” This bill effectually calls the eastern part of Jerusalem, which includes the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, as Occupied Palestinian Territory, essentially meaning that it would no longer be recognized as Israeli sovereign territory. It has 38 Democratic co-sponsors and that does not include the Squad members, so more than 40 Democrats in Congress oppose Jewish sovereignty over the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
Levin, who is locked in a member-on-member primary with Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) in Michigan’s redrawn 11th Congressional District, spoke the first weekend in April at a J Street U conference in Washington, D.C., about his Two-State Solution Act and his own student activism. During the gathering, J Street U activists marched to AIPAC’s headquarters and the Capitol chanting “no aid to occupation.” At least one attendee carried a sign calling to “end the blank check,” a slogan sometimes associated with calls to condition or end aid to Israel.
The rise of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is due to the rejection of the teachings of Judaism as contained in the Bible and Jewish prayers, and it rejects Jewish historical fact as well. The famous Torah commentator Rashi explains that the Torah begins with the creation of the world to show that G-d created the world and could decide who gets what land, and gave the Jewish people the land of Israel. The whole purpose of the freeing of the Jews from Egypt that we celebrate during Passover was to bring the Jews to Israel to live and keep the Torah commandments. The seven nations Israel was told to defeat to take back Israel were all themselves invaders of the land that the Jewish people inherited from Noah, who gave it to his son Shem, who gave it to Abraham. The Jewish people lived in the land for many centuries and only left after being forced out by outside invaders of the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans.
Only three years after the Holocaust and after the United Nations voted to support a Jewish state did Israel win a defensive war against attacking Arab armies that rejected any Jewish state. The State of Israel then was attacked by Jordan in 1967 and won eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in response to Jordan’s attack. Israel has always had a majority of Jewish residents. There is no country in the world with a better claim to their own land than the Jewish people have to Israel.
The Palestine Liberation Organization Covenant’s specific goal was to destroy Israel, not to create a Palestinian state. Article 24 of the PLO Covenant specifically made no claim to eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria because those territories were controlled by Jordan in 1964 when the Covenant was established. This is why no peace agreement can be reached with the Palestinian Arabs because their goal has always been Israel’s destruction within its 1949 borders. They have pursued these aims through acts of terrorism and now Hamas does it through the firing of missiles at Israel within its 1949 borders. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas financed the Olympic Munich massacre and wrote a book on Holocaust denial. He also financially rewards terrorists and their families with hundreds of millions of dollars each year under the “pay for slay” law in which the more Jews and Americans you murder, the more money you get. His so-called recent condemnations of terrorist attacks are farcical when it is known he will financially reward the families of the terrorists for the terrorist attacks.
The idea that Israel is occupying someone else’s land is a malicious anti-Semitic lie. Tzedek Congregation has decided to support the destruction of the first Jewish state in 2,000 and the home to over 6 million Jews. Organizations like J Street and recent legislation proposed by Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) feed into this narrative by claiming that Israel is illegally occupying its own land as well as its most important religious sites of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
The bottom line is that the Jewish people are the indigenous people of the State of Israel. Jewish sovereignty over Israel, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, is historically and religiously just. The Tzedek Congregation needs to change its usage of the beautiful Hebrew word of tzedek, which means “justice,” as what the congregation represents is the opposite of justice—as it supports the boycott and destruction of Israel.
Farley Weiss, former president of the National Council of Young Israel, is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy. The views expressed are the author’s, and not necessarily representative of NCYI.
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