The UN, Iraq and military deterrence of imperialism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Mar 9 11:13:49 MST 2003

>They saw an emergence of a new social movement in solidarity with
>Palestinians, a new movement in which a sizable number of young _Jews_
>(e.g., Adam Shapiro) have been doing their good works -- in prominent
>positions, no less.

Speaking of which:

NY Times, Mar. 9, 2003
A Rift at Jewish Theological Over an Article About Israel

If it sounds like a subject worthy of debate by Talmudic scholars, it may
be because that's who is debating it.

Last month a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary named
Jill Jacobs wrote a Torah commentary for a school newsletter saying she
could not "agree to preach unconditional support of a country that has long
oppressed another people."

The country was Israel, and the sentiment was deemed so incendiary that the
article was pulled from The JTS Newsletter, Divrei HaYamim (which
translates roughly as Chronicles). That move set off a series of events in
which students cried censorship, the editor of the newsletter resigned, Ms.
Jacobs disseminated the article independently and the newsletter's policies
were re-examined.

Ms. Jacobs said her article expressed "my love of Israel and my
disappointment and pain at how the government has treated Palestinians and
Israeli Arabs." She said she was told by Rabbi Joseph Brodie, who oversees
the newsletter, that the article was killed because it expressed a
political opinion, an action that violated the newsletter's policy.

"I made the argument that saying we have to support Israel is also
political," Ms. Jacobs said, noting that the newsletter has printed
laudatory articles about Israel.

In response, Rabbi Brodie, vice president of student affairs, said: "I
think in this community it would be very hard to find people who would not
express positive things about Israel.'' And, he added, "The Divrei HaYamim
is not the right forum for expressing controversial political opinions."
Ms. Jacobs's sentiments, he said, would be better suited to a school
newspaper, if there were one.

The version Ms. Jacobs subsequently passed out on campus was slightly
changed; places where she had originally criticized "Israel" and "the
Jewish state" now read "the Israeli government," a distinction Rabbi Brodie
said might have altered his decision.

David Freidenreich, a student who was the newsletter's editor, said he had
suggested asking Ms. Jacobs to revise the article with similar changes.
"Rabbi Brodie rejected suggestions to edit the piece," said Mr.
Freidenreich, who then resigned. Rabbi Brodie said he did not recall the
discussion. Last week, a panel of students and faculty members that
included Ms. Jacobs drafted a policy saying that except in extreme cases,
future newsletters would publish contributions regardless of their opinions.

In the view of some, the debate speaks to a larger issue. "American Jewry
need to get their head around what it means for a person to publicly
support Israel and yet be critical of its government," said Shaul Magid, an
associate professor of Jewish philosophy at the school. "I don't think that
the seminary wanted to be repressive. It just didn't know how to handle a
document by a student that said, 'I really think the Sharon government is
leading us the wrong way.' ''

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